Beasts of the Mesozoic…finally on my Shelf!

Although I’ve always been fascinated with dinosaurs, it wasn’t until the summer of 2016 that I’d start collecting models. I was traveling through the Southwest and stopped off at the Dinosaur Track Museum in St. George, Utah. As I shared in my coverage of the museum, it was their gift shop that opened my eyes to just how far dinosaur “toys” had come along since the days of my Marx playset back in the ‘70s. They even featured some of the figures from Safari Ltd., CollectA, PAPO and Schleich alongside their fossil replicas to provide guests a handy visual of what the animal looked like in life. I thought this both clever and economical – especially considering how much attention to accuracy these companies put into them. In this regard, there are few that can match David Silva’s Beasts of the Mesozoic raptor series. At the time I began collecting, they were part of a Kickstarter campaign that saw fruition this past spring. This past summer, and exactly two years after my trip through the Southwest, these gorgeous pieces finally made it to my door.

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Have you “Herd” about Eofauna’s Straight-Tusked Elephant?

There’s no question, the most endearing order of mammals to me is Proboscidea a.k.a. “trunked” animals like their only living examples, elephants. And what’s not to love? Their majestic stature, fused nose with their upper lips (trunks), and specialized teeth/tusks make them all unmistakable cousins despite their incredible diversity. Every major model company has released members of this order with several standing out as my favorites. I’ve reviewed most of them already such as Safari Ltd.’s Woolly Mammoth and Mastodon, CollectA’s Deinotherium, and Eofauna’s Steppe Mammoth. This year the rogue Eofauna has struck gold again with their incredible sophomore release – Palaeoloxodon antiquus the Straight-tusked elephant.

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Get your claws on Papo’s new Therizinosaurus!

The bizarre-looking Therizinosaurus has been rendered by several model companies and I’ll be darn if they don’t all look like completely different animals. I have Schleich’s original version which will always have a special place in my heart since it was the last model I bought at “Toys R Us” before they went out of business. Thanks to the wonderful folks at Everything Dinosaur, it’s no longer my lone Therizinosaurus as Papo’s version finally made it to my doorstep!

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PAPO’s 2016 Feathered Velociraptor Dressed to Kill!

There’s always a bit of excitement when model companies announce their prehistoric offerings for the coming year. Starting in November, many of us methodically check their websites while making room on our shelves for the ones we just know we’re gonna get. One such figure was the PAPO’s 2016 feathered velociraptor. I’d already had a couple of their previous raptors which looked as if they’d just walked off the set of JURASSIC PARK (sorry, Hasbro, PAPO does JURASSIC PARK better than you do). This new feathered addition, however, was a completely new take and a welcomed one at that. It was about a full year later when I was finally able to add this to my collection, but definitely worth the wait! Continue reading

“Sailed” Away by Safari Ltd.’s New Dimetrodon!

 As a kid, I remember playing “dinosaurs” with numerous Marx Dimetrodons – having no idea the animal wasn’t a dinosaur at all. This creature, notable for the large sail on its back, is actually a member of the synapsid family; a group of reptiles that lived over 270 million years ago and attributed to having mammal-like features. Though there’ been numerous models of the animal since, Safari Ltd. has just delivered one of the best!

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Safari Ltd.’s 2018 Macrauchenia!

Macrauchenia is one of the more confusing prehistoric mammals ever discovered with nasal openings high on the animal’s skull suggesting a tapir-like nose. Since soft tissue doesn’t fossilize, however, this can only be theorized. What is known is that the animal lived in South America during the Pleistocene (20,000 – 10,000 years ago) in an environment, not unlike today’s African Savannah. It shared its habitat with other herbivores such as camels and ground sloths while likely serving as a favored prey item for terror birds and saber-toothed cats. Their lineage has long been debated, though recent  DNA tests may have finally revealed their place on the mammal family tree. They’re likely the last twig on a now extinct, sister branch of perissodactyls – odd number of toes/grinding molar teeth such as rhinos. And now, Safari Ltd. has added this rare and wonderful animal to their collection.

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Safari Ltd.’s Malawisaurus: Out of Africa and Onto Your Shelf!

Though one of the smaller sauropods (and by small I mean over fifty feet and ten tons) Malawisaurus was no less impressive. The animal lived in Africa – specifically what is now Malawi, during the early Cretaceous and is one of the few titanosaurs where skull material has been found. And now, over 90 years later, Safari Ltd. is finally bringing one our shelves.

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