Coelophysis (Wild Safari by Safari Ltd.)

4.8 (32 votes)

Review and photos by Patrick ‘Patrx’ Bate

Available from here

Quick! Name a Triassic dinosaur. Odds are you thought of Coelophysis, or perhaps you intentionally named a different one just to be clever, but Coelophysis may yet be the most famous of the lot. With well over a thousand specimens known to science, (including those that were once called Longosaurus, Rioarribasaurus, Syntarsus, and Megapnosaurus,) it’s one of the best known dinosaurs of all. Lightly-built, bipedal, and armed with an array of sharp teeth, Coelophysis is the very model of a theropod dinosaur. It appears frequently in books and documentaries as an example of what made dinosaurs successful early in their evolution. However, Coelophysis is rarely represented in toy form, which makes this new figure from Safari particularly interesting!

Although often annotated as a “small” dinosaur, Coelophysis was hardly miniscule, measuring about three metres (9.8 ft) in length. This puts the 18.4 cm Safari version at about 1:16 scale. The animal has been sculpted in a calm standing pose, with its mouth shut and its head turned to the left. The tail arcs gently downward, acting as a tripod support. It may be that the figure was designed to stand without the aid of the tail, but unfortunately, the feet on my own copy do not appear to rest flatly on the ground. The overall proportions are a close match to the fossil material, with a long tail, long neck, and delicately built, bird-like legs. The fine details are there, too, despite the figure’s relative smallness. The skull is actually pretty unusual, featuring a very triangular shape, and a pronounced subnarial gap just behind first maxillary tooth. The figure’s small, grasping hands, are rendered with similar veracity, each featuring three functional digits and one barely-visible vestigial fourth digit embedded in the hand.

Excluding the scaly texture of the snout, hands, and feet, the body of this Coelophysis is covered in short, simple filaments. Though this might seem overly-speculative to some, it isn’t a particularly recent notion; Coelophysis has been restored with feathery structures beginning as early as 1975. This fluff remains thoroughly plausible today, and provides the model with an active, bird-like demeanour which I find quite suitable. The pebbly reticulate scales on the snout are similarly believable, but I do wonder about the flat scutes on the fingers and toes. The figure’s jaws are reconstructed without any sign of “lip” tissue, the truth of which is hard to determine and subject to active debate.

A particularly dynamic set of colours and patterns was chosen here, and I approve of the overall effect. Rusty brown colours the dorsal surface and head, abruptly switching to a pale off-white beyond a black lateral band. The snout is colored in faded blue, with red along the lacrimal ridges, and the tail ends in bands of black and off-white. As is common for mass-produced PVC figures, the application of paint is somewhat imperfect. The black band, in particular, looks a little like the work of a flat paint marker.

I do wish I could get mine to stand a little better, but the tripod stance is much less distracting here than it is in some other figures. Personally, I think it’s great that Safari doesn’t stick to one scale, lest this little beast be reduced to a tiny 1:40, but the inconsistency may put off some collectors. In all, this is a very charming and long-overdue representation of a famous but rarely-seen dinosaur. It’d be easy to overlook it in the wealth of brilliant toys that have appeared this year, so I encourage most anyone to pick it up!

Available from here

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Comments 12

  • Wonderful figure. I am reviewing it for today’s feature on my Museum of Natural History posts on the ATF and STS forums. I’ve had fun researching the figure and the actual animal!

  • I just got around to reading this review and in answer to this comment “It may be that the figure was designed to stand without the aid of the tail, but unfortunately, the feet on my own copy do not appear to rest flatly on the ground.”
    The sculpture was designed as a tripod so your copy is as it should be.

  • I’m definitely going to break my usual 1:40 scale preference for this little beauty! I think it’s best as is, though I certainly would have been amused if it had been given a Syntarsus style mowhawk. 😀

  • Great review but your photographs in particular are fantastic. This is a great model, perhaps my favorite of the 2017 lineup that I’ve collected thus far.

    • Thanks Gwangi! I just picked up some new photography equipment, so hopefully my photos continue to improve. It certainly is great to finally have a Coelophysis in my collection other than the tiny Kaiyodo figure.

      • It wouldn’t surprise me if this little fellow ends up winning an award. He’s certainly got (relative) uniqueness going for him.

  • To me of course I also like very much this figure is luxury within the collection of toy dinosaurs and most importantly for Safari that is not only this figure are the thirteen as a whole to a greater or lesser extent. Nowadays Safari has no rival.

  • I totally agree with the article Patrx is reality. I add that this figure is one of the few toy coelophysis that is not based on the saga of Jurassic Park films which is appreciated.

    It is also appreciated that this figure is feathered. On the other hand so that it was not tripod would need a base which would cause that figure to be disvirtualized or rather be object of criticism on the part of the buyers or clients as happened with the giganotosaurus of Safari (incidentally for me a great figure in spite of The critics).

    • How can a Coelophysis be based on Jurassicc Park? They were not in the movies. And while there is a toy version, other toys do not resemble it much.

      • I know that coelophysis does not appear in Jurassic Park. But it appears as a toy in the series of toys Jurassic Park (that’s what I meant). In the version of toy the figure appears naked without feathers or without feather hair and I believe that there is no serious toy company that has really made a coelophysis so well finished and with that plumage.

        As I say I was referring to the Jurassic Park toys what happens is that I expressed myself quite badly. I also have to admit that I sometimes associate the coelophysis that I know does not appear in the film of Jurassic Park with another species that does appear as it is the compsognathus that usually appears without plumage and that is a species found in France and that nothing has to See with the coelophysis found in the USA.

        Anyway the coelophysis of Safari is for me by far the best thing that has been done in the toy market in regards to its species without the intention of offending anyone.

  • What a gorgeous little beauty!

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