The year 1993 was a big year for dinosaur fanatics, the most obvious reason being the release of Jurassic Park in June of that year. It is difficult for me, and likely others of my generation, to grasp just how long ago that was and how much has changed since. Dino-mania swept the globe, and no matter where you looked the dinosaurs were there. I was totally engrossed in it before the movie was even released. Not able to get enough dinosaurs I grabbed up every magazine and periodical that featured the prehistoric animals, or Jurassic Park. In the back of one of those magazines were advertisements featuring different collectables that would appeal to nerds such as me, with a love for dinosaurs and movies. Among them were the advertisements for Safari’s “Dinosaurs of China” collection. The collection included famous dinosaurs of the region such as Mamenchisaurus, Yangchuanosaurus, and Therizinosaurus. They all came packaged with skeletal representations sculpted on display stands on which to place the figure. I fell it love with the pictures of these models, they were a far cry from your average dinosaur toy. Now, after nearly 20 years, I’ve gotten my hands on some of these and I’ve got to say…it’s about time!
Discovered in the 1940’s the true nature of Therizinosaurus was a paleontological mystery, and it wasn’t until the early 90’s that people finally started to realize what we were dealing with. I won’t get into too much depth on the subject as I already touched on it with my review of Safari’s “Great Dinos Collection” Therizinosaurus, and I’m sure most readers are familiar with the story. Safari was pretty quick to jump on producing one of these bizarre creatures, and this figure is no doubt the first serious attempt at a Therizinosaurus by a toy company.
Being nearly two decades old the figure stands up quite well in terms of accuracy, and for genus rarely produced stands out as a gem in any collection. The figure measures about 6” in length and stands 3” high at the top of its curved neck. The figure is supposed to be 1/40 in scale but the size estimates for Therizinosaurus vary from 20-40′ due to insufficient material on which to estimate a size. If Therizinosaurus was 20’ long than this scale is correct.
The figure was sculpted by dinosaur artist Ely Kish, as are the rest of the collection, and certainly looks like a piece of art. One of the striking features of this figure is the color and pattern choice which can also be seen in her painting of the animal. Overall the body is a light green color, with white on the underside. Dark green spots dot the entire body and fade to an aqua color on the limbs. The hands, feet, and portions of the underside are also highlighted in brown. When I first saw this I thought the previous owner had painted the brown on, as it looks crudely applied, but this is not the case. The body is covered in wrinkles and small scales and the level of detail is pretty good considering the small size.
Where accuracy is concerned this Therizinosaurus looks pretty good for its age. It stands correctly on two four toed feet and balance is aided by the tips of the claws. How this animal got around exactly is unknown, some think it may have walked on its knuckles similar to the ground sloth, but it is typically reproduced as a biped. The head is appropriately small and the neck long, the backward pointing pelvis is quite accurate but the gut region could probably be more robust. I really enjoy the sculpted vertebra running down the length of the neck. The hands are not pronated, a major plus for a toy of this age. Perhaps my only real criticism is with the head, which is asymmetrical in appearance. Just avoid looking at it head on.
Overall, what we have is a nicely sculpted, fairly accurate, and striking to look at figure of an obscure theropod that even today is rarely produced. If you would like to acquire one of these then eBay is your best bet. If you’re fortunate you may even get the fossil background that I was unable to obtain.