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MAKING THE 'SUPERCROC'

Staab Studios-Making the 'SuperCroc' 

(the inside scoop)

1. Before the sculpture process could begin, much time was spent gathering photographic reference and scientific papers on extant and extinct crocodilian anatomy.  To help aid in the understanding of how the musculature system works with the skeletal system, Gary dissected several modern crocodilians.
2. In most cases, when producing a sculpture of such size, a smaller scale model, or maquette, is made.  Because we have crocodilians living with us today, Gary was able to use the body form of a spectacled caiman as a guide, scaling each proportion to match the fossil bone measurements provided by Dr. Paul Sereno.  Next, plywood templates of the side and cross sectional views were cut from plywood, wired together and attached to a base.  The entire structure was then covered with wire mesh and the skull (a cast from the actual fossil) was attached.
 3. At this point the actual sculpting could begin.  First, clay was applied to rough out the initial shape.  At this point, Dr. Paul Sereno was brought in to make comments and suggestions.  After his approval, the team kicked in and after eight weeks and two and one half tons of clay, the final shape and texturing for Sarcosuchus emerged.  

 

 

 

4. This is where the project started to seem a whole lot like work.  Metal shim was pushed into the clay to delineate the separation lines for the mold pieces.  Then, eighty gallons of rubber was sprayed on to the sculpture.  After the rubber set it was given a supportive backing made from polyester resin and fiberglass.  Both the flexible rubber mold and the rigid mother mold were then removed and cleaned.  The mold has twenty seven pieces.

 

 

5. Because of the large amount of casting that had to be done, the services of EJ Fiberglass Co. were enlisted.  They sprayed a mixture of polyester resin and fiberglass into the molds to recreate the positive image of the sculpture.  Each piece was cast, pulled from the mold, wired together then joined from the inside with fiberglass.  The joining seams were then filled and tooled so that they are almost invisible.
6. Once all of the seams were finished, the base color was sprayed on.  The rest was painted by hand in artist's oils.

 

 Fun Facts:

 2500 hours of labor

 16 weeks

 5000 pounds of clay

 80 gallons of rubber

420 gallons of polyester resin

40,000 Staples

2 miles of wire

2 boxes of bandaids

Numerous stitches

 

The finished Sarcosuchus and its twin.  One reconstruction was sent to Sydney Australia and one to Mexico City.

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