If you love ceratopsian dinosaurs as much as I do, there’s no better time to be alive. With forty recognized species since Triceratops back in 1889, half were discovered since the year 2000. Considering the diversity of their signature horns and frills, it’s no wonder toy companies have been working hard to keep up and get their likeness on store shelves. Enter Safari Ltd.’s 2018 Regaliceratops; a nice follow up from last year’s Einiosaurus and hopefully a signal that the company plans to make new ceratopsian models an annual tradition. But before we take a look, let’s discuss its dino-inspiration…
The nearly intact skull of Regaliceratops was discovered in 2005 by geologist, Peter Hews. The fossil was exposed on a cliff running adjacent to Alberta, Canada’s Oldman River and Hew’s trained eye recognized it before immediately notifying the Royal Tyrrell Museum. The horned fossil was nicknamed “Hellboy” as both a nod to the popular comic book character as well as the arduous work needed to extract it.
Not only was the fossil embedded in nearly impenetrable rock, but located on a steep slope in close proximity to the river’s edge. Worse, the river serves as protected spawning ground for bull trout which meant sediment from the dig was prohibited from falling into the water. It would take years of painstaking work to finally remove the skull and it’s a good bet that if there’d been more of its bones discovered, that team would STILL be out there digging for them.
“Hellboy” would become Regaliceratops after officially being described; a process involving detailed drawings of the fossil accompanied by descriptive text. The name means “Royal Horned Face” and has dual significance; the obvious being in reference to the creature’s epiossifications (bony extensions on the frill) that resemble a crown as well was a trihute to the museum that retrieved it.
Safari’s Regaliceratops model is not it’s first representation as CollectA beat them to the punch last year. I do have the figure which, although more colorful, is about half the size of this one. Oddly enough, both companies depict the dinosaur in nearly the same pose. Safari’s, however, has a lot more detail and if it had been painted more boldly like CollectA’s, would have been perfect.
CollectA 2017 Regaliceratops
What the figure lacks in dynamism, it makes up for in detail. As always, Safari Ltd. took great care with the animal’s scales which are bumpy and of different size. The animal’s musculature adds even more texture as does the folds of skin; particularly around the neck and hind legs. All in all, it’s an amazing sculpt.
Unfortunately, the coloring is bland with the exception of its striking blue eyes. There’s some gradiation and a rustier underbelly but nothing that helps it stand out. I feel this was a missed opportunity as many scientists theorize the purpose of ceratopsian frills being for courtship or display and likely quite vivid. Of course, if that’s true, then it’s also possible they were sexually dimorphic (males looked different than the females) and, as with many birds, the females were more drab. Maybe Safari’s “Hellboy” is supposed to be a “Hellgirl?” I sure hope so or this is one poor dino that’ll be hard-pressed to get a date!
Speaking of frills, they did a great job on its Medline epiossification. One of the features that sets Regaliceratops apart from its contemporaries is a separate, central bone extension on its frill that’s shown very clearly with this model.
So let’s break it down…
General Appearance: Up close it looks great; very detailed and accurate. Unfortunately, the bland colors and uninspired pose make even the dinosaur look bored!
Size: Over six inches long and close to three inches high.
Display or Diorama worthy? Alongside your collection of ceratopsian models it makes for a great supporting cast member, if not the star. A group of these could make for a neat diorama display – especially if you have a more vibrant theropod lurking nearby.
Tune in next post for yet another new 2018 Safari Ltd. review! One that proves that just because there’s been a lot of new ceratopsian discoveries these days, doesn’t mean their most renowned member is ready to give up the spotlight just yet…