Tag Archives: kronosaurus

Kronosaurus (Wild Safari by Safari Ltd)

Available from Amazon.com for under $20

When their vaunted Carnegie Collection was discontinued in early 2015, Safari Ltd evidently got to work pretty quickly to take up the slack elsewhere, because in a mere two years they more than doubled the output of figures from their standard dinosaur line. This year they’ve released a whopping 13 new figures, several of which are updated versions of animals that had been in the Carnegie Collection. One is this Kronosaurus, the first new figure of this genus since Schleich’s in 2005. The Carnegie Collection version was on the market for nearly 20 years, and Schleich’s was really no improvement, so we were due for a new one.

Safari Kronosaurus

This figure is large. It’s roughly 34 cm long, almost a third of which is the head. This is appropriate, as Kronosaurus had a truly gigantic head, up to 2.7 meters long. This figure is about 1:25-1:30 scale and could easily serve as a doorstop.

Safari Kronosaurus

Our hefty friend sports a fairly standard color scheme for a large marine predator, with a mix of grays above and white below. Even with the relatively conservative color scheme, the pattern is deceptively intricate, consisting of a broad, graded band of gray along the dorsal midline, criss-crossed by irregular but sharply defined vertical striations. The effect is quite eye-catching, and if I didn’t have the toy in my hands you could convince me that it was a computer-generated model. It’s sculpted in an active pose, with the head twisted slightly to the side as though striking at prey.

Safari Kronosaurus

The gaping jaws show off the dentition to great effect. We can see four teeth per side in the premaxillae (the front of the snout), marking this as K. queenslandicus. The gap between the fourth and fifth pair of teeth aligns with huge teeth in the flared lower jaw. This sort of pattern occurs in many aquatic predators, such as crocodiles, and makes it easier to handle prey.

Safari Kronosaurus

This new Kronosaurus represents a dramatic improvement in accuracy relative to previous renditions. Comparison with its Carnegie predecessor is especially instructive. Whereas the old one was perfectly cylindrical, inviting frequent comparisons to a sausage, the new one has a broader head and body, which makes it look much less…extruded. And while the old one had dinky rear flippers, the new one has long, broad ones, reflecting their important role in swimming.

Safari Kronosaurus

There is a low, subtle keel along the back of this figure, continuing on to the tail, but there is no fin. There is circumstantial evidence for small tail fins in some Jurassic pliosaurs, but tens of millions of years of evolution separate them from Kronosaurus. In contrast to ichthyosaurs, mosasaurs, whales, or metriorhynchid crocodiles, Kronosaurus did not use its tail for thrust production. Rather, it propelled itself with its flippers, which is unusual in modern animals. Sea turtles probably come closest, with perhaps penguins a distant second. Neither has any sort of vertical fin. Although Kronosaurus did not have a shell, it shared with turtles a relatively stiff torso, which, along with its slight dorsoventral compression, would help with stability. Therefore, it may not have been necessary to have a fin to prevent rolling. Since we have no clear and obvious modern analogue to compare, until and unless soft tissue around the tail of a big advanced pliosaur is found, Safari’s decision not to include a fin looks perfectly reasonable. At the same time, including one would also be defensible.

Safari Kronosaurus

The one minor gripe I have with this figure is that the fins tend to curl upward. I’m not sure why this is, and if it were a subtler bend it could be explained as minor deformation as the animal rows against the water. It might be that if you softened them up with a hair dryer and squished them between two books they would assume a more natural shape. If you try that or something similar, let us know in the comments!

Safari Kronosaurus

With the small exception of the curly fins, this is a spectacular figure that reflects great attention to detail. It’s the most accurate Kronosaurus on the market, ending the Carnegie version’s dubious 20-year reign. Kids and adult collectors alike should find a way to give it a home.

Available from Amazon.com for under $20

Kronosaurus (Carnegie Collection by Safari Ltd)

We now return to our series of pliosaur reviews. We have already looked in detail at the popular Chap Mei Liopleurodon here and more recently the Kronosaurus by Schleich. Let take a look now at Safari’s offering, another popular figure, the Carnegie Collection Kronosaurus.

Once again, we are not in a very good state of affairs, there are far more problems with the sculpt than there are commendable points. However, Safari may be forgiven for some of the errors they make as their figure is clearly based on a fossil mount now known to be inaccurate, as I will discuss later. But first, lets take the figure at face value. The main body is a perfectly cylindrical tube, more like a miserable fat sausage than a pliosaur body. The distance between the flippers is far too long. The body is also made of a harder plastic than the head – the two materials are quite crudely joined together just in front of the fore flipper and the join is visible.

kronosaurus<br /> safari

The head is widely gaping and quite fearsome looking. The nostrils are accurately retracted close to the eyes (nicely sculpted narrow slits as in the Schleich Kronosaurus) but the eyes are way too far back, situated in the temporal fenestrae. This figure is unusual for plesiosaur figures as it is the only one with ears – at the back of the skull there are two small distinct external openings. Whether such a feature would be present in derived aquatic reptiles is unclear. Where the lower jaws meet the upper jaws the cheek extends very far back – this region would have been more muscular.

kronosaurus<br /> safari

The dentition suffers from some of the same problems as the Schleich figure – the teeth are all equally sized whereas there should be a lot of variation. Worse, there is an inexplicable gap in the dentition at the very front of the jaws, as if some teeth have fallen out. The tooth rows do not therefore meet up, but form separated rows in each of the jaws, and the snout extends beyond the teeth like: all very un-pliosaur-like. The shape of the lower jaw is very nice though, it is narrow and triangular but expands near the tip forming a spatulate symphysis, a character typical of pliosaurs. Again, there are some nice speculative additions to the mouth – a gullet and a big bulbous tongue are visible in the open mouth.

kronosaurus safari

The spine is perfectly straight, and this figure has a distinct neck, two improvements over the Schleich version. The flippers are incredibly weedy, they look like they might be ripped off in choppy waters. The hind flippers are tiny and impossibly curved backwards. In fact, the hind-flippers in pliosaurs are larger than the fore-flippers and all four limbs had an active role in propulsion. The limbs are possibly the worst and most inaccurate aspect of this figure. In my version the limbs are all horizontal, but in other versions the forelimbs are angled down proppping the animal up a bit. Just liek the Schleich Kronosaurus, the flippers are too thin where they meet the body, there is hardly enough depth for the humerus/femur head, let alone the strong muscles associated with the flippers. The tail tapers to a narrow tip and is just about the right size.

Kronosaurus Safari

The colour scheme is grey and light grey, the underside is counter-shaded with a pale grey. The eyes are black (no pupils). The figure is 33cm long making it the longest pliosaur replica currently available. is quite a stunning figure, but there are far too many mistakes.

I mentioned near the start of my review that Safari might be forgiven for some of their errors, perhaps they have an excuse? Well in some cases yes, because their reconstruction clearly stems from the most famous skeletal mount of Kronosaurus, the ‘Harvard Specimen’. To cut a long story short, the specimen was badly damaged and much of it had to be reconstructed in plaster, earning the mounted skeleton the nickname of ‘Plasterosaurus’. The number of vertebrae has been overestimated – there are 10 or so vertebrae too many in the backbone – at least Safari can fall back on this to explain their ridiculously long-bodied Kronosaurus toy.

In my next pliosaur review, we will meet the Walking With Dinosaurs Liopleurodon!

This figure is available here for $15

Kronosaurus (Schleich)

Big nasty pliosaurs are the order of the day – and there are plenty more to come – this review represents the first in a series of pliosaur blog entries I’m working on. A compare and contrast deal; battle of the pliosaur toys so to speak! We have already looked in detail at the popular Chap Mei Liopleurodon here so I will continue this series with another popular figure, the Kronosaurus by Schleich. The Schleich marine reptiles are quite celebrated in the dinosaur toy community, so I hope I do not dampen spirits too much with my critical eye.

We’ll start with the business end, there are good and bad aspects about the head. Starting with the good, the nostrils are accurately retracted close to the eyes (nicely sculpted narrow slits) and the eyes are in the right position facing upwards and outwards. There is large bulbous bump at the back of the skull which corresponds to a high crest and temporal opening in the actual skull of Kronosaurus (The ‘Harvard specimen’ anyway, whether the skeleton is accurate is a different story I’ll tell in time). This bulge represents the muscular mass housed within this fenestra which is quite a nice touch, unfortunately it extends too far back. In fact, to correspond with cranium as sculpted, the lower jaw must extend all the way to the front flippers – this toy therefore has almost no neck, true, Kronosaurus has a short neck, but in this figure it should be a bit longer.

kronosaurus schleich

There are other problems with the skull, particularly the shape of the snout and teeth. The teeth in large pliosaurs such as Kronosaurus interlock and protrude slightly, they also vary considerably in shape – they become large and caniniform (fang-like) midway along the jaws. The Schliech Kronosaurus on the other hand has a dull generalised dentition, the teeth in the lower jaw are OK but the teeth in the upper jaw face inwards rather than protruding outwards. And there is no sign of those fang-like teeth typical of pliosaurs. The shape of the snout is down-turned in the toy whereas it should actually curve upwards and expanded at the tip. The snout extends beyond the teeth, which is also not the case in pliosaur fossils. These errors all add up, the general outcome is an animal that look more wimpy than ferocious. There are some nice speculative additions to the mouth – a gullet and tongue are visible in the open mouth.

kronosaurus schleich

Moving onto the body, I find myself struggling to find compliments. The spine curves around to the left, but due to the way they swam, curvature in the spine of plesiosaurs was extremely limited: the midriff of plesiosaurs was reinforced by large plates of bone and tightly backs belly ribs. This formed a sturdy base for the wing-like limbs – the curved body in the Schleich pliosaur is therefore very unlikely. The flippers are rather generic tapering triangular shapes, there is no distinction between the humerus/femur and the rest of the flipper as there should be, plesiosaur flippers were slightly expanded mid-length or slightly diamond shaped is a good description). All held out at the same angle so the sculptors do not commit to any specific locomotory repertoire. I also note that the flippers are too thin where they meet the body, there is hardly enough depth for the humerus/femur head, let alone the strong muscles associated with the propulsory flippers. The tail tapers to a narrow tip.

Kronosaurus Schleich

The colour scheme is a chocolate brown with lovely subtle patches of darker brown, the underside is counter-shaded with a pale grey. The eyes are black (no pupils), and the eyelids are highlighted in lighter brown. In conclusion, at a glance the figure appears nice and at 27cm long is quite a stunning figure, but there are far too many mistakes to make this figure worthy of idolizing. In my next pliosaur review, we will see how this Schleich figure compares with another very popular Kronosaurus figure…