BUILD: FORTRESS LIZARD from SFMuk Admin's blog

In being generally reliable and up to date with the times, my local model shop had this latest kit on the shelf. A 1968 Life-Like Hobby Kits Fortress Lizard. Better known as an Ankylosaurus to dinosaur fans and Palaeontologists.

Actually, they had two, this and a Protoceratops. Judging by the cover, I went for this one as it looked more interesting to paint.

Life-Like seem to have been an American model company generally centred on science based model kits for children, in the manner that Discovery and National Geographic make educational toys in our age. The flyer shows a nice range of both Dinosaur kits and also human anatomical kits.

The former coming under the heading of Pre Historics. Of the dinosaurs, there were 8 to collect, of the more interesting, there were Triceratops, Brontosaurus, Stegosaurus and everyones fave, the T-rex. {Note: Not to be confused with the Marc Bolanosaurus}.

I know its not sci-fi as such, but certainly dinosaurs have a major home in the fantasy side of the street. And due to the fact that despite their immense universal popularity to every child that has ever been, model kits of them are a rarity. If memory serves, I believe Airfix used to have a dinosaur kit range in the 70's, and I think Jurassic Park merchandise produced a couple of kits too, but if so, then I missed all that. The only kits I know of for now are an Airfix 3 kit gift pack consisting of a T-Rex, and I think a Triceratops and Stegosaurus. But with the T-rex being only 15 cm high in that collection, it does not exactly exude enticement.

So to this kit. The box art is absolutely beautiful with a glorious impression of the fortress lizard kit.

Upon opening, the kit is produced in black plastic and a lot of the sculpting, detail and quality is very impressive.I am not a figure modeller so was quite excited to try and give this thing a go. Sadly, as I looked over the pieces more, I began to realise a lot of difference between the kit and the box art. The face is different, the eyes are different, the pose is different, and a lot of details did not compare.

The feet have no claws, the ‘armour' on the creatures back does not know what it wants to be, are they sawn off bones? Are they open sores? The body and overall size of the creatures bulk is different, the box art shows a nice animal physique, the kit brings us a dinosaur that needs to spend some time at the gym.

The face itself is a great disappointment. I began to note a bit of resemblance to something...but what?

The cranium and eyes strayed immensely from the box art, and in so doing, the very nature of the fortress lizard was being lost. For a scientific kit, there is one major flaw, unlike its art, the kit has the creatures mouth open exposing its teeth. It sure has some nice sharp gnashers for a veggiesaurus!!!

In putting the parts together, I began to realise what it reminded me of, this overweight, open mouthed thing before me, with a strange ‘hairdo' area and all... Look at it, it's Eric Cartmansaurus. It really is his primordial doppelganger. Its even going -Beeeeefcaaaake- in a wrecked up kind of way... Just look at that face.

Instructions were in the manner of the Polar Lights design, but without the arrows. There is also a paint guide boxed in the corner of them.

I tidied up the model a little for painting. But I did not overly fill in seam lines etc. At first I painted it pretty close to the box art version. But then I played around with it a little as a chance to experiment and see what results I'd get.

This kit was terrible. I don't like to say so, but alas, there is nothing to redeem from it. Its ugly, overweight and without any merit, a right craposaurus. I was pretty disappointed. The size is good, about 7cm wide and 18cm in length. But everything else is just sadly without appeal. I dread to think how the other dinosaurs in this range would have appeared. Although I would like to be able to find some dinosaur kits of a good size to get into and build, this isn't one of them. The price is agreeable, approx £5, but the conclusion is a case of nice box art, shame about the kit.

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By SFMuk Admin
Added Jan 10 '14



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