During 2005 staff and volunteers under the direction of Steve Hutt were busy making models for the summer exhibition, which celebrated the centenary of the naming of Tyrannosaurus rex. This famous dinosaur inspired generations of students to become palaeontologists, and re-awakened the public interest in dinosaurs from its appearance in early black and white films to its recent animated fight scene with a Spinosaurus in the Jurassic Park movies.
The picture shows a full-size model of a very young T. rex being prepared. The small grey model on the left is a clay maquette, or sculptor's preliminary model, on which the full size animal is based. The full size model may not appear to be very big for a T. rex but the animal was being built to represent an ungainly, inquisitive juvenile. The basic body consists of blue foam blocks hung around a steel rod frame. This was then coated with brown clay. The photograph was taken in April 2005.
By the 17th May 2005, Steve Hutt had fleshed out the model and was preparing to put on the skin texture. Here it is with a thin coat of plastic impregnated plaster which has turned it a ghostly white.
By early June the model had been finished and given a coat of paint. It was carried out into the main gallery and stood on a plinth. Even though it arrived ahead of its information panel the juvenile T. rex had already attracted attention from visiting schools and members of the public.
On the 14th of June Steve and Lora started work on the full-sized fleshed head of Tyrannosaurus rex. The blue foam jaws seen in the picture are being trimmed next to a full-size reconstruction of the skull of an adult T. rex; which also formed part of the 2005 display. After mounting on a steel frame the jaws were coated with clay and plaster. The upper part of the head was then constructed in a similar manner before the teeth and eyes were added.
Overnight, on the 15th of July, we were able to assemble the panels of a full-size 2-dimensional Tyrannosaurus rex onto the front of our Laboratory. Because this T. rex was so large it needed to be raised using a scaffold tower, and we therefore had to wait until the building was empty. Here the top of the legs are being screwed onto the wall by Phil Cotton. The reconstruction gives some idea of the size, particularly the height, of this fearsome creature. (The T. rex, not Phil!)