It was a hot July day. To beat the heat and to stay cool I headed off to a nearby creek to sit by the water. I found a tall tree by the water and walked into the shade. I slumped back onto the trunk, closed my eyes, and let my bare feet extend past the bank and dangle over the water. I slowly drifted off to sound of birds chirping and the leaves moving in the soft breeze. Suddenly I am jolted awake by the sound of a splash. My eyes scanned the surface of the water looking for the source of the disturbance. To my left I see a small dark shape jump out of the water, land with a soft splash, and glide quietly beneath the surface. “What was that”, I think to myself as I got on to my knees to look directly down into the water. That’s when I saw it swim beneath me. I exclaimed quietly to myself, “Holy she sells seashells by the sea shore Batman.” It was a little ichthyosaurus splashing back and forth in the cool water. It was not just any ichthyosaur, it was the Wild Safari 2020 Prehistoric World version. It would have made Mary and Joseph Anning so proud.
About the toy: As I watched it effortlessly swim through the water, I couldn’t help but noticed the similarities to animals that we see in the oceans today. Its overall body shape looks like a cross between a tuna and a porpoise. Its body is streamlined but it has a thicker blubbery profile. It swims effortlessly with its crescent shaped hydrodynamic tail. Each swish propels it forward while the rest of the animal remains stiff. Interestingly I couldn’t help but notice that instead of the crescent dorsal fin found on dolphins, on this little ichthyosaur, its dorsal fin resembles the distinctive, triangle-shaped dorsal fins that you would find on a male orca, just not as high.
Speaking of orca’s, I was awed by its simple but effective colors. It was showing off its black and white party time attire. The colors appear to be a cross between a orca and a dusky dolphin. Most of the body is black, but it is counter shaded white underneath. The white extends on the underside from its beak, along its belly, and to a point in the middle between the pelvic flippers. The white also extends up to the side between the pectoral and pelvic flippers. There is one more area of white and that is in the form of a stripe that starts in the middle and goes all the way to the bend in the tail.
As I watched, it would swim back and forth in front of me. I took note of the paddles/flippers were curved in the front, very rounded at the tip, and rather straight as it connects back to the body. You could also see small fat rolls at each of the joints. At one point it rolled over and showed me its belly. I noticed that the cloaca was present just above the end point of white on its underside.
It stopped swimming for a moment and popped its head above the surface and looked at me with its enormous eyes. The iris color of its eyes were two molten pools of burning gold, which from some reason seemed to pour over and onto the skin around the eye. Strange I thought, but I’ll come back to that later. In front of the eyes are the nares and behind the eyes is a little ear hole. Its mouth was closed but it seemed to smile back at me.
It was very nice fellow and plopped itself onto the bank, and allowed me to get some quick measurements. It measured 7.5 in (19.05 cm) long and approximately 2.4 in (6.096 cm) high at the dorsal fin. It allowed me to touch it and I moved my hand across its skin. I could feel that the entire surface was completely smooth. After I finished with the measurements I helped it back into the water. To my complete surprise another ichthyosaur showed up and I noticed it was PNSO Eurhinosaurus. They swam in a circle a couple of times and I was able to see a size comparison between the two, and suddenly they both swam off, leaving me humbled and amazed to see such wonderful toys in the wild.
Sculpt, paint, and playability: It is a very good and rather accurate sculpt but it lacks a dynamic pose. It rest on all four of its flippers / paddles, with just a a slight bend to its tail as if it is slowly searching for food. Its expression is plain, even though it does look to be smiling. The paint is a bit sloppy. The gold in the eyes runs into the sides and the white paint has a air brush fade that lacks polish. If you take a close look at the jaw you will also notice the black/white paint is sloppy as well.
It can be a fine toy to play with but it lacks anything exciting to separate it from other marine reptile figures. Its mouth is closed so it will not be able to bite and eat any unwary fish. Then again, with its closed mouth a kid can use its snout to ram unsuspecting predators or Aquaman foes. It is a very safe toy as all the tips are rounded and blunt.
Overall: I find it to be a rather accurate, yet a simple, and stiff figure. I am not 100% sure if the dorsal fin and flippers are the right size and shape, but they look believable. The paint isn’t applied that well, but luckily it is not too distracting, and probably varies a little from figure to figure. Personally, I prefer the old Safari Carnegie ichthyosaur with the ammonite in its mouth. That doesn’t mean I hate this figure, quite the contrary, I like this figure. It just when I compare it to my other ichthyosaurs in my collection, it doesn’t really stand out. If you are interested it can be found in the $8.00 (USA) range so it is a very affordable figure.
I wound up with two of these, since the first one had a weird bubble in the tail that made the surface peel off (I’m going to make it work somehow). It’s pretty good in terms of anatomy. I’m not aware of any ichthyosaurs that are specifically known to have rounded fins, but that trait does crop up in cetaceans surprisingly frequently, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility. The plastic is very stiff, and the surface is somewhat prone to marring. Even the sealant Safari used tends to show scrapes and scratches very easily. The body is nice and round and streamlined, and the proportions are good. There are no obvious seams, lumps, or bumps. The surface is smooth and there are soft folds around the flippers and mouth. It even has tiny nostrils and ears! And for once, the eyeballs are actually embedded in the head like a reptile! They are, however, still not quite right. Put simply, they’re about twice the size they should be, as far as I can tell. Also, the head is ever so slightly asymmetrical, but it’s really not noticeable unless you’re looking for it. My main problem with it is the rather sloppy paint application. It’s definitely Dall’s porpoise-inspired, but with an extra stripe down the side, and without any white on the fins. Not bad, and would blend in well if sneaked into a lineup of cetaceans. I just can’t get over the application job. Oh well, that’s why I’m repainting it.
Brand stamping is on the underside of the pectoral fins, very neat and unusually subtle.
So, conclusions: Pros: Nice and modern, sleek and cetacean-like. Cons: Eyes too large (but much better than average), paintwork lacking in care. All in all, it’s really very nice! Thanks to The Dinosaur Farm for sending me another when my first one was defective.
Thanks for this useful and informative comment!
That was definitely one of the most entertaining reviews I’ve read on the blog. I’m rather fond of this figure myself, now that I have one of my own.
Magnificent and accurate review. This ichthyosaurus from Safari is a very good figure and honestly apart from a toy it is useful to have it on a shelf with dinosaurs and in this case, high quality prehistoric animals and even resin dinosaurs. . It is a high quality figure with the difference that this ichthyosaurus is at prices five or six times cheaper than a high quality figure and one hundred times cheaper than a resin figure.
Great review and pictures and love the Mary Anning reference. I like the model a lot. I may be wrong, but thought that our own Dr Admin had something to do with giving input into the sculpt?
For an $8 toy this is a very good value. Works well with my Carnegie masterpiece.
It’s a nice toy, but I also prefer the Carnegie version.
Beautifully written review.