Giant Crab Nearly Complete

In March 2007, we ran a story about how we acquired a Giant Japanese spider crab to make a life-sized reproduction for the National Museum of Natural History’s Ocean Hall, which opens in September 2008. Since then, OEC modelmaker Vincent Rossi has been hard at work.

His first step in creating the model was setting the pose of the frozen crab in a position that would balance showing off the crab’s size while still keeping its pose natural. To preserve the crab specimen for NMNH, it had to be stored in OEC’s freezer when Rossi was not working on the model. The legs were cut from the body to fit in the freezer.

To make the molds, Rossi supported one half of each leg with plaster and then coated the other half with silicone rubber. After the rubber set, a sheet of fiberglass was molded to the outside. Then, the mold was removed and he went through the same process with the other side of the leg. The shell of the model was created by brushing a polyester resin/milled fiberglass mixture into the mold. Rossi placed steel rods inside the outer shell of the body and legs for support along with a dense, expanding foam to fill the inside of the model. After Rossi paints the model, it will be ready to be mounted and displayed.

The Giant crab is one of four life-sized models that OEC is making for the Ocean Hall exhibit. Stay tuned to see stories and pictures of the other models.

top photo: Vince Rossi glues locator pins in place to provide a template for the mount makers.
bottom photo: Silicone rubber molds for the crab body

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