Building the mighty Kraken
Creating a centerpiece sculpture with steel and fiberglass-reinforced concrete
By Dan Sawatzky
Posted on Monday, November 2nd, 2015
The legend of the much-feared Kraken is indeed true—at least at Scallywag Bay Adventure Park in Trinidad. But it isn’t quite like everyone has heard. The long-tentacled sea monster is actually a mechanical beast, and was more than a match for the wooden sailing ships of the pirate’s day. This mechanical creature was invented by our Gruffles, the illustrious resident pirates.
Our delightful task was to build two of these awesome crafts, one life-size (about 35-ft. long) and a much smaller version on a sign. They will be the icons for the bumper boat attraction, acting as both signs and photo opportunities.
The massive beast also needed to break down to fit into a shipping container for transport. We started, as usual, with a heavy, welded steel structural frame. Around this a lighter pencil-rod framework was built, which would support the sculpted fiberglass-reinforced concrete shell. Then came the laborious task of hand-tying the expanded galvanized metal lath. When we were done, the concrete was sculpted to resemble a combination of heavy, riveted copper plates and wooden panels.
Dan Sawatzky's shop, Sawatzky's Imagination Corporation, is in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada. Dan shares his experience in his Sign Magic Workshops on 3-D sign making, and his Sculpting Workshop.