The Dinosaur Model Kits of the 70’s

I treasure AURORA’s “PREHISTORIC SCENES” snap-together plastic model kits.

To this day I still have the same kits from when I was a little kid in the 70’s.

The PREHISTORIC SCENES kits were a whole drama created by the AURORA PLASTICS CORPORATION where cave men (and cave women) lived alongside dinosaurs and other beasts, all struggling for survival in a threatening, volcano-erupting primordial world.


PS ALLOSAURUS Box Left Side Panel showing the day-to-day nightmare of living in a prehistoric world!

A Brief History:

The AURORA Plastics Corporation of Long Island, NY produced many different hobby kits and toys since the late 1950s. Their monster models were a huge success during the “Monster Craze” of the early 1960’s. For the 1970’s, AURORA was looking to strike lightning twice basing a line of plastic models on a subject just as popular as monsters: dinosaurs!

However, by the Seventies, a changing toy market emerged where boys were going from model-building to playing with dolls, sorry- “action figures”- like G.I. Joe. AURORA needed to adapt to survive and to evolve with the market so they developed the PS line as a model kit/playable toy hybrid- you snapped them together and then you could play with it since moving parts like arms, legs and heads were designed into each model. The sales of the initial line were successful enough to warrant AURORA to continue to make other PS kits bringing the line up to a total of 17 kits. The AURORA’s PREHISTORIC SCENES line of model kits were made from 1971 until the closing of the company in the mid-Seventies.

I was just three years old when the PREHISTORIC SCENES first came out in ’71 and, seeing them up on a neighborhood variety store shelves with their fantastically enticing box artwork showing the timeless dramas of survival in prehistory, I was hooked.

In fact, I believe my first self-empowered act of wanting something and obtaining it happened right there and then because, after a bit of diplomatic negotiations with my mother (i.e. whining & crying), I walked out of that store with one of the first PREHISTORIC SCENES kits, the ALLOSAURUS.

PS ALLOSAURUS Box Front (Large)

The 1971, first issue box artwork of the ALLOSAURUS kit. In ’72, a revised box without the Saber-Toothed Tiger would be used. It seemed AURORA got complaints from irate parents that their kids were disappointed the Tiger wasn’t included with the Allosaurus. Those same kids would probably be disappointed to learn that the Allosaurus and the Saber-Toothed Tiger would’ve never had a chance to fight to the death since they existed millions of years apart from one another. The ’72 box was used from then on and is known as the “second issue” version of the ALLOSAURUS kit. (click to view larger version)

(click to view larger version)The right side panel of the ALLOSAURUS box presented the educational aspect of the model/toy hybrid; a child-friendly but still dramatically stirring text info about the boxed beast you were about to snap-together and unleash upon your neighborhood.

From then on I thought that the PREHISTORIC SCENES kits were the absolute end-all-be-all of dinosaur toys.

The PS ALLOSAURUS Instruction Booklet Side A

The folding, brochure-like instructions had a full color cover (far right panel) and then a dramatization of how the various kits’ bases could combine into a dynamic diorama of dinosaurian drama!

The PS ALLOSAURUS Instructions Side B

The flip side of the ALLOSAURUS Instructions Booklet had the nitty, gritty details of snapping together the parts of this model to assemble the great big green dinosaur with the drooling tongue.

The PS ALLOSAURUS 1971 "First Issue" Box
If you’re a long-time fan, or have just become one, of the PREHISTORIC SCENES by AURORA then you’d might like to see some of the stuff that’s now available celebrating the artwork of these kits. Here is just a sampling of items that can be found at the RetroArt Cafepress Shop that’s devoted to the ALLOSAURUS kit:
[cafepress products=”shop:psallosaurus|190960389″ cols=”3″ rows=”2″ ]

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