Blue Shark (Monterey Bay Aquarium Collection by Safari Ltd.)

Sharks are, generally speaking, the living embodiment of efficiency and elegance. Most of this is owed to the sleek, aerodynamic body plan possessed by the majority of shark species, but one shark takes these classic shark attributes to the next level. The blue shark (Prionace glauca) has refined the efficiency and elegance of sharks like no other, with its long, trim, lithe body. Although the blue lacks the power of something like a white shark, or the speed of the mako, it makes up for it in its maneuverability and effortless grace. Indeed, its body plan, in conjunction with the blue’s deep blue coloration and large, white-trimmed eyes, is also among the most beautiful of sharks. Today we’re looking at the Safari Ltd. Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA) blue shark, first released in 1993.

The Safari MBA blue shark is a masterpiece. While other blue shark figures do exist, such as those by Schleich, none of them capture the essence of the blue shark quite like this figure. That the figure is now pushing 30 years of age is a testament to its quality and staying power. That said, there aren’t many blue shark figures out there, besides the aforementioned Schleich figures there is also one by Yowii but that’s all I could turn up. But with the Safari figure running (or swimming?) strong for nearly 3 decades, does there really need to be? In picking out a blue shark for my collection, this one was a no brainer.

Blue sharks average 6-10’ (1.8- 3.0 meters) in length with exceptional specimens measuring up to 12’ (3.6 meters). Reports exist of 20’ (6 meters) specimens but are unverified. The MBA blue shark measures about 7” (18 cm), so that puts it at 1:20 scale if you’re scaling it down from a 12’ specimen. The problem with this is that the MBA blue shark is a male, as indicated by the presence of claspers between the pelvic fins, and males average smaller than females.

Richard Ellis, in his The Book of Sharks, described the blue shark thusly, “the blue shark is long in almost all respects; long snout, long tail, long body, and especially long, curved pectoral fins.” The long sleekness of the blue shark is faithfully reproduced in this figure. It is positioned propped up by it’s scythe shaped pectorals and caudal fin. The pose is mostly static with the tail sweeping gently towards the right.

The mouth of the shark is slightly open but the teeth are difficult to discern. They’re sculpted there, but not painted so appear absent. That’s alright, Ellis also wrote, in describing the blue shark, “only the blue’s teeth cannot be considered long by shark-teeth standards, but they are particularly sharp and numerous.

The blue’s teeth are ideal for a range of applications. From snatching up squid, one of its preferred prey items, to ripping large chunks off whale carcasses. The eyes are appropriately big and bright on the figure, complete with their white outline. Five gill slits are sculpted adjacent to the pectoral fins and the overall proportions appear spot on.

The blue shark really is blue, and that too is well displayed here. The blue shark also exhibits countershading, so the blue coloration dorsally lightens along the sides, and gives way to white on the underside. Blue sharks can be found around the world, off the coast of every continent besides Antarctica. It prefers deep, open water, and for that habitat this coloration works splendidly. The back of all the fins are edged in black paint, and the eyes are painted with a shiny black finish. The inside of the mouth is pink. Because of its long production history, I’m sure the quality of the paint application varies, but mine is a recent model and the paintjob looks fantastic.

The Safari blue shark is a wonderful piece without much competition and it appears that it will remain that way for some time. It is still in production and can be purchased for $6.29 on Safari’s website. It’s well worth the price.

With 1/18 scale Matt Hooper

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Comments 5

  • I think this is the only MBA shark I have. Normally, they are a bit big for me, but this was the only one available at the time that I liked. I am not super scale-conscious, so that’s OK.

    Wonderful review, as always!

    • I’m not super scale-conscious either, preferring to just have quality representations of as many shark species as possible. But this one does look odd on my shelf, outsizing the rest of my sharks, including my Schleich white shark.

  • I am very scale conscious. In fact I only collect animal figures that are (or could be) 1/18 scale, so I like the MBA sharks as many of them work well for that scale. In fact many of Safari’s newer shark releases also fit well with this scale so I have gobbled them up. Most of them are quite good with the Tiger shark being one of the weaker ones, mostly because of the paint job.

    But this blue is top notch though….amazing for such an old figure.

  • Great job on the review! I have two of the older versions of this model. Also, good job picking up on the sex of the figure when assessing the scale. I never noticed the claspers because I just assumed all of the MBA sharks were female. I guess they were a bit off on the scale with this one.

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