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Dunkleosteus model kit review



Dino list people with no interest in paleoart kits: delete now --

I've just received Wiccart's 1/35th scale Dunkleosteus and I'm very 
pleased.  Following is an out-of-the-box review.

Dunkleosteus  (dun-kill-oh-STEE-us) was a huge predatory fish from 
the Devonian Period, the Age of Fishes, approximately 400 million 
years ago.  Way back, huh?  It had a jaw (believe it or not, rather 
an innovation those days), huge armored plates protecting its head, 
and sharp shards jutting from its jaws instead of teeth.  It probably 
ate whatever it could catch. 

We know little about this animal, as only the cranial elements 
(the massive armored skull) have been found fossilized.  How long 
were they?  What form did the rest of the body take?  To quote Crow 
T. Robot, no one can say.

Rather than the sharklike form for D. currently in vogue, the Wiccart 
piece takes the traditional approach (you know, the impressive 
painting in the MacMillan Prehistory Encyclopedia?) and assumes 
that the fish was in life shaped like this:

http://www.idigital.net/wiccart/dunk.htm

because, to paraphrase the assembly instructions, the current 
reconstruction is just a shark with a funny head.  They've got a 
point there.

The kit also assumes that the fish was pretty large.  It scales out 
to be about 35 feet long, definitely on the large end of the 
placoderm scale.  If this offends you change the scale designation!

The sculpting is crisp and the fish's cream-colored resin body is 
appropriately smooth and fishy. It'll make a nice (and 
appropriate!) palette for those airbrushers who want to try their 
hands at taxidermist acrylics.  Each massive plate on the head is 
neatly sculpted in.  I've compared it with my guide to the AMNH Hall 
of Vertebrate Origins which has a photo of a D. skull and it looks 
right on.  Even the eye has that armored look.  The teeth have tiny 
grooves on them; very subtle and impressive.  I particularly like the 
presentation of the mouth -- the lower jaw is separate, and the 
head/body has a really substantial hollow part to convincingly 
portray a gaping cavity.  The five gills are on the lower jaw piece.

Assembly seems straightforward, with few pieces -- body, lower jaw, 
two sets of pectoral fins.  The ambitious lower jaw part seems to fit 
ok from a dry test.  It's a little off, but Wiccart is not Tamiya, 
and that's what Dremels are for.  Figures list readers: it's a 
pretty darned good fit.

This aquatic behemoth is going to look great with my Dinosaur Studio 
and Mike Trcic 1/35th scale pieces.  These were really odd and 
awesome creatures, truly ancient and alien to us.  The kit captures 
this well.

If you'd like to know more about the manufacturer or purchase the 
piece, go to the Wiccart website:

http://www.idigital.net/wiccart/index.htm

The page hasn't been updated, and says the Dunkleosteus is "coming 
soon," but I know for obvious reasons that they're selling them now.  
Don't know if they're limited edition or not.

Hope you enjoyed this out-of-the-box review and you like this 
God-send kit as much as I do.

For some interesting background on the Age of Fishes (which includes 
the trendy shark-like Dunk), check out Pamela Gore's page on the 
Devonian:

http://www.dc.peachnet.edu/~pgore/geology/geo102/devonian.htm

The Wiccart Dunkleosteus gives us a paleoart subject I never 
thought we'd see. Now, when do we get that phytosaur model?  :)

ps: I'm not affiliated in any way with Wiccart or Dunkleosteus.

Happy modelling,
Larry

I'm not interested in how dinosaurs lived
I'm just glad they're dead

Jack Horner as quoted by Dan Quayle