Category Archives: Safari Ltd

Yutyrannus (Wild Safari by Safari Ltd.)


Review and photographs by Tallin

Approximately 125 million years ago, Northern China had a similar temperature to today – it was cold – at least by Mesozoic standards. Indeed, the Yixian Formation of China shows that the climate of this part of early Cretaceous China would have had an average temperature of only 10°C. It is here that one of the most controversial of tyrannosaurids was discovered; the Yutyrannus. This dinosaur has caused a lot of paleontological upheaval mostly because it was found with an extensive covering of filamentous feathers. These feather impressions in the fossil were found all over the body of the animal, from the tail and neck to the arms. Yutyrannus is by far the largest dinosaur to have a proven feathery coat (whether is covered the entire body or not is still somewhat debated) at 9m long. New for 2015, Safari Ltd have released their rendition of this fearsome yet cosy beast with an almost complete covering of feathers, from a decorative maned neck to protofuzzy ankles.

Yutyrannus Wild Safari

In the tyrannosaurid evolutionary tree, Yutyrannus is considered to be more advanced than its relatives such as Dilong and Guanlong, but not as much so as the English Eotyrannus. This dinosaur also provided new insight into the behaviour of tyrannosaurids as two juveniles were found near an adult of the species. This could suggest that family groups stayed together, at least until the young were experienced and powerful enough for independent life, supporting other similar fossil finds. Due to the colder climate of its home, it is likely that Yutyrannus‘s feathery coat helped insulate it from low temperatures, which indicates that the evolution of simple feathers in larger dinosaurs was as a response to their environment. Related species such as Tyrannosaurus rex might not have needed them. Other traits of Yutyrannus are a crest running along the centre of the snout, and a horn like protuberance jutting a little way from the front of each eye socket.

Yutyrannus Wild Safari

Now to Safari ltd’s new addition to their Wild Safari line. The first and most noticeable trait is that (and ready the celebratory fizz) it stands tall on its own two feet. Even more than that, the feet are nowhere near as disproportionately large as in some of their other therapod models, and yet the Yutyrannus still stands without any instability issues. Hopefully, Safari Ltd will be able to implement this into future theropods too. A second pleasing feature is that the mouth is closed. Often, it is great fun to have a figure in mid-roar showing off a lovely set of teeth and the inside of the mouth, but when the market is dominated by bellowing therapods, it’s nice to see one with its mouth closed – after all, that’s probably how it was most of the time when the animal was alive. There is a nice fine scaly texture to the head, and the key traits of the crest and eye socket horns have been subtly incorporated. One nit-pick for me however, is that the scales of the head stop very abruptly and a fabulous back and white mane immediately blossoms. I would personally rather see more of a graduation from small feathers to big ones, but that may be down to personal taste. The figure has the correct number of fingers and toes as well as supinated hands. The muscular structure is somewhat obscured by the extensive feathers, but that’s to be expected. Once again, the feathers stop abruptly at the wrist and just past the ankle of the model which does give the impression of a scaly dinosaur in a furry suit somewhat, but only very slightly.

Yutyrannus Wild Safari

In terms of colouration it is clear that Safari Ltd certainly want to make reference to the cold environment this dinosaur lived in. Its feathers are very pale, a delicate icy blue covers the back, arms, legs and tail of the model and fades to snowy white on its underbelly. The mane is also white with many back flecks adorning the feathers. The whole colouration is somewhat reminiscent of the extant snowy owl. The scaly regions are coloured in sandy grey, with shiny black claws and an orangey salmon hue used to accent the head crest and ‘horns’. The small eyes are well done in ice blue with tiny black pupils. I feel that the paint application, at least on my model, lets the marvellous sculpt down a little as it is rather sloppily applied and does not have the richness in colour of the stock images at all. The black paint intended to pick out the ear has been splodged over the side of my Yutyrannus’s face and the teeth are not very well defined. This being said, however, I think this model would look stunning with a repaint, as the sculpting work is extremely sophisticated and detailed.

Yutyrannus Wild Safari

Overall, I think this is a very well done replica of the largest feathered dinosaur yet known. It is extremely detailed and stands firmly on its own two feet, with a great feathery texture. As a toy, I think this model would be of less interest to a child than say, a more dynamic roaring therapod figure, as the closed mouth and neutral stance make it less able to interact with other creatures and prey. Of course if the child in question is more interested in odd and unique models like this one with its fuzzy coat, it might be the perfect model for them. It could also be a great educational aid thanks to its accuracy and reflection of new discoveries. The plastic feels very strong with a slight flexibility so it shouldn’t snap easily. I find this model very interesting and a breath of fresh air from all the aggressive bellowing therapods on the market. If you want something different that reflects recent paleontological findings, this dinosaur will certainly be your cup of tea.

Available from from Amazon.com here and Ebay.com here.

Woolly Mammoth (Prehistoric life collection by Safari Ltd)


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Many years ago when I was a small child, I thought all of the ancient mammoths where the Woolly Mammoth. I later learned that it was a diverse branch with many different members. The first mammoth bones I had ever seen in person were at the Mammoth Site in South Dakota, where a majority of the mammoth remains are of the Columbian variety, but there are also a few remains of the Woolly Mammoth as well. It was an amazing sight to see. Ancient Mammoths still seem to capture our imagination; you almost feel a kinship with them, like a long lost family member.

The Woolly Mammoths (Mammuthus primigenius ) are the quintessential image of the Ice Age, a poster child of the Steppe, and a staple of almost every company’s toy line of Dinosaurs – prehistoric animals. The Wild Safari version of the Wooly Mammoth, which was part of the Prehistoric life collection, is not as grand, or spectacular as their Carnegie version, but don’t count this figure out just yet.

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The Woolly Mammoth was about the size of today’s African Elephants, which is large, but by no means the biggest in the family. The toy is moderately sized about 11-12 cm high and 16cm long. On this model the head and short trunk are raised with its mouth agape. There is a hairy dome present on its head, then above the shoulders there is a very small hump, and then the back slopes downward from the hump to the rump. These features are characteristic of the species, and it was depicted that way in cave paintings by early humans. Also on the head are prominent brow ridges and very small ears the stick out on either side. Adult Woolly Mammoths could effectively defend themselves from predators with their tusks or use them for everyday tasks. The two tusks on this model jut out from sides in a manner that would be typical for the species.

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On the trunk, an interesting feature is the Upper finger at the tip of the trunk. On the Woolly Mammoth, as it is on this model, the upper finger was a long and pointed lobe, while the lower was broader. The length of an adult Mammoth was around 2 meters long (over 6 ft long); on this model it looks a little short.

As you would expect, if an animal is called Woolly, the expectation would be a lot of hair. The figure does not disappoint. The coat of Woolly Mammoths had an outer layer of guard hairs on the upper body, flanks, and on the underside. This is all present on this model. The texture clearly shows long lines of hair covering the body, even underneath where all the long hair meets and forms a ridge. On the legs you can see were the shaggy upper coat ends and the long leg hair begins. The head is covered in hair, in reality it should be shorter than what is depicted. The short tail also has course hair that ends in a tuft.

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The color is two toned with different shades of brown, which looks good and is accurate. There is a dark brown undercoat, were the guard coat of fur is a little more light brown. The toes are painted in grey. Curiously the eyes are completely brown with black pupils. Inside the mouth is a small splash of pink for the tongue and sides. The tusks are an off white; I guess it could be ivory.

It is a toy that will please most kids as it is perfectly suited to be played with. The pose is interesting and useful for playing with, so most kids will probably like this toy. The paint does wear with time, but is hardly noticeable. It can hold up to rough style of play from kids who like to smash their way through wooden blocks. The tusks are not sharp so there is no worry there.

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Overall this figure comes through with an exciting pose and texture that would please most people who like Mega Fauna. One of the things I like most about this figure compared to its Carnegie brethren, is the two tone color of it hair. It really stands out, were the Carnegie single color makes it a little boring and less lifelike. It is a smaller figure and is easily dwarfed by the Carnegie version. There are some inaccuracies with it but they are hardly noticeable. It is a solid figure that is currently easy to find and affordable.

Available many places including Amazon.com here.

Monolophosaurus (Wild Safari by Safari Ltd.)


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For the 2014 crop of Wild Safari figures, the one my 3 year old son was most excited about was the Monolophosaurus. I must admit, I didn’t really know this particular carnivore, and the picture of the toy didn’t really interest me that much. As the months wore on my kid finally convinced me to give it try. So how does it stack up, let’s take a look.

History: Monolophosaurus which means single-crested lizard was found in 1981 in Xinjiang China. It consisted of an almost complete skeleton including the skull, lower jaws, vertebral column and pelvis. Unfortunately the rear of the tail, the shoulder girdle and the limbs were not found. Monolophosaurus lived during the Middle Jurassic aprox. 170 million years ago and it likely prowled the lakebeds and riversides of Asia. This carnivore is instantly recognizable by the single crest that runs down the centre of its skull.

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About the Toy: The pose on this figure is standing upright with its head turned slightly to the right.  The feet are slightly staggered with the right foot forward.  The tail bends toward the gound and to  the right.

I was impressed with the good detail on the toy. The head looks good, the crest is thin and is the right size covering three quarters of the skull beginning from the snout tip and ending at the eye socket. The mouth is open and shows different size teeth, with tender flesh between the jaws. Unfortunately there is a seam line that is visible that runs from the lower jaw to the underside of the neck. There are nice nasal openings and ear holes on the head. Starting from the top of the neck, a line of scutes runs all the way down the vertebra column and ends at the tip of the tail. The texture detail and anatomy are very good. There are defined muscles on the shoulder and calves. The skin is sagging off the ribcage, with skin creases on the hip and tail. The skin is covered in different size scales. Amazingly, it stands on two feet, and the feet are not oversized! The arms and digits are pointed inward, which is correct.

The colorization is basically red brown, with a cream color underside. The eyes and nasal openings are painted a glossy black. The inside of the mouth is pink and the teeth are white. The claws are all painted a dark grey color that looks very nice.

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Scientific accuracy: What did I find that was inaccurate? Well, on the skull of Monolophosaurus, the teeth on the upper jaw, go way back into the mouth and ends before the eye sockets, on the toy the teeth end around the same spot as the teeth on the lower jaw. The tail could also be stiffer and not have such a curve on it.  It is classified as a Tetanuran or “stiff tailed” Theropod which means the tail was kept straight by a variety of tendons.  Other than those small details, I think it looks great anatomically speaking. Even the feet are in an acceptable size. As far as I can tell, a great job by the Wild Safari team.

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Playability: It is a typical carnivore. The size and shape are fairly standard, with an open mouth showing off its teeth, which will be fun for kids, and terrifying for plastic herbivores. None of the edges are sharp, and it stands very well on its feet. The paint job can rub off with serious play, but not too badly.

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Overall appraisal: I’ll start with the paint job. Unfortunately mine was not painted very well. The teeth and eyes are painted sloppily, not nearly as nice as the paint job on the Carnegie Concavenator which has a beautifully painted head. If they can paint the teeth well on that head, why can’t that happen every time? So I hope that with this model it was just the product of it being the last one painted after a long day of work. The pose is ok, and the colorization is ok, the anatomical details are very good. Other than the paint job, I really do like this toy. As it is the only model of this species as a standard museum quality toy, it makes it unique. It could be used in a diorama for Dinosaurs from Asia, during the Jurassic. So if you like the unique species, and hopefully the paint job, I will recommend this model.

Available at Amazon.com here: