I know Harry Potter isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but bear with me…
My wife loves the books and films, I’ve never read the books but have enjoyed watching the films, so was happy to go along for a studio tour when she suggested taking her best friend for her birthday. Harry Potter World at Leavesden Studios, near Watford, has lots of the props, sets etc. that were used in the making of the films that you can walk around. For me, however, the highlights were seeing the animatronics, and even more so, the models used in the film design and special effects.
The first area you see with any models is a drawing office with a conceptual model of Hogsmead in one corner. Various other models, including the bridge to the school, are all around the room, and the walls are adorned with lots of amazing drawings.
The village of Hogsmead would look like a very good place for an Emmet style tramway to run down the main street in my opinion.
Many more models are on show just round the corner, some of large areas like Hogwarts School in it’s entirety:
Some individual buildings:
Some are of interiors of buildings, such as the Owlery:
But the most impressive by far is the 1:24 scale model of Hogwarts School which was used for many of the wider angle shots in the films which show the landscape around the school.
It is absolutely massive, and is on show under lights that cycle from day to night every few minutes. At night time it’s lit up by hundreds of LEDs, so many are used that it’s possible to simulate the students walking along corridors carrying lanterns!
It took a team of 40 people to build the mode, and 50 to maintain it during the course of filming. It makes use of real gravel and real plants.
The detail in such a large model is absolutely amazing, the colour is nice and subdued too, and the detail is quite mesmerising. I spent ages looking at it seeing all sorts of little architectural features.
The silhouette of the lady in the image below gives you an idea of just how big the model is!
I was particularly taken with the boathouse, the ivy growing up the side of the building is real ivy ground up until the scale effect was achieved.
So, even if you’re not a Harry Potter fan it might be worth going to look at the wonderful model making on show. There are more photos of the models in my Flickr set here.