Wednesday, 3 December 2014

NOT a Dinosaur . . . a pliosaur!

This old Charlie Mcgrady sculpt just flopped onto on my workbench.

At about 49cm long it was originally intended to represent Kronosaurus queenslandicus in 1/25th scale.
However, I acquired it because of my fond memories of finding some pliosaur bones in an Oxford Clay pit near Peterborough. The skeletal remains of several European pliosaur genera are conservative enough in form that, when fleshed out, they would become virtually indistinguishable to our eyes. . . So this may very well end up representing either Liopleurodon or Pliosaurus. We´ll slap a name on it when it´s finished.

A simple 3 piece kit consisting of a body with the head in two parts, it´s all put together and the joins diguised with putty. There´s just the final tweeking to do before painting can begin - the usual casting flaws to fill, some of the rougher surfaces need smoothing out and the edges of the flippers will benefit from a slight thinning down. There is a lost tail-tip to sculpt on and I´m not sure about adding a slight tail fin. Some teeth that are missing have to be replaced with new ones made from Aves putty - there´s one with its "root" blurrily visible beneath the jaws in the image below. I´ll leave several teeth broken; if the isolated finds of broken pliosaur teeth in the Oxford Clay are anything to go by, such visible wear and tear must have been commonplace.

New premaxillary and maxillary teeth added.

Need to reduce the foremost teeth a tad more and add some interdigitating mandibular teeth.

Added dentary teeth in the region of the symphysis. Perhaps they may have been visible only there, as they become progressively much smaller further back along the dentary.
It took a ridiculous amount of time - making teeth, drilling sockets, adding teeth, breaking them accidentally, replacing them, breaking them deliberately, replacing them, refining them. Time to stop now.

Must remember to be extra careful when painting around this area.
Just the tip of the tail to finish, sans-fluke, then I can start laying down some colours.

Here´s the new tail tip, sculpted over a steel nail set in to the broken stub. Simple, smooth, no frills job. . . (ooops).

Now to start painting.
I promise to avoid an exclusively black and white pattern.

First stage mottling with several tones of diluted transparent colours (yellow oxide, raw umber, my own mix of olive green, shading black). The belly looks pretty much how I want it to now and a coat of clear varnish will help me preserve this whilst applying a lot more paint to the rest of the animal.

I want to try and keep this soft transition on the flanks, while the dorsal surfaces of the animal will be much more heavily dappled with increasingly darker colours.

This is what things look like before succesive stages of mottling in more sombre shades.

Updates will follow as things progress.


Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Shane Foulkes 1/18 Edmontonia (w.i.p.).

One of my favourite sculpts by Shane Foulkes. The 8-part kit (body with head, 2 shoulder spikes, 4 limbs, tail plus a terrain base) was very easy to build and all parts were cast in the top-notch quality that singles Shane´s products out from the rest of the market.
I have BIG plans for a diorama with this model.
The base will need to be hefty and at least a metre long ..... and my lack of this is my excuse for such an impressive kit lying unfinished in my storage for so long that it shames me.
Remains of Edmontonia are found in the Campanian sediments of Dinosaur Provincial Park Formation, Alberta and it was a contemporary of Gorgosaurus libratus, so this kit is a keeper to be added to my collection - hopefully in the not too distant future

I´m going to post a few w.i.p. images here and now, updates will follow if and as and when I get any more work done on it.

I can understand why there are so many reconstructions of nodosaurs and ankylosaurs bedecked with ivory/grey osteoderms - it creates a visually interesting effect. However, my own inclination is to promote the concept that the hide of these animals was more akin to that of crocodilians, whose osteodermal armour is covered with integument homogenous with the overall colouring and patterning of the beasts. What you see here is just the first speckling, things may well get even darker and duller by the time I´m finished.

Aposematic warning colouration on the belly and head will liven up the otherwise drab colouring.

This is where things are to date, February 2014. Everything painted white is merely base-coated and will not remain so.

More to follow, as and when .....

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Krentz 1/12 Styracosaurus

I´m a big fan of Dave Krentz´s sculptures and this 1/12 th (?) scale Styracosaurus, produced for the Sideshow Collectibles "Dinosauria" range, encapsulates his strong points. Dave is an expert at conveying dynamics - look at this inanimate piece of resin and doesn´t it convey an immediate sense of the transference of weight in motion? Don´t you get the impression that this is an animal "strutting his (or her) stuff"? Dave has a knack for imbueing his sculpts with a vey strong sense of animal individuality bordering on "personality" (he has, after all, worked for years as a character designer). This sculpt simply oozes haughtiness,
"Pretentious? Moi? Huh!"

I couldn´t resist re-painting my piece with my own colour-scheme, more fitting to my personal vision of how this impressive animal may have appeared in life.

To my shame I haven´t added the intended final detailing (my life had to alter course a few years back), but here´s how it looks in a state of near-completion.

Hoping to put the finishing touches to this one before summer 2014.....

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Wenzel 1/35 Triceratops.

This is a really nice little one piece kit from The Dinosaur Studio, imbued with the characteristic personality that Greg Wenzel somehow managed to impart to his sculpts.
I´ll let the images do most of the talking about how my little project evolved.

Basic patterning and some pre-shading laid down.

Nice idea for a startled animal.

I added some sloping ground to show the beast puzzling over how to cross a river in spate with deeper, faster water than it was expecting. I liked the stance with the animal looking down and things developed from there.

The picture frame used as a base was sprayed with several coats of granite-effect paint.
Groundwork was built up from bark, stiff packing foam, milliput and a pva glue/plaster mix.

A mixture of drybrushing and thin washes brought things on.

The belly of the animal is difficult to see but I couldn´t resist painting a pattern on it.

My first use of Vallejo clear water resin tinted with Vallejo paints went drastically wrong, cracking and lifting from the base. Several attempts later things began looking the way I had envisioned.

Triceratops has a black central stripe running down its back which has a slight purplish tinge to it.

A little more detailing.

Whitening the tip of the nasal horn makes it more effective for intra- and inter-specific signalling - waved around it might impress potential mates or warn off rivals and predators.

A liberal scattering of droppings over the moss-meadow implies that this Triceratops is not the first of its kind to come to this spot. Perhaps it is an old male, lagging behind the others and intentionally or unintentionally performing some kind of rear-guard action.

His tiny brain is trying to work out whether to cross the flood-waters or wait until they have receded. Fossil bones in the Hell Creek Formation will tell us the rest of his story.

Begun and finished in May 2009.