The Liberty Square Haunted Mansion Paper Model Kit Design Process
October 19, 2004
October 21, 2004
The design of the paper maquette is going smoothly. After meticulous measuring and tweaking, I think I have a good rough outer wall. The photo below shows the outer wall construction, printed on plain paper, so it lacks the stiffness to be able to make a final determination whether all the measurements are correct. But it came together close enough to warrant construction of a new version on heavy weight, matte, photo paper. The tallest point on this model (the top of the right chimney) is 6 inches (about 15 cm). The top of the tower cupola will be about 8 inches high (2 0 cm).
October 24, 2004
Today I designed a very rough structure for the mansard roof section of the mansion. This is the area of roof which is on the left wing of the mansion (if you are facing the front mansion facade). It is probably one of the most difficult structures to design (so far), since it not only has to have the right roof pitch, but it also has to fit within the walls, AND have the proper corner angles cut out, to allow it to fit into those funky, "inverted" corners of the outer wall. I will also have to break down the wall structures, into smaller "boxes". Right now the walls are one, long strip, which is folded at opposing angles, to achieve the outer circumference. Without lateral supports, the structure is very unstable, and doesn't hold it's shape very well. It also causes the folded angles to stretch and pull out of alignment. I think this would be a nightmare for the average paper-kit fan to manage. I may design the model mansion as separate wings, which would be joined together near the end of construction.
November 5, 2004
Now that Halloween i s over I can get back to work on my projects. Today I did a lot of tedious re-measuring, and rebuilding, of the mansard roof section. Four prototypes later, I still don't quite have the right shape and angles, but I'm close. The problem is trying to get the correct angles cut into the roof, so they fit those wacky inverted corners on the left wing. These corners are not the usual (two walls meeting at a 90 degree angles), rather, there are three wall. The middle wall is a at 45 degree angle to the other two. I had the same problem when I was creating the Lightwave 3D version.
I also cut a rough version of the gable roof, which is on the right wing. It was a much easier proposition, although it was a small challenge to get the right cuts for it to fit into the outcroppings of the east facade and chimney. These new roof sections were printed on heavy weight matte pape r, so they are much more sturdy than the plain paper walls. My next step will be to reprint, and reconstruct the walls on heavy weight matte paper, so I have a more dependable perimeter with which to work.
November 13, 2004
I think I finally have a good design for the main roof elements. It took a lot of trial and error, and I had a few bad measurements which were passed on from prototype to prototype, but after a few tense moments of believing that the laws of geometry had changed, things suddenly fit together! I printed the new model pieces on heavyweight matte paper (Epson, to be specific). It made a huge difference in the ease of handling, and support!
Before I got too far in the designs, I began to think in terms of building the model to include slots and tabs, so OTHER people would have an easier time building it! The photo shows the most recent model (in the foreground), and a couple of the earlier prototypes, just to prove that I really have been working on it! The newest model comes together as "modules". The left wing, with that impossible to figure out mansard roof, comes together as a "box". And, because the left wing is a long rectangle, I designed three horizontal braces, which span the interior, for better support. The right wing, with the gable roof, is a separate "box". Then the two come together as a nice tight fit. As you can see in the photo, the original prototype (back left) was one continuous wall, which was as limp as a noodle. It would have been a nightmare to keep squared!
Next, I am going to start on the Conservatory, which should be a fairly simple form to build. And then the tower and cupola. That will be the next big challenge!
November 14, 2004
The conservatory was a piece of cake! The roof tabs fit perfectly into the wall slots, the FIRST time! Adding this feature really makes the model look like the mansion now.
Below is shot with the model laying on it's back wall, to show the compartmental modules and supports.
November 16, 2004
In order for the lowest beveled ledge of the tower to fit over the angles of the convergence of the mansard and gable roof sections, I found that I had to raise the tower about 3 cm. Also, the cupola dome is a little too tall, but I'm hesitant to change it because it is already at a size which makes it difficult to manipulate the folds and tabs. I'll try a shorter version, and see how it goes.
February 26, 2005
I'm sorry for leaving this project for so long! I haven't forgotten about it. She sits on a shelf, just above my computer, sadly reminding me every day that she wants to be complete! But as you know (if you are following my progress in the CREATION section), I've been fine tuning the 3D mansion model, and in the process discovered some inaccuracies between the 3D model, and the paper maquette. So I've gone back to the drawing board, and created new templates, based on the most recent, improved, 3D mansion model.
From here I will be able to build a new paper model which will (hopefully) assemble more precisely, AND be more accurate to the actual mansion dimensions.
March 2, 2005
Using the finished Lightwave 3D model as a template (see CREATION section), I am recreating a new, simplified 3D model, building the walls as "2D" surfaces to simulate paper or thin matte board (rather than using extruded 3D solids). When this model is complete I will deconstruct it and "open it up" so it will lay flat. Then in Photoshop I will re-map the surface textures and details. Below is the basic form of the new mansion model so far. This new process has allowed me to crea te the roof elements to be MUCH more accurate, fit better, and allow for easier construction when it is cut from paper. Below is a 3D rendering of the new model as it exists so far.
Just as a side note: I could have whipped up a great paper model for myself in a matter of a few days, BUT the design challenge is to create this thing so it can be assembled by almost anyone, with as few pieces, and as simply as possible, while still ending up with something that looks cool!
March 4, 2005
I've redesigned the tower which was giving me so much trouble a few months ago. The tower has an octagonal footprint, and it has to fit into a 90 degree corner, AND cuts into the pitch of the mansard roof. The final design should fit correctly, but it will probably be the most challenging item to construct and insert. I believe I also corrected the proportions of the dome, but this too will probably be a challenge to people inexperienced with paper constructions. Below is a 3D rendering of the new model.
March 5, 2005
This morning I attained a great milestone. Using Lightwave, I deconstructed the simplified 3D model, by rotating each surface like a hinge, until each solid element was reduced to a flat plane.
Now I will take screen shots of the flattened wire frames, and bring them into Photoshop, where I can clean them up and print them. Then I'll build the prototype model, and see whether things fit together in the real world.
March 8, 2005
Hey! Look at this!
This is the newest REAL paper model prototype! I was surprised to see how closely it matches the 3D model of the prototype (March 4th post). This was the first time I built the front steps and entryway, and although it took some dexterity, it came together nicely (for a first try). This model is MUCH more accurate than the previous versions. Breaking down the 3D model while it was still in Lightwave, really made a big difference!
I scaled down the size of the model to allow the largest section (the mansard roof) to fit on a single sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper. Due to the complexity of all of the converging angles, and complicated forms, there is not a lot of tolerance for small deviations, such as might occur if the mansard roof had to be constructed from two halves. Plus, this model now fits nicely on a shelf, and really looks kinda c ute!
March 8, 2005
For now, the paper model is only 8" high (20 cm) at it's tallest point, (which is the tower). It's only about 11" (28 cm) wide. At this scale the architectural details are very small. Things such as finials and cornices are almost too small to bother creating as 3D forms, but I'm going to attempt some of them. The mansion has a small obelisk mounted at the top of each corner of the facade. I simplified their geometry (see below), but they will be no taller tha n about 3/4". Hopefully they will be just large enough to be manageable by most people.
However, the smaller, ball topped finials above the window cornices will have to be flat. I'll see how these work out. I want the model to be interesting enough for you paper model fiends, but easy enough for average folk to assemble. I wanted to keep the size of the largest model sections to be within the printer safe area of an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet, to avoid forcing people to patch together elements which would come together easier and cleaner as single, continuous surfaces. But ultimately, I'll probably have to make the final model larger.
March 9, 2005
Before I go any further, I decided to make the model a bit larger. This will not set back the design progress very much, it just means that the next prototype will take advantage of the maximum printable area of an 8.5 x 11" sheet of paper, (which is about 8 x 10). It also means that all of the outer walls will need to be glued together at the corners, instead of having some of them sharing folded corners. I also discovered a .307" discrepancy between to top edge of the right wing walls, and the left wing walls. Also pretty easy to fix, although that ole' mansard roof will need ANOTHER tweak.
March 13, 2005
Prototypes, prototypes, prototypes! Cut, score, fold, glue, cut, score, fold, glue, cut finger, ouch, bleed, Band Aid!
Here is a photo of the pile of prototype parts I've been creating. As a result, I'm getting closer and closer to a nice, clean, and I hope, simple design.
March 14, 2005
As I said earlier, due to the relatively small scale of the mansion model, many of the architectural details may end up being too small to build as 3D paper objects. However, I am trying! I'm working on the cornices and finials which crest the right wing (on the conservatory side) of the mansion. I made one of the finials, taking some artistic license by simplifying it. Below is a photo of the finial, compared to a
But with the help of an X-acto blade, pointed tweezers, and a toothpick for applying glue, it turned out OK. I might make the 3D details optional in the final kit. People who want to take on the challenge of the little structures will be able to try them, but I might also include "flat" versions of the details for those who just want to be able to finish the darn thing!
And above is a photo of a prototype cornice, with a finial.
March 17, 2005
I have nothing new to show, but I've been busy with the paper work. The dormers, and the rear chimney have been designed. I worked out a tab system, so the mansard roof should be easier to put in to place. I think I'm almost ready to begin adding the graphics, and textured details to the model!
March 19, 2005
I've begun creating the surface graphics for the mansion model. This part of the process is coming along much faster than I expected, I guess because most of the mansion surfaces are either brick, or slate. Elements such as the windows, and some of the cornice detail, will come from isometric renderings of the 3D haunted mansion model.
All of this work is being built in Photoshop, as 150 dpi graphics. The only small problem I am dealing with, is that when I scaled up the size of the model pieces, it caused a blurring of the lines indicating cuts, and folds. This blurring isn't noticeable at the resolution I'm using, but I'm still cleaning up the lines as I go, just to make sure things are as crisp and unambiguous as possible.
Hopefully, the next prototype you see, will be detailed, and in color!
Above, are a couple of pieces of the tower.
Just for the record, I am really enjoying this! I wish I could do it full time (for money)!
March 21, 2005
I finished creating, and applying the graphic details to the model. Next, I have to apply the solid lines, dashed lines, and assorted guides which will aid in the cutting, scoring, and folding of the mansion parts.
I'll probably have to build a few more prototypes based on these new est designs, j ust to be sure that it all comes together the way I want. After that, the only things left to do are to create an instruction guide, and then figure out how to put it all together so you guys can have a quick, easy download.
I get several email per week asking me if I will be offering the model for free on my site. The answer is yes! The only thing that would change my mind, would be if Disney called and bought it! (hint, hint). Yes, that may be a mercenary attitude...but hey, I'm an artist!
March 27, 2005
The most recent prototype still proved to be buggy. And as usual, the problems came from the left wing mansard roof. However, the right wing of the mansion, with its cornices and finials, looks pretty good. I built this while at the beach in Corolla, North Carolina.
March 30, 2005
Conservatory...check. Tower with cupola...check. New mansard roof...Houston, we have a problem!
Actually, the new mansard roof fits perfectly, but it is too low. Hopefully that will not be a big deal to tweak. As you can see from the photo of the most recent prototype (above), it's looking pretty good (the right wing survived the trip back from North Carolina). The tower is 9 inches (23 cm) tall, and the larger size is making construction a bit easier. I created all of the graphics in Photoshop (only using photos as reference). The only photo element I am using, is the front door (and even that had to be extensively readjusted to fit the model, and to reposition and sharpen the image elements).
March 31, 2005
It is finally coming together. The newest mansard roof fits perfectly, AND it is the correct height! The dormers needed to have their angles corrected to fit the new pitch of the mansard, and they now fit great too.
The only things left to build are the front porch and steps. I don't expect to encounter any major problems with those.
Then I can go back and clean up the guide lines in Illustrator (the resolution of the Photoshop art doesn't allow me to create dashed, diagonal lines without them breaking apart, or disappearing completely). Then I will compile the art, print it, and attempt to build a final prototype. I'll write the assembly instructions as I build the final.
I am experimenting with adding a few extra details to the mansion art. I'm not adding a lot, but some areas in the rear of the model are in need of something interesting. Below is an example of some of the details I am considering. The rear of the left wing has a 10 inch (20 cm) long expanse of mostly brick (except for 2 windows, and the rear chimney), which is pretty boring. So I added ivy, and the tombstones from my 3D model of the cemetery.
April 2, 2005
The layouts are finished!
Tomorrow I will print the PDF documents, and begin building (what I hope to be) the final prototype. As I build it, I will write the construction instructions, and try to decide what sort of diagrams I will need to create.
April 4, 2005
I'd like to thank my fellow Haunted Dimensions Minions, Aaron, Dale, Al, David, Douglas, Bill, a nd Trader Sam, for testing my experimental PDF layouts! Other than an early problem with the print sizes of the documents (which I believe I fixed), everything seems to have worked.
April 5, 2005
The prototype is going well. But as I meticulously score, cut, and fit the pieces together, I'm finding myself continuing to modify the model. This isn't a bad thing. For instance, I decided that the windows should have dimension, as opposed to just leaving the printed windows. The results are very dramatic. The mansion looks more like it is built out of solid material, instead of just paper.
But since the windows now have "boxes" attached behind them, I had to modify both roofs to allow the window backs to cut into them. But is was really worth it! I also designed "floors" which basically make each wing of the mansion a box. Now when I lift the model, it now longer wilts! I also added a little "thickness" to the top edges of the gables. Looking at the photos, it even makes the flat cut-outs of the ball finials look 3D!
Oh, yeah, I made the bat weather vane also!
Writing the instructions for this model is not fun at all! I want to get this thing out to you, but without concise instructions, you would probably gather with torches and come looking for me!
Thanks for all of the encouraging email, and support! It is surprising to see the number of people who eagerly await new updates, and are chomping at the bit to get their hands on this model! It is weird to be working on a project with an audience watching!
April 7, 2005
The dimensions of the model are roughly 12" x 12", and the tower is about 9" tall (not counting the weather vane) or 30 cm x 30 cm x 23cm.
Although I've been calling this model "The Liberty Square Haunted Mansion", the haunted mansion at Tokyo Disneyland is almost identical, although there are slight variations in some of the dimensions, and color treatments. It is also made to look slightly dilapidated, with the top left window sash hanging by its hinges. In the future I might make a few slight modifications to the finished model, to make a Tokyo version. Better yet, how about a Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Holiday version? Yes!
Image from MousePlanet.
April 10, 2005
Everything came together quite nicely! For the first time, I have a completed paper mansion model.
As I built this prototype I was able to see how all of the elements came together. I had to make many small adjustments in order for everything to fit properly. So, this will not be the final prototype, but I believe the next one will be the LAST one!
Trader Sam at disneyexperience.com, suggested that I also create the front terrace. I'll probably do that, (along with other possible future additions), but not before I release this model.
Don't worry, the color of that orange dome will be changed!
April 14, 2005
I am still working on the assembly instructions. Since I made so many small changes to the model during the previous prototype construction, I'm going to build one more prototype to be sure I didn't mess up anything. Originally I was planning on creating text only instructions, but it soon became obvious that diagrams were the way to go. Diagrams are easier to follow, and they will allow non-english speaking HD fans to construct the model. The only problem is that drawing diagrams takes a lot longer than writing instructions. Even though this thing will be offered for free, it will still have my name on it, so it has to be good!
April 17, 2005
The instruction manual is as tedious and time consuming as I expected! It is a mixture of diagrams, and short english instructions. Hopefully the combination will be universal enough to be understood by most people.
Even though the manual will take many more days to complete, I have begun to think about when, and how I will announce the release of the model to you, my fellow Minions of the HD. I need to design a web page for it (and the 20+ pdf file downloads), and I have a couple of dates in mind, which could be used as an excuse to have a "celebration" to go along with the release. But should I tell you the release date ahead of time, of just upload it one day as a surprise?
I know that there are several hundred of you who will be downloading this stuff, and I'm a little concerned about my bandwidth limitations, but I'll deal with that when the time comes. I'm not making any promises, but I'm expecting to be able to release the mansion model some time in the next couple of weeks...if not sooner!
April 21, 2005
I just wanted to let you know that I'm still working on t he assembly instructions. Due to my heavy animation work load, I'm only able to crank out one or two diagrams per day. I hope to get a lot done this weekend. I printed the final prototype, and will begin it's construction this weekend also.
May 2, 2005
Wow! I want to thank everyone who participated in my survey! There was a terrific response, and now I have a general idea of how many of you are interested in having the model. Even though I only asked for a "yes", MANY of you also added notes of support, and encouragement! It was really nice to see that there really are people out there who are interested in this stuff! Other than an occasional entry in my guest book, I generally don't hear from very many of the minions. Thanks!
There still seems to be some confusion about who will receive the finished haunted mansion paper model, and what the price will be.
First of all, while I would love to make some extra cash for all the work I've put into this, I believe it would be unethical to charge for something which was basically the creation of someone else. I know that there are all kinds of loop holes, and legal am biguity in regards to th e re-creation of art, but I don't want to take that road. This is a tribute to the genius of Disney design, and not a way to profit from the work of others!
If you still want to contribute some money to me, I hope to have several new Haunted Dimensions items for sale in my online shop. These designs will be spooky, but NOT Disney related.
Second, I will be making the model available for free to anyone who has the capability to download and print the pdf files which contain the model pieces. When I finish the model, I will post an announcement on the front page of this site, and this page will become the download center. I will NOT deliver the model in any other form, such as email, FTP, or on disc.
May 10, 2005
Designing the instructions is not fun! And nobody is allowed to complain about them!
I'm also designing the "delivery system"; the web page which will contain the PDF downloads.
I'm also designing the new "swag" which will be for sale in the Haunted Dimensions store.
Lots to do, and little free time in which to do it all! I still can 't give you an estimate as to when all of this might be completed, but trust me that I'm diligently working to get this puppy out of here!
May 14, 2005
As I mentioned in "The Observer", I decided to make it official that my next 3D haunted mansion project will be the "original". Once the Liberty Square paper mansion model is completed, I will begin the creation of the New Orleans Square Haunted Mansion, from Disneyland. And, as with the Liberty Square model, once the 3D Disneyland mansion model is completed, I hope to create it as a paper model kit. Keep in mind that the Liberty Square projects have taken 6 months so far. But maybe by Halloween I'll be close to finishing this one.
May 20, 2005
I have about 4 more items which need to be diagramed for the instruction manual, and I have a bit more work to do on the final prototype. And yes, I'm STILL making some last minute design changes, but nothing which would slow down progress.
I'm still not prepared to make any "formal" announcement about a release date, but it should be within the next week or two.
So be patient, fellow Minions of the Haunted Dimensions! The manifestation of your desire will soon be at hand!
May 23, 2005
The paper model instructions are 11 pages long, with exactly 50 illustrated steps! Whew!
Now for a little proof reading, and preparation for delivery. This means graphic conversions, compressions, a design for the download page, and a few "support" goodies. The time is drawing very near, but don't expect it in the immediate future.
The real chills come later. MWAH-HA-HA-HA!!!
June 12, 2005
Thanks for following along! It has been a very satisfying project, and I hope your finished models meet your expectations!
Now...there is an old haunted plantation in Anaheim which need to be modeled!
To DOWNLOAD my FREE paper models
GO TO PAPER MODEL PURGATORY, HERE
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