We have all been there, your dinosaur obsessed son, daughter or grandchild approaches you with a problem – one of their plastic dinosaur toys just won’t stand up. A bit of a problem when T. Rex keeps toppling over, however, here is a quick and easy technique to correct your dinosaur model’s posture. This method works for most plastic dinosaur models (even works on other types of plastic model too), you can make your young dinosaur fan’s day by fixing their toy and best of all, this does not cost a penny and you don’t have to make that particular dinosaur model extinct!
Plastic dinosaur models are usually one of two basic types, those that stand on their hind legs (bipeds) and those that walk on all fours (quadrupeds). This posture correcting technique works with both two-legged and four-legged dinosaur models, but in our experience most of the problems encountered involve models of bipedal dinosaurs, animals such as Tyrannosaurus rex, Allosaurus, Therizinosaurs and Giganotosaurus.
Dinosaurs Walking Around on Two Legs
Dinosaurs had a number of anatomical adaptations that gave them an advantage over other land animals. These advantages helped them diversify and flourish, making them the dominant large, terrestrial animals for something like 150 million years or more. One of these adaptations was their upright posture. Most reptiles sprawl with their legs at the sides of their bodies, but dinosaurs carried their limbs directly below their bodies, just like modern mammals – just like we do. This anatomical adaptation was a boon for the Dinosauria, but a problem for dinosaur fans when their plastic T. rex, Allosaurus or Velociraptor won’t stand up.
The Trouble with Plastic Dinosaur Models
If you try to re-position the legs of a plastic dinosaur model, you will find that they are quite stiff and difficult to move. There must be a way of making the legs and the model more pliable, there is, the trick is to immerse the offending dinosaur model in hot water. Placing the model in very hot water, (not boiling, but very hot) will permit the plastic to become much more malleable and manoeuvrable making the plastic limbs much easier to re-position.
The Tools Needed to Fix a Wobbly Dinosaur Model
Here is the list of tools we use when we are fixing one of our errant dinosaur models that won’t stand up:
A plastic bowl (for the hot water)
Some hot water (best for the grown ups to supervise)
A towel to dry your model
A pair of tongs (kitchen tongs work fine)
A pair of rubber gloves (you don’t want to scold yourself taking the model out of the hot water)
The errant model that won’t do as it is told
Dunking your Plastic Dinosaur Model
Place the model in the bowl containing the hot water, make sure the model is fully immersed. Keep it in the water for about 30 seconds. Models of Dromaeosaurs such as Velociraptor and Deinonychus (commonly referred to as “Raptors”), tend to suffer from stability problems the most. Like all dinosaurs they walked on their toes, in what is called a digitigrade stance, but unlike most meat-eaters, only two toes on each foot were in contact with the ground.
Wearing the rubber gloves and using the tongs, remove your model from the water. Give it a quick dry using the towel and you will notice that the heated plastic makes the model much more malleable, it is easier to re-position the legs. Make the limbs slightly more splayed out, adjust the tail if you need to and with a bit of luck the plastic will retain this posed stance and the dinosaur will be able to stand up for you.
This method works just as well with four-legged models, so if you have a child with a plastic dinosaur toy that won’t stand up, don’t make it extinct, but give this water bath technique a go. There’s a good chance you will be able to fix it and make their day.