The hulking ornithopod Iguanodon bernissartensis is probably the loveliest thing ever to spring from a mine in Belgium. Known from a number of remarkably complete specimens, you’d think it’d be hard to get the big-handed one wrong, and indeed most toys over the years have been decent, if unremarkable. It’s the sort of dinosaur that just sort of has to be in your toy range. Now’s the turn of the Wild Safari line to receive its own brand new Captain Stabbythumbs, and I must say it’s a quite excellent piece of work.
This beastie is yet another sculpt from Safari stalwart Doug Watson, a man who can be relied upon to turn in a well-researched, anatomically correct dinosaur toy. Proportionally it’s very hard to fault, and compares very favourably with Scott Hartman’s latest (2016!) Iguanodon skeletal. The limbs are the right lengths, the oversized hands are suitably absurd-looking and face the right way, the head’s exactly the right shape…why can’t you got wrong somewhere, Doug? You don’t leave much to write about.
Perhaps it could do with a little more meat in places, mainly around the thighs and hips (Iguanodon had massive muscles around there), but one could well argue that that’s an aesthetic preference. I also don’t believe there should be a claw on the pinkie, although it’s difficult to tell if this was part of the sculpt, or just a mistake made during painting. These are truly minuscule nitpicks though, and do nothing to detract from the figure as a whole. It’s very solid.
The figure is covered in scales, and although they were strictly speaking probably a lot finer on the real animal, they do help lend the animal’s hide a reptilian, textured feel that might otherwise be lost. There are also crinkles and folds here and there, the better to enhance the sensation of bulk. A row of tiny, squared-off scales runs down the animal’s back, reminiscent of certain hadrosaurs, which is a lovely touch.
The colouration is also quite pleasing – mostly browns and creams, with a row of purpleish stripes down the animal’s back to add a little interest. Subtle, but attractive. The paint application on my example is mostly very good (certainly when compared with my 2016 WS Carcharodontosaurus), with small details like the eyes and claws handled especially well. At something like 1:45 – 1:50 scale, it’s not especially big, but more than makes up for it with attention to detail.
All in all, it’s easily the best toy of its kind out there – well-researched, attractively coloured and all around just a thoroughly decent fellow. (And no, the name of the beer mentioned in the above photo isn’t an attempt to suggest anything. No one’s gilded this dragon.) Iguanodon might be the unassuming sort – at least, when it’s not trying to gouge some idiot theropod’s eye or trachea out – but this one’s a worthy addition to your collection.
Available from Amazon here.
Found one of these by chance on the road during a stop in Hobby Lobby. They clearly didn’t carry it anymore, and it didn’t even have a price tag! Needless to say, I’m satisfied with it. My only complaint is that it’s somewhat small for an Iguanodon, but that’s easily enough handwaved. The paint job really is nice and the hands are exactly what one would hope for. Recommended to anyone else lucky enough to stumble across one.
Gulden Draak beer!
It is known to be a belgian beer, but actually it is one of the brands of a company based in the very same town in Northern Italy where I live, Gallarate.
So big dinosaurs, so small world! 😛
Thank you for your kind comments Marc. You are correct the factory incorrectly painted a claw on the fifth digit. You can see it is flesh textured and coloured in my original paint in the catalog images. Thanks to your catch I have informed Safari Ltd and they are making the correction.
I don’t know, something about the back of the head doesn’t look quite right to me. I think it’s that the neck slopes rather abruptly down from the skull. I’m used to a meatier neck, like in the old Carnegie model.