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).

November 23, 2009

11/23/09 Update

Work has been progressing furiously on the project, though I really don't think I can finish it the way I want it to; there's simply too much to do to create a totally detailed and immersive project that I've had in mind. I'm trying to get this thing done as soon as possible, or by around December 10th--but since I don't think I can do that, I've decided to scale back the project. I'm trying to get this done by our family Christmas party, which will be the largest audience this project will ever see. But since I'm trying to meet a deadline for that, some stuff will be left out for now. But that means they'll never get put in eventually. I also want to get some work done on my Nature's Wonderland model before the party and I want to make room for overflow work time for my college final projects.

The current scaled back plan is this:

• The main focus will be to get all the scenes done and perfect; they're the main part of the show.

• Around the scenes will be streamlined and cleaned up with paneling, at this point to be painted flat black. My original plan was to completely theme the entire paneling like the Nautilus interior with rivets, pipes, and gauges. But since I don't have time for that, that aspect has been eliminated in favor of a clean dark surface. If I do have time, I may add patches of theming that will be only seen under lighting conditions that light up only those areas. (Otherwise, the entire area outside of the scenes will be totally dark, to focus the viewers attention on the scenes).

• As part of the scenes, a faux book in front of them will have a small caption and a black/white woodcut like illustration to give more information on the scene and to help blend the transitions between them. These will look like books from the time period, and will take a while to do, especially the illustrations (which I am doing half by hand and half by computer filtering of movie screen-shots. )

• I'm also going to make a sign for the front of the attractions, which will be a fun little project, as well as paint and streamline the outside of it, which is a mixed media of different materials at the moment.

So, if I can do what's on this list, I'll be in good shape; despite the compromises that were painful to make.

Anyways, this week I worked on the paneling of the project; essentially putting the matte on the canvas. This will give a very nice look to the project and will hid any unwanted areas.

Before I started the major framework, I did a quick video showing the inside and how all the scenes are laid out.

I started out with a wooden frame and then I screwed in walls of either Masonite, cardstock, heavy matte board, and heavy cardboard.

Here's a shot of the wood framing for the first part of the attraction:

And the areas paneled. The holes cut allow for windows for the scenes as well as quick access panels. (Technically, all the panels are being designed so the whole section comes out easily for any heavy maintenance or troubleshooting).

(That's the sign for my old Submarine Voyage project; it's kind of a nod to a former project that you have to look at a certain angle in order to see it.)

I should have pretty much all the paneling done (Luckily I have a few more free days because of Thanksgiving). I would also like to get the Squid fight done also, but we'll see.