DINOSAURIANA

Introduction

 
Collecting dinosaurs conjures strong childhood nostalgia. Some of us began the hobby in the '50s and '60s, through fancifully illustrated popular books or Hollywood dinosaurs as colossal reptilian monsters. When along came the 'Dinosaur Renaissance' of the '70s and '80s, the world's most monstrous creatures were reinvented by the new breed of paleontologists into dynamic, vivacious, warm-blooded creatures closely related to birds. The world was probably more captivated by the everchanging image of these ancient wonders of nature.

More recently, some of us discovered dinosaurs after seeing the realistic computer generated counterparts in Walking With Dinosaurs documentaries or Jurassic Park movies, which heralded a deluge of new products for veteran collectors and newcomers alike. Whether they were slow or fast, hunters or scavengers, large or small, they are and always will be celebrated, subconsciously reminders our own species of our past and our future; the ultimate embodiments of the mysterious, primitive, exotic and monstrous.

Like fossil hunters combing through the earth for new finds (or better specimens of old ones), collectors of dinosaur figurines stalk the online auctions, flea markets, thrift stores and garage sales. Tracking down these miniatures is no small feat; at times a collector would probably have better luck unearthing a completely intact fossil specimen than a complete collection of some of these vintage dinosaur figurines in good condition.

Fortunately evolution is ever so gradual. While modern animals' shapes and colors stay the same, with every new discovery, prehistoric animals are still evolving in a sense. Dinos in particular changed their image over time but that really adds another dimension to collecting. Once familiar with the Old World depictions, a new collector could easily determine which figure's from the 1950s or the 1990s. Not only has what we know about them drastically changed, add a rare production medium, some artistic license and originality and you have an endless variety that will please every type of collector.

How ironic that creatures so large in reality, could equally captivate the human psyche, in miniature. A shelf or room full of long whiplike necks and tails, radiant spikes, rows of teeth or backs of armor plates can be a sight to behold, akin to skeletons in a museum hall. Except the curators here are collectors. Since about 90% of the models ever made are exaggerated and/or disproportioned, there's largely no quibbling over anatomical accuracy when it comes to figure dinosaurs.

With so many books on the evolution and cataloguing of real dinosaur species, why not one on their man-made, 20th-21st Century plastic, metal and ceramic incarnations? This book is the first attempt to catalog each figurine, model and maquette ever mass produced so that everything known is documented and described by today's curators.