Review and photos by Ikessauro; edited by bmathison1972
Editor’s comment: it gives me great pleasure to present the first Blog entry by forum member Ikessauro! Let’s hope this is the first of more to come!
I have been a prehistoric animal collector for the past 17 years now, and although I was always fascinated by toys of modern reptiles, I didn’t consider buying those, focusing my attention on prehistoric stuff. That is, until now.
Recently, I got the urge to search for cool, realistic, well-made extant reptiles and amphibian toys. And that led me to research which were the most interesting models around. Safari Ltd stood out as a good choice for their large, well made realistic models, some even looking like casts of real specimens. Most of them are considered part of the Incredible Creatures line, a line practically all animal toy collectors are familiar with. Large, vinyl plastic toys, sometimes made close to or actually in 1:1 scale. This seems to be the case for the awesome timber rattler I am reviewing here.
This toy represents the snake species Crotalus horridus, know by a popular names of timber rattlesnake, canebreak rattlesnake, or banded rattlesnake. This viper species is naturally occurring in eastern United States and reaches around 150 centimeters long. It preys mostly on small mammals, but also eats birds, reptiles, and even other snakes. This species lives mostly in deciduous forests, hence the name timber rattlesnake, in areas with rugged terrain. They brumate during winter in small caves and rocky crevices, along other snakes.
Now that we know a little about the animal, let’s take a look at the model itself, a real gem in my opinion. The model is made of soft rubbery plastic, more malleable than the modern Wild Safari toys are. The snake feels hollow in some parts. The replica is quite large, measuring 35 x 30 centimeters across the coiled body, and over 130 centimeters long from head to rattle. This makes it definitely a 1:1 scale model for an average individual.
I was quite impressed by the size of the model when I first saw it in person. Although the TAI website indicates this model as part of the Incredible Creatures line, the tag says nothing regarding which line it belongs to. The model dates back to 1995, the first year of the IC line. The toy is very realistic viewed from the upper side, very convincing and detailed, the textures on the scales, and also the inside the mouth, are quite organic, which makes me wonder if it was cast from a real specimen.
The fangs are clearly visible inside the wide open mouth, the eyes are well defined and the scales are match perfectly the ones from a real rattler. The underside is simple, mostly smooth, and you can see the seams of plastic parts used to assemble the model in the factory. The assembly isn’t the best in this one, the pieces are not very well connected and the seams are quite visible. But that being on the belly of the snake, doesn’t bother me at all. The rattle is also very realistic, also being able to rattle just as the one from an actual rattlesnake. This was a really nice touch on the model from my perspective, it adds a new layer of realism to the toy.
The paint is thick and mostly glossy on the body, the overall color is a lighter olive green with darker green stripes, these in turn bordered by a thin black stripe. Inside the darker green stripes we have yellow paint splotches and short stripes. The mouth is grey and red with cream colored fangs. The eyes are a bright dark green with yellow pupil. The underside is light brown and the rattle dark brown. The head is mostly black with a few green details on top. The paint on the upper side feels like you would expect from older Safari models, thick and rubbery. The real snake probably wouldn’t be this glossy, considering the type of scales rattlesnakes have, and the color isn’t perfect to what i could see from pictures of this species, but the model looks convincing anyway. I guess Safari Ltd. wanted to emphasize the “timber” aspect of it, making it really green, possibly to differentiate from the other versions of the same model they had in production back then.
You might find this model similar to the eastern diamondback rattlesnake Safari Ltd has currently on the market. It is indeed almost identical, except for a few minor changes. Both seem to have the same pose, just differing in size and color, but I could see some differences in detail inside the mouth and specially on the size of the fangs. Although the timber rattler replica is larger, the fangs are smaller. I am not sure if that was intentional or not. Also the scales were re-sculpted in the new model, which feels a bit more like a sculpt than a cast.
This timber rattlesnake has been retired for quite some time now, being released in 1995. I could not find out when it was retired, probably late nineties, early 2000’s. I had never heard of it before, and I started collecting name brand figures around 2007 and only in late 2019 I found out about it. This could just mean I hadn’t been looking for it or could be it is in fact quite rare. Your best bet to finding one is probably keeping an eye on eBay. Although, I am not sure how much one of these would go for in auction, since I have never seen it listed.