Today I’m going to just look at a single figure, one which really showed a change in the game for the Safari prehistoric figures. This is of course the Dunkleosteus, number 283329. It was released in 2007 (in what was then the Wild Safari Dinos & Prehistoric Life series), and continues to be available today.
I say this was a game changer, really a revelatory figure, for Safari at the time, and I mean it. Up until around this point, most of the Safari prehistoric line was treated as more of the ‘toy’ end of their dinosaur figures–the high end, high quality ones were part of their Carnegie series of dinosaurs. Not to say they hadn’t done nice work before; not long prior, they had some released some really nice prehistoric mammals, for example. When the Dunkleosteus came out, though, it was a whole other level, and didn’t even seem like the Safari Ltd we knew. And it wasn’t just signaling a change for Safari, but from ‘dinosaur’ figure companies. Those of us in the collector communities could tell that things had changed for the better.
It wasn’t all at once though…the same year saw a (still?) unnamed pterosaur and theie latest Tyrannosaurus attempt, neither which are close to the level of this big placoderm. But we knew what was now possible, and it is still an amazing figure. It was also the first larger, widely available model of this infamous giant predator, making it even more exciting. Of course, that does mean there are some quibbles with the physiological choices–current research indicates that the tail should be more lobed than pointed (like the Dinotales one in Series 2, seen here with many others!). And other issues; for example, the plates (the only known parts of the animal) are sculpted and painted like they are on the outside of the skin; some current models show this as being less obviously visible, as they are bones so probably didn’t show.
In spite of some of these details, and in light of the vast number of models that have come out since, I personally think it is still one that belongs in any collection. (seriously, my post on Arthrodire figures is primarily Dunkleosteus figures…and I didn’t even have all of the ones available at the time, never mind the many that have come out since). It makes me very happy to say that it continues to be available for sale, although as is their way, the paint detailing has been diminished a bit. Easiest way to tell is the eyes–back in those days, the first run figures often had bright, shiny gold eyes (like mine) but current ones are ‘just’ yellow. Still, the figure is a good model, and compared to many of those current ones, is still priced reasonably for any collector!