Ever since Charles R. Knight first depicted it in painting, and Marcel Delgado and Willis O’Brien brought it to life in cinema, Allosaurus has been a mainstay in dinosaur media – second only to Tyrannosaurus as the big predatory dinosaur for decades. Almost every major toy line of dinosaurs features the “other lizard,” from CollectA to Papo to Schleich. In the case of Safari Ltd., they’ve done as many as four iterations already: two figures in the Carnegie Collection and two more in the Wild Safari series. Few of these figures across brands have really done the animal justice scientifically, however; so how does Safari’s fifth and latest version for 2019 fare?
Sculpted by Safari regular Doug Watson, the 2019 Allosaurus is scaled at 1:35, measuring 10″ (26 cm) from nose to tail. Leaning forward, with its mouth open and its arms slightly spread, this theropod looks ready for combat. One of the first features one might notice is how hefty it looks. Allosaurus wasn’t as stocky of a dinosaur as the later Tyrannosaurus (which was downright jacked by theropod standards), but in a time when many dinosaurs are depicted so skinny as to almost be emaciated in form, this Allosaurus breaks the trend with a filled-out, muscular physique. No shrink-wrapping of any kind is evident here. Fine pebbly scales run the span of the figure’s body, right down to the soles of the feet. Scales like these would probably have been too small to see at this size on the real animal, but it’s a choice of creative license which Doug Watson often adds to his sculpts, and it makes the figure a little more attractive. Folds of skin and muscle along the contours of the body–some subtle enough that they’re best noticed by running one’s finger over the figure–further enhance the lifelike physicality of this figure. The feet are padded, the neck is wrinkled and creased with the curvature of the figure, and the tail bears healthy girth. This Allosaurus is in the prime of its life.
Interestingly, the mouth of the Allosaurus is depicted not only with lips – an ongoing debate in the paleontological community – but also a bird-like “gape,” or rictus, covering the corners of the mouth instead of the more reptilian, exposed stretch of muscle typically shown in reconstructions. It’s completely speculative as far as I know, but a perfectly reasonable and unique choice that helps the figure stand out from the competition even just a little bit more.
Another feature which makes this Allosaurus look a little larger than usual, especially when viewed from the front, is the shape of the chest. Most reconstructions I’ve seen tend to position Allosaurus’s shoulder girdles close together, but here they are spread apart, giving the animal a wider chest than usual. I’m not familiar enough with current literature on the animal to properly judge, but when looking at skeletal mounts, there seems to be some variety in reconstruction of this trait. Otherwise, anatomy on this figure is inarguably spot-on. There are as many as 30 specimens of Allosaurus known to science, so there is ample material to reference for this figure. Allosaur skulls can vary in minute details, but all the key features of the skull’s shape are present here, not the least of which being those big eye crests. The protruding teeth are finely pointed, but the hand and foot claws are blunted. This is likely for child safety reasons, but since previous Safari sculpts like Yutyrannus have had pointier claws, this feels like a slight step backwards in design.
Perhaps the most striking feature of this figure is its color scheme: light green and white with black contours and shades for contrast. It’s not quite vibrant, but it’s certainly eye-catching in its use of fairly natural hues. The undulating striped patterns remind me somewhat of modern geckos or monitor lizards, but juiced up in a manner that brings to mind the splotchy patterns of African wild dogs (maybe that’s just me, though). Would patterns like these befit a predator the size of Allosaurus, one looking to camouflage itself or communicate to pack members? I have no idea myself, but it certainly makes for an interesting possibility and a very pretty figure. Application of the color scheme is solid (the stripes on the neck are even stretched or compressed to match the position), although the patterns on the hind limbs of my figure seem more sloppy. The eyes, crests, and mouth are highlighted with saturated red and pink, respectively.
For as long as I’ve taken to get this review written, I’d like to be able to go into further details of just how fine a figure this is; alas, my expertise is lacking, so suffice to say, this is an excellent figure which is probably the best mass-produced Allosaurus toy on the market as of now. Safari continues to produce terrific figures, and I look forward to seeing what they (and their competitors!) are preparing for next year and beyond. You can purchase this figure directly from Safari Ltd’s website, as well as most or all regular online retailers.