Building Torosaurus

This preliminary 11-inch (28-centimeter) model by Michael Anderson is similar to what the finished 2-story sculpture will look like.

 

There are few reconstructions of Torosaurus: the full-scale sculpture in front of the Yale Peabody Museum in New Haven will be the first. The dinosaur itself is 9 feet (3 meters) tall and 21 feet (7 meters) long.

The bronze statue is the final realization of Anderson’s work — from conception, model-making and sculpting, through to the creation of a wax prototype, to the casting at the foundry, where the sections were welded together, chased and the statue given a surface patina.

Framing

 

Top: Fabricating the frame.

Bottom: Artists George Mummert (left) and Sean Bradley..

 

The one-third scale model was enlarged using a traditional sculpture technique called “pointing,” in which a box frame is built over the model and a second, larger frame — in this case 3 times larger — is constructed in proportion to the first.

Photographs courtesy of George Mummert. Used with permission

Pointing

 

Top: The one-third scale model was marked with 2,000 points by George Mummert.

Bottom: Each point was drilled into the full-size foam prototype.

 

Using the frames as reference, measurements of “points” on the surface of the scale model were multiplied by 3 and copied onto the larger frame to create the full-size version of the Torosaurus. The artists used polyurethane foam blocks to build the full-size prototype to the level of the musculature, carving the blocks back to where the holes ended to produce an extremely accurate armature on which the clay would be applied.

Photographs courtesy of George Mummert. Used with permission.

Shaping the Armature

 

Top: The one-third scale model was proportionally enlarged to create the full-size model.

Bottom: Shaping the foam.

 

The polyurethane foam armature was made to receive clay and shaped closely to the final form so that only a thin layer of clay was necessary over the surface.

Top photograph courtesy of George Mummert. Used with permission.

Applying Scales

 

Top: The efforts of many volunteers speeded the completion of the clay sculpture.

Bottom left: Peabody Museum staffer Maishe Dickman applying scales.

Bottom right: Assistant sculptor Mike Ferrara working on Torosaurus’s foot.

 

Applying the scales to texture the clay sculpture with a realistic skin pattern began in June 2005. About 2 dozen volunteers contributed 600 hours over 5 months to complete this phase of the project.

Making the Mold

 

Top: The completed full-size clay sculpture.

Bottom: Torosaurus with its rubber coating.

 

The Yale Peabody Museum’s Torosaurus was cast in bronze at the Polich Art Works in Newburgh, New York, from a mold of the full-scale clay sculpture. The 54-piece rubber mold was created by coating the sculpture with 2,000 pounds (over 900 kilograms) of black polysulphide rubber, followed by 4,000 pounds (over 1,800 kilograms) of plaster, burlap and conduit. The completed mold was used to create wax casts.

Casting

 

Polich Art Works used a special casting process to prepare a series of ceramic shell molds to cast the sculpture in pieces.

 

At Polich Art Works the foundry technicians add wax to create channels that will direct the molten bronze. These wax casts are then dipped 15 to 20 times in a ceramic and silica mixture to prepare the molds for the bronze casting. Each piece is embedded in a sand-filled vat, and molten bronze — which reaches a temperature of about 2000 degrees Fahrenheit (over 1000 degrees Celsius) — is poured into the mold.

Photographs used courtesy of Polich Art Works (www.polich.com).

 

Two tons of bronze were used to cast the Torosaurus staue.

 

Once the cooled bronze pieces are welded together they will be colored with patina. Casting began in December 2004, and the statue will be delivered to the Yale Peabody Museum in September 2005. The Museum will hold the dedication ceremony for Torosaurus on Saturday, October 22, 2005.

The granite base, shaped by Darrell Petit, was moved and assembled in 3 pieces.

 

The base of the statue is made from 70 tons of local Stony Creek pink granite, the same granite used for the base of the Statue of Liberty. It will rise 13 feet (about 4 meters) from the ground, making the overall height of the sculpture 20 feet (about 6 meters), or over 2 stories high. The base will be put in place on Whitney Avenue in the same way it was moved at the quarry — with a 300,000-pound crane. A smaller crane will be used to place the bronze Torosaurus sculpture.