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

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Moviefan2k4

New Member
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! :)
 

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Moviefan2k4

New Member
LOL. Your not asking for money now.
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 screwing 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.
 
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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PHArchivist

Master Member
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.
 

MitasTouch

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
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.
Maybe to be able to fit the Hot Toys Marty and DeLorean in. They're 1/6th.
 

Moviefan2k4

New Member
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! =)
 

MitasTouch

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
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! =)
What era Hilly Valley Square are you doing?
 

Moviefan2k4

New Member
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.
 

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Roland

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
What era Hilly Valley Square are you doing?
I guess it's this:

... I contacted Universal Studios via email, requesting blueprints of the original 1955 sets...
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
 
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PHArchivist

Master Member
"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...?
 
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Moviefan2k4

New Member
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.
 

BTTFSpencer

Sr Member
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...
 

Moviefan2k4

New Member
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.
 

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joberg

Master Member
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:)
 

BlobVanDam

Sr Member
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:)
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.
 

Moviefan2k4

New Member
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).
 

stonky

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

image.jpg
 

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