The northeast guy made a dinosaur skeleton and was purchased by CCTV for a program, but he still struggled with the food and clothing line

The northeast guy made a dinosaur skeleton and was purchased by CCTV for a program, but he still struggled with the food and clothing line

Walking into Yan Rui’s studio is like coming to a miniature dinosaur museum. On one display wall, pterosaurs are spreading their wings, Tyrannosaurus rex is leaping and roaring, and big-eyed ichthyosaurs seem to be swimming in the water.

These lifelike dinosaur skeletons were set up and made by an 84-year-old Northeast boy. Every time a new work is developed, Yan Rui collects it, and today, the genealogy of this “dinosaur family” is constantly expanding.

Yan Rui loved to do handicrafts since he was a child, and only after graduating from college did he enter the field of model making by mistake. All of his crafting skills are his own, and each piece is a “limited edition”.

He does not intend to mass-produce and hand-polished and beautifully quality works in order to be safely handed over to guests. Such ingenuity has led some universities to knock on doors to seek cooperation.

32 pieces of solitary items

Yan Rui’s day began at a small workbench. Opening the express package sent from the Guangdong factory, a huge dinosaur skull emerged.

He carefully moved the skull to the table, smoothed the fine burrs with a file, and after the skull became round and tidy, he used sandpaper to polish out the vicissitudes of the texture, and then painted it with dark yellow pigment to make it old, and the bone color was as if buried deep in the ground for tens of millions of years.

Finely polishing each bone, and then carefully putting the bones together with glue and steel nails to form a skeleton, is a technical task – not only to carefully hide the joints, but also to present a vivid posture: the pterosaur is flying, the Tyrannosaurus rex is chasing its prey, the triceratops is about to crash into the enemy…

The assembled dinosaur skeleton will be sent to the buyer, some have been waiting for more than a month, some have even waited for several months, but the patient buyer never urges, they know that this boss has been slow work.

Yan Rui is the only seller on Taobao who makes handmade dinosaur skeleton models. At first, each of his works was hand-shaped, and after the orders increased, he handed over the work of reproducing the mold to the factory, but the grinding, assembly and other procedures still had to be completed by himself. ”

Each of his pieces is a limited edition, selling only 32 pieces each, “at first, more than 32 abrasives will be worn out, and the texture will be greatly reduced.” Second, I want to keep a little artist fresh, and I can’t do too much of each piece. ”

Every night is the time for Yan Rui to develop new products.

On the workbench is a pile of detailed drawings of skeletons, which he first weaves out the basic shape of the bones with fine wire, and then applies stone powder clay layer by layer to the barbed wire. Once the basic outline appears, bone seams, grooves and cracks are carefully carved out with a file. When completed, the piece will be sent to a factory in Guangdong for reverse mold copying.

For each finished piece, fans split 32 orders in an instant. Today, Yan Rui has endless work every day, and the farthest order has been scheduled for a year and a half.

In addition to collectors in the circle, there are also bar and coffee shop owners who buy his works for decorations, and recently, there are Internet celebrities who come to buy his works to take photos.

Yan Rui has to work until 11 o’clock at night every day. He said that when he was young, he often stayed up until two or three o’clock in the middle of the night, but now that he is older, he dare not stay up late for fear of sudden death.

Tohoku boy making a dinosaur skeleton

As a child, Yan Rui had two hobbies, one was to make military models such as airplanes and tanks, and the other was to collect rubber dinosaur models. He remembers playing dinosaur models in puddles after rain when he was a child, imagining puddles as lakes, “that way it’s more atmospheric.” ”

In college, a chance opportunity allowed him to “pinch” his two hobbies together. At that time, the new house at home was renovated, and Yan Rui wanted to make some decorations, so he bought some oil sludge and planned to make a Triceratops skull. At that time, there was no experience, no tools, and the completion of the work was all by feeling, “like a child kneading plasticine, only better than a child.” ”

This “debut” was finally pinched out by him, and Yan Rui happily posted photos of his works on the Internet, some praised them, and some poured cold water, “It is far worse than the works of foreign masters.” ”

Yan Rui curiously searched for the works of foreign masters, and sure enough, it was a world of difference, and while he was secretly ashamed, a door to a new world also opened to him – it turned out that the model could be made so delicate and beautiful. Since then, Yan Rui has entered the model world uncontrollably and began to ponder and make the second and third works at the same time.

At this time, after graduating from university and studying electronic information engineering, Yan Rui got offers from Beijing and Zhongshan, and Yan Rui chose to work as an electrical engineer in an electronics factory in Beijing. “At that time, my family just wanted me to be closer to home, but I didn’t expect the superior conditions to allow me to practice my craft.”

Alone in Beijing, making models has become his spiritual sustenance. Colleagues in the dormitory went to the Internet café in groups to play games after work, and only Yan Rui made his own dinosaur skeleton model under the dormitory light.

There are many large museums in Beijing, and on weekends, Yan Rui rushes to the museum to take photos, collect “first-hand information”, and then use a pair of skillful hands to restore the dinosaur skeletons photographed.

From the white to the master, it all depends on groping and practice. He changed three materials for the model alone. At first, Yan Rui used the common oil sludge on the market, but this material was soft and not suitable for making a large skeleton. Yan Rui carefully hid the wire in the finished skeleton. The skeleton stood up, but the piece melted in the sunlight.

Yan Rui tried American soil again under the introduction of big coffee in the circle, but this material is expensive, the cost is ten times that of oil sludge, and it is obviously not suitable for mass production.

In the end, Yan Rui learned about the material of stone powder clay in a book by a Japanese sculptor, although it was a little “hurtful”, but finally found the right material.

During his four years in Beijing, Yan Rui trained his hands, which could only “pinch plasticine”, to be as dexterous as a sculptor, and finally made a “finished product” that he was satisfied with.

At that time, his girlfriend opened a small Taobao store in his hometown, and Yan Rui tried to sell the finished products online, but someone actually came to buy them. The buyer, a veteran model player in Zhongshan, bought a model of a triceratops, and then took photos and posted them on the forum to discuss the gains and losses of Yan Rui’s works with the players.

“At that time, it was just a hobby, but I didn’t expect that this craft could still feed people.”

Yan Rui decided to make this craft a career.

A masterpiece of godhood

After 4 years in Beijing, Yan Rui quit his job and returned to his old family Spring to make a dinosaur skeleton model full-time.

He was greeted by incomprehension and even ridicule from relatives.

“Some people even say, isn’t what you make skeletons? Give me nothing. ”

Yan Rui did not argue, but silently made his own model.

His wife is responsible for the operation and customer service of the store, and Yan Rui only makes models in front of the workbench every day, so he does not know who the work is ultimately sold to.

Once, a friend sent him a small video, which was a CCTV nine sets of science and education programs, in which a Triceratops valuation model made by him appeared prominently. Yan Rui then knew that there was also a CCTV program group among his customers. Yan Rui silently sent this small video to some relatives and friends, and everyone knew that this “plaything lost its will” person actually made a name.

The cajoling of the layman is not what Yan Rui really cares about, he cares most about the approval of the insider. After making hundreds of models, he has been thinking about a big project – to make a skeleton of a T-Rex. “The real Tyrannosaurus rex is 12 meters long, and my work is scaled down to 1.2 meters.” Although the model is small and placed on the ground, it also has the momentum of a “small Tyrannosaurus rex”.

Starting from collecting data, Yan Rui made accurate calculations, reduced the huge Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton to one-tenth, and then drew fine drawings, and the tightly biting skeleton drawings were like a precision building construction drawing.

Yan Rui had to make dozens of bones with his own hands, and the material he used was corrosive, and after a few bones were done, his hands had been corroded into many bloody cuts. Yan Rui wrapped the duct tape around his hand and continued to make it, doing it intermittently for seven months, finally completing the last bone.

The final step is assembly and molding, which is also the most difficult step. “It is necessary to ensure both dynamic aesthetics and the forces of the two leg bones must be considered.” There was only one chance, Yan Rui used a rope to hang the spine of the Tyrannosaurus Rex, repeatedly corrected its form, and finally found a posture that jumped forward, fierce and standing. The work is finally finished.

Yan Rui posted a photo of this Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton to the forum, which caused a lot of sensation in the model circle. “They say no one in China can make anything like this yet.” Yan Rui’s craftsmanship finally reached the level of the “foreign master” he looked up to back then.

In the end, this Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton was acquired by Jilin University as a teaching aid.

Although the craftsmanship has been perfected, Yan Rui laughed at himself that his current income can only support his family, first, he does not want to engage in mass production, and second, there is no apprentice to help, and the orders he can handle every day are limited after all. His models are thousands of dollars more expensive, and cheap ones cost hundreds. Although the number of orders received each month is uncertain, it is enough for him to work alone.

Yan Rui honors the Japanese model maker Yamazaki Hiroshi as a spiritual idol. “He was the only person in Japan who made a model of a dinosaur skeleton, and I learned my techniques from him.” In order to become the “Chinese Yamazaki Fan”, Yan Rui plans to make a large dinosaur evolution tree, a total of more than 50 models, so far only 7 have been completed, although the road is long, but he is moving towards his goal every day.

Visited stores: Ammonite model shops

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