Some bloggers are painting miniatures with facial hair this month as they take part in Movember, but one blogger has consistently indulged his love of all things pre-historic with his own themed month – Dinovember – and that is Michael Awdry of 28m Victorian Warfare.
Now, I did kind of say that I’d try to take part this year, but it has become my duty to report the dastardly deeds occurring in Blackwell, I didn’t really feel I could commit to an entire month devoted to dinosauria. However, as one of Michael’s posts for this month did focus on a model I’d sent him, it did remind me that I had a box of these models awaiting whatever devious plans I had for them.
So, inspired by Michael, I thought I’d give a potted history of the range and show you some of the models I personally own.
Back in 1974, a company called Invicta Plastics based in Leicestershire, began a partnership with the Natural History Museum in London to produce plastic models of pre-historic animals…and a Blue Whale, for some reason. This partnership continued for a good twenty years or so, with 23 separate creatures released from Glyptodons to Triceratops, Brontosaurus to Iguanadons. The NHM was still selling these models up until 2004, when the popularity of Walking with Dinosaur, meant that the Invicta models were no longer the ‘current’ idea of what a dinosaur’s stance should be. And because of this, when I visited in 2004, the Invicta models were all being sold at half-price – so I bought a load, with the idea that I could flog the extras on eBay. To be honest, I’d wish I’d bought a larger range, but I went for the ones I thought would be more instantly recognisable and cheaper to send through the post. Surprisingly, the Woolly Mammoths proved to be the most popular, followed by the Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Now, this range was unusual for two reasons. Firstly, it the first accurate (for the time) representation of pre-historic creatures and secondly, every model produced (bar the Blue Whale mentioned earlier and the Baryonyx) were actually in scale with one another. Each creature was moulded in single colour hard plastic and had the creature’s scientific name and details of its length molded on its belly. Which led me to the discovery that, roughly speaking, the ‘scale’ of this model range was 28mm.
Unfortunately, the Natural History Museum no longer sell these models and do not have hoppers filled with unsold models tucked away in a dusty corner of their basement – I know because I’ve asked them. I also asked after the moulds, but was assured that they have been destroyed. However as these were in production for a couple of decades, there are a LOT of these models out there, so if you do want some for yourself, check eBay. However, bear in mind that some people seem to think that ‘out of production’ equals ‘really rare’ and subsequently are selling these models at outrageous prices. A good rule of thumb for judging whether the price they’re selling it for is reasonable is to ask what the equivalent size model would cost in resin, metal of plastic (like the ones produced by Schleich). If the price is higher, don’t bother, but keep your eyes peeled, as sellers do sometimes put job lots up, containing half a dozen or so models for a reasonable price.
Of course, before you buy, you’ll want to know if they’re worth the money, so here are the ones I own, pictured with one of my converted UNIT soldiers, to give you an idea of how well they scale in.
First up, a Dimetrodon, a carnivore from the Cisuralian Permian, known for its distinctive sail-like fin;
This is the smallest model I have, but one of my favourite pre-historic beasties, because I think it looks so cool. As you can see, the detailing on each model was pretty good, even on the smaller models.
Next, a Scelidosaurus, a Jurassic herbivore.
Another nice model, which I picked up because I thought it looked suitably reptilian, but without immediately screaming ‘Dinosaur’, so could have other uses.
Next up, we have a Stegosaurus, another Jurassic herbivore.
A pretty distinctive outline on this one, although modern interpretation of fossil records suggest that it held its head and tail more horizontal.
Another favourite of mine, the Tricertaops, a herbivore of the Cretaceous period:
This model, as you can see, is ridiculously well-detailed and will be a joy to paint.
Next, a Megalosaurus, a carnivore from the Jurassic era.
And finally, the big kahuna himself, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, a carnivore from the Cretaceous period.
As you can see, he’s a pretty substantial model, towering over my UNIT soldier.
And here’s the whole gang:
So, a nicely detailed range of accurate dinosaur models, that are a perfect scale for 28mm figures, and that were relatively inexpensive to buy for the size of the model.
Whilst the pictures do give you some idea of the detail, various people have taken the time and effort to paint these models and do them justice, so follow the links to the Triceratops, Stegosaurus and Megalosaurus to see what these models CAN look like.
For mine, I’m kind of leaning towards initially using them as museum displays, but basing them so they can come off their plinths when brought to life by whatever Maguffin I come up with. That’s the wonderful thing about dinosaurs, they can be used anywhere.
Until next time.