The First Practical Long-Grin
Phase 3, Preparing the Mould

BILLY CAREFULLY CLEANED ALL THE CLAY OUT OF THE MOULDS, SO THE MOULD WOULD MAKE CLEAN
IMPRESSIONS, BEING PAINSTAKINGLY CAREFUL NOT TO
DAMAGE ANY OF THE THIN WALLS BETWEEN WHAT
WOULD LATER BECOME THE DRAGON'S SCALES
.

I watched Billy do this for about an hour while we talked about what came next and how he would use the finished moulds to make the foam rubber dragon's head. Then we started talking about the tusks, the eyes, the color of the dragon's scales and belly, all the things I knew intimately about Long-Grin's final appearance. I wrote out some notes, and tried to suggest samples that I thought might be useful to him, but I was afraid to help dig out the clay, for fear I would clumsily damage some part of the mould.

Looking back at it all now, it seems to me to be related to what paleontologists do when they recover fossilized dinosaur bones from the earthen matrix in which they have been discovered. This was particularly brought home to me a few years later, when the fossilized bones of a Baryonyx were discovered in Britain, a few years later. But I'm getting ahead of my story. You'll meet the rest of the incredibly talented crew I was able to assemble when you return to the Legacy Page and see how this first "practical" dragon looked when it made its debut in 1984.