Vault Tales 264 Monterey Bay and Wild Safari Giant Squid

We’re going to look at a pair of figures from Safari Ltd today, two different takes on the same animal. I am speaking of their larger figures of the Giant Squid (the photo and title probably gave that away…!) I decided to look at the two since they are from the same maker, within about 6 years of each other, and overall are quite similar. Obviously, size is a major difference, but there are some other notable variations.

The larger figure was released as part of the Monterey Bay Aquarium line by Safari in 1999, under item number 212302. When this line came out it was notable for being the marine animal equivalent to their Carnegie Dinosaurs line. Like that line, the figures were large (compared to the basic WS figures) and overall sculpted and produced with a higher level of detail. If I recall, I believe that they were also supposed to all be to scale with each other, either 1:40 for the very large animals like the whale shark, and whales and their calves; and 1:20 for the remaining, smaller animals like their other sharks and dolphins. The Giant Squid was presented as part of the 1:40 figures (!) but is actually closer to 1:18 (measuring the mantle). So still to scale with much of the series, but not with the sperm whale. This figure is actually the last released Monterey Bay figure, and many are now out of production (but not this one).

The other figure was released several years later, in 2005, as part of the Wild Safari Sealife series, item number 277829. It is remarkably similar to the Monterey version, but of course appreciably smaller (roughly 1:40 scale). As is expected when comparing the higher-end collaborative Safari models and the ‘regular’ Wild Safari models (at that time at least) the Monterey is just a bit more life-like, and has more nuance in elements like the hooks and suckers on the arms and tentacles. The material and overall production of the Monterey is also better, with the body more bulky, and the arms and tentacles being much thicker; both figures feature wired, flexible tentacles but the Monterey ones are more robust. The paint application is also a little more careful than the Wild Safari, although that could be because my figure is not a first run, having obtained it probably around 2010. Both are coloured in the expected pinkish-red, although different shades (and it’s not clear to me which is closer to the real thing).

In all, either figure is a great model of the famous denizen of the deep. Interestingly, most of the other “regular” companies have not made their own versions (while Safari has made a few other smaller ones, and of course there are some Japanese ones) and I think these are still the only larger ones. Choosing between them may come down to a preference for size or scale; the Wild Safari scales with more of the large marine animal models, but the Monterey Bay just looks more impressive, and honestly, would probably hold up to play and handling better. Of course, it’s a little more expensive (not much) but given the size, worth it. Best of all, both figures are still in production, although the Safari site is out of both as of this writing (but someone probably has them).

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