Tag Archives: Velociraptor

Velociraptor (Wild Safari by Safari Ltd.)

For a long time now, too long in fact, various collectable dinosaur companies have tried and failed to make a properly feathered and accurate representation of one of the world’s most popular dinosaurs; Velociraptor and its kin the stem-birds we call dromaeosaurs or “raptors.” When I first started collecting dinosaur toys the best representations included those by Bullyland and CollectA and while we commend their efforts to popularize feathered dinosaurs they ultimately failed to make convincing looking animals. Even more recently companies like Favorite and Papo have tried and failed to make much more than a lizard in a chicken costume. As such my shelf is sadly devoid of feathered dromaeosaurs. I would rather have good outdated naked models than halfhearted attempts at accurate animals.

I think where companies and by extension the artists they hire fail is in one simple rule that seems like common sense in hindsight: if it had feathers, it looked like a bird. Instead of using a reptile as your starting point it makes much more sense to use a bird. In the wake of another dinosaur renaissance urged on by a new generation of artists like John Conway, Emily Willoughby, Matthew Martyniuk, and Mark Witton we’re finally seeing the most realistic looking dinosaurs ever put to paper and they’re not the savage reptiles of antiquity but rather the sort of animals your grandmother might feed outside her window.

Toy companies and model makers are starting to catch up with art and science with this year’s releases by Safari being hailed as the new standard in dinosaur depictions. Multiple dinosaurs in the line are feathered in a realistic way we’ve never seen: a truly epic and unprecedented Tyrannosaurus, feather coated and lithe Coelopyhsis, and now, finally, a properly avian looking Velociraptor.

The new Safari Velociraptor measures 8.39″ long, stands 2.73″ tall, and was sculpted by Doug Watson who continues to hone his trade each passing year. This Velociraptor is literally the first of its kind. The feather placement is absolutely spot-on, complete with primary feathers anchored to the middle digit and a luxurious fan of feathers along the tail. Most of all, and I can’t stress this enough, it looks like a bird. And there is no doubt that Velociraptor and its kin would have looked like birds. Unlike past attempts by other companies the feathery covering does much to obscure the shape of the actual animal within them. The neck is especially thick and fluffy. We’re used to Velociraptor with a long S-curved neck. This is accurate, modern birds have the same thing. It’s kind of a theropod hallmark. With most modern birds you just can’t see it under all the fluff and it makes sense that some feathered dinosaurs would have been similarly obscured by their plumage. Other Velociraptor trademarks are here too. The narrow curved snout, long stiff tail, hyperextended toe, and neutral 3 fingered hands.

If dromaeosaurs could be compared to any modern animals it would no doubt be the animals traditionally called raptors (birds of prey) in a pre-“Jurassic Park” world. This raptor indeed looks raptor-like (please excuse the word play) and the colors it’s reproduced in further enforces that. Doug Watson himself said the colors were originally inspired by the large and regal ferruginous hawk of western North America. The plumage is mostly a burnt orange color with some black highlights on the body. The tail and primary feathers are tipped in brown with beautiful white speckling. The head stands out with a black crown and nape and some white striping trailing away from the eyes. The eyes themselves are orange with round black pupils. The snout is brown and studded with numerous tiny teeth that are meticulously painted with little runoff despite the tiny size. The scaly hands and feet are an olive color with brown scutes and light brown nails. The underside of the toy is painted white. Overall the color is both eye-catching and realistic without being too gaudy.

The model is posed with the tail lifted high but supported by the tips of the wing feathers. Obviously these sorts of compromises are necessary to make the toy stand but unlike previous tripod attempts at a Velociraptor this one is much less offensive.  If I did have any complaint about the posture it would be the open mouth but that’s something I complain about with every theropod toy.

All in all this is just a fantastic model and just the sort of Velociraptor I’ve been longing for. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come from Safari and other toy companies take note. I urge every collector to pick this gem up. Vote with your money and tell toy companies that THIS is the kind of model you want on your shelf.  I could continue to gush over this model for many more pages but I’ll spare you that, this review has already run on longer than most but this toy is truly the Velociraptor to which all other figures will be compared. As a final note I would like to thank Dan of Dan’s Dinosaurs for generously donating this model for review.

The Safari Ltd. Velociraptor is now available for purchase at Dan’s Dinosaurs.

Velociraptor (Rhode Island Novelty)

Review and photos by Takama, edited by Suspsy

Ever since someone reviewed a Boley Dilophosaurus, I began to rethink exactly what is open for reviewing on this blog. I thought I would test the waters by reviewing one of my cheap “Chinasaurs” brand dinosaurs that I have been buying every time I go to the local vegetable or fruit festivals, whenever they are available.

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Before I start, I just want to get one thing straight. This is a cheap toy that will never stand up to the likes of Safari, CollectA, Papo, or even Schleich. And it has many accuracy problems to boot. The toy I’m reviewing is part of a small group of dinosaurs made by Rhode Island Novelty, which, from what I can tell, is basically a party supplies outlet. Now, these dinosaurs are cheaply made, but they are still durable enough for rough play unlike the Jurassic World Bashers and Biters toys. The reason they look so outdated is because they have been around since the 1990s’ (I remember getting some of them back in those days). As such, I’m not going to be as critical as I am with most other toys I review for this blog.

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The Rhode Island Novelty Velociraptor is your standard 20th century depiction of a dromaeosaur, which is to say it looks less like a Velociraptor and more like a Deinonychus. Despite this, it is made in a tripod pose. The details on it are very lacking. The whole body is just covered in round lines and the teeth are very blunted. Of course, since this is a standard toy from the 90s’, it remains featherless and its hands are pronated. Honestly, because of this toy’s classic look, I really like it, as it’s something that could be found in a Ray Harryhausen movie. The only reason I think he did not include one in any of his works is because dromaeosaurs were not as popular when he was still working his stop motion magic during the 80s’. The colours on this guy are dark orange and brown with some darker brown highlights. The teeth are white and the eyes are an evil red. As far as I can see, the base colour of this model is grey and the whole bottom part of the body is not painted.

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Overall, I can’t recommend this at all to dinosaur collectors. It’s pretty darn cheap, and can be bought in a set from the website I linked to above. I bought mine separately from a vendor at one of my local festivals. As of now, I only have seven of the twelve little figures, and I do not plan on buying them in bulk from the website. Instead, I will buy these models whenever I visit a festival and find a vendor that sells them.

Spinosaurus and Velociraptor (Jurassic Park 2009 by Hasbro)

Nearly all of the Jurassic Park 2009 toys were repaints of older toys save for the Allosaurus and the Pachyrhinosaurus. These included the miniature two-packs such as this one, containing hatchling versions of the famous Spinosaurus and Velociraptor.

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The Spinosaurus measures 12.5 cm long. It is posed in a crouching stance with its left arm outstretched, as though it’s reaching for some food or fighting with its nestmate. Its colour scheme appears to have been inspired by the common iguana: bright green with moss green for the head, sail, hands, and feet, a pale underbelly, and dark green stripes on the tail. The eyes are yellow, the inside of the mouth is maroon, the teeth are yellowish white, and there are some pale green spots on each flank. The JP logo is painted on either thigh in white.

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The sculpting on this toy is fairly good, with lots of scales, a few folds and wrinkles, and well-defined muscles in the limbs. Unfortunately, this Spinosaurus, like all the JP renditions of this animal, has a snout that’s far too short and broad, even for a hatchling. As well, the feet are so thick, it looks like it’s wearing boots. And of course, if the much-disputed Ibrahim/Sereno reconstruction is indeed accurate, then the limbs on this toy are all wrong too.

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The Velociraptor hatchling is 10 cm long. Its pose suggests that it too is confronting a hostile nestmate or some other threat. Stands rather well for such a small bipedal toy. Its main colour is orange with pale yellow and light orange stripes, pale yellow for the underbelly, black hind claws, red eyes, a maroon mouth, yellowish teeth, and white JP logos on the thighs.

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The Velociraptor is more wrinkly than scaly, and again has well-defined musculature in the arms and legs. As you can see, it suffers from all the glaring inaccuracies of a +20 year old movie design: lack of feathers, pronated wrists, a head and neck that are too beefy, and a curled tail.

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Overall, these little dinosaurs will probably be appealing to JP fans, but for anyone who prefers their dinosaurs up to date, they can safely give this set a pass.