Dragons have been popular subjects of myth, legend and imagination since well before the discovery of Dinosaurs. In European mythology Dragons tend to be mean spirited, greedy (like Smaug in Tolkien's The Hobbit) and winged, often breathing fire. For the Chinese Dragons were far more benevolent. You can read more about Dragons here (opens new window) if you are so inclined.
Over the next week or so we will provide a quick and dirty blog review of several of the Dragons that our friends at Safari Ltd. (opens new window) have available. These range from fearsome winged to fearsome un-winged ones. Why are we doing this? Because I am running out of imagination for new blog entries. Besides, they're pretty cool.
I also know that many of you like Dragons as well as liking Dinosaurs so I thought I'd extend my range while I can't extend my arm. (My recovery is coming along very well but it will be at least three more weeks before I can do another figure page and I'm getting crabby.....) By branching out a bit into other areas than Dinosaur toys here in the blog we are showing our versatility. Rexford has his own opinion....
"You really have been getting crabby you know."
"Oh shut up!"
End Dragon Blog Part 1
Dragon Blog Part 2
Chinese Dragons: April 1, 2010
Dragons are much like Dinosaurs, except that there is a higher probability that they are mythological. In Chinese mythology the Dragon is benign and generally friendly. Our buds at Safari Ltd. (opens new window) have created a set of Blue and Purple Chinese Dragons (with a Red one on the way) so that you, too, can fulfill your Oriental Dragon desires.
Both the Blue Dragon (above) and the Purple (below) share the same body
sculpture, their only difference being in their color. Both have five claws on each foot, symbolically making them representative of the Emperor or, more broadly, Imperial China. Purple is the color of royalty....
Here are two more terrific Dragons from our friends at Safari Ltd. (opens new window) who here present us with two very different looking Dragons.
"With my four heads I am able to be perfectly aware of my environment. I can see any- and everything that is coming, and be fully prepared to deal with it. What makes me especially capable is that all my decisions are arrived at by consensus, making them the best possible, considered responses to whatever may happen."
"It would have been considerate to have dipped yourself in Peanut Sauce when you saw ME coming."
End Dragon Blog Part 3
Dragon Blog Part 4
Dragon Holmes and the Red Headed League: April 3, 2010
Here are a pair of cute and fanciful winged Dragons from Safari Ltd. (opens new window). Winged Dragons are usually Western in origin, tending to be more aggressive and less benevolent than their Oriental relatives. SMAUG, the Dragon in J.R.R. Tolkien's epic, The Hobbit is typical of the expected behavior of Western Dragons.
The Green Dragon is quite the fellow with a Triceratops like frill behind his head, a set of teeth reminiscent of Liopleurodon and a small horn on his snout like a Styracosaurus. This fierce and ferocious figure is certainly what our fears about Dragons are all about. He also has five claws on his 'hands' and feet, making him royalty in China. With his wings (think cape) and frill, looking a bit like a pork-pie hat, he could be taken for Sherlock Holmes, Dragon style.
The Red Dragon is smaller than its green cousin and despite his purposeful glare he looks a lot like Wile-E-Coyote preparing his Acme Rocket backpack. He has white spikes running down his back, matching his claws and the two horns on his head, the left one being slightly damaged, and his somewhat scraggly bite. It ain't easy being a Dragon....
Below, a meeting of the Red Headed League, voting for president. At the 150th ballot a rules change is suggested.
"Let's see what happens when you can't vote for yourself."
End Dragon Blog Part 4
Dragon Blog Part 5
A Sea-Dragon Emerges: April 4, 2010
In our previous Dragon-Blog entry we learned that four heads may in fact not be better than one, depending perhaps on the size of the teeth in the heads. Today we will take a look at another, and the most elegant, of the Safari Ltd. (opens new window) Dragon series, the Sea Dragon.
The Sea Dragon is done in blue and turquoise with (fittingly) a translucent aquamarine webbing between its toes and spikes running down its back and along the top and bottom of its tail. The eyes are red and the horns, teeth and claws are silver and its throat and belly are armored with silver scales. The result is a Dragon that is most decidedly sea-serpentish and is equally at home in, under and outside of the water. This is a very well crafted Dragon with none of the toyish quality so often seen in 'fantasy toys' and a must-have for Dragon fans. I really like it! Yes I know it's not a Dinosaur. Here is a Dinosaur figure that I love that looks a bit like a Dragon.
The Sea Dragon pretty much rules the Oceans from the surface to the depths and especially likes pristine beaches where it can lay in the sand, sunning itself. It eats whatever and whoever it pleases, whenever it wishes. But, occasionally, it meets up with someone who just it just finds a bit distasteful.
"I find you distasteful only because you're so crabby, you know."
Yeah. Don't get your hopes up buddy, I've got no plans to change myself into a menu item for you.
End Dragon Blog Part 5
Dragon Blog Part 6
He'll be Dragon Round the Mountain: April 5, 2010
When it comes to friends Rexford knows how to pick 'em and this, the 2008 Mountain Dragon (above- seen in front of his cave entrance) by Safari Ltd. (opens new window) certainly qualifies as a good "bud" despite his lack of credentials as a Tyrannosaurus, an Allosaurus, a Theropod or even any kind of Dinosaur (toy or otherwise) at all. Rexford is a very *catholic* (adjective- see bottom of page) kind of modern-day Dinosaur.
The Mountain Dragon is quite similar to Rexford in coloring, being a dark red with black highlighting (the wing fingers), gray-red leaf-shaped scales armoring its belly, golden horns and Stegosaurus-like spikes on its tail and four (4, count 'em, 4) green eyes. The forward two for close-up work, the upper ones for long distance viewing? Like 'living' bifocals. (Four eyes may be better than two, we already know that four heads aren't necessarily better than one). With his mighty claws and massive jaws he looks ready to tear down and chew up the very mountains that he rules.
His pose is also quite serious. The neck is arched, head carried low, tail twitching like a cat's and wings held down he appears to be stalking a victim. (Perhaps a strip-miner or an errant dwarf. [see The Hobbit]) THIS Dragon means business! (Rexford says you can tell by his coloring alone.)
Extremely well detailed and beautifully crafted the Safari Ltd. Mountain Dragon would enhance any Dragon-collection and certainly complement your Dinosaur one. There is a truly dynamic feeling of movement and action about this figure. Of all the Safari Dragons this one is imbued with the most power, strength and a sense of implacable permanence, like the mountain fasts it rules. (All qualities Rexford respects.) He is ready for anything and clearly few (if any) of those things are ready for him. This is a very, very, very good (and desirable) Dragon toy, not to be confused with the always desirable Dinosaur toys, a supplement, not a substitute.
"I'd never dream about trying to replace you, Rexford"
A Woodsy Tail, and Claws, and Teeth: April 6, 2010
2010 witnesses the debut of the Safari Ltd. (opens new window) Golden-eyed Forest Dragon, seen above exiting his lair for the first time. Born fully grown he is ready to challenge with tooth, claw and Dragon magic any who would despoil his realm. (Or not accept being an hors d'ouevres.)
An, appropriately enough, forest green Dragon with varying gray highlights (mane, spinal ridges, wing webbing, scale edges, belly scales and claws) and 'horn' colored horns he is surprisingly colorful for what one might otherwise expect to be a monochrome figure. With his golden eyes and extremely fierce expression he is anything but. His face has the most expressiveness of all the Safari Dragons. Sadly, that expression appears to be an angry one. Perhaps if we were all more ecologically aware he would have a happier visage.
Our Forest Dragon is built like a lean athlete, well muscled and lithe always at home roaming the forest trails, seeking trespassers (tasty trespassers all) in his Dragondom. Easily able to slip between the tree trunks or with a mighty flap of his wings rise above the tree tops to gaze across his domain- he rules the forest. With neither the ethereal beauty of the Sea Dragon nor the massive power of the Mountain Dragon yet lacking nothing and is their equal in his own realm. This Dragon exudes a beauty and strength all its own. A very worthy addition to the Safari Dragon pantheon.
This blog entry concludes what we call our 'Dragon Bridge', until we come across another Dragon anyway. My shoulder is getting better, my range of motion is increasing and my therapists have me doing isometrics (contracting the muscle(s) without motion, like pushing against a wall) to actively exercise the shoulder, but I'm still not allowed to move the shoulder voluntarily. Two and one-half more weeks before I can do that.
The next two days will be devoted to Rexford and some of his adventures while I work on blog entries comparing modern-day animals with Dinosaurs, sort of comparing the ecological niches that they occupy. An example would be Elephants::Sauropods, both too big to "fail"; Wolves::Allosaurs, one the Wolf of today, the other called the 'Wolf of the Jurassic'. We'll see how it goes. Just trying to remain relevant....
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