Despite the constant presence of prehistoric collectibles in my shop, it may surprise people to know that I’m not much of a collector. I don’t feel compelled to own most things I see, even the truly awesome things. If space and money were never an issue, I would still exercise restraint. I am rather picky about what I own, and consequently, my personal collection is pretty modest compared to the many I’ve seen. For me to own something, I have to be absolutely in love with it.
A few years ago, I was introduced to the work of paleoartist David Krentz. There was no formal party, no awkward dinner conversation, not even the angelic strumming of a harp as one might expect. In fact, I suspect my introduction was similar to the introduction most people have to David Krentz – a visit to his website.
As I browsed the photos of his various works, marveling at the ingenuous infusion of character and animal, artwork and science, power and movement, I found one image in particular really caught my eye. It was a bronze statue of an Einiosaurus, poised at the edge of a ridge. He seemed to be trumpeting with his head held high, beaked jaws letting loose a primal call, announcing his very existence to all the world. It was an image I will never forget… but just in case, I saved it anyway. It’s right here.
I had to have this piece. Sadly, a bronze statue was far beyond anything I could ever hope to own, and I became disheartened. A few years later, I found myself the unsuspecting owner of my very own dinosaur shop. This is pretty cool, I must admit, though not quite as cool as owning the David Krentz Einiosaurus. One fortuitous day, I received an e-mail. It was from David Krentz. He graciously offered to allow me to sell his models in my shop. I could scarcely believe my luck, and naturally, I agreed. This arrangement was made in the most professional and serious manner, with absolutely no giddy squealing on my part, contrary to what you may have heard.
Although a bronze statue was pretty much out of the question, I jumped at the chance to acquire the Krentz Einiosaurus in resin form. I was not a kit-builder myself, so I had to find someone else to do that job, and that someone would need to be exceptionally qualified to handle my beloved model. That someone was Martin Garratt in the UK, who not only did a fantastic job with it, but completed the project with staggering speed. If anyone is need of modeling services, I highly recommend giving Martin a call.
In truth, I might have been perfectly happy getting the built kit with no paint whatsoever, and I may very well try that in the future. This four piece model (five pieces if you include the base) will require some slight cleanup if you decide to tackle it yourself, and the overall quality is excellent. If you are looking for something bigger than David’s 1:72 Antediluvian line, this 1:18 model is superb. Ceratopsian fans will notice the horn is a bit more upturned than traditionally depicted for Einiosaurus, whose horn is often compared to a can-opener. There is some artistic interpretation here, particularly since the horn would be covered in keratin when the animal was alive, so it’s possible there was a flourish like this to it.
One testament to the skill of the artist can be seen by gazing into the mouth of the beast. Rows of grinding teeth are visible within, the tongue is plain to see, and even the roof of the mouth has that ribbed surface to it.
Garratt’s incredible abilities complement the attention to detail of a Krentz model, as well. In this photo of his finished buildup, you can see the teeth have been carefully painted, and the roof of the mouth actually has two distinct tones to enhance the ribbed texture. The mouth, nostrils, and eyes all glisten as though the animal is alive. Okay, maybe it’s hard to see all that in the photo… but trust me, it’s there.
Normally, Martin adds considerable foliage to the base, lending depth and realism that makes his buildups look like museum exhibit pieces. However, I did request to have the flora held back on this one, just because I wanted to keep as much focus on the starring character is possible. Besides, the base that David already sculpted has plenty for the eyes to appreciate. Winding roots, slender ferns, and even a little turtle provide an excellent stage from which our heroic herbivore issues his call.
A set of footprints provide purchase for the dinosaur’s feet. He will actually support himself very well in these notches without the aid of glue, but given the considerable risk of damage from a fall, a permanent attachment is advisable. Martin has also lined the bottom of the base with felt – very cool, although it does cover David’s own signature, which may be a point of interest for some people.
Many people do not realize how fragile these resin models can be. Aside from avoiding extreme temperatures, they should be kept out of direct sunlight to avoid color fading and warping. Dusting is best done with a soft cosmetic makeup brush, and a display case will help keep the dust away as well. Martin also recommends keeping them away from high-traffic areas.
At 14 inches long, display can be an issue worth thinking about. 1:18 scale is not considered very popular, so compatibility with your collection of figures isn’t likely to be high if you’re trying to keep things in scale. On the other hand, this is really standalone work of art, so perhaps holding it to these standards of conformity isn’t really fair.
What really distinguishes David’s work is the sense of character you get with each piece. Despite our inclination, this Einiosaurus isn’t just an Einiosaurus. He’s “Buffalo Bill”, a fearsome bull that David describes as recently winning the rut. What does this mean for the sculpture? Plenty, if you know where to look – but these details do not escape the eagle eyes of Martin Garratt. Across Bill’s body, one can find a number of lacerations, some fresh and some old. Martin has enhanced the fresh wounds with glistening red, and they line his flanks like hieroglyphics relaying the story of his battles. The most prominent wound is found in his left supratemporal fenestra – that would be the left side of his frill – and so it oozes in a more gruesome manner. One of the frill horns is also about 1/3 shorter than the other; close inspection reveals that it has broken off, possibly from an earlier encounter with a predator.
The coloration for this particular buildups was fairly conservative, consisted of subdued, neutral tones. Other people may lean toward brighter colors and more intricate patterns, as shown in the first photo of this review. Even if you aren’t directly responsible for painting your model, getting to see your vision brought to life is certainly one of the great joys of buildups. I don’t know if I will ever venture into kit-building myself, but one thing is clear. This model will remain one of the showpieces of my collection for many years.