MY DINOSAUR TALE
AN APOLOGIA FOR DINOPHILIA
Now I am a physician specializing in Internal Medicine, working in a group practice in Vista, California. My office is decorated with Dinosaurs. My bookshelves are full of dinosaur books, model skeletons, casts of teeth, and Dinosaur sculptures. I have display cabinets full of minerals and fossils. People often walk down the hall and stop to stare into my office in amazement. Of course they usually say, "Wow, my kid would LOVE this! I see you never outgrew them." Oh well...
I have had this small bronze dino since
early childhood. There was something
about it that struck a chord in me that
is still resonating. The tooth is from a
Ants magnificent 1:10 scale skeletal
reconstruction of the apex predator of the Jurassic of North
America. This is probably the best full skeleton kit ever
produced for commercial sale. Practically every single
bone was a separate piece and the quality of the casting with
the minimal amount of flash was astonishing, given what
one usually finds in a resin kit. There are times
when I wish I had painted it to look more "fossilish", but after
what I paid for a plexiglass case with a black back panel, I
won't seriously consider it. Anyhow, it is very
eye-catching in bone-white. This kit was sculpted by Dr.
Steven Wagner, an Albuquerque Dentist, after extensive
research. Ants planned to produce a number of skeletons,
but after getting no farther than a series of some fairly nice
dinosaur and hominid skulls, the company went extinct.
I talk a lot about Ants, this kit and
many of their other products on the new pages of this website, The Old Bone
Here is a website that goes into
considerable detail about this kit: Brantworks
Brant was a research scientist in an Australian biotech company who has a serious interest in dinosaur skeleton models. His interest was so serious that he became the director of the Australian Age of Dinosaurs, which was a full time job! Of course, working full-time isn't the same as making a living and he is now back to Biotech, this time in New Zealand. He managed to track down one of these kits and felt that as rare as they are, he didn't think he should build it. Instead, he cast a complete new kit from the pieces and then went on to rework the pelvis and sacrum as he found there were some subtle errors in the original, as well as adding a furcula (wishbone). I am impressed. In his assembly, he uses brass connectors in each of the joints rather than glue. It sounds rather tedious, but it is a great idea. I built this kit back in the early 90's and it was my first resin kit. I don't recall that I even used accelerator to get the superglue to set. Today, it is very fragile. Brittle may be the most accurate description. I have probably had to repair the tail at least four times as it tends to sag and eventually fall off somewhere around the 25th vertebra. I recently moved my practice to a new office and when I picked up the model, the right leg fell off. I glued it, using Zap-kicker this time, but when I went to put it on its new shelf, it fell off again. While in transit, the head and first cervical vertebra fell off, and when I accidentally dropped the skull, it and that vertebra went their separate ways. In regarding the puny locater tabs on the hip and the skull/cervical vertebra articulations, I realized that little short of a solid mass of cured superglue would be likely to stand up to the gravitational stresses those parts will face in the future. Rather than make it appear that my beast suffers from serious ankylosing spondylitis, I decided it was time for pinning. Trying to steady the cervicals while drilling a hole through their center without disrupting the entire neck was a pretty anxiety-provoking experience, as was turning the whole model on its side so I could angle the micro bit on the Dremel into the hip socket without breaking anything else. Ultimately, the operation was a success and I was able to insert short lengths of textured finishing nails into the sockets and join the pieces with a satisfying sense of strength as the skull and leg now remain steadily suspended. For more on the fixes required as this kit ages, see page 5 of my Old Bone Odori.
The Ankylosaurus and Stegosaurus Skulls are more of Lascha Tskondia's work for Ants, now
available from Echoes In Time. They
were purchased unfinished and I painted them to resemble real
I have a more images of these interesting models,
as well as many others on the new pages at The Old Bone
This is the skull of an interesting
creature that actually lived somewhat before Dinosaurs and was
more closely related to crocodiles. This was built from a
kit by Wiccart. I have a number of kits from this company
featured on these pages. I believe that I bought an
example every kit that Steve Harvey made, with the
exception of his complete Rhamphorhynchus skeleton.
Unfortunately, he closed his company in late 2000 and is no
longer producing these kits. As with Ants, companies
making nice dinosaur models are as likely to become extinct as
non-avian dinosaurs themselves. The quality of these
models was fabulous and I'll be sorry when I finish building the
few still hiding in my closet. There are some
very nice full-skeletal sculptures available today from Healthstones, but you
don't get the satisfaction of building and finishing the kit
yourself. Again, there is a lot more on the story behind
these skulls and many more images at the new Old Bone
Every once in a while, someone looks at my license
plate holders and asks me, "What is a ... how do you
pronounce that anyway?" After I tell them , they usually
look just as mystified as before I answered.
However, there are a few folks who say, "Wow! How
cool! A Die-nah-NAI-kuss license plate!" That
makes it all worth it.
The Royal Tyrrell
is a fabulous Paleontology-only museum in Alberta. Their
website has a virtual tour of their exhibits.
The American Museum of Natural History has an excellent section on Dinosaurs.
The Peabody Museum at Yale University has a great tour of the famous Zallinger mural of the Mesozoic and even some of the Paleozoic.
While they may not have been Dinosaurs, there were
impressive reptile rulers of the seas during the Mesozoic, and
there's a great webpage about them at THE OCEANS OF KANSAS
Some students at a charter school sent me a link to a quick
review of how to date a dinosaur. Dinosaur
Dating . It is part of a website devoted to dating
in general. I might have thought these kids should be a
bit too young for that sort of hook-ups, but then they grow up
so fast these days!
I was recently contacted by a group of kids from the Goodwin
Community Center in Asheville, North Carolina. They found
a website about rockhounding and thought that readers here might
enjoy it. It does appear that the oil industry wants
people to know a little it about the rocks in which our fuels
are found when they aren't fracking them into powder.
There are some nice links here: Fossils
to Shale – Rockhounding for Kids.
WOW! TABURIN'S DINOSAURS is an
amazing website! He is an extremely talented woodcarver
and has made an extensive collection of skeletal
reconstructions. There are dinosaurs, mosasaurs and
pterosaurs. He shows several of them in various stages of
carving and construction so that you can see how he does what he
does. That probably makes them even more impressive.
He also has a number of other fascinating links. While the
site is Japanese, Taburin-san (actually, I think his name
is Ryoji Tabuchi) has more than enough information presented in
English, so navigating his site is pretty easy.
I mentioned Brantworks
in the caption to my Allosaurus skeleton model above.
Brant Bassam is an Australian with a serious interest in
dinosaur skeletal models. His website has a lot of
fascinating images and information about skeletons he has built
or is working on. If he isn't satisfied with the accuracy
of a piece, he modifies it or makes his own.
Bruckmann's Dinosaur Model Collection has many galleries
of beautifully built and painted models of dinosaurs and other
is one of the world's premier dinosaur sculptors and his website
Design is a company that makes full-size replicas of
dinosaur skeletons, so you will need a LOT of shelf space, not
to mention a sauropod sized budget to purchase most of their
products. They do have a fabulous 1/12 scale Apatasaurus,
sculpted by Phil Platt, that is a bit more affordable.
rather old website that has not been updated since 1998.
Nonetheless, it is fun to look around at Larry Dunn's models
and kit reviews, some of which may actually still be in
is a magazine devoted to art, models, toys, collectibles and a
little bit of science about Dinosaurs and other paleo
subjects. It's a lot of fun; the type of magazine I would
have loved to stash under my bed in college. It has provided
a place for us Dino-consumers to learn about the amazing things
being made today, and probably has done more than anything to
provide a market for all of the other sites in this section.
Dinotoy Forum is a
vast website devoted to dinosaur toys, models, art, collectibles
and the people who collect them.
Dinosauriana is an
extensive website devoted to the history of dinosaur models, toys
and collectibles. The author recently wrote Scale Model
Dinosaurs, a book cataloging every dinosaur model and
sculpture that he could document over the past three of four
decades. I am actually included among its pages as a
I haven't checked Facebook lately but I am sure there must be
plenty of dinosaur activity there.
|This Paleo Ring site is owned by
Frank Galef. If you use this link, put tyra in front of it!
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