MPC Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man’s Raft Mar 9, 2014 12:12:19 GMT -5
Post by hypnotator on Mar 9, 2014 12:12:19 GMT -5
Avast ye landlubber swabs! Languishing for more than a decade before I could get around to making it, I picked this model kit up at a Memorabilia show. I never saw these for sale in the UK before. Like so many American toys in the ’70s, I saw the adverts in my brother’s Marvel comics and I was sold on the idea. The finished kit doesn’t disappoint after all these years.
It seems like an innocuous shipwrecked raft, with a steering wheel that has miraculously retained its function, piloted by a scary old skeleton, but he’s dead, isn’t he? And what’s this? A map left in plain view, doubtless leading to treasure. But what could be inside that huge, hinged case that constitutes such a large part of the kit? Gotta open the lid and find out…
Zap! Ha haaar! It’s another skeleton who springs up and plunges a dagger into the map. Looks like these dead pirates won’t be giving up their secrets that easily.
Pirates of the Caribbean started out as a Disneyland ride and these days it’s a huge movie franchise. It was an inspired idea to jump on the Aurora bandwagon and do a series of model kits. From what I gather, each kit faithfully reproduces a feature of the ride.
I didn’t expect the “Zap / Action” feature to work well, as it is driven by a simple elastic band, but it is actually a beautiful bit of engineering. The case lid is almost fully open before the skelly springs up, just when you think nothing is going to happen. It really does make you jump.
You can see the mechanism in the above pic. A “rope” hook on a moving plank holds the skeleton down by his left wrist against the pull of the elastic band. A protrusion on the case lid pushes the plank forward as the lid opens, and releases him. The right shoulder pivots freely to enable him to stab the map.
This is a very fragile kit and I had a few accidental breakages during the build. I pity the ‘70s kids and their dads that tried to do a decent job.
The elastic band is supposed to get sandwiched between the two halves of the skeleton’s torso, which means that once you have puttied up the seams and painted him, you can’t replace the band if it crumbles with age. I installed a little hook to get around this. Getting the band in place once the case is assembled is very tricky.
Nice box painting, much like Aurora.
You get pix of the other kits in the series, but there are a few more not shown here, including the one I always wanted the most, Freed in the Nick of Time, which has a skeleton trying to escape from an octopus. Why does he care? He’s dead already!