Home  |  What's New  |  Features  |  Gallery  |  Reviews  |  Reference  |  Forum  |  Search

1/6 Scale Kit from Horizon

by Steve Budd




HyperScale is proudly supported by Squadron.com


The Abridged Autobiography...


I am a born again modeller.

Like many others I nailed kits together as a kid as fast as my pocket money and tube cement would allow. Then one day, somewhere along this linear period of plastic heaven, came the advent of raging teenage hormones and an unquenchable interest in girls. Plastic modelling ceased and took its place in my childhood past.

Fast forward to 1994. I succeeded in finding a girl who couldn’t run as fast as all the others so I caught her, married her and persuaded her that she’d really appreciate the opportunity to experience child birth twice (later three times), especially as I could deliver the fun part while she got all the pain and ‘where’s the bloody epidural?’ while I stood through every agonising minute with her thinking ‘I’m glad I’m a boy, I’m glad I’m a boy’.


I’m on a train station. I need something to read and idle into a book store. Glancing over the titles of the monthly publications my attention is caught by Tamiya Magazine’s front cover. Staring back at me with a compelling and thoroughly baleful glare is a model (a very, very good model) of a Velociraptor. I read the article inside. I read it again. Then I decide I’d better pay for the (now) well thumbed pages. I stand astonished by how far modelling has come in the intervening years since my childhood. Before my eyes is evidence of the magic that an airbrush can produce in the hands of someone who knows how to use one.

There was no going back - I had to have a Raptor of my own and in that short space of time my dormant interest in modelling was back ‘n burning! So it came to pass that I pleaded at the time of my birthday that I receive thanks for being brought into the world in the form of hard cash, thank you very much. So with £60.00 odd pounds sterling in my hand I snatched the last 1/6 scale Horizon Velociraptor kit off the shelf of my nearest stockist and skipped happily all the way home.



The Operating Table (Non-Sterile)


Now, to bring the beast to life.

I cut off the moulding plugs and held the various bits up to each other to test the fit. As this was my first vinyl model I was discovering lesson one the hard way - when the parts come out of the mould they’re put to one side to cool. As they chill on the manufacturer's work bench they deform. Not a little but a lot. So the parts don’t fit even vaguely well. This is a disappointing culture shock when you’ve forked out sixty plus beer vouchers for something that appears to be a hopeless case. Still, every problem has a solution or three. My wife comes to the rescue.

I robbed my wife of her hair dryer (after waiting for her to finish using it of course) and shot hot air over the ends that needed to be reformed. Suitably warm, the vinyl was pulled and pushed into shapes that ultimately mated very well together. The trick is not to get it too toasting and to be near cold water so you can plunge it in (not the hairdryer) and instantly set the new form.

Before long I had a nearly complete animal. Well, the head was missing (which is a bit of a disadvantage for a dino) but for a good reason - the eyes. You see, Marcus Nicholls (editor of Tamiya Magazine) had cut out the vinyl eyes of his Raptor and replaced them with glass taxidermy substitutes. The effect on the front of the magazine was electric. The eyes simply give life to the model in a way that paint over vinyl can’t touch.


I rang Marcus at the magazine's office and he was very helpful in explaining what he’d used and so on. I ordered a pair of identical eyes for my kit and was astounded that the effect ‘in the flesh’ was even greater than the pictures conveyed. So out came the vinyl and in they went. The Raptor grew a head and all she needed (mine’s a girl – must be some left over teenage hormones still kicking around) was paint and a base.



A Date With Destiny


I had an airbrush. I had a compressor. I had paint. I had three cats. I had a wardrobe. I had my Raptor on top of it. I had the weekend looming to spray the beast.

‘I’m home dear’, I said as I came in one Friday evening. ‘Do you want the bad news or the really bad news or the tiny amount of good news first dear’? My wife looked grim but then she always did when I’d gone out wearing one of her dresses.

‘As it comes please’ I replied, gripping the stair rail. ‘Well you know your dinosaur thingy, one of the cats has had it off’. I reeled in horror. ‘One of the cats has attempted an obscene act with my Raptor? Those cataracts will have to come out’! ‘No you prawn – the cat jumped, the dino fell – it’s a kit again – the good news is I think I got all the pieces before I vacuumed the floor’!

When I examined the slaughter I found the forearms had shattered like glass leaving head, body, rear legs and tail intact. The original parts count was around twenty-five. Feline interference had lifted this to around thirty-five....


Back Into Theatre

You know the advice experienced modellers always give – keep the sprues? Well, I had some left over from a couple of aircraft kits and these were transformed into bones of sorts that allowed the multitude of fragments and chunks to reform into limbs.

The bit that really struck me was the very clean way the vinyl had fractured, not at all as I had expected. Careful re-assembly therefore meant relatively easy clean up of the warty skin until it was impossible to believe the Raptor’s short and unsuccessful attempt to make like a Pterandon was anything more than a dream.


Jurassic Park

Horizon’s Raptor is part of series the (sadly now defunct) company ran following the film Jurassic Park. It seems they were given access to the moulds used by Stan Winston and his team in the creation of the special effects and as such, it represents the movie Raptor, not the real animal that ran (we think) in packs in prehistoric times.

The film Raptor is depicted some six feet tall, not the four feet of the living Velociraptor. I guess the film makers figured man size was more scary so applied 33% artistic licence. In actual fact, Dinonychus (a relative of Velociraptor) was six feet tall with similar habits but doesn’t have the ‘Raptor’ name advantage and didn’t therefore make the cast list. However, it will always remain my favourite dino but not one I’d have liked to meet as it’s believed it had binocular night vision capability – now that is scary!


Spray Day


The lower jaw is a separate part so the mouth and teeth were painted in advance of the main event before being attached and masked off with the eyes.

Happily there are no FS or RLM colours for dinosaur models so freedom of choice is the order of the day.

The kit was primed with a grey acrylic car body spray and left to cure as a barrier to the Tamiya paint thinned with cellulose that was to follow.

This was my first major airbrush project so I made plenty of mistakes to the point where evidence of my failure meant I was better off starting again with the top coats. Second hit was more in line with where I wanted to be so it was satin varnished and later dark washed before getting the satin sealer treatment.




Back to Base


I’d planned a simple base that suited the very animated running attitude of the kit. With the right leg raised I visualised my Raptor negotiating a fallen Jurassic tree.

My problem was solved when I was on holiday visiting Crackington Haven beach in Cornwall. The world was a pretty okay place, especially as I’d earlier downed several pints of Sharp’s Doom Bar beer with a particularly splendid Sunday lunch. My eldest boy ran up, his arms behind his back (don’t worry – we always untie him before bedtime) before revealing a bit of battered and eroded drift wood that was as Jurassic as ever I was likely to find. ‘You could use this with the Raptor’ he said and I did.

I love children. I just couldn’t eat a whole one, that’s all.



The Verdict


At a couple of feet long Horizon's Raptor has presence. If you have one on the bench or find one in a model store buy some taxidermy eyes for it - these are a must!

All told, the kit's a lot of fun - get one!



Additional Images


Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2003 by Steve Budd
Page Created 15 April, 2003
Last Updated 17 March, 2004

Back to HyperScale Main Page