Review by 0onarcissisto0 Photos by 0onarcissisto0 and Spike Ekins. Edited by Plesiosauria.
Every collector wants a unique piece that stands out from the rest. A Rembrandt. A Van Gogh. I would argue that all of Shane Foulkes’ work deserves a special place in every dinosaur hobbyist’s shelf, but Shane has truly delivered a masterpiece with his 1/20th scale Torvosaurus. Initially sold by Darren McDonald under Mesozoic Era Models, all rights for this kit have returned to the hands of its maker, Shane Foulkes, who even generously lowered the price.
As with all of Shane Foulkes’ models, the kit arrived carefully packaged in bubble wrap and foam peanuts. Like a 5-year-old child, I giddily unearthed the Jurassic apex predator from its tomb composed of foam and plastic. 7 resin parts (tail, right leg, left leg, right arm, left arm, head + body, base), cast very nicely with little flash or seam lines. One small issue, however, was that a few of the spikes jutting from the back of the Torvo’s neck were broken. Darren was kind enough to include spare spikes in a separate bag. The break must have occurred pre-shipment. Another thing I noticed was that the base of the tail was slightly larger in diameter (an excess of approximately 5 mm) than the area on the body where it was meant to be attached. Whether these issues are present on every kit, I do not know. Regardless, minimal sanding and putty work quickly remedied the situation. All other parts fit nicely, like a glove. With such few flaws in casting, this figure was truly a pleasure to piece together. This model kit is rather heavy and so I strongly recommend pinning the legs and tail to the body. Once built, it is front-heavy and cannot stand on its own; pinning the foot to the base (provided) will also be necessary.
This Torvosaurus is immortalized mid-gait with its head slightly looking upwards and to the right, possibly fixating a hapless young sauropod, instants before its certain demise. The figure is expertly sculpted, with a plethora of skin folds, spikes, scales and scutes. Ridges run down from the eyebrow to the nostril on each side. Three rows of spikes adorn the back of the neck transitioning into large scutes that run along the dinosaur’s back all the way to about 2/3 of the tail. Individually sculpted scutes also line the fingers and toes. The muscles are carefully and accurately defined. Of particular note is the well-developed caudofemoralis muscle, evidence that this predator was no slow-moving beast.
And then there are the teeth. Oh the teeth! Shane Foulkes’ depiction of this theropod needs no gaping mouth to show just how deadly this behemoth must have been. 27 pearly whites jut out of a lipped upper jaw. Deceivingly enough, the Torvosaur’s facial expression almost inspires sympathy…yet one look at those enormous teeth and you know you’re about to face a violent and bloody death were you actually to meet in real life.
The kit comes with a base, which, as mentioned above, is essential for the Torvosaurus to stand properly. As we have come to expect from Shane, a lot of texture has also been put into this little piece of resin. There are little pebbles and cracks here and there. Perhaps our protagonist finds himself in the middle of a dried lake bed.
One thing I would like to add is that Shane Foulkes’ models are replete with realistic bumps and folds, lending themselves very nicely to painting techniques such as dry-brushing, washes and glazing. Again, working on this kit was an absolute pleasure. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my limited yet non-negligible experience in model kit painting, it’s that no matter how nice the overall appearance of a figure is, without good skin texturing, it will never look realistic. With no hesitation whatsoever, I give this kit two thumbs and two big toes up. This is definitely a must-have for dinosaur model collectors.