Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Vintage Dinosaur Art: Paper Dinosaurs

Hello faithful LITC readers! I'm back from 5 weeks in the wilderness and SVP, and have a pretty cute piece of vintage dinosaur art to share with you. Today we're looking at Paper Dinosaurs: 20 Model Monsters to Cut and Fold, by David Hawcock and published in 1988 by Marshall Cavendish Books.

I picked this up a few months ago when I was visiting family in Halifax, and to be honest I'm shocked that this wasn't on my bookshelf when I was a kid - it hits exactly the sweet spot of dinosaurs and crafts that would have kept me occupied for weeks. The cover features a paper model that looks like current reconstructions of quadrupedal Spinosaurus but in the book is called Dimetrodon - that skull is definitely not Dimetrodon's, and I think we can chalk this up to the neverending confusion over these two taxa.

As you might expect from such a book, each species includes templates to photocopy onto the paper of your choice...

 ...and step-by-step diagrams and instructions for how to stick everything together. Each page of instructions also has a box with information about the model species, most of which are pretty great and reflect what we know about these animals reasonably accurately considering the context of the book and the amount of space they had to work with.

Tyrannosaurus is described as "both terrifying and ridiculous in appearance", which, I mean, yes if you think Tyrannosaurus looks exactly like this, then ok, but also probably it did not. Nevertheless, I think this model is awesome and I don't know why I haven't made twelve already. 

Quadrupedal animals fare a little bit better, probably because the legs don't need to splay out to the side as greatly in order for the mode to have stability. I like the shiny osteoderms given to this Euoplocephalus and also its sassy sticky-outy tongue, so much so that I'll forgive the spiked tail club knob. Maybe they were going for Anodontosaurus instead.

Because it's the late 1980s, it's basically a requirement that Baryonyx make an appearance, and boy does it make an appearance. Hello, everyone! There's actually a pretty good mix of classic and slightly more obscure dinosaurs in here - fan favourites like Parasaurolophus and Triceratops hang out next to Ouranosaurus and Baryonyx.

Out of 20 models, only 9 are dinosaurs, as it turns out, with the other 11 representing various other prehistoric creatures. There's a couple of pterosaurs, including Pteranodon, Eudimorphodon, and this Pterodactylus, which even features pterosaur fluff! The book makes note that the presence of 'fur' suggests that pterosaurs were warm-blooded, but also makes sure that we know that pterosaurs were slower and less efficient than modern birds, for some reason.

And there's not one but TWO fossil fish in here, the always charming Dunkleosteus and this Eusthenopteron in beautiful shiny gold paper! This one looks particularly fun to put together. This fella also has one of the more elaborate backgrounds, complete with fish tank plant accessories!

And my favourite model in this whole book has to be this staggeringly cute Diplocaulus with racing stripes. LOOK AT IT.

Finally, I just had to share the amazing endsheets - look at those colours, perfectly suited for a scientific diagram, if you ask me. Stuff like this always made me want to sit down and start drawing and crafting. I haven't tried my hand at any of these paper models yet, but hope to soon! Do you have a favourite source for dinosaur papercraft? Tell me all about it in the comments! Until next time!


  1. So, how about a picture of Dunkleosteus?

    1. Haha sorry Lee, I'll make sure to include Dunk next time!

  2. Eusthenopteron aka the most legs you will ever see on a QUADRUped. Ah well, I can't be too mad at that, the critter is adorable. Also, still giggling from that T. rex.

  3. Oh wow! I had this book when I was a kid and I used to look at it for hours. I was too young to have the skill to make most of the creatures, though I did make a simplified version of one of the pterosaurs that hung in my room for at least 12 years.

    Now that I'm a few decades older with better dexterity I'll have to dig that book out and make some for my kids.

    Also, I can't tell from the picture you posted, but I recall the baryonyx model being made from some sort of faux leather. Is that indeed the case, or is my memory just weird?


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