Vault tales 38 Safari Charniodiscus

Who makes it? One figure in the Safari Ltd Cambrian Life toob, number 677104.

When did it come out? The toob was first released in 2013

The Charniodiscus figure! Not the most exciting organism…but their very existence is interesting, from a time before animals really started to take familiar shape.

Still available? Unfortunately, no, the toob was discontinued in 2017. They may still be out there in random stores, but it’s been a few years now.

Where can it be found in my displays? On the shelf that is mostly invertebrates. I don’t focus very much on these groups, but among them the vast majority is prehistoric. And among those, most are Cambrian. In a twist, Charniodiscus doesn’t even fit that…it’s an Ediacaran organism…

How does it fit in the collection? I have lots of small figures, I have lots of prehistoric figures, and I have lots of Safari Toob figures. This was definitely going to be in the collection!

And the back side of them. The branches within the frond are nicely depicted.

Any story behind it? Not really. It was just so great to see a decent, inexpensive set of very early animals become available. They were in the shop for a while, but I have of course ran out now.

Notable remarks about this figure (a review that isn’t really a review): I’ve already said it, but I’ll say it again–regardless of appearance, Charniodiscus doesn’t technically belong in the toob. It’s from the immediately-preceding Precambrian epoch called the Ediacaran.

Now, with that out of the way, the figure itself…like many of the toob figures, this one is painted in a solid colour, top to bottom. The overall shape is captured well, with a pointed tip, leaf-shaped body, and stalk leading down to the holdfast, which is embedded in a small brown base. I only have a couple quibble: first is that the holdfasts for the two stalks from the ‘front’ of the figure are kind of blended and joined into a blob; second, the fronds of the figures seem too thick compared to the animal. The fronds were generally quite thin, although it’s understandable since these were meant as toys. As one more point, it would have been nice to see one of the 3 fronds in the short, wide form, just to depict the variation.

Relative to the time, Charniodiscus was HUGE! Almost…50 cm tall! Obviously there weren’t any divers at the time. There wasn’t much of anything swimming around…yet. The figure is about 1: 10 scale, assuming the maximum height.

Would I recommend it? For sure. I am guessing that while they are discontinued, they are still out there and available relatively easily. I am always one to encourage a broad diversity in figures, and exploring these really, really ancient organisms is great. Plus, as far as figures go…Cambrian figures are not common, but I do have several (at least 3 other companies!). But Ediacaran biota? I have a total of 3 figures that represent the life reconstruction of them, and the others are very rare Yujin figures. So track this one down while you still probably can!