Friday, June 14, 2013

Fantasia Maquettes



I have always been in awe of Disney's character model department. Joe Grant was the head of this unit during the Golden Age Of Animation. 
Not only were rough model sheets produced here, but also three dimensional sculptures to help the animators visualize their characters.
The chosen poses for these maquettes always showed beautiful movement, appeal and expressiveness. The final look in the film might differ a little from these early representations, but what a great source of inspiration for the animation.
The photo above is from the 1941 Disney film The Reluctant Dragon, which includes a tour through Disney's magic animation factory. The guest being shown around is actor/writer Robert Benchley, who is visiting a made up model department.
Every one of these little sculpts is a masterpiece, representing not only the personality of a character, but the essence of Disney, period!








13 comments:

  1. Andreas, Right above the woman's head on the wall in the back looks like an early model sheet for Lady and the Tramp. I didn't realize they were working on the film that early on!

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  2. At this time the proposed film was just called "Lady", and was based on the antics of a spaniel belonging to storyman Joe Grant. Disney OK'ed the initial development, but felt that the story lacked anything to counteract Lady's inherent sweetness.

    In 1943 He would read Ward Greene's short story "Whistling Dan the Happy Dog" in Cosmopolitan... and the rest is history!

    The Peter Pan modelsheet below appears to feature a chinese cook - presumably at a time when the pirates were being developed in detail, with an eye to more screen-time being lavished on the crew than was eventually the case.

    Of course, as Andreas says, this is a specially dressed set, rather than the real Model Department!

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  3. I remember with great fondness when they had those maquettes of the hippo and alligator on permanent display in the pre-show area of "The Walt Disney Story" at Walt Disney World for many years. On family vacations as a kid, I always made a point of lingering in that lobby and appreciating these beautiful little figurines.

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  4. I rather be a kid lost in the Model Department than a kid in a toy store :D

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  5. I'd love to know if that little articulated Bambi armature (on the shelf in the still from the Reluctant Dragon) still exists somewhere, I've seen it in a couple of books and photos.

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  6. That Bambi armature is with the Disney Archives.

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    Replies
    1. Excellent, thanks! Did they make armatures like that for any other characters?

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  7. After seeing The Reluctant Dragon as a kid, I ALWAYS wanted a working replica of that drunken cuckoo clock like in that top photo. I still do, too!

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  8. This would have been my dream job, to make these. Instead I settled for making them in paper but It's the next best thing. Thanks for the post as always!

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    Replies
    1. Britni,
      your work is exquisite !!!

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    2. Thank you, Andreas. Let me know if you have a wire sculpture exhibit. I would love to see them in person. -Britni

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