Friday, May 7, 2010

Vintage Dinosaur Art: Aurora Model Kits

In the early 1970's, the Aurora company struck gold with their "Prehistoric Scenes" model kits of dinosaurs and other ancient beasts. There's a tribute site to the model kits, run by a fellow named Ian, located here. The images below come from the site; there is a wealth of background information, images, and even original kits for purchase. The site is very 1.0, but that's no deterrent if the content is cool.

Image from Aurora Prehistoric Scenes

According to a 2007 post at Drawn! The Illustration and Cartooning Blog, comics artist Dave Cockrum designed some of the kits and their box art, though the above anachronistical joyride doesn't seem to be his. An interview at Comic Book Resources indicates that he was really only responsible for the T. rex and Stegosaurus.

Image from Aurora Prehistoric Scenes

Here's his T. rex box art, but unfortunately the Stegosaurus wasn't meant to be. It's a shame, because it easily twould have been one of Aurora's finest kits.

Image from Aurora Prehistoric Scenes

There's also a sketch of a proposed Parasaurolophus model on the tribute site, signed by Cockrum, but it must not have left the early planning stages. These old kits seem to inspire quite a bit of nostalgia, and I can see why. They have a pulpy sensibility to them, a mix of B-movie inspiration and scientific curiosity. When all of the kits were assembled, their bases could be fit together into a wild, improbable crowd of ancient beasts and cavemen. If I had been kicking in the early seventies, I would have been crazy for them.

Side note: sorry if this post popped up prematurely (and incompletely) in your blog reader of choice last night - I accidentally published it as I was starting the post. I deleted it immediately, but it's still sitting in my Google Reader.


  1. I picked up the Triceratops in the Revell series not that long ago after seeing some of the modifications people were doing for them in Prehistoric Times. I had a couple snap-together model dinosaurs as a kid but these are so much more dynamic and with so much character, I wish there were more like them.

  2. The first Christmas gift I ever got that was epic (that I remember) is the RED T-REX--- I would have to go through photos to determine my age at the time, but early 1970s. I rememeber waking up thinking no way I would get that Red Dinosaur and there it was. Being in my 40s, when I think back to the first Christmas gift I truly remember it was the Red T-Rex with glow in the dark claws. I would always go to the mall at a place called Hobby Center and check out the box repeatedly. In the 1970s before Star Wars 1977, the toy of choice for all young boys was anything Dinosaurs. The king of all the Dinosaur toys out there was the Red T-Rex. On that Christmas morning I got that king and I will never forget it. Truly when I think back to my biggest Christmas morning it was probably this one, my age at the time and so long looking at it in the store... We all have those Christmas mornings we won't ever forget. Thanks so much for taking the time to post so much about this.


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