Tyrannosaurus (Safari Ltd.)

2.9 (15 votes)

I first came across this odd T. rex toy early on in my collecting days, in a lot advertised on eBay. I didn’t get that lot but noticed that it kept popping up in lots over and over. It intrigued me but not enough to seek it out. With how often I had seen it show up I figured I might end up with it someday, and here we are. In this case the seller was advertising a lot of toy dinosaurs and although this one wasn’t in the online picture it was there to greet me, peaking out of the box like an old friend I had never met. Oh look, there you are, I guess I’ll write about you now.

This 13.5” Tyrannosaurus stands in stark contrast to the rest of the Safari dinosaur toys. For starters, it has an action feature. Located on the underside there is a trigger that when pulled employs a biting and lunging attack that’s actually quite similar to the recent Mattel Carnotaurus. The toy is specifically modeled to be held and used like a toy gun of sorts. As a result the trigger is quite large and obvious but easy to use.

The toy is made out of brittle hollow plastic. On mine it’s apparent that one of the feet has already broken off and been glued back on. I’m hesitant to call it cheap but it’s certainly not the kind of toy you can bang around with other dinosaur toys.

This Tyrannosaurus was produced in 1998 and in overall appearance it shows, this is a dinosaur of the 90’s. It has an alert and active posture with the tail held stiff and high off the ground. It’s a very streamlined and athletic looking animal, its build looking more like an albertosaurine than a tyrannosaurine. The arms are too large and the hands are pronated of course, the tail is abruptly short, and there’s some significant shrink wrapping too, but aside from that it’s a decent looking Tyrannosaurus for that era. The feet on the toy are small and as a result it’s easily knocked over.

Small detail work is mostly absent but there are some nice features here. The bony bosses on the head are reminiscent of the Great Dinos Tyrannosaurus, also by Safari. Crocodile-like scutes run down the neck, back, and tail and are a unique addition. Small raised osteoderms are present in various places and the rest of the toy has a pitted, fine-scale texture.

The bulk of the toy is painted in a bright, vibrant green color, reminiscent of a day gecko I think. A darker shade of green runs down the back and an orange stripe runs from the eye to the tail on either side. It’s a fun color scheme, not very realistic but fitting for this sort of toy.

Overall, I find the general form and look of this Tyrannosaurus pleasing but this is not the type of toy that is well suited for display, it’s made for play. That said, it’s also quite fragile so even then you’re kind of out of luck. I’m finding it hard to recommend it to collectors or children. To the best of my knowledge Safari hasn’t made any other dinosaur toy quite like this and for that reason alone it might be worth looking for. In addition to eBay lots you can still find this toy available directly from Safari.

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Comments 3

  • I’ve always suspected that the base sculpt for this’n was the Tamiya Tyrannosaurus rex from the early 90’s; the head sculpt has been altered mind you, but the osteoderms and proportions match up quite well.

  • Safari made this?! Like… Made-a-badass-feathered-Tyrannosaurus Safari? I’ve seen this I’m stores, I always thought it was a cheap chinasaur or something

  • Safari ltd. still sells this figure in their catalogs and on their website, alongside a chomping great white shark. It might be good of them to update it a bit for better play, though.

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