It was literally a rainy day when we decided to take on this bad boy. The box had been sitting on a shelf, taunting and enticing us for far too long. It was finally time to bust out the modeling skills and put her together.
The Terra Kids flying dinosaur model kit comes from the good people at Haba, so you should know right there that it’ll be high-quality. Haba is perhaps most well known (at least in this house) as the company that makes fantastic kids games in those bright yellow boxes.
Turns out they also have a ridiculously extensive line of “classic” baby, toddler, and kid toys. I picked up the Haba catalog at Toy Fair back in February, and this model leaped off the page at me. My kids are dino-obsessed, and I knew we had to have it.
The kit consists of more than 80 (mostly wood) pieces. It comes with a small tube of glue, but (1) it was not nearly enough to assemble the entire dinosaur, and (2) the tube I got was dried out and useless. I heartily recommend picking up a bottle of decent wood glue before starting this project. We used Gorilla Glue, and it worked like a charm: fast-drying and strong.
The rules are done Ikea or LEGO style, with just pictures and no words. For the most part, this makes assembly fairly straightforward, but there are a few steps that require closer scrutiny to figure out what you’re supposed to do.
The trickiest (i.e., the most delicate) steps are all done right away: the spine and ribs. Once you get through those, congratulate yourself. You’re through the hardest part of the model.
In order for the ribs to stay in the proper position, you’ll need to balance the model as the glue dries. Trust me, those little suckers desperately want to slip and fall off. Patience is key.
This started out as an afternoon project, but it quickly became an extended weekend project. In order for the model to be sturdy and well constructed, you have to set it aside several times to let the glue dry and set appropriately.
Patience, young Padawan.
The model is actually designed really well, and all of the wooden pieces are shaped (for the most part) like the bones they’re meant to represent. My biggest complaint is that the yellow fabric (the “skin”) covers much of that cool design in the finished model.
The wings are attached to the body by small metal eyelets, which allow the wings to “flap” up and down and not be rigid appendages. (This is another reason to get good wood glue. You don’t want the wings to fall apart the first time you make them flap.)
Once the dinosaur is complete, the final steps are to add string and counterweights. The string is so you can hang her up and flap her wings. The counterweights are so she’s balanced and hangs and flies properly.
She’s a bit delicate in spots but surprisingly sturdy overall!
The assembly is too difficult and precise for younger kids. My oldest is 6, and most steps were still a bit too tough for her. Older kids, though, should have no trouble at all.
At this price point (it retails for $28.99), the Terra Kids flying dinosaur model kit is a no-brainer for kids who love dinosaurs or are into modeling. With a little paint and creativity, the final thing could really be taken to the next level!
Once again, bravo Haba! You’ve outdone yourselves.