Ankylosaurus (Wild Safari by Safari Ltd)

4.7 (26 votes)

With the 2017 Tyrannosaurus and 2018 Triceratops, Safari Ltd has made a good start on reconstructing a 1:35 version of the Hell Creek formation of the Maastrichtian (latest Cretaceous) of Laramidia. To help round out the Hell Creek fauna, they’ve just released a new, updated Ankylosaurus, another giant contemporary of Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops. Let’s take a look!

Like the other Hell Creek animals, this Ankylosaurus was sculpted by Doug Watson, and reflects his usual attention to detail and effort to ensure anatomical accuracy. It’s roughly 21 cm long measured along the midline, making it about 1:35 scale for a 7 meter individual. Mr. Watson has stated on the Dinosaur Toy Forum that he consulted with paleontologist Kenneth Carpenter while working on this figure, which results in what is probably the most accurate mass-market Ankylosaurus toy produced to date. It improves on the Favorite version, for example, by moving the nostrils to the sides instead of on the front of the snout. It is also appropriately broad over the hips, unlike the many narrow-hipped versions available.

Much of the armor of Ankylosaurus has been found; however, it has mostly been found disarticulated, so its arrangement on the body isn’t known with certainty. Various arrangements have been proposed over the years, and just as this figure was revealed, a new hypothesis was published that suggested an arrangement that differs from the toy in several respects. It will be difficult to reject any particular arrangement unless a specimen is found with all of the armor preserved as it was in life, so for now I view both as defensible. The shape of the individual osteoderms on this figure, at any rate, is faithfully reproduced, broad and mostly flat, with some bearing keels. This differs from some older figures like the Papo and the first Favorite Co version, which show Ankylosaurus with large spikes like those of Euoplocephalus or Scolosaurus.

The head carefully reproduces the arrangement of cranial osteoderms, as well as the large horns on the squamosal and jugal bones at the back of the head. Coupled with the lateral nostrils, this is clearly recognizable as Ankylosaurus and no other known thyreophoran.

The sculpt shows the animal in an active stance, perhaps defending against a tyrannosaur. The stiff tail club is held in mid-swing, making it look quite lifelike. The hind feet have three toes, and the front feet have five, the likeliest number, although the digits of Ankylosaurus aren’t completely known. The level of detail extends all the way to the inclusion of the cloaca.

Unfortunately, the final product suffers a bit from what looks like a hasty paint application. The color scheme is fine, black above and tan below, with osteoderms the color of milk chocolate. However, some of the osteoderm paint missed, leaving random brown splotches on the side and misaligned edges. There seems to be a thin paint wash that helps bring out the details of the scales on the side and belly, but I think the osteoderms would have benefited from this treatment as well. Personally, I would pay twice as much for this very affordable figure if it came with a larger number of more careful paint applications; however, I understand and appreciate the trade-off that Safari has to make to keep their products accessible to all. For the hobbyist with a steady hand, this is a great candidate for a repaint.

Overall, I strongly recommend this figure as an accurate and attractive rendition of Ankylosaurus, the minor painting errors notwithstanding. You can get it from any number of online and brick-and-mortar stores, even though its official release year of 2018 has not yet begun. With luck, in future years Safari will bring us some of the more neglected denizens of Hell Creek, such as Edmontosaurus or Thescelosaurus.

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Comments 9

  • This is a great figure! I wonder if Victoria Arbour would approve. 🙂

    One note–by the Maastrichtian, the Western Interior Seaway had receded, so North America was no longer divided between Laramidia and Appalachia.

  • I feel quite a bit nostalgic for the Carnegie Ankylosaurus. It was well researched for its time, but finally, we got a new, improved and updated version of this thyreophoran. I really like the dynamic pose and for me, I find the colors very good and striking. I do not think the animal had bright colors beyond our expectations, but the coloration is simple, passable and beautiful. One fact that I admire with Safari Ltd is its collaboration with paleontologists. As always, we can expect high quality and up-to-date toys from Safari Ltd. I congratulate also Mr. Watson for his gorgeous sculpts. Very interesting and detailed review, I hope that you all spend a Happy New Year.

  • It is the best ankylosaurus made to date in the history of the dinosaur toy. He is a great figure.

    Superb review the article fully describes the figure.

  • Excellent review, as always. This is now by far my favourite Ankylosaurus toy. I also echo your desire for Edmontosaurus and Thescelosaurus. Dakotaraptor and Acheroraptor would be most welcome as well!

    • I wouldn’t want Safari to make a Dakotaraptor or Acheroraptor. The incompleteness of their remains means no one knows what they looked like.

      For Dakotaraptor, a lot of the forelimb and hindlimb is known, but almost nothing else is known about it. Dakotaraptor’s head is completely unknown. Who knows if it’s head was Deinonychus-like, Dromaeosaurus-like, or quite different from other dromaeosaurid heads. If I had to guess, I’d say Dakotaraptor’s head was noticeably different from those of other dromaeosaurids, like how Utahraptor turned out to have a quite unique head.

      In some dromaeosaurids the pubis is vertical, in others the pubis is backswept. Which is the case for Dakotaraptor is unknown. Other things like the proportions of the neck, body and tail are also unknown for Dakotaraptor.

      All that’s known of Acheroraptor is fragments of the head.

      I’d really like more dromaeosaurids from Safari. The 2017 Wild Safari Velociraptor is excellent and very pleasing! I’d like to see Deinonychus next for the Wild Safari line, made by Doug Watson who I believe can make an amazing and accurate representation of Deinonychus. Deinonychus is a popular and scientifically important dinosaur which doesn’t have a good modern toy representation.

      I’d also like Utahraptor to be remade for the Wild Safari line. Although if I’m not mistaken, the width of parts of Utahraptor, e.g. parts of the head and body, is currently unpublished? If so, it might be better to wait until more is published before making a new Utahraptor figure, unless the sculptor can obtain what is needed to reconstruct Utahraptor correctly.

      • Those are fair points. I’d just really like to have a complete set of known Hell Creek Formation denizens. I’d certainly concur that Deinonychus and Utahraptor are more deserving of new toys, especially the former.

  • Thanks for that nice review. Still I yet have not decieded weither to add this to my collection or not. I got the Favorite one (series 2) and, more important for me, the Carnegie one. And looking at the arrangement of the armor I am unable to make out a considerable difference between the two with the expection of the osteoderms on the upper arm of the new Safari. For sure it also has a broader hip, which is nice, and a shorter tail of which I am unsure what’s more approriate. But in any way, it’s a great sculpt with a nice pose.

  • Great review, very helpful 🙂
    Tis a shame about the sloppy paint application though. I feel the paint in general lacks a bit, I dunno, I find it a little boring.
    Still a great figure though, will definitely pick it up soon.

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