Apples to Pears ‘Gift in a Tin’ model dinosaurs review

If you have ever visited the Natural History Museum in London, you will be familiar with Dippy the Diplodocus. Now you can have your very own (smaller!) version of Dippy, courtesy of Apples to Pears’ Gift in a Tin range.

I was provided with the tyrannosaurus rex and diplodocus sets for review purposes.

Apples to Pears offer a wide range of gifts in tins in various sizes, everything from a mini sock owl to a build your own microscope kit. The Natural History Museum collection consists of two dinosaur models: a diplodocus and a tyrannosaurus rex.

Each kit comes in an attractive, robust metal tin containing individual FSC wood pieces which accurately represent the dinosaur’s bones – around 40 in the case of the tyrannosaurus and 60 for the diplodocus – and a small tube of glue. Detailed photo instructions provide a step-by-step guide to assembling your model.

These instructions are fairly clear but require a little care and attention. With certain pieces we found it was easy to insert them the wrong way round, so make doubly sure you have everything right before applying the glue.

The machined wooden pieces have to be gently popped out from the supplied template sheets. Take care when popping longer pieces such as the legs out of the templates. Isaac snapped one of the T-Rex’s legs in half doing just that. Thankfully after a quick X-ray and a consultation with a specialist, a minor surgical procedure meant we were able to glue it back together with little visible damage. It’s worth having a grown-up to lend a hand to avoid something similar happening to you. (We haven’t yet found out whether Rex has a permanent limp as a result of his injury.)

We were pleased to discover that the pieces were precisely cut and slotted together neatly. There’s no need to wrestle mismatched pieces together to force them to fit in the manner of cheap flat-pack furniture, which was a major plus point.

You may need to gently sand the edges of the pieces as they sometimes popped out of the template with loose splinters attached. Nonetheless the assembly process was straightforward, which is always a relief.

The sets are recommended for ages six and over. Isaac (nine) and Kara (5½) assembled one model each and both were largely self-sufficient, requiring only a little help to remedy errors or to assemble a few of the more fiddly pieces. It definitely benefits from some lightweight adult supervision and support but a moderately dexterous child should be able to do at least 75% of the build on their own.

Each model took 75-90 minutes to complete. Don’t rush it. The construction is a big part of the fun as you watch the dinosaurs take shape. Plus, as the saying goes: more haste, less speed.

Having built both models, I would say the diplodocus, despite having more pieces, was the simpler of the two so if your child is at the lower end of the age range that might be the better one to start with.

When complete, both models stand securely on their own plinths, ready for their owners to display. The diplodocus is the longer of the two at 46cm, while the T-rex is 28cm. Both are perfect for a child’s shelf or windowsill.

Isaac and Kara both had a great time building their models. They were rightly proud of their achievements and both of them gave their Gifts in a Tin a big thumbs-up. Low-cost kits often lead to a lot of frustration with poor instructions and ill-fitting pieces. That was categorically not the case here. An excellent product.

You can purchase both kits from the Natural History Museum online shop for £18 each (diplodocus here, T-rex here) or at selected retailers, which makes them ideal Christmas or birthday gifts. So if you have a budding paleontologist in your family, why not give one (or both) of these a try?

You can also find out more about Apples to Pears’ other products on their website. Or follow them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.


If you liked this post, why not follow me on the following social networks?