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Bernie the Alligator

Safari Ltd.
by yo go re

More toy companies need to have mascots. And then make toys of them.

Bernie the gator is a friend to all animals, protector of nature, and the proud mascot of Safari Ltd. Bernie is a champion of knowledge, creativity and conservation, and now you can take him home with you!

In the past, we've gotten the mascots of toy stores as a toy, but Bernie is the symbol of the company that made him. So when Safari Ltd. offered us some figures for review, Bernie was at the top of the list!

Bernie's an alligator, but he's not just an alligator - you wouldn't buy cereal from a real-life tiger, would you? Mascots get to be slightly cartoony, so that's what this sculpt delivers. Safari Ltd. specializes in highly realistic animal sculpts, but this one is smoother and simper. Real gators, for instance, don't have big, loveable eyes with shiny pupils and visible whites.

The body, similarly, has been toned down. Safari Ltd. also makes normal replica alligators (in normal and albino and parental and oversized and Toob and bulk forms), and those are covered with all the tiny scales the real animal would have, while Bernie just gets the biggest ones, the ones on his back and tail - his sides and legs get a couple little wrinkles, but are otherwise smooth. Bernie's been moisturizing!

Bernie's body is a strong green color, with darker shadows painted on the back-spines, and a pale tan on his belly. That same color is used on his little toenails, while the few teeth that poke out of his mouth are picked out in white (the line of the mouth is the same green as the skin). As mentioned, he's got those nearly-human eyes, rather than golden eyes with slit pupils, to really up the cute factor.

This is a nice little palm-sized toy, measuring about 5½" long. There's no articulation, of course, but he has a nice pose, looking like he's been caught mid-scurry. One of his front feet is turned inward, as though he's pushing off to the left, and his head is raised and turned in that direction as well. Honestly, he looks like a puppy wagging its tail at you. It's super cute.

Realistic animals are all well and good, but a mascot is something better: it doesn't just represent one creature, but every product the company puts out. Bernie can hang out with Geoffrey and the FAO Soldier, and hopefully more companies will follow Safari's lead, and come up with mascots of their own.

-- 04/18/18

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