It’s little surprise that as the quality and details of dinosaur models improved, their prices would invariably rise. This gives toy manufacturers the dubious task of trying to make the best models they can for parents on a budget. The folks at Wild Safari Ltd offered their solution several years back via their “Great Dinos XL” line which included eight renderings; Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Apatosaurus, Therizinosaurus, Spinosaurus, Pteranodon, and Velociraptor. Unlike their primary collection of models, these dinosaurs were larger and with no uniform scale. Consequently, the XL Velociraptor is roughly the same size as T-Rex. Despite being bigger, they were also noticeably lighter than their contemporaries due to being hollow plastic as opposed to solid PVC (poly vinyl chloride). Needless to say, parents looking to give their child more bite for their buck were hard-pressed to find a better deal at any attraction’s gift shop.
Thanks to cell phones offering convenient Internet access, I usually make a point of checking Amazon & eBay before making any gift shop purchases. Yes, I understand that most zoos and museums need the revenue to stay afloat and I absolutely do make a point of supporting them whenever possible. The fact is a guy like me on a budget needs to narrow his choices a bit before doing so. When I discovered that most of the dinosaurs from this collection aren’t even available on Amazon, I felt pretty good about bringing Mr. Stegosaurus back home and he’s been the highlight of my Stegosaurus shelf ever since.
The second one I purchased was their Apatosaurus figure which was a bare bones simple design that I mainly purchased to help fill out a Sauropod display I had going.
Then last week at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo I found the Velociraptor. The zoo is gearing up for its big “Dinosaurs & Dragons” exhibit opening this summer and the related merchandise has already started trickling in. One thing I’ve noticed about Safari’s “Great Dinosaur Collection” is that they look much better in person (something I’ve observed with other animal models too, though that sure ain’t gonna stop photographing them for you). In fact, when I first laid eyes on this one, I almost thought I discovered a new figure I’d somehow missed.
It’s very impressive and a good size at over twelve inches long. The biggest downside to it is the giant seam that goes down the middle. It’s definitely more noticeable than any on my Stegosaurus and Apatosaurus figure and almost looked like it saw the wrong end of a lightsaber.
I do, however, really like the coloring and some of the detailing. From what I’ve seen, this and the Therizinosaurus are probably the best the collection has to offer in that regard. So let’s do the breakdown…
GENERAL APPEARANCE: Great color and looks pretty decent (barring the giant line going down the middle)
SIZE: Pretty big! Over a foot long and nearly six inches high!
SCIENTIFIC ACCURACY: Lots of liberties taken with the design…definitely created to make kids happy rather than us persnickety adult dino fanboys.
DISPLAY/DIORAMA WORTHY? Nice for a shelf but a bit large for a diorama (unless it’s the only dinosaur in there).