Back in 2010, when I was employed in building a series of giant pterosaur models for the University of Portsmouth and Royal Society, I painted the above image of several giant azhdarchids in flight for use on our display boards and advertising work (bonus sauropods can be seen playing in the water below the pterosaurs). The azhdarchids are meant to be a fairly close match for our models, and specifically the giant, 10 m wingspan jobby we suspended between Royal Festival hall and the neighbouring buildings:
|Our 2010 exhibition, with BigQuetz at the topright. Two smaller giants follow behind it, with the giant Bamofo looking on. Pterosaur worker Michael O'Sullivan can be seen in the bottom left.|
|BigQuetz in all its 10 m span glory|
|The BigQuetz body and wing frame, with pterosaur workers for scale (I'm on the left, Dave Martill is on the right)|
Sadly, that very day arrived at the turn of this year, when University of Portsmouth staff found the BiqQuetz head had been smashed in by unknown individuals (sadly, I don't have any photos to show of this). It seemed that the damage was well beyond repair, and the BigQuetz story was brought to a close when the model was chopped up and disposed of. It's a terrific shame that our model should meet such an inauspicious end, and particularly stings because I personally experienced the many hours of work that were poured into its creation, often by volunteers, and know of the craftsmanship that went into its production, particularly on its aluminium frame. Plus, I find it hard to rationalise its demise being caused by anything other than a stupid stunt pulled by bored delinquents, seeing as its location on campus was not conducive to being accidentally damaged by university staff. Some consolation can be found in the fact that our other models have found homes elsewhere, and are hopefully being looked after, but it still seems a tremendous waste. Hey ho. RIP BigQuetz, we hardly knew ye. Or whatever people say about this sort of thing.