The first specimen of Utahraptor ostrommaysorum was found in 1975. In 1991 further remains were found, and like its fellow dromaeosaurids, it also sported a large, nightmare inducing, “killing” curved claw on its toe. Thanks to its size being comparable to the over sized Velociraptors in Jurassic Park, and starring in a popular book written by paleontologist Robert T. Bakker, it became a popular dinosaur in the mid 90’s. Safari Ltd. introduced their first Utahraptor toy with the inaugural dinosaurs for the brand new Wild Safari line in 1996. The book Raptor Red came out it 1995 and I can’t help but wonder if Safari painted the red stripe on the head of this toy in honor of the way the Utahraptors are described with a red snout in the book.
About the Toy: It is on the smaller side at 13.5 cm long, with the tail taking up over half its length at 8 cm. It is 6 cm high at its highest point, which would be around the mid point of the tail. It is posed for stability by using the hidden one arm down tripod pose, comparable to the large Safari Velociraptor and the Schleich WOH Velociraptor. At least its wrist isn’t broken like its fellow original line Wild Safari pal, Carcharodontosaurus. Since it is leaning on its right front hand, the shoulders are low, and the hind quarters and tail are high. Either it is about to pounce on its prey, or it tripped on a rock while chasing its intended victim, and is trying to stay upright.
The head is up with its mouth open wide and inducing fear to its adversary. The teeth are relatively the same size and painted sloppily in white. Also inside its open jaws is a sculpted tongue which is painted in a dull pink. The rest of the mouth is painted in the same dull pink. Starting under its eyes and extending forward is a strip of red the ends before it gets all the way to the nostrils. Also present are small ear holes at the back of the skull.
The hands are facing inward and end with three claws. The claws on the right foot are ok, with the large claw raised but not entirely painted so it looks smaller than it was sculpted. On the left foot, the large claw is too small and almost uniform with the rest of the claws on its left foot. The dew claws are present as well. All the claws are rounded and blunted for safety.
This toy is also devoid of feathers, but this was the norm at the time and should not be held against this toy. Instead it is covered in the typical wrinkles and skin folds that Safari put on its models during the 90’s. Its tail is also semi straight with some small bends in it. Its base color is light brown with a tan underneath. Starting at the base of its skull and ending almost all the way to the tip of its tail are dark charcoal brown stripes. The stripes do not extend far down its flanks, stopping at the hips and shoulders.
Play ability: It is a really nice and playable toy. It has a vicious look to it, with its mouth open, body low, and big claws. It is a look that many kids like for their predatory animals. Kids usually have this toy jump onto their intended prey, which incidentally is probably how this animal hunted if it was going to take down larger prey. It is also really stable, so it easy for kids to set it up on sofas and carpeted floors, which is a bonus. The toys edges are not sharp and it is tough enough to take on some hard playtime adventures. The paint holds up very well.
Overall: For collectors, this is an outdated, featherless, Utahraptor from the early days of the Wild Safari line. The line originally was designed to cater to kids for the quick spur of the moment purchase. It is in this capacity were this toy really shines. For kids, it is still a fun toy to play with. If you like featherless 90’s style dromaeosaurids, or you know a younger dinosaur fan, then this is a good toy to pick up. It can be usually be found on Ebay for a reasonable price.
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