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.