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Alien Dragon

Safari Ltd.
by yo go re

Safari Ltd.'s Desert Dragon was pretty dang cool, so when they offered us some more figures for review, we went back to the Dragons line to pick out something fun.

The Alien Dragon is an oddity even among dragons. Its strange, wingless body and uniquely shaped legs make many believe it comes from somewhere beyond this earth!

Safari Ltd's PVC toys don't have traditional packaging, just cardboard tags around their necks, so that little snippet of information above comes from their website. And there's even more there, too!

I've definitely got a thing for the dragons that don't look like dragons - the Alien Dragon is just as far removed from the typical drake as the Desert Dragon was. Its head, for instance, is only vaguely draconic, looking more like a horse skull with Predator mandibles around the mouth. And its eyes have weird cuttlefish pupils, rather than looking lacertilian.

Furthermore, this dragon's got no wings! It has six limbs, including four legs, but the final set that on many dragons would be a pair of wings sprouting from the back are instead here short arms with long, bony fingers - the only thing on this dragon's back is a weird, unsettling ridge of rounded spines that run from the skull all the way to the tip of the tail, making it look somewhat aquatic. While there are spots of segmented armor on the legs and throat, for the most part the Alien Dragon has no scales, just leathery skin.

The majority of the dragon's body is a very pale blue, with a dark blue for the armor on the limbs, and an even darker blue on the underbelly. There's a bit of a grey drybrushing on the head that's probably meant to help bring out all the sculpted details, but honestly just makes the toy look dirty - not "toy dirty," like tan painted on a green GI Joe jeep, but actual "I need to wash the grime off my toys" dirty. It might have been better if they'd skipped the shading on the head and instead used that bit of the budget to make the teeth a different color than the skin. That said, the grey eyes with their orange irises and black pupils have a great, glassy, three-dimensional look. But if it's an extra-terrestrial, why not make it gray? Or green, like the proverbial "little green men"?

This is a solid PVC toy, so no articulation - but the dragon still has a nice pose, sort of pulling back in surprise. Or maybe pulling back to strike. Either way, it's pulling back, resting more of its body weight on its left side than on its right. The rear legs seem to point the opposite direction from the front, but that makes more sense when you see the Alien Dragon's scientific name: Draco xenorthoptera. "Draco" is clear enough, and anyone who's ever heard of LV-426 knows what "xeno" is about, but the rest might leave you scratching your head. "Orthoptera" comes from the Greek meaning "straight wing," and is the scientific name for insects like locusts and crickets. So the legs bend backwards because this dragon's half grasshopper! Clever!

The design of this toy is definitely weird and alien, just as it should be. I'm not personally a fan of the coloration, but the sculpt is inventive and yet understandable all at once. It would be really neat if Safari Ltd. did a second version of this, painted a glossy black - imagine it hanging out with the Alien, serving as a xenomorphic counterpart to that Predator Hound from a few years ago! But hey, that's the nice thing about PVCs like this: if you get one, you can play with it however you like, yeah? And since there are no joints, if you decide to paint it black yourself, you don't have to worry about the paint scraping off when it moves.

-- 04/04/18

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