Tag Archives: dromaeosaur

Utahraptor (Wild Safari, by Safari Ltd.)

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The first specimen of  Utahraptor ostrommaysorum  was found in 1975.  In 1991 further remains were found, and like its fellow dromaeosaurids, it also sported a large, nightmare inducing, “killing” curved claw on its toe.  Thanks to its size being comparable to the over sized Velociraptors in Jurassic Park, and starring in a popular book written by paleontologist Robert T. Bakker, it became a popular dinosaur in the mid 90’s.  Safari Ltd. introduced their first Utahraptor toy with the inaugural dinosaurs for the brand new Wild Safari line in 1996.  The book Raptor Red came out it 1995 and I can’t help but wonder if Safari painted the red stripe on the head of this toy in honor of the way the Utahraptors are described with a red snout in the book.

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About the Toy:  It is on the smaller side at 13.5 cm long, with the tail taking up over half its length at 8 cm.  It is 6 cm high at its highest point, which would be around the mid point of the tail.  It is posed for stability by using the hidden one arm down tripod pose, comparable to the large Safari Velociraptor and the Schleich WOH Velociraptor.  At least its wrist isn’t broken like its fellow original line Wild Safari pal, Carcharodontosaurus.  Since it is leaning on its right front hand, the shoulders are low, and the hind quarters and tail are high.  Either it is about to pounce on its prey, or it tripped on a rock while chasing its intended victim, and is trying to stay upright.

The head is up with its mouth open wide and inducing fear to its adversary.  The teeth are relatively the same size and painted sloppily in white.  Also inside its open jaws is a sculpted tongue which is painted in a dull pink.  The rest of the mouth is painted in the same dull pink.  Starting under its eyes and extending forward is a strip of red the ends before it gets all the way to the nostrils.  Also present are small ear holes at the back of the skull.

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The hands are facing inward and end with three claws.  The claws on the right foot are ok, with the large claw raised but not entirely painted so it looks smaller than it was sculpted.  On the left foot, the large claw is too small and almost uniform with the rest of the claws on its left foot.  The dew claws are present as well.  All the claws are rounded and blunted for safety.

This toy is also devoid of feathers, but this was the norm at the time and should not be held against this toy.  Instead it is covered in the typical wrinkles and skin folds that Safari put on its models during the 90’s.  Its tail is also semi straight with some small bends in it.  Its base color is light brown with a tan underneath.  Starting at the base of its skull and ending almost all the way to the tip of its tail are dark charcoal brown stripes.  The stripes do not extend far down its flanks, stopping at the hips and shoulders.

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Safari Utahraptor and CollectA Gastonia squaring off.

Play ability:  It is a really nice and playable toy.  It has a vicious look to it, with its mouth open, body low, and big claws.  It is a look that many kids like for their predatory animals.  Kids usually have this toy jump onto their intended prey, which incidentally is probably how this animal hunted if it was going to take down larger prey.  It is also really stable, so it easy for kids to set it up on sofas and carpeted floors, which is a bonus.  The toys edges are not sharp and it is tough enough to take on some hard playtime adventures.  The paint holds up very well.

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Overall:  For collectors, this is an outdated, featherless, Utahraptor from the early days of the Wild Safari line.  The line originally was designed to cater to kids for the quick spur of the moment purchase.  It is in this capacity were this toy really shines.  For kids, it is still a fun toy to play with.  If you like featherless 90’s style dromaeosaurids, or you know a younger dinosaur fan, then this is a good toy to pick up.  It can be usually be found on Ebay for a reasonable price.

 

 

Velociraptor (2015) (Carnegie Collection by Safari Ltd.)

So this is it – the very end of the Carnegie Collection. At least we got our feathered Velociraptor before the final bow. It’s by no means perfect, but it should at least prove more popular than last year’s bafflingly despised T. rex resculpt. In fact, it might just be the best Velociraptor toy out there at the moment, knocking Schleich’s bingo-winged monstrosity into a cocked hat and even besting Collecta’s comparatively decent effort. Why, there’s even room for a little artistic flair this time. Most of all, this figure can be commended for actually being a Velociraptor.

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It’s proportioned like a Velociraptor – from its long, thin tail to its slimline snout, it shows beautiful attention to skeletal detail. Unlike so many figures, it isn’t stocky or overbuilt, while still maintaining, for example, the relatively short feet of the real animal. It doesn’t have a hideous Jurassic Park-inspired scaly monstro-head grafted on, either – rather, the head is as birdlike and beautifully tapering as the real thing. And it’s feathered. Properly. Well, almost.

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In so many restorations of dromaeosaurs in pop culture, the feathers feel like an afterthought – something thrown on to a 1980s-style ‘raptor’ just because they have to be there. That’s not quite the case here, but the plumage does still hug the body unusually closely, seemingly the better to give viewers a better idea of the animal’s underlying frame. This simply isn’t the case with the majority of living dinosaurs, where the feathers can often dramatically alter the animal’s silhouette. All the same, it’s not impossible, and nor is the shaggy appearance of the pelt on what was, after all, a flightless theropod.

What stings the most here is the complete absence of primaries, i.e. feathers on the hands. There’s absolutely no evidence that any animal with feathers as ‘advanced’ as Velociraptor‘s (which definitely had pretty significant secondaries) ever lost its primary feathers. They’re a glaring omission on what is otherwise a quite lovely figure, and make it appear almost incomplete. Given that the Carnegie figures have had scientific advisors behind them, I hope this wasn’t a palaeontologist’s choice!

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Apart from that, though, there’s nothing especially wrong with the plumage, and there are some nice touches here and there. The tail not only ends in a fan, but also a pair of beautiful streamers. The colour scheme, meanwhile, is attractive and plausible without being bland; a pleasing brown-on-white with red highlights. The paint application on Carnegie figures has (quite justly) come under fire in recent years, particularly as it seemed that, while lines like Wild Safari became increasingly accomplished, the paint on Carnegies just got sloppier. It’s actually quite decent here, although some areas, mostly the head, could have done with a little extra attention.

Criticism from the dino toy geek community has also been aimed at the ever-predictable Carnegie Pose that their theropods have been presented in – head turned to one side, mouth agog, legs slightly spread and tail awkwardly acting as a third leg. It’s less egregious here than in other figures in the line, but one wonders why this look was stuck to so rigidly. Given sculptor Forest Rogers’ considerable talents, it seems likely that the orders for tripodal theropods were given from on high. It’s a shame, and I hope Rogers can find work with another manufacturer – preferably one that doesn’t mind the odd detachable base.

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So, the Carnegie Collection isn’t going out with a bang, but we do get one last sleek, attractive figure for our shelves. It has its share of problems (and many of them are sadly typical of the late Carnegie figures), but the 2015 Velociraptor can still be considered a success. If nothing else, it’s a sculpt that strips away all the pop culture baggage and brings us something original; it’s an authentic attempt at restoring the little beastie from Mongolia. For that, I think it’s worth your time.

Available on Amazon.com here.

Male Velociraptor (Jurassic Park III by Kaiyodo)

The Jurassic Park movies are what led Velociraptor to its great fame and popularity in popular culture. This dinosaur has been represented many times in Jurassic Park memorabilia, collectibles, and toys. It is fitting that when Kaiyodo produced a set of 13 figures based on the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park 3, figures of both the male and female Velociraptors in the movie were produced. Today we will take a look at the male Velociraptor figure.

Unlike most theropod figures, this Velociraptor is in a rather static pose. Instead of roaring or preparing to attack, it is simply walking, perhaps eying something in the distance. The sculpt is an excellent one. The detailing is exquisite for a figure only around 3 inches (7.6 cm) long. The musculature is well defined, and the skin is detailed with natural looking skin folds, as well as scales and pads around the feet and hands. Even the teeth are well detailed and painted. In addition, the figure has a small row of feathers along the back of its neck. Just like the similarly sized Dinotales figures, this Velociraptor has an excellent sculpt despite its small size.

However, this sculpt is not without its flaws. Since this Velociraptor is intended to represent a movie “monster” and not a scientifically accurate portrayal of the animal, one can ignore the major inaccuracies such as the pronated hands, deep skull, and lack of feathers. But the sculpt has some differences from the male Velociraptor seen in Jurassic Park 3. For one, the hands are too large. The shape of the head is slightly off. In addition, the feathers on the back of the neck are too plentiful. In the movie, they are rather sparse, unlike the dense Mohawk of this figure.

In addition, the paint job on this Velociraptor is not completely movie accurate. In the movie, the male Velociraptor is mainly a mixture of blue and brown. However, the paint scheme on this figure is mainly a light cream color with blue markings. In addition, the feathers have light markings on them, while the feathers on the figure are a solid blue. However, the paint job is not completely bad. While not as of high quality as some of the later Dinotales figures, the paint job is still quite detailed. The teeth are all individually painted, and the eyes are well painted, which gives them a malicious expression.

Despite its flaws, this Velocirapor is a nice little figure to have, especially for Jurassic Park fans. Acquiring it, however, is not too easy. The set that this Velociraptor was part of was only sold in Japan, and is likely to be long retired. Luckily, this figure is one of the more common ones out of the set on eBay, and can be found in both individual auctions (for no more than a few dollars) or in listings selling the entire set (for around $40). If you are a Jurassic Park fan or just a fan of theropods in general, you should look into acquiring this figure sometime.