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).

September 21, 2009

9/21/09 Update

By the middle of this week, work will shift from the current scene (Pipe Organ scene) to the next scene, the Squid Fight (hopefully). The majority of the Organ scene will be done this week and the squid scene will start.

On the Organ scene this week, I focused my attention on the Pipe Organ and getting it's pipes on it. The pipes were really hard to do and figuring out how to make wasn't easy; they are all different sizes, they taper the entire length, and they are arranged in a fan shape. I ended up making the pipes out of sculpey so I could get that tapering effect easily. The smaller pipes on the ends were made out styrene rod since thoses didn't need to taper as much.

Once the pipes were done, The details along the top and the crest were made, and the entire piece was painted with gold enamel paint. The mirror has been painted black for now, I haven't decided whether I want a printout photo of Nemo's face or just make it silver.

The organ bench has also been made, awaiting the future Nemo figure. The Nemo figure will be done the same way as the figures in the dinner scene, though since his back is turned to the viewer, his face won't need to be sculpted and that will make the sculpting process A LOT easier. Also on the organ are the keys, which is just a print-out. They will be replaced by a more accurately scaled printout since this photo was taken. The organ still needs more details like the stops, but other than that, it's pretty much finished.

I've also installed the show lighting at this time, to help me visualize what the final thing will look like. Carpets and painted seating are also shown.

Aside from a few details still needing to be added, the scene is shaping up quite nicely.


Once that scene is complete, it will be time to start the most memorable and favorite scene of many 20k fans, the squid fight.

This was a scene that I had to include, there was no way around it! This scene is going to include the deck of the Nautilus, a fully animated squid, crew members fighting it, and lots of lighting effects.

When I originally designed this attraction, the Squid scene was going to have a composition showing an overall view of the scene; which is why I made that template during the Discovery scene construction.

View of the squid fight at an "overall" perspective
After thinking about it, I decided to move the perspective to the back window of the Nautilus, where Conseil and the Proffessor look out onto what is happening. By moving the perspective, the scene has a larger scale, and that means a larger the squid-- the bigger the squid, the better! This will be a big scene; it's so big that I can't even work on it at my desk as I did with the other scenes!

A view of the squid fight from the Nautilus back window

So that's the focus for this week.