"Back to the Future" Courthouse Square: Building A Replica...

Discussion in 'General Modeling' started by Moviefan2k4, Jul 21, 2015.

  1. Moviefan2k4

    Moviefan2k4 New Member

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    Hey, all; this is my first thread, and the main reason why I signed up to begin with. I'd like to thank everyone in advance who's willing to help me with this, because it will likely take a long time to finish.

    I am currently planning to build a scaled-down replica of the Hill Valley Courthouse Square, from the first "Back to the Future" movie. Nothing material has been started yet, but I'm in desperate need of information. I contacted Universal Studios via email, requesting blueprints of the original 1955 sets...but a reply might take a while. I spoke to the official website's creator, and the studio has him very busy over the next 2 years...so, its up to me and whoever else wants to help. For now, I'm contemplating a one-sixth scale replica, which would make the Clock Tower building approximately six feet tall. I am NOT asking for money right now, only information and helpful tips. This will be my first time making any sort of detailed model; any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! :)
     
  2. IEDBOUNTYHUNTER

    IEDBOUNTYHUNTER Sr Member

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    LOL. Your not asking for money now.
     
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  3. Moviefan2k4

    Moviefan2k4 New Member

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    That wasn't meant sarcastically; I may eventually start a funding page for this, but that won't happen for quite a while. At the moment, I'm just trying to get information; the practical stuff will start once I'm confident I can build this without * it up. I don't even have detailed blueprints yet, or measurements from the backlot; my only source is a low-res scan of the Town Theater and Holt's Diner section, that I found online.
     
  4. IEDBOUNTYHUNTER

    IEDBOUNTYHUNTER Sr Member

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    Oh i know your serious. It a common theme lately for new guys to ask for info and money. I prefer old school. Do your own research, work a job and buy your own supplies. But then again this old master chief has never been PC

    But thats just me.
     
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  5. shmartybird

    shmartybird Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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  6. PHArchivist

    PHArchivist Master Member

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    The entire square? Four to six foot buildings? I'm curious what is your point and purpose? I ask, as this just a tad above and beyond a simply hobbyists project, considering you'd need an entire room (or more) to house the thing. Do tell...

    Personally, I'd look at 1:24 scale (or even 1:18) to pair up with some of the smaller-scale cars available on the market.
     
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  7. MitasTouch

    MitasTouch Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Maybe to be able to fit the Hot Toys Marty and DeLorean in. They're 1/6th.
     
  8. Moviefan2k4

    Moviefan2k4 New Member

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    MitasTouch hit it right on the head. I don't have those figures yet, but would like to at a certain point, and would need a place to display them. What better way than to recreate one of the most famous places associated with the series? Another reason is because I need something to focus on; my mind races fast, and tackling complex stuff forces me to slow down. I want to push for as much realism as possible; I've even thought of doing interiors for most of the buildings, and maybe even small LED lighting! But like I said, that's a long way off; right now, its all about the basics.

    A huge "thank you!" to shmartybird as well, for those awesome blueprints; I'll make the best of them! =)
     
  9. MitasTouch

    MitasTouch Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    What era Hilly Valley Square are you doing?
     
  10. Moviefan2k4

    Moviefan2k4 New Member

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    My goal is to recreate the 1955 version, complete with shops on all streets, the Clock Tower and plaza, plus the Town theater and Lou's Cafe. The blueprints provided by shmartybird aren't very detailed in terms of measurement, so I'll still need more help on that. Once I have enough info, I'll probably just do cardboard facades first, to get a basic sense of the proportions. Starting physical construction now would be pointless, because I'd have to keep redoing it every time a new detail was discovered.
     
  11. Roland

    Roland Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I guess it's this:

    Edit: Moviefan2k4 was faster. :D


    By the way: Don't trust those blueprints too much. I would suggest you to contact RPF member BlobVanDam. He's building a CGI model of 2015 Hill Valley and can certainly help you with measurements and other informations: http://www.therpf.com/showthread.php?t=157770
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2018
  12. PHArchivist

    PHArchivist Master Member

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    "Rain, meet parade..." :devil

    I'm gonna guess the square is 50-100 yards square. Call it 60 yards. So 1/6 is 30 feet...? Biggest room in my home is maybe 20-30 feet, and its a combined living room / dining room.

    Where are you planning on putting this when done...?
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2015
  13. Moviefan2k4

    Moviefan2k4 New Member

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    Like I said, I won't be able to assemble the whole thing inside my apartment - that's obvious right away. I'll be doing it in sections, attempting such a method where it appears seamless when combined together. For example, if the Diner building's about 18 feet high in California, then it would be 3 feet on my version. I'd probably have to build each level separately, with something like snaps to attach them while on display. I even thought of using small magnet strips, but that could be a problem if I decide to put lights inside the buildings.

    I really don't know how all of this will turn out; there's so many ideas in my head, but making them practical is a whole different process.
     
  14. BTTFSpencer

    BTTFSpencer Sr Member

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    You should build the Diner individually and see how you go. This is a huge project, and no offense, but I wouldn't be surprised if this was the sort of thing that gets abandoned due to an over-elaborate plan.

    I'd start with the movie theatre...
     
  15. Moviefan2k4

    Moviefan2k4 New Member

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    The way I figure it, the studio builders had to do a lot more planning with the originals, than I will be with the replicas. The set's been burned down three times in the last 30 years, and they had to redo it full-scale after each one. Not to mention the constant effort that goes into redressing each building, for the constant TV and film productions taking place in the Square.
     
  16. BTTFSpencer

    BTTFSpencer Sr Member

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    The way I figure it blacksmith, you owe me 5 dollars for the whiskey and 75 dollars for the horse.
     
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  17. joberg

    joberg Master Member

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    Well, I just read this thread and while your plan/aspiration might be in the right place, this is not a small endeavour. Blue prints are fun, but also (as you've mentioned above) if everything is to be build in section, lots of planning has to take place before hand. Just the moving of those sections, (in another location for example), would demand for some type of stronger material than cardboard). For "quick mock-ups" you should use FoamCore and not cardboard (less expensive).

    While it's commendable to build the exterior of the buildings, remember that the interiors (sets) don't always fit the exterior. Might be a problem in the long run.
    Good luck:)
     
  18. BlobVanDam

    BlobVanDam Sr Member

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    Luckily I think the only building that they really utilized a full interior for in BTTF Courthouse Square is the diner, which was actually the real deal. Every other time I've seen interior shots to those buildings shown (such as the mall in Gremlins, and a bunch of old movies), it is a separate building/set that doesn't match up.
     
  19. Moviefan2k4

    Moviefan2k4 New Member

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    Well, I'm just doing one small piece of it at a time, starting with Holt's Diner. After that will probably be the Town Theater, and I'll just work my way up. Eventually, I'll get around to the Clock Tower, which at 1/6 scale would still be taller than most people...but that's a long way off. I spent more time early this morning, trying to comprehend the blueprints; major thanks to BlobVanDam for help via email. Its just going to be a very slow process, like converting a standard DeLorean to a time machine replica when you know nothing about cars (I won't even attempt that).
     
  20. stonky

    stonky Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I'm sure that you're already aware of this, but some crude measurements can be gotten from Google Earth:

    image.jpg
     
  21. Moviefan2k4

    Moviefan2k4 New Member

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    I've used Google Earth a little bit, maybe 2 years ago...but how do you get accurate dimensions from a confined space with it?
     
  22. stonky

    stonky Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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  23. Roland

    Roland Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    This satellite picture may help, too. 10 pixels of the picture are exactly 1 meter. For viewing in original size, save it and view it with an image viewer.

    courthouse_square_satellite.jpg
     
  24. Moviefan2k4

    Moviefan2k4 New Member

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    OK, so here's my first hand-drawn blueprint, for Holt's Diner at full scale. I'll be copying this with the measurements reduced to one-sixth, before building anything practical.

    [​IMG]
     
  25. Moviefan2k4

    Moviefan2k4 New Member

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    I had to change some of the measurements for this blueprint, but after multiple tries, I think its finally done. One step down, many more to go...

    [​IMG]
     
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  26. Moviefan2k4

    Moviefan2k4 New Member

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    Hey, everybody. I know its been a very long time since I updated this, but it stalled out when I couldn't find a full set of high-quality blueprints. Well, God changed that recently, when I wound up contacting Bob Gale's agent through several different attempts. I told her of my plan to build the 1955 courthouse square...and within a day, she sent me the blueprints, with one rule attached: I could not profit from anything I made, without a license from Universal. Some of the plans were in the file shmartybird had sent me...but they're much bigger and more clear overall. A few web-sized photos were included too, but I couldn't make anything out of them.

    So, the next step is re-drawing the plans so I can see them better up close...and then after that, maybe a cardboard or FoamCore mockup. Its still a long way until completion, but I'd like to finish it by the 35th anniversary.
     
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  27. joberg

    joberg Master Member

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    Excellent news (you lucky dog);)
     
  28. Scarecrow Joe

    Scarecrow Joe Sr Member

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    I think you should consider going to a smaller scale. Building such a large scale replica of that set could only fit inside a basketball court! Anyways....good luck!
     
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  29. Moviefan2k4

    Moviefan2k4 New Member

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    I've thought of starting smaller, but I really want to end up with a 1/6-scaled model, that I can break apart into pieces and store in boxes. Ideally, most of the separations would be hidden after connected, like between bricks in a wall or under a rooftop. But I'm well aware that at one-sixth, the Clock Tower alone would be around 7 feet tall. Now granted, that's the biggest building; most of the others would probably average around 2 or 3 feet. I just really like the idea of putting a ton of effort into it, and then showing it off at conventions and such. I'm tempted to build the Tower first, but a lot of the more detailed pieces would have to be custom-made (cat statues, the actual clock, tops of the columns). Still, I love the idea of building Hill Valley's main area, and finishing the buildings so they're not just mockups.
     
  30. CB2001

    CB2001 Master Member

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    Will the model be to scale and painted? XD J/k. Can't wait to see it. :)


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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