Thanks to online auctions, these retired Fisher Price action toys are still available. The male lion animation is similar to my first elephant project. Although the original animal family set had only one lion cub, an extra cub was part of the auction lot.
The whole family, painted prototypical colors with acrylics, look right at home on their plateau of paper mache, which covers the homemade mechanism. Because the heads were designed to move by hand, they were easy to animate with simple circular into reciprocal motion techniques. The scene still needs a few more details, like some greenery and a few well-placed tiny flowers for a little color.
The mechanism is a more compact version of the original male elephant animation project. Check the following page for details. Notice how the original yellow plastic detracts from their wonderful sculpting. With proper surface preparation, any plastic can be painted with acrylics.
There are 5 Christmas tree lights concealed in the front edge of the paper mache mountain, with aluminum foil to reflect the light and heat, that give an interesting lighting effect when room lights are dimmed. Don't forget to use as many theatrical techniques as possible, like these simple "footlights." When using any light, be sure to have an air space around the bulb and ensure it doesn't touch any combustible surface. If the light gets too hot to touch, it is a fire hazard on your layout and should never be used. Be sure all motors and lights don't overheat, are rated for your purposes, and are wired with the necessary safety features, like fuses, etc. The rod that turns the head of the lioness will be concealed with some lichen and small rocks when installed on the layout. This project was made to be surface mounted, not recessed into the layout.
The belly of the male lion was opened with a hobby knife, and after the throat was enlarged, a hole was drilled into the lions head, by way of the roof of his mouth, to accept the wire with the double bend. The double bend in the wire (rod) allows it to exit the body closer to the hind legs and is barely noticeable. The lioness is done like the female elephant on the elephant bath project page.