King Kong 'Log Roll' from Alternative Images

The box art for this kit.

A few weeks ago, I attended the 2022 Wonderfest in Louisville, Kentucky. It was a nice affair, the focal point of which was the 40th anniversary of “Star Trek: The Wrath Of Khan” with the film's director (and savior of the entire franchise IMHO) Nicholas Meyer in attendance.

Anyway, I had the good fortune of coming across a resin kit in the massive dealer's area I had been searching for roughly eight years. The kit from Alternative Images is called “Log Roll” (a terrific sculpt by Joe Laudati) and is of King Kong literally rolling a log 'bridge' with hapless sailor rescuers falling to their deaths in the chasm below. This scene in the 1933 classic is only topped by the terrific fight scene between Kong and the T-Rex later on. 

I made a brief video showcasing the diorama with the actual soundtrack from the scene so scroll down to the bottom of the page to view it.

The kit is comprised of eight nicely cast pieces requiring minimal clean up. Me being me, I decided that the scene could use some adjustments to hopefully make it more “interesting”. I decided to make the base much higher so I could add a small cave to the left of the general scene where the hero luckily takes refuge. I also wanted to add the Styracosaurus to the right side to explain why the sailors just didn't run back from where they came to escape Kong. This scene was deleted from the original film.

I started out by making each side of the base roughly eight inches high with several layers of roughly cut 1” insulation foam board which I mounted on a 10” x 20” wooden base. I sliced and gouged the face of the “cliff” with various cutting tools such as a utility knife, screw drivers and the like to create a rocky appearance. As I have said in the past with this operation, if you're not making a mess, you're not doing it right. I then came back with a wire brush to add some finer detail to the surface. When I was happy with the look, I coated the entire piece with Mod Podge to seal the surface to protect it from the solvents in rattle cans I may use in the future. The final surface prep was to mix up a soupy mixture of plaster of Paris which I painted on the rock face with an old paint brush, taking care to make sure the striations are pretty much in the same direction for a nice sedimentary rock look. The purpose of the plaster coating was to provide a porous surface I could apply water based paints to when coloring the 'rock' surface. To hide the foam layer seams on the sides and rear of the cliffs, I applied sheets of plaster cloth which I later painted black once they cured.

  • Long shot showing my messy work area and the initial build up of the left wall of the chasm. Click for a larger image.

  • Close up of the work in progress. Click for a larger image.

  • Photo of the partially completed left wall. The real work is to come when I detail the top. Click for a larger image.

The kit assembly was very easy and to make painting easier, I made it in two parts, The first was to assemble Kong completely with the exception of the mouth parts and right hand. The second assembly was the log with Kong's right hand attached but holding off the men pieces. After the right hand was secured to the log, I drilled a pair of pinning holes in the mating surfaces of the right hand and Kong's wrist. I made the holes a bit sloppy so I could wriggle the log assembly in place to see how it looked. Once I was satisfied with the fit, I began painting the two parts.

I base coated Kong with a very dark brown (called “soft black” on my acrylic paint bottle) followed by a rust wash which brought out the fur detail very nicely. Kong's skin areas were done in a flat black with a medium pink for the mouth interior & dentures (thanks Alternative Images for making these pieces separate which were much easier to paint). After adding the mouth parts to Kong, I set him aside to work on the log.

The log is roughly nine inches long and is packed with detail. There are three figures; two partials and one complete. The partials need to have either a torso assembly or a set of legs attached depending on the figure. The log also has numerous vines and moss cast into its surface which can be highlighted with careful painting. I added a few vines from my stash along with areas of ground foam to resemble moss growth.

I've also added a number of other creatures to the scene, the most obvious being the Styracosaurus which I made on my filament 3D printer. I also added the two legged reptile that is scaling the left side of the chasm to get at the Driscoll character hiding in the small cave beneath Kong. The bipedal lizard is actually a Komodo dragon toy I butchered to resemble the wall crawler. I have to admit this was the primary reason that I made the base larger to feature this scene from the film. Apparently, this creature was also the inspiration of the “skull crawlers” seen in “Kong: Skull Island” (2017). The two remaining minor creatures I added were a resin printed medium sized lizard and a huge spider that occupy the right side of the scene.

A "God" shot of the action. In the film, the chasm was probably ten times deeper than I show here but realistically impractical to duplicate.

A shot of the back side of the scene. Though edited out of the film, you can see a large spider waiting for its next meal to drop.

  • Detail shot showing the right side of the kit. Missing are the two base parts which I decided not to use. Click for a larger image.

  • Detail shot showing the front view side of the kit with Kong holding the business end of the log. Click for a larger image.

  • Detail shot showing the left side or backside of the kit which, when displayed, is usually out of view. Click for a larger view.

The Driscoll character being menaced by the lizard biped as seen in the film. The lizard is a cut up Komodo dragon toy and the Driscoll character is 3D printed with a knife fashioned from a piece of scrap plastic. The falling figure on the right is handmade using two part epoxy clay with an aluminum wire armature.

  • The left side of the chasm without Kong to show the jungle which is a mixture of real plants, terrarium decorations, string and plastic trees. The background is a vinyl flat that I commissioned for Vistaprint, my go to source for most of my background scenes. Click for a larger image.

  • The opposite side of the chasm showing a 3D printed Styracosaurus which why the sailors couldn't retreat to safety. There is also a medium size lizard to the right, watching all the action. Click for a larger image.

  • This photo was taken from the back side of the diorama showing the falling sailor and the patient spider not that visible from the front. Click for a larger image.

The ground cover on both sides of the ravine is a mixture of plastic plants, terrarium objects, real branches, ground foams and peat moss. I stained the peat moss various shades of green and brown to look like foliage in varying degrees of growth and rot. I hand painted the palm trees and bamboo to get away from the plastic look.

The finishing touch was to add one of the sailors in mid air, plunging to his doom. I made a figure using aluminum wire and two part epoxy clay that I suspended using a small brass rod mounted on the left side cliff.

This scene took me roughly three weeks to complete with the easier part being the Kong assembly. As I said, I had been waiting to get access to this kit for years and I have to say, I'm pretty happy with the way it came out. 7/9/22



My diorama on display in my living room. In case you are wondering, that's a Frank Frazetta painting in the background.

A black & white version of this scene. Thanks for reminding me, Jamie.

A roughly two minute video showing the completed diorama. I've included the actual sound track for this scene which may be distressing for the faint hearted. My apologies for the shaky cam.