Their specialty: imposing alligators and more

Harry Robinson, owner of, makes large molds for museum displays or mailboxes, including the latest, a giant alligator for St. Augustine's Alligator Farm, at 4579 B NW Sixth Street in Gainesville, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012.

Erica Brough/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 6:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 6:00 p.m.

Harry Robinson has become somewhat of an alligator specialist, making foam and fiberglass gators small enough to hold business cards and large enough to hold mail boxes, to a gator head on display in the locker room of the University of Florida men's basketball team.

His latest project is a 25-foot gator for the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. He has teamed up with Paul Costanza of Red Sky Exhibits to build an 11-foot tail and restore the top half of the gator that the Alligator Farm bought off eBay from someone using it for photo ops.

They were putting the finishing touches on the imposingly large gator Monday outside Robinson's 4,000-square-foot shop in the North Industrial Park off of Northwest Sixth Street.

The gator will be mounted on a truck to use as a mobile billboard for the Alligator Farm.

Robinson used an actual small alligator tail as a model for anatomical correctness, scaling it up seven times.

Robinson and Costanza started working together almost 25 years ago at the former Museum Services, collaborating on projects for museums and theme parks around the world. They helped construct building facades and props for Universal Studios theme parks in Orlando and Los Angeles, including sharks for Jaws and a giant ape for the former King Kong attraction.

“I spent two weeks plugging hair into King Kong,” Robinson said.

He figures former employees formed about 25 businesses when Museum Services broke up, maybe 10 of which are still active.

Robinson formed Robinson Reproductions and also worked for a concrete company making architectural ornamentation. His projects have included making trophies for the Outback Gator Bowl.

He formed last year with partner John Cox to build fiberglass tanks used in water reclamation projects.

Robinson and Costanza started on their next project Monday -- a representation of a cut into a mountain made of foam and sculpted rock for a fossil exhibit at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

“They have provided fossils we're going to add to it,” Costanza said.

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