This is a first edition Kaiyodo DINOLAND series kit from Japan, circa 1990 by Sigeru Yamazaki.
The example I acquired was a first issue kit in mint condition. According to Gene Kube who sold me the kit (from GK Scale Models and Figures; now apparently closed) there was a later reissue of the T.rex kit but Gene believed only a small number in total were ever made (fewer than 100).
Parts were faultless and you could sense the effort and pride that went into every aspect of sculpting and casting. In fact I’m still in awe of it and, all things considered, it’s still the finest resin model I’ve ever seen. In all there were 40 separate parts (most in separate plastic bags and some wrapped in tissue and wadding), a wooden base mount, a double sided sheet of assembly instructions (in Japanese), a glossy photo of a fully assembled and painted example and an insert sheet (in English) from the American distributor (PDM Consulting and Developemt Corp, Commack, NY), all immersed in foam plastic chip packing material.
Stokes Dueling Dinosaurs Kaiyodo Mount
This story surrounding the amazing ‘dueling dinosaurs’ exhibit concept mount was relayed to me by John Carlson, President of Monstrosities: “In 1996, the Natural History Museum in LA County published a story about an exhibit depicting a T. rex battling a Triceratops (TERRA, Vol 5, Sept-Oct 1996; click the cover picture above to download the full article). In that article, it mentions Michael Stokes presenting a model of the dinosaurs which showed his concept. The article does not mention that the dinosaur skeletons used by Stokes were made by Kaiyodo. Because of his position at the museum, Michael Stokes was truly a master model maker, and was able to bash the kits and do amazing things with them. I commissioned him to build me a model the same as he built for the museum and sent him the kits he needed. He never delivered the model, left the museum, and we never heard from him again”.
Roel Weijenberg-MountRoel created a beautiful mount from the Thai recast. Here's what he had to say about his project: “I have always wanted a nice scale model of a dinosaur skeleton, but the ones I could find on the internet where mostly toy models or anatomically incorrect models (or extremely expensive). The only one that came pretty close to perfection was the Kaiyodo kit. Sadly it is almost impossible to obtain an original one, but the cheap Taiwanese recast could be a nice alternative. A cheap recast might even be the best option for someone with no model building experience (like myself). I expected the worst, but the cast was not that bad at all considering the price. It took a whole evening to clean it up using a tiny drill mounted in Dremel tool, and even though it's definitely not perfect it came out quite nice. Sadly the gastralia and the neck ribs were cast so badly I decided not to use them. There also was a weird breast plate-like bone in the kit that jointed the two shoulder plates together, which I have never seen in museum mounts. I removed that part and only used the shoulder plates and arms. The original mount of the kit looks like the dinosaur is jumping over a fence with its mouth wide open. I wanted it to look more natural, like a real animal rather than a rabid monster. It took quite a while to find the pose I was looking for without separating the pre-cast leg parts, but I was able to give it a quite naturally looking walking pose. I turned the head slightly sideways, just like the mount of ‘Sue’ in Chicago. Since I was a kid I hated the fact that my dinosaur toys ALWAYS had their mouths wide open, so I decided to close the mouth of this one. Finding the right color for the bones was the hardest part. It is based on the fossils found in Hell Creek and Lance Creek, where most Tyrannosaurus remains are found. I tried many combinations of paint, but eventually I found a combination of "chocolate brown" and a lighter brown matte finish that looked fairly nice. For the base I used a real stone slab, on which I simply glued the model. Amazingly, the glue is so strong I did not have to use a support rod. In the end I found it lots of fun to make this model. So much I'll even might buy and remodel the Triceratops recast!” —Roel Weijenberg Deventer, The Netherlands
Leo Burton Mount
Leo (London, UK) sent me photos of his dynamic T.rex mount. He explains: “I came across a T. rex model by chance on a website, but it was over $400 for a small bronze cast. I thought ‘that would be a nice thing to have on a mantle piece’. But I wasn’t about to spend $400 on a whim, and not in the specific pose I wanted, which got me thinking about T. rex model kits, which let me to your website, where I learnt all I needed to know. Your Triceratops modifications got me thinking. Could I modify a cheap ebay model? I thought I’d risk the Thai recast on ebay because it was only £25. The Ikea Frame was £2.50, and I spent about £20 on paints, glues, etc. And about 2 days of work, all in. The cast was bad, but not as bad as I was expecting. The upper spine was the worst part. But overall, a bit of Dremmeling and sanding, and a few accidental breakages, a morning’s worth of cleanup had most of it looking good. Besides, I knew I wanted a ‘fossil look’ so a few jagged edges wouldn’t be too bad. The hardest part was posing it in the ‘Jurassic Park roar’. I separated the leg bones, and used armature wire to pose them, and getting it right took a while. The ribs took about an afternoon to get right, and lots of superglue and accelerator. I didn’t want to have a central support rod, so I strengthened all the leg joints with wire, then P45 filler, and then drilled (very carefully at the last stage) into the feet, and used some thin steel rod, pinned into the wood base, which I dry mounted before the gravel. Luckily it balances perfectly on its own. I used PVA glue to stick down the gravel into the recess of the picture frame, then placed the skeleton into the holes, and glued it in place. As my first model, I learned a lot from doing it, and could probably do it again in half the time. I’d like to try a ivory/bone finish next.”
Robert Westerberg Mount
Robert sent me these photos and description of his Kaiyodo T.rex remodeling project: “A year ago I found a recast of the Kaiyodo 1:20 scale T. rex skeleton made in Thailand. The mold was poorly made, and it took quite a while to clean it up. Unfortunately the gastralia basket was very poorly molded. Making it representable enough to go on the kit will take a lot of effort. The tail was also poorly molded, so I cut of the last 3 centimeters from the tip and made a new one. At the same time I lengthened the tail by about 12 cm. I liked the look of the skull but had it go through some heavy surgery anyway. I used skull of Stan the T. rex as reference. I've also added some detail around the neck. I'm still working on the kit and I'm going to add a furcula, also the hands will be positioned correctly. Some more touches on the head and tail, and I'm done. I'll colour it with an airbrush. I actually like the dark brown colour of Stan the T. rex, so the model will probably get a similar colour. I wasn't sure which position to put it in, but it ended up with a rather dynamic pose. It looks like it's in the middle of charging forward and bite into whatever could be in front of it!”