With everything to hand I was finally in a position to actually do something. Before putting scalpel to foam I needed to create some templates to base the sculpted spines on.
The Minmi model is approximately half the size of an adult Polacanthus. Assuming the spines discovered to date are from adults (which is quite likely) then I would need to scale the spine to half actual size.
However there was another aspect to this reconstruction. The spines would be fine in their original condition for a skeletal reconstruction. However this was going to be a life-like, fleshed reconstruction. In life the spines would have been covered in keratin, like a crocodile scute.
So the spines would actually need to be slightly bigger than half size to take into account the keratin surface. With this in mind I selected the pre-sacral (neck to hip) spines images and set about drawing slightly bigger than half scale outlines.
Once left and right Cervical Spine templates were cut out I drew their outlines on the foam. (Note the ‘keel’ on the bottom of Spine 1 below was deliberately omitted on the foam as it would be embedded in the skin in life and would not be visible on the finished model).
I selected the first Spine and cut around the outline.
A few hours later I had sculpted both Left and Right Spines, but not before the scalpel blade caught the tip of my left index finger!!! So after a quick rumage through my first aid kit for a plaster, I donned a latex glove and a rubber glove to finish the sculpts.
With the light level dropping I decide to call it a day. My sacrifice had not been in vain!