We have a couple of young boys and people often give them interesting birthday presents. Our eight year old has recently developed a taste for ‘dinosaur excavation kits’ after getting one his last birthday. These are a whole series of plastic dinosaurs, broken into parts and embedded into a brick of cheap plaster. You’re given a brush and a plastic tool to excavate the pieces from the block prior to assembly. They’re great fun, and keep young boys amused for hours, although they generate a heck of a lot of dust!
Our kids have gone through most of the series, excavating classics like Tyrannosaurs, Stegosaurs, Triceratops, Brachiosaurs and Pteradons. They’re from 4M Industries and are available locally (in New Zealand) from a bunch of places, including IQ Toys, The Warehouse and even our local Pak’n’Save supermarket for roughly $20nz a kit.
I was vacuuming up the latest lot of red dust from the living room when it occurred to me that these kits are almost the right scale for 28mm Pulp figures. A quick wiki for a comparative chart of Tyrannosaur specimens and they seem fairly close. So I nabbed the Tyrannosaur off my son’s bookshelf and took the photos you see here. Those are a couple of Copplestone Casting figures standing under the plastic Tyrannosaur.
Looking at the figures together it seems dinosaur is a touch over scale, maybe about 5-8% too large. It probably doesn’t help that the dinosaur is high rearing pose, a bit of cutting and reposing would probably fix that, but as I said this is from my son’s bookshelf so that’s not an option for this particular figure. The very white plastic is also a little off putting, but you know what would fix that? A nice overcoat of some home-made varnish based dip. The plastic these kits are made from is that cheap, fairly flexible stuff so I wouldn’t recommend trying to paint one with any kind of water based acrylic paint, but a polyurethane varnish would probably adhere fairly well.
So, if you’re looking for a cheap, roughly 28mm Dinosaur skeleton, I’d recommend these toy kits from 4M industries. Even if you don’t use the whole figure, they’re still a useful model for Pulp gaming. I intend to experiment with push molding the head and maybe several of the bones to try and create my own set of ‘paleontology excavation’ terrain pieces.