Building and Painting Model Dinosaurs

a how-to book by Ray Rimell


A review of a new book on constructing, converting and painting dinosaur models by Ray Rimell, published by Kalmbach Publishing.

From the cover alone you get the sense that Ray Rimell is committed to dinosaur models that are both lively and accurate.

This Megalania page has been visited times since March 16, 1998.

Ray Rimell, the publisher of "Model Dinosaur" newsletter, has written an excellent new book, "Building and Painting Model Dinosaurs," published by Kalmbach, the publishers of many hobby magazines and modeling how-to books. I recommend this book highly for both the new dinosaur modeler and the grizzled dinosaur veteran.

Rimell gives you everything -- how to choose the model, pose it, construct it, convert it, paint it and finally settle it into a realistic diorama setting. Rimell lays out the construction basics for each medium in which dinosaur models are provided -- styrene, vinyl, and resin.

I especially like his enthusiasm for converting the models. Poses are frequently dictated by the molding process, particularly with mass-produced styrene plastic kits like the Tamiya "Dinosaur Diorama" pieces, and the resulting kit is often stiff and unrealistic. In any event, you may want to portray the dinosaur doing something it's just not doing in the available pose. Rimell gets the modeler beyond the fear of cutting up the model with helpful and thorough how-to advice.

Rimell also helps you make the model look the way it should. Some models are a great start to an accurate dinosaur restoration, but need work to reflect current thinking. Rimell shows you how to get the information and how to make the corrections. The painting advice is especially helpful -- many new dinosaur modelers are totally lost, as there are no painting guides published by Squadron-Signal! Paint it as you please (this is one of the joys of dinosaur modeling), but it's very important to think about the consequences before you put paint to kit. Rimell's advice is a great way to start the process.

You can tell from this book that Rimell has an impressive collection of models; it gives you a great idea of what's out there in the hobby. He's got me hot on the heels of a great kit I never even knew existed before, and my ear is pretty close to the ground in the dinosaur modeling hobby!

This is not to say I agree with every single thing Rimell writes. For instance, he suggests not using a Dremel hobby tool to remove excess resin on certain kits, and advocates carefully using a hobby knife instead. I don't see the reasoning here -- the power tool can do the job more easily and even more smoothly if used with care and skill -- the same talents you'll need with the knife anyway. But we can agree to disagree on this one!

Unfortunately, Rimell has wrapped up his wonderful little newsletter "Model Dinosaur", a serious little pub dedicated exclusively to life restorations for the hobbyist, so scoop this book up right away -- these Kalmbach books sometimes go out of print and then become hard to find!

A big Megalania thanks to Dan Perez for the heads-up on this book, and to Dan Johnson for access to his Model Dinosaur collection.

Page-relevant Links

Kalmbach's commercial site. You can order the book directly from them on their website, as I did. Go into the book catalog, choose scale modeling books, and you'll find it on the "Fantasy" list that pops up.

Fantasy . . . pshah! Another example of how a military-model dominated hobby ghettoizes anything non-military! Growl.

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