Review by Dan, Photos by Marilyn P. and Jeremy K.
When it comes to classic plant-eating dinosaurs, there is probably no match in popularity for the mighty Triceratops. The silhouette and skull are truly iconic, and no matter how far our interest in paleontology may wander, the eye is always drawn back to this beloved animal.
Plenty of small figures can be found for the species, most of them ranging from mediocre to downright awful. To really see any justice done to Triceratops, one must examine him at a generously crafted scale, preferably by the hands of a skilled paleoartist. This is precisely what Shane Foulkes offers, with his famous 1:15 scale line that can be enjoyed from the comfort of home.
While high-quality casting should be make assembly very easy, it is understandable that some might be intimidated by this massive resin kit. Fortunately, there are a number of buildup artists available that can bring your personal vision to life.
Incorporating recent fossil evidence, Shane has included a set of dorsal quills for this particular reconstruction. Since these delicate pieces are separate from the main body, they can be arranged in any desired fashion, or not used at all. This is a good option for traditionalists, who may object to any drastic changes to their image of Triceratops.
Another benefit of larger scale reconstructions is that they allow installation of glass or taxidermy-style eyes. This provides a beautifully lifelike quality to the final buildup, and would be less practical on smaller models which have eyes simply painted. Modelers should note that ocular transplant procedures can be tricky, so consulting an expert beforehand is recommended.
Most of the photos shown here are buildups by Martin Garratt in the UK. One is a high contrast pattern, while the other is a diorama containing two models. Martin’s skill as a buildup artist has allowed him to modify the characters to make them quite distinct, with variable scars and different poses to convey the action of two animals locked in battle.
Most of Shane’s reconstructions portray dinosaurs as powerful, muscular animals; this is surely a necessity where Triceratops is concerned. The bulk of the animal would keep it firmly planted on the ground, and thick limbs lend the appearance of great strength. One foreleg is actually lifted from the ground, so adhesive on the base will keep the main character stable. The “Foulkes” name is etched directly into the base, so there’s no question of who was responsible for the original sculpt.
If you are keen enough to spot the forward-facing fingers on the front limbs, fear not. Models were meant to be customized, and Shane has already taken this latest research into account with his more recent ceratopsian creations. He is as dedicated to the science as he is to the aesthetics, and his models represent a euphoric marriage of the two.
The massive base constructed for the diorama buildup acts as a stage for an epic duel. I cannot say that I’ve personally witnessed such an incredible display at a museum; the owner of this piece is surely a lucky fellow. Martin Garratt is to be commended for conveying the age differences in each combatant, and the brilliant coloration in the frill is sorely missed in most other reconstructions.
Even a single 24″ long Foulkes Triceratops can be very effective in consuming your free space. However, for those dedicated enthusiasts that can manage it, this is a definitely a collection centerpiece that will turn heads. Mind the epoccipitals.