Monday, 5 January 2015

New Year Blues Fix: Skulls, Papercraft and Aquilops

Woohoo! Those wonderful chaps at Sauropod Vertebra Picture Of The Week have made available a papercraft skull pattern for Aquilops. Sure, it's (intentionally) simple and it's only really meant to be taped together, but I wondered how far I could push it without extensively reworking it. Having printed it on 250gsm paper stock, I cut out all the fenestrae and orbits and then trimmed the main outline, having estimated where to leave tabs for adhesive. There was a couple of repeated elements, such as the upper margins of the orbits, owing to their being visible in the lateral and dorsal elevations from which the pattern was formed. I merged these where possible.

Partially trimmed skull pattern. (© Matt Wedel)
I used regular PVA as I didn't want any visible adhesives (i.e., tape) and it's pretty strong and easy to handle. All-in-all, it took about 90 minutes to complete. Two files are available at SV-POW! - a pair of smaller skulls and a larger one. I used the larger one, but printed it up twice on an A3 sheet. This was because I cut out some additional elements and attached them to the complete skull in order to give the cheeks and mandible that flared look.

Completed skull, showing additional cheek and mandible elements, cut from a second, identical pattern.
You'll see from the photos that I added various incisions in order to open up the skull so that it better resembled the real thing. Also, a small amount of black paper was inserted to get rid of that 'lit from within' look and keep the nares and orbits nice and shadowy. The result is a fairly pleasing paper skull, which compares fairly well with Garrett Stowe's digital sculpt, in the same article. What a great way to get hold of good, 3-D reference material! With luck, we might see more of these paper templates in the future.

Aquilops americanus papercraft skull, modified from original pattern.
Anyway, there you go. Just a quick one to see in the new year. Big thanks to Matt Wedel whom, along with co-blogger Mike Taylor, I was fortunate enough to meet at SVPCA, last September. Very nice guys. And go here to read the paper on Aquilops americanus.

Farke AA, Maxwell WD, Cifelli RL, Wedel MJ (2014) A Ceratopsian Dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of Western North America, and the Biogeography of Neoceratopsia. PLoS ONE 9(12): e112055. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0112055


  1. Gareth, this looks great! I can't help but notice while you opened the mouth, that there are now two pairs of bony nostrils! This is causing the skull to slope unseemly on the sides.

    1. Thanks, Jaime. Yes, the nostrils appear in both elevations. I could have removed them altogether in Ps or similar, but I was keen to see where I could take this without editing the original template (I presume you've seen Matt's original version at SV-POW!?). Maybe I should tweak the pattern to include tabs, normal nostrils, etc? Perhaps not a bad idea! :)

  2. That's freaking cool! Nice work.