Tag Archives: miniature

First Prop Links of December

Get Up Close With the Props of Dear Evan Hansen – Take a look backstage at the hit Broadway show to see how the props are stored. This series of photos is a great look at all the minute detail that goes into preparing seemingly ordinary props. Even the most mundane details have some story behind it, or some kind of trick rigged into it to make the show run smoothly and consistently.

Woman’s Day Magazine’s Star Wars Playset Designs (1978, 1980) – In two separate issues in 1978 and 1980, Woman’s Day Magazine published plans and instructions to construct Star Wars playsets for the popular action figures. These plans had you build them fully from scratch, using sheets of plywood, plastic, laminates, and other raw materials. This article includes links to the original plans as well, so grab them while you can!

The Secret Tools Magicians Use to Fool You – In another photo series, Louis De Belle has photographed devices used by magicians for his upcoming book, and shares a few of them with us here. He doesn’t actually give away how any of the tricks work, but it is a fun exercise to guess what each magical prop accomplishes.

National Theatre explores “exquisite miniature world” of stage set models – The National Theatre in London has an exhibition of some of the set design models for shows that have been produced there since the 1970s. The exhibition runs until March 2019, and was curated by Eleanor Margolies, author of Props (Readings in Theatre Practice).

TGI Links

This is from a few years ago, but it should provide a lengthy diversion: The New York Stagehand Glossary. It has a lot of terms which should be familiar to many of us, along with many I have heard for the first time (which is understandable, because I only did a bit of work as a stagehand while living in New York City).

Back in the old days, inventors who applied for a patent also had to submit a model of their invention. These models ranged from simple craft attempts to miniature marvels of engineering. The Rothschild Petersen Patent Model Museum houses one of the largest collections of these models, most dating from the 18th and 19th century. You can also view this set of photographs showing more of the models and exhibits.

Prosthesis by bjepson, on Flickr

Most props people are familiar with Mortite and floral putty for temporarily securing props to shelves, trays and tables. Sometimes, though, you want something a little stronger; you may even need something clear, such as when you need to secure crystal to a glass surface. Quakehold! has a whole bunch of products intended for securing your collectibles and valuables to shelves at home in case of earthquakes. Materials such as Museum Wax, Museum Putty and Museum Gel should keep your props from tipping or falling, and can be cleanly removed when the show is finished.

I like this tutorial for repairing broken plastic items with solvent welding with one caveat: you need to wear the proper gloves and skin protection as well as provide adequate ventilation and respiratory protection.

At the Props Summit a few weeks ago, they mentioned InFlow, an inventory management software program which can be used to catalog and track inventory. It was suggested that it might be useful for maintaining a photographic database of your stock. I haven’t used it, but the website offers a free download (you are limited to 100 items in your database) in case anyone was interested in trying it out.

May the Fourth be With You

This came through the prop managers group this past week (which got it from the stagecraft mailing list). Canadian mail-order catalogs from 1880 to 1975; like historical Sears catalogs, these are useful to see what the average Jane and Joe were buying throughout the last century and a half, making it great for period research.

The Design Observer Group has a semi-regular feature called “Accidental Mysteries”. The most recent installment features photographs and scans of antique measuring and marking tools. Other Accidental Mysteries have interesting things, such as these weekly rail passes from St Louis in the 1940s, and these punk and metal flyers from the 1980s-90s.

Chris Schwartz (of Popular Woodworking and Lost Art Press) is working on an interesting-sounding book on the “furniture of necessity”. Where the furniture of the rich and powerful is well-documented and archived, the furniture of everyday life is difficult to date and keep track of, particularly before the age of photography and mail-order catalogs. He is delving deep into research to come up with the forms of furniture that have remained unchanged for 200 years or more. It sounds like it could be potentially interesting for those prop masters and set designers who need to make period furniture for characters who couldn’t afford Chippendale chairs.

Here are a few interesting snapshots taken behind-the-scenes from the original Batman TV show (1966-68). Not much information on their provenance, but still pretty fascinating.

This site has a large number of videos, such as several different “documentaries” on various matte and miniature artists who have worked on films like Superman, Dark Crystal, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Thief of Baghdad, La Fin du Monde, The Third Man, Clash of the Titans, and The Da Vinci Code. It also has video featuring interviews of people who have worked on the FX crews of the Alien movies, and a video talking about restoring the Nostromo (the giant spaceship model) from the original Alien films. The videos are rather long and kind of all over the place; some of them have original 3D animation interspersed within the interviews. I’m not sure where the videos came from, but if you are willing to fight through the odd parts, you can pick up some interesting tidbits from the creators of some of cinema’s best visual effects.

Another Friday Link-o-Rama

I’m on my honeymoon, so I thought I’d save time with another quick list of links.

  • JT Ringer pointed me to this page on Bookbinding which came in handy on a recent project at the Santa Fe Opera.
  • Craftster – In addition to the blog, there is a large community, articles and tutorials, and a wealth of other resources for the crafter in you.
  • Tips and Tricks for Miniature making – Even if you’re not interested in miniatures and model making on its own, you can adapt many of these tips for faux finishing, dealing with small parts, and using molds.
  • This to That – This site is so ubiquitous it feels redundant to list it here, but in case you haven’t run into it yet, it’s indispensable for props. Simply put, you choose the two materials you need to attach together, and the site will tell you which adhesives will work.