Conte’s Corner: The Jurassic Park Diorama

by RetroZap Staff

You don’t need to know Unix to love this amazing photoset from an unbelievable project!

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By Mike Conte //  When I was nine, my dad brought me to the movies to see Jurassic Park. Let’s cue in some factors here; I was a nine year old boy, the movie had chases, guns, dinosaurs, awe inspiring computer graphics, dinosaurs, people being eaten by said dinosaurs and that guy from Seinfeld. To say I was excited was an understatement. Of course the movie delivered on all possible levels. The scale of everything was just epic: the characters, the score, the action, the acting and of course, the dinosaurs. Naturally like ever blockbuster movie in the 90s, Jurassic Park got a toy line, and of course Jurassic Park topped my Christmas Wish list that year.

I loved playing with the humans and raptors…my version of events played out a little differently though. Robert Muldoon, the game warden, always survived. Also, for some reason they made a Dennis Knight figure before they made a Jeff Goldblum figure. Anyways, Muldoon was the tough as nails game warden, the one who knew how dangerous these dinosaurs really are and wouldn’t mind seeing the raptors put down for good. He was a great example of the “Great White Hunter” trope and like Spielberg’s other “Great White Hunter,” Quint, he gets devoured by the creatures he hunts. But again, my toys, my world, so Muldoon survives and some other action figure gets “clever-girled” by raptors.

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All those Jurassic Park toys are long gone, but my love for the series never really waned. I have always had the itch to create a Jurassic Park diorama; I’ve probably had this idea for about five years, only just now gathering all the materials to make it happen. The figures are G.I. Joes, just meant to portray some regular employs of the park, maybe looking for an escaped raptor or stegosaurus. I always had a soft spot for the “regular joe” in movies, these hunters just want to get their dino and cash their pay checks. The jeep is a knock-off I found at Marshalls. I had to strip it down and paint it up, It took me multiple attempts to get the masking for the red stripes right. I had to get special masking tape from a Japan-based model company. For the plants and other shrubbery, I went through an aquarium supply company on eBay. Those plastic plants people use to decorate their underwater fish cages also make great jungle plants. The electric fence was made by this foam core material that paints like wood but cuts like foam; it’s interesting material to work with.

The materials cost me almost 150 dollars total, plus countless hours, but it was worth it. It’s my own work of art, dedicated to one my favorite movies about a little old amusement park that spared no expense.

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