Vault Tales 134 Safari Shunosaurus

So today we’re going to look at one of the smaller sauropods made by Safari–the Shunosaurus from 2016, item number 305529. It was released in a pretty great year of Safari figures of unusual prehistoric animals actually, and I think as a lot they kind of got overshadowed by the surrounding years also featuring some great animals in great sculpts.

Shunosaurus is of course less familiar than some of the bigger or more wild sauropods (Brachiosaurus, Apatosaurus, Brontosaurus, Diplodocus…so many). But because of how most companies favour those big guys (or the ones with big, crazy crests and such) we don’t see enough of the smaller, unusual, and more ‘primitive’ forms. Shunosaurus is one of those, and given that it is a sauropod with a deadly club on its tail, you’d think companies would fall over themselves recreating it. Instead, it took a while to get one this good.

There had been others but they were…not all that remarkable. This one, though, sculpted by the inimitable Doug Watson (a name well-regarded among fans of Safari figures) seems to do this animal some justice. It is lively, and active, and the body is super sinuous–the tail has a lot of curve, and the body is in mid-stride, like it’s going somewhere with purpose. And yes, the feet appear to be sculpted more correctly, which is great to finally see on more sauropod figures. The colour scheme chosen also straddles a good line between creative and natural; the tawny earth tone with white bands is distinctive, but can also be seen as a kind of camouflage in a forest environment, breaking up the body pattern with shadows and bright spots.

As far as sauropod figures go, this one is kind of small, at about 19 centimetres along the curves. This is reasonable, as Shunosaurus was not huge by sauropod standards, maybe only 9.5 metres long. So a big animal, but not a giant like its famous cousins. The figure would be about 1:50 scale, so a little outside of the more popular scales, but not unreasonable (and most lines do not strictly adhere to a set scale anyway). It’s size means it also fits a shelf better than some of the giant ones–but that long, undulating tail can be tricky!

The good news is that this figure is available, right now, from Safari. I can’t think of any dinosaur collector that wouldn’t want a club-tailed sauropod in their collection, and so far this is definitely the best one. It’s not even close. The head alone does it (I won’t even bother mentioning the other one. Those who know, know). So I won’t belabor the point, I highly recommend this figure. And being Safari, it is of course appropriate for kids and playing–not everything I have is breakable and/or Japanese rarities!