Yet another addition to my Ray Harryhausen collection showing the crab attack scene in the 1961 adventure “Mysterious Island”, the poster of which is at the right. The kit is offered by Saturn Ltd Model Kits sculpted by Joe Simon and it is a HUGE 1/12 scale. There are thirteen parts for the giant crab along with five soldier figures battling it that need their arms attached. There were also several ancillary items such as spears, string, rocks and the like bringing the total to about fifty parts altogether.
The crab detail is exquisite and the soldier figures all bear a passing resemblance to the actors in the film. The base is a massive (for this sort of thing) 15” x 20” and has few items to break up the surface such as a log and a few large stones along with the name plate.
Assembly of the crab initially appeared to be a puzzle (there were no instructions) with its ten legs but close examination revealed that each leg had a assembly code of sorts for their placement in the crab body. Each soldier figure was individually wrapped with its corresponding arms so what went where wasn't an issue.
Constructing the crab went quickly although some filing was needed to get a good fit for the legs into the body. The men were a bit more difficult to assemble in that the arms had to positioned in such a way to hold their spear correctly. A few extra pieces of wood shafts were provided to help with this assembly (I presume) as far as the arm positioning was concerned but it was hit or miss for the most part. I found that by attaching one arm first as my best guess and hoped it could mate up with the other to accept the spear shaft. This took a few attempts but I finally got it after much cursing.
I decided to attack (pardon the pun) the base first. Though it had nice detail I usually add other stuff. After I painted the other features on base such as the rocks, a log and a few branches, I used real beach sand which I sprinkled on the surface after I had applied a coat of Mod Podge to the base surface so it would adhere to the base. Using the beach sand proved to be serendipitous because there were a number of small shells mixed in which added to the scene quite nicely.
As far as the men were concerned, I gathered as many stills and screenshots of the scene that I could to use as a color guide. I took a little latitude with some in giving the soldiers brass buttons as an added detail.
Painting the crab was something of challenge. I managed to have the same colors of the animal in my paint supply but blending the interface between any two colors on an irregular surface was quite difficult. I finally bit the bullet and broke out my airbrush which (despite my inexperience) gave me very nice results I have to say. Once I gotthe crab where I wanted it paint wise, I gave the animal a coat of flat clear paint from a rattle can to seal it.
Once everything was painted, it was time to position everything. The crab was fairly easy since there were depressions in the base to show where the legs should go. The soldiers didn't really have any specific placement so it was up to me for who went where. I decided to pair up Pencroft (the Confederate balloonist) with Herbert as the yappear in the film. I tied the string provided to one of the crab legs and fed it through Pencroft's hands and then to Herbert. Once I was happy with the positioning, I pinned both figures to the base with finishing nails mounted in their feet.
Another angle showing the action The scene from the film on which the kit is based. Getting up close and personal
I arbitrarily placed the Capt. Harding and Spillit (the newspaperman) on either side of the duo for a hopefully dramatic effect. Cpl. Nugent (the black soldier) was positioned in one of the crab claws to which I added him grasping his walking stick that he had been holding when he got scooped up by the giant crab.
This kit is a fairly straightforward build with the most difficult aspect being the painting step in my opinion. Even using an air bush, the close proximity of the legs and claws made it a difficult task to achieve a nice finish. On refection, I think the easiest way to tackle that problem would be to paint the legs individually before inserting them into the model and go from there. 1/24/23