With the 2012 release of the highly anticipated Wild Safari Acrocanthosaurus, I thought it only fitting to do a review on the older Carnegie model, which I have only just recently been able to obtain. Acrocanthosaurus was an early Cretaceous relative of theropods such as Carcharodontosaurus and Giganotosaurus. While not as large as some of its relatives, it was the apex predator of the North American south west. The genus is perhaps most well known for its distinctive neural spines, not unlike those found in Spinosaurus. Unlike the Spinosaurus it is doubtful the spines supported a sail, and instead there was probably a muscled ridge running down its back, not unlike that found in bison.
Though described in 1950, the genus did not become well known until two more specimens were discovered in the 1990’s, including “Fran” or NCSM 14345. An interesting thing to note is that despite the 1990’s findings, the tag for the Carnegie model claims “only one specimen of this species of meat-eater is known”. Perhaps this has something to do with their getting the head on their model so glaringly wrong, because “Fran,” unlike the other two specimens, has a complete skull. Still, the figure was released in 2001, so it makes one wonder what exactly was going on. Even Battat got the skull right, and their figure was released in 1996, the same year Fran made her public debut.
It is indeed the head of the Carnegie model where we must first draw attention, as it really looks nothing like that on the actual animal. Acrocanthosaurus had a long, slender skull like those found on other allosauroids, and had a seriously prominent antorbital fenestra. The new Safari model, as well as those by other companies like Kaiyodo, would include this feature. The Carnegie model, on the other hand, has a head more reminiscent of an abelisaurid like Carnotaurus; it is short and deep.
As for the ridge down the back, Carnegie had the sense to at least include that, but you don’t get the impression that it is very well muscled and is not as obvious as one would hope it to be. The figure also stands in the tripod position with its tail tip touching the ground, but this is not unusual for Carnegie figures, even to this day. Acrocanthosaurus forelimb function is also fairly well known, again thanks to “Fran”. Basically it couldn’t move them much, at least not forward. I won’t get into the particulars but the Carnegie model has one of the hands extending further forward than studies show it could. We’re not going to get THAT picky are we? Well, what are these reviews for right? They at least managed to face the palms the right way.
Despite all the glaring inaccuracies, the figure does have its positives. The pose is a pretty interesting one with the creature leaning forward and looking down towards the ground. Perhaps it is about ready to make a kill? Looking at its nest? Hacking up a hairball? Who knows, you can let your imagination run wild. The paint scheme is also nice. The ridge is black, and yellow spots along the ridge help highlight it. The black color “bleeds” down the sides. The rest of the body is grey, but not really in a boring way and it gets lighter as it progresses. The tips of the nails are painted black, the teeth white, and the tongue and nostrils pink. The eyes are golden with little black pupils.
It really is a shame that Carnegie didn’t do better with this figure, as the Acrocanthosaurus is one of my personal favorite theropods. With only a few changes they could have had an interesting and dynamic model, but the inaccuracies are too obvious, especially with the head. The figure was retired in 2010 but can be found easily for $10 or less, but with the new Safari model out is getting one of these really necessary? Well, I thought it was.