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).

August 3, 2009

8/3/09 Update

Work has been running smoothly on the shark attack scene, mainly because the process is nearly identical to that of the Burial scene. I'm starting to catch up with my set schedule, although this scene is was suppose to be finished last month, I'm actually pretty close to finishing it. The next scene planned for this month, is the scene were Nemo is expressing his anger/hate while he plays his organ. I'll get into that when I do later in the month. For now let's focus on what was done this last week:

After fussing around with different position, I was finally able to figure out the blocking layout of everything for this scene, which consists of the shark's path, divers, and coral.

As with the burial scene, coral forms of aluminum foil were crumpled and would get covered with Celluclay.

Since the Celluclay would take a few days to dry, I set to work on the divers. Thankfully, there are only 4 that I have to make this time (unlike the 7 for the Burial scene) considering each diver requires a lot of work. I jointed the Ned and Conseil figures so that they were in a "frightened" position with their arms and legs in the air. The Nemo figure has a wire attaching to the arms through the body so that they can move up and down with the gun. The divers ready to be painted:

and several hours later, they were painted and weathered:

At this time, the Celluclay had finally set and the coral was ready to be painted. The wooden strips at the front is where the plexiglas "bubble box" will sit, providing a window and the right look. There are a lot of clamps on that strip because I'm experimenting with "Gorilla Glue", a product that I've never used before. It works pretty good, though it foams, oozes, and expands so I'll have to be careful around seams next time.

Speaking of Plexiglas boxes, I built a brand new bubble box from scratch to replace the one I was originally going to use from my Submarine Voyage attraction. The reason for replacing the box is that I needed a wider window to take in the whole scene, which isn't as deep as the Burial scene where I was able to use one of the smaller boxes from my Submarine ride. Another reason is that the box that I was left with from the Submarine Voyage (there were three, two have already been used for the Burial scene and the Blacklight Nautilus scene) wasn't really in good shape since it was dislodged from the Submarine ride years ago. The seams weren't that great and there were a few leaks, even though the new box had it's own share of leaks before the seams were patched up.

(Ooh, it's brand new!)

Here's a quick GIF animation demonstrating the arms on the Nemo figure, raising his gun (with the help of my finger!)

(It may take a moment to load)

At this point, the figures need to be installed and the coral given more details. Once those aspects are complete, I will start the rather complicated mechanism that will control the shark, Nemo's arm, gun firing, and possibly the divers. These all have to move in a certain way and at the right time so they all synchronize. It'll be a matter of putting all the animation actuators on one axle of the mechanism. At this point, here's what the set looks like, with it's added backdrop too.

**There will not be an update next week or possibly the week after, as I will be out of town and a couple thousand miles away from the project on vacation.**

Sometimes it's good to take a break from a project like this every once in a while and come back fresh!