Stygimoloch (Dino Dana by Safari Ltd.)

3.1 (74 votes)

I first learned about Stygimoloch back in the late 1980s when I came across a painting of it by the late paleoartist Ely Kish in a dinosaur book, and I distinctly recall being rather excited at the prospect of another North American pachycephalosaur besides Pachycephalosaurus itself and Stegoceras. So it was something of a disappointment years later when it was announced that both Stygimloch and Dracorex were probably younger specimens of Pachycephalosaurus. However, some experts have noted that Stygimoloch’s remains have been recovered from the upper part of the Hell Creek Formation whereas those of Pachycephalosaurus all come from the lower part. Stygimoloch may therefore represent a second species of PachycephalosaurusP. spinifer as opposed to wyomingensis.

Safari Ltd. apparently felt like stirring the pot up a bit in 2022 by releasing a toy of Stygimoloch (as well as an even more controversial genus, Nanotyrannus) in their Dino Dana series. It is posed in a somewhat extreme walking stance with its right leg extended forward and its left one extended all the way back. The tip of the tail is swaying slightly to the right, the head is turned to face right as well, and the mouth is open in a bellow or a yawn. The toy stands quite well on its own two feet, which are clearly oversized for that purpose.

From the tip of its beak to the end of its tail, the Stygimoloch measures just about 21 cm long and stands 8 cm tall at the tips of the largest spikes protruding from the back of its skull. Its main colour is reddish pink with beige for the underbelly, beak, and spikes. Dark grey is applied to the cranium and hands, while a darker grey is used for the hind claws. The feet are dull brown, the eyes are sandy yellow, and the inside of the mouth is dark purple. Topping it off is an array of pale pink spots on the neck, body, and tail. It’s not very often that we get pink dinosaur toys, so I welcome this interesting bit of variety. Be cool to see someone release a big ol’ theropod in a similar scheme to this.

The Stygimoloch‘s head, which is by far the most important part of any pachycephalosaur toy, is adorned with small spikes on the muzzle and cheeks and much larger ones protruding from the back of the skull, forming a crown of sorts. Moreover, the cranium is domed, albeit not as much as that of Pachycephalosaurus. By contrast, the head of Dracorex is quite flattened on top. Place the three Safari toys together and you can see a clear growth sequence, although the sizes are off.

This toy also features a correctly shaped torso and tail, and the lanky legs look good aside from the aforementioned giant feet. The dainty arms terminate in even daintier hands. Unfortunately, said hands have four fingers apiece when they should have five. It’s not an immediately noticable inaccuracy, but considering that all the pachycephalosaur toys from CollectA, Mattel, Papo, PNSO, and Schleich feature the correct number of fingers, I’m frankly perplexed that Safari allowed this error to occur.

As for sculpting detail, the head is covered in small scales, the cranium has tiny bumps all over it, and the largest spikes have shallow grooves. The body and limbs are similarly covered in scales, with the largest ones on the flanks and thighs. The feet have overlapping scutes and the soles are detailed as well. Whoever sculpted this toy certainly did a really fine job, although when you compare it to the Dracorex and the Pachycephalosaurus sculpted by Doug Watson, well, it’s a bit like trying to compete in a cooking contest against Alain Ducasse. The lack of osteoderms running in rows on the torso is the most glaring difference. But on a lighter note, the slitted eyes on this pachycephalosaur are rather expressive. You could easily interpret them as an indication that their owner is either irritated, perplexed, or simply drowsy.

Overall, I’d say that the Safari Stygimoloch is a decent prehistoric toy, its inaccurate hands notwithstanding. It stands well, it’s nicely sculpted, it has an unusual colour scheme, and it’s got some personality to it. I will say, however, that I would I really love to see Safari and the other companies start making some of the smaller known pachycephalosaurs such as Stegoceras or Homalocephale. Incidentally, just such a species, Platytholus clemensi, was formally described in April 2023. Like Pachycephalosaurus/Stygimloch/Dracorex, it was found in the Hell Creek Formation, but it was more closely related to Acrotholus and Prenocephale and thus is in no danger of being lumped in with a larger species.

Hell Creek Safari.

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Comments 6

  • This figure will probably be a big hit with little Dino Dana fans. 🙂

    • What exactly is Dino Dana?

      • A reasonably good children’s show about dinosaurs. It wrapped up in 2020, although I assume the episodes are still being aired on TV. Seems kind of pointless for Safari to be promoting a show that’s no longer being seen.

        • My daughter was into Dino Dana from about 3-6, she’s not into it anymore. I found it decent enough for kids but also annoying. Yeah, I also think it’s strange that the show is getting merchandise after its conclusion. All the episodes are available on and exclusive to Amazon Prime though, at least in the U.S. So it’s still available in some capacity. I guess with streaming it maybe doesn’t matter as much if a show is ongoing.

      • Dino Dana was a Canadian television series and the sequel to two previous series: Dino Dan, and Dino Dan Trek’s Adventures.

        In all 3 shows the plot followed a child who was a dinosaur lover and did ‘dino experiments’ to discover aspects of various dinosaurs lifestyle and behaviour. The children had the ability to see and to a degree communicate with the various dinosaurs under study, while nobody else could see them.

        For a children’s show the special effects were pretty good. The science is dubious at times but pretty solid at others and the shows did update the appearance of dinosaurs as science made new discoveries. The Dino Dana T-rex, Giganotosaurus and Gigantoraptor, in particular were very well done (i’m referring to the CG on the show, not the toys).

        Dino Dana in particular won many awards and is the most popular of the 3 series. Episodes were 10 minutes long. I wish there had been a show like Dino Dana when I was a child. I agree that it’s odd that Safari should choose to offer a toy line of this now out of production series, but it perhaps speaks to its popularity.

  • Those colors are SO nostalgic to me, as I grew up with Dino Dan

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