2019 – Year of the Spinosaurus!

This is one blog I had trouble starting because I had no idea where to even begin. I considered just diving into a model review on Safari Ltd’s 2019 Spinosaurus without adding any historical context but felt I’d be doing a disservice to this product (and a few more model reviews slated in the near future) if I did. With so much controversy surrounding Spinosaurus these days, it was only natural that the new designs would be equally divisive and that the model companies would want to quickly jump on board with modern representations. So I’m going to give a quick, simple overview of this amazing dinosaur. The full story is quite fascinating and I encourage anyone out there to check out a NOVA special called “Bigger than T-Rex” which I believe you can see free on YouTube. Anyway, here it goes…

Around the same time Tyrannosaurus Rex was discovered back in the ‘30s, a German paleontologist named Ernst Stromer discovered Spinosaurus. Unfortunately, the fossils were destroyed by Allied bombers during World War II with scientists only having photographs to prove they were real. An amazing animal that should have been one of the most famous dinosaurs ever discovered would fall into obscurity. That is, until Jurassic Park III came along and made it a superstar. Wanting to feature something more fearsome in their third installment, they chose Spinosaurus which, unlike most carnivorous dinosaurs, look nothing like a T-Rex. Young dinosaur fans took it immediately and my kids (having grown up with both creatures) have always been decisively Team Spino. Numerous models of the animal have been released; all depicting the animal standing tall as seen at the movies.

Then, a remarkable thing happened…yet another, more complete, Spinosaurus was discovered. This one would cause shockwaves throughout the world of Paleontology by not only suggesting the animal walked on four legs but could very well have spent most of its life in water a.k.a. the first known aquatic dinosaur. Though there are lots of fantastic aquatic prehistoric reptiles, none of these are actual dinosaurs. Unfortunately, Millennials who grew up with Jurassic Park Spinosaurus are having about as hard a time accepting its new look as my generation is having with T-Rex sporting feathers. Folks, this is science; not a group of fashion designers coming with their new spring line. The dinosaurs we know are bound to go through changes as more discoveries are made and I, for one, look forward to it. 

That being said, let’s check out our first 2019 Spinosaurus model – one that has divided enthusiasts whether you accept the scientific changes or not.

The first time I saw this model I remember being underwhelmed. The pose (obviously depicting the animal swimming) looked odd when taken out of context and I didn’t understand why the colors and patterns and the animal’s body merged in with the spines. Still, Safari Ltd. has a reputation for making accuracy a priority and I decided to go against my better judgment and add it to my collection. I figured it was good for a review and, worst-case scenario, I can always sell it on eBay or give it to a young relative as a toy (in other words, what it was made for). I have to say, I’m really glad I did.

This model looks amazing in person and shall remain with me long after this review is published. I still don’t like how the coloration and patterns of the body match up with the sales unless it was nature’s goal to confuse/conceal underwater. The colors are striking nonetheless.

The detailing is as top-notch as we’ve come to expect from this company. I absolutely love the details given to the scales and the head sculpt is just fantastic! I do wish we could see evidence of those famous spines the animal is known for.

Most complaints regarding the model’s design are with its hind legs and the way they’re posed. Many say it’s unnatural though I’m far from qualified to say whether or not this is true. I will say that judging by this feature and the wavy tail, it’s likely the sculptor had crocodilians in mind while creating this.

General Appearance: Starts to grow on you after a while…much better in person than in photos (mine included).

Size: A whopping 14.5 inches long (36 cm) and 4.9 inches (12.45 cm) tall 

Articulation: None, but it would have been cool for kids if they’d rigged it to float upright in the water.

Display/Diorama Worthy: It’ll take up some space but I do think it’s worth it. Could look even better in a Diorama if depicted in the water. Put it in the bathtub and see for yourself…just be sure to look before sitting down!

Dave~

More 2019 Spinosaurus models to be covered soon!

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