Review of the 2019 Primates TOOB by Safari Ltd. I had bought this set early on when I started my Synoptic Collection, mainly for the marmoset and tamarins. I have since retained the bonobo and sifaka too, pending eventual release of standard-sized figures of these species. This TOOB is another example of Safari Ltd recently upping the game in their TOOB sets, with others being Whales (2018), Dolphins (2019), Great Lakes (2020), African Savannah (2020), and Pelagic Fishes (2019). This particular TOOB has 10 figures representing 9 species, all new sculpts. This TOOB should not be confused with Safari’s 2006 Monkeys and Apes TOOB, which has a completely different assortment of species with that are noticeably of lesser quality and detail. The figures shown here are well-textured and painted with non-glossy finish. I really like this direction Safari is going in. The figures in these sets are quite small, and for scale-conscious folks, they probably work best for the smaller species.
A. Coquerel’s sifaka, Propithecus coquereli.
This figure was simply marketed as ‘Indridae’, but the color best fits P. coquereli. The figure stands 4.3 cm tall, and the head-and-body length is 3.0 cm, making it approximately 1:15 in scale. Sifakas are surprisingly uncommon as toys, and most are from older sets (Play Visions, K&M sets), Japanese figures, or Yowies. I am surprised modern Western companies have ignored this group among their standard-sized figures.
B. red-handed tamarin, Saguinus midas.
The first of four ‘unique’ species in this TOOB! The figure is 6.0 cm long and the head-body-length is just shy of 3.0 cm, making the figure 1:7-1:8 in scale.
C. emperor tamarin, Saguinus imperator.
Another unique figure! The figure measures 5.0 cm, with a head-and-body length of 3.8 cm, making it about 1:5 in scale. There are two subspecies of emperor tamarin, and the all-black chin of this figure suggests the type subspecies, S. i. imperator, commonly called the black-chinned emperor tamarin.
D. white-handed gibbon, Hylobates lar.
There are two figures of this species in this TOOB, one black and one pale. The figures are simply marketed as ‘gibbon’, but most-certainly were intended to represent H. lar. The two figures are the same sculpt, only colored differently. The figures are displayed in a walking gait, but with a head-and-body length of 3.0 cm, they are approximately 1:17 in scale. The total height of the figures is 4.3 cm. If you want a standard-sized gibbon, Papo made a nice one!
E. Japanese macaque, Macaca fuscata.
This was a neat choice! Nice to see a non-Japanese company make this figure. That being said, the figures out of Japan are better, especially the Natural Monuments of Japan figure by Kaiyodo and the Nature of Japan figure by Kitan Club. The figure is in a sitting pose, but with a head-and-body length of 3.5 cm, it is approximately 1:16 for a male or 1:15 for a female.
F. common marmoset, Callithrix jacchus.
This unique figure is technically not a unique figure. Nayab marketed a figure as a common marmoset, but it does not look like it should (as is true of many of the Nayab primates, sadly). The figure is hard to scale, but the overall length is 4.2 cm with a head-and-body length of 2.5 cm, it is approximately 1:7.5 in scale.
G. bonobo, Pan paniscus.
The bonobo, also known as a pygmy chimpanzee, represents the fourth of the unique species in this set. The figure is in a dynamic walking pose, but with a head-and-body length of 4.0 cm, the figure is approximately 1:19 in scale (could easily fit into the popular 1:20 scale). I was really hoping with the release of this TOOB in 2019, Safari would have released a standard-sized figure in 2020. Maybe next year…
H. proboscis monkey, Nasalis larvatus.
This was another nice surprise! A very nice figure for its size. The figure is outstretched to 8.0 cm, but the head-and-body length is 3.7 cm, making it 1:19 on average (again, could easily fit into the 1:20 range). Mojo Fun made a nice standard-sized figure of this species, but this is another species that has surprisingly been ignored by companies.
I. howler monkey, Alouatta sp.
This figure is probably the black howler, A. caraya (following Safari’s standard-sized figure), but who can say. The all-black body and all-red brown tail do not reliably match any species or subspecies (that I could research). The head-and-body length is 3.5 cm, making it in the range of 1:16 – 1:26, depending on the species. There are a few howler figures out there but the aforementioned Safari Wild Safari figure is probably the most readily available.
This set comes HIGHLY recommended for collectors of interesting taxa or for those that want smaller primates to scale with figures of larger species. Being a relatively new set, it should be readily available from most of the common sources.