The Safari Styracosaur is Running to a Toy Box Near You
The Safari Styracosaur Goes Into Action
I really can't recall the first time I saw one of these fabulously frilled creatures. It was probably in the early 1960s and it was, most likely, the MARX Styracosaurus in what was a rather static pose. Looking much, in fact, like a Rhinocerous. Way back in the 1960s most toys were made in rather unimaginative poses, generally just in "standing around" mode. Imaginative activity was left solely to the mind of the child (or adult) playing with them.
1998 saw the first Styracosaurus Dinosaur toys appear from Safari Ltd. and it was (and still is) in a very imaginative and active stance. Weighing three and seven-eighth ounces (3.875 oz, 109 gms) and measuring six and one-quarter inches (6.25", 16 cms) from beak (not horn tip) to tail this scales in at 1/35-1/38 (at a given length of the original Styracosaur being eighteen to twenty (18-20) feet). This fella fits right in with vast majority of contemporary Dinosaur toys just fine!
The Styracosaurus has long been one of my favorite Dinosaurs and Dinosaur toys. That marvelous frill and the big horn (it measured about two feet and is in scale on the Safari Styracosaurus) really fired the imagination of this young Dinofanasaur. They were vegetarians, but seemingly quite self-assertive ones, and are strongly believed to have traveled in herds (much like the larger and more well known Triceratops). While somewhat longer than today's Rhinocerous its tail accounts for some of that and it weighed about 2.5-3 tons making it somewhat lighter in weight than the "White" Rhino. (The "White" Rhino isn't actually white. It is as gray as any other species. "White" is a vulgarization of the South African/Dutch word for wide, wyd/wijd, which actually describes the squared face of this grazer.)
They were, with their beaks, primarily browsers, lopping off entire branches in the effort to meet their dietary needs, such as they were. You can learn more about Styracosaurs here (opens new window) or you can just proceed to learn more about these Styracosaurus Dinosaur toys. After all, that's what this site is all about.
Dino-babe dropped by with her Goldfish and kibblios snack container and one of our little buddies made the discovery....
Interestingly the Safari Styracosaur's beak is the same color as the Goldfish and so if you don't catch him in the act he has "plausible deniability." "I was just guarding them. Yeah, that's it, just serving and protecting." (I suspect just serving yourself....)
Molded in a dark blue (hmmm, just like a police uniform) rubber it is painted with dark tan frill and beak and paler tan belly and toes.
There are black vertical stripes running down its sides from shoulders to tail and the back of the frill is a lighter blue. No badge.
The mouth and nostrils are indicated with a lavender color and there are red stripes on the frill and little red dots on the right side of the head just above the mouth and on the left just above the "jaw-horn"- oops. The eyes are black with white(!) pupils. Overall the sculpting is excellent. The head itself is really superbly crafted and has a proud look to it. Well deserved to my way of thinking. But wait... there's more!
As you can see in the above pictures, for what first appears to be a largely monochromatic beastie there is a fair amount and variety of colors in play here. I believe that there is a green repaint out on which the horns (frill, nose, beak and side horns, as well as the toes) are painted white.
One of the most striking aspects of this figure is the dynamic pose that it is in.
With its right foreleg lifted up in the air the right rear foot just
lifting off of the ground, its armored head turning towards the right (and the entire figure leaning a bit left) we find this Styracosaur in what is definitely an action pose. Whether it is running, turning quickly to meet an aggressor or preparing to whistle down a cab it is certainly in the act of doing something.
The tilt of the head can be readily seen (Below) in the face to face view of two of these standing, face to face:
Ordinarily I don't really like figures like this. It is so committed to whatever it is doing (like those stupid Apatosaurus that are looking over their backs- I mean, really!!?) it ordinarily limits the figure's playability to be doing much of anything else (like the Safari Dinosaurs of China Yangchuanosaurus, picking its teeth). In this case that is as far from the truth as it gets.
This Styracosaur is perfectly comfortable in three different poses.
(1) The 'designed' three foot stance. Right foreleg raised:
(2) Right forefoot down left up and turning sharply to the right:
(3) Rearing up on the hind legs with tail for support:
This trio of poses makes for one of the most versatile Dinosaur toys to be found anywhere.
Here we find a 1996 Safari T-Rex trying to figure out how to separate two Styracosaurs in order to take one "out to dinner." (Above)
(Below) We find that even a pack of Tyrannosaurs, attacking from two
directions, will still have major problems with a herd determined to stay off the menu. "Neither an appetizer nor an entree be."
A good motto to stay alive by.
The detail on these figures is neither extreme nor even necessarily consistent throughout. The right (raised) foot (Left) is typical of the feet detail- adequately but not extraordinarily done. The pebbling of the skin on the body, the stretching and compacting folds of flesh are all done well enough and the head is truly beautiful in execution. Remembering that this was produced to be "toy quality" (as opposed to museum quality) and introduced over ten years ago to boot. This is really a fine product. Given what amounts to a paucity of decent Styracosaurus figures on the market the fact that this is readily available NEW from several retailers (both brick & mortar and internet) at prices ranging from $3.49 to $4.99 (give or take) I would rank this as a 'must-have' of Dinosaur toys. You can get better detail, in larger scales (X-Plus comes to mind) and certainly at higher prices but you won't get a better 1/30-40 scale Styracosaur at any price, anywhere.
Mine are original production, ten plus years old, with lots of time in boxes bumping up against other Dinosaur toys and their paint (what little there is) is utterly unworn. Because they are hand-painted (in China by very myopic specialists) they are each different from the others in subtle ways. Their bellies bear that "CE" European Union imprint indicating that they are largely non-toxic presuming you aren't allergic to rubber (or rubber-like compounds) in the first place. Even so they don't cook-up well at all and nothing will enhance their flavor unless you're a rubber T-Rex, and if you are they won't need any enhancement.
They aren't now and likely never will be collectibles in the sense of gaining value through age and rarity. Besides, that is almost impossible to predict. They are very collectable however and are superb Styracosaurus Dinosaur toys.
Hanging around the Oasis, the desert office water-cooler.
Even when unwelcome luncheon visitors come to call it is still the place to be....
And not the cafeteria it may have appeared.
All those spikes reiterate the old saying: "It's better to be the fork than the forked."
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