Martin Garratt, a fellow countryman of mine, has been causing quite a stir in the dinosaur model-collecting community (What? Stop laughing. It's an entirely legitimate hobby) with his astonishing buildups of resin kits and models from the likes of David Krentz, Rader Studios and even the Carnegie collection. In addition he's even knocked up a few homebrew dinosaurs of his own. I took the opportunity to ask Martin about his work - photos are courtesy of Marilyn Price. Even if collecting dinosaur models as a hobby is not of interest to you, any lover of great palaeoart will get a kick out of these. Over to Martin. (Cretaceous Creations T. rex and Ankylosaurus, below.)
"I have been interested in dinosaurs ever since I can remember and as a young child visiting the Natural History Museum in London I was awestruck. I think that's what got me hooked.
I started collecting plastic injection dinos (Aurora & Airfix) in the '70s but stopped for a few years when I got married and had children. Then I got back into painting figure kits and about 10 years ago I was asked by a friend to paint a Kaiyodo Ankylosaurus for them. This revived my interest (especially when I saw what was now available in resin) and I started collecting whatever dinos took my fancy. [CM Studio Allosaurus and Stegosaurus, below.]
"I actually started sculpting my own dinosaurs around the same time. I don't profess to be a sculptor by any stretch of the imagination and I only sculpt one when I haven't got a 'proper' dino to paint. I don't use any references, I'm too impatient for that, (I just want it finished so that I can paint it), therefore I know what I sculpt isn't 'scientifically accurate' but I am only doing these for myself for the enjoyment of painting a dino. The forearm position of theropods is something that I have only recently become aware of and I am now sculpting my theropods with palms facing inwards. [Martin's Masiakasaurus below.]
"From a model arriving on my doorstep to the final product, including making a simple base for it, I would say takes me about 7 hours. The actual dino to build and paint takes approximately 3 hours. I do feel the urge to customise some of the models, probably not to correct any flaws but just to personalise it and because I actually enjoy cutting the models up, reposing and putting them back together. I never think or focus on the paintjob and I've never got a colour scheme in mind. When I'm about to start painting I will pick up a colour and it just happens - sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Some of the dinos in my collection get repainted several times. [Carnegie Collection 2011 Carnotaurus, below.]
"I like my dinos to look natural and believable enough to have actually existed. For instance, in my opinion a huge sauropod would more than likely have been quite drab, whereas I could imagine some of the smaller dinosaurs being more brightly coloured. A previous job of mine was as a 'keeper' at Dudley Zoo and after several years of observing many species of animals and reptiles on a daily basis you notice that the vast majority have dark topsides and a light underbelly. You also get a feel for an animals general conformation, which I am sure has helped me when reposing some of my dinos. [Cretaceous Creations Anatotitan and young, below.]
"The particular dinosaurs that I have in my collection have to appeal to me, and they range in size from the tiny 'Krentz' models to the large CM Studio's 52" Suchomimus sculpted by Charlie McGrady [pictured below] which is my favourite of all my collection so far. (Although I am looking forward to seeing Shane Foulke's forthcoming Baryonyx - my all time favourite dinosaur - so Charlie's Sucho might just be toppled off the top spot!)"
Many thanks again to Martin and Marilyn. You can see a more complete gallery of Martin's work on his deviantART page here. If you were wondering about the predominance of theropods in the above images, that's just selection bias...
If you're interested in having Martin create something for you, e-mail him and Marilyn at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a deal.