This blog is here to document my latest 2009 project, an extensive recreation of the Disney 1954 movie 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea through a series of detailed miniature dioramas, all contained under my model railroad table. This will be a "crawl-thru" type attraction (What is a crawl-thru? Read about it here).

Like Disney, I usually tend to keep everything under-wraps until I unveil the final product at the end. However, by keeping everything a secret, I end up not taking any photos of my projects and it is often disappointing to not have any documentation in the end showing how everything worked and was constructed. This time, however, I will document every step in the process of the creation of the project with photos and drawings (and maybe some video) illustrating each leg of the construction. Even though the posts here will be chock-full of spoilers, it will show the amount of work that goes into this and other projects--which is often under-appreciated.

This blog includes weekly updates that consisted of notes, ideas, photos, and maybe some video of what was worked on each week up until the estimated completion date of December 2009. (It was officially finished on December 10th, 2009).

May 26, 2009

5/25/09 Update--"Burial" Scene Construction

This last weekend I started on the "burial" scene of the movie where Aronnax and Conseil get their first glimpse at Captain Nemo and his crew. The perspective of this scene will be nearly identical to the first shot of them in the movie:

This will be a dry-for-wet scene, meaning that the scene is dry while giving the illusion of being underwater, or wet. For this scene I will employ the dry-for-wet effect I used for my Submarine Voyage show where "bubble boxes" were used to give the look of being underwater. Ironically, the 20,000 Leagues under the sea attraction at Tokyo Disney Sea uses this technique. The lighting effect that I didn't have when I made my Submarine Voyage (I wish I did!) of the underwater ripples will need to be figured out. Probably some Christmas lights that have a wave sequence might work. I'll have to make some prototypes (the goal is not to use real water!)

With technical and special effects aside, I worked on the scene it's self. I took the cardboard base and blocked out the scene like the shot above. I began making coral forms out of Aluminum foil. These forms are covered in Celluclay, to give it strength and texture. Here are the forms with Celluclay starting to go in:

And the rest of the forms covered:

It looks like a big goopy mess, but in reality, all of the forms are in rows and layers, much like real coral

Since I didn't want to make armatures and bodies for the divers, I went the action figure route. I found a keychain G.I. Joe that seemed to work, since he was the right size, has flexible joints (this is important since I'm doing more than one diver and I want a variation in the poses) and he is a diver! Now the only thing is that I need about 5 of them, but that's were eBay comes in handy. This scene won't be totally finished soon, since I have to collect each diver one at a time, but it's worth the wait. Once each diver comes in the mail, I'll give him some boots, a new helmet with collar (I might make one and mold it for easy duplicates), air tanks, and some other accessories.