Hollywood special effects team creates 20-foot model of California

A 20-foot Scalextric-style model of California, made by the special effects team behind Hollywood movies including First Man and The Abyss, will be flown over to London and assembled in the middle of one of Europe’s busiest train stations, DailyMail.com can reveal.

The model, with miniature versions of the state’s best-known landmarks including Disneyland, the Golden Gate Bridge, Sequoia National Park and Coachella Festival, will be traversed by tiny battery-powered cars rigged with cameras, allowing people to see the view from the dashboard using a Virtual Reality headset.

The hair-brained PR stunt, costing tens of thousands of dollars, is a part of a push by California’s tourism agency to promote road trips in the Golden State.

The model will greet London commuters entering the bustling concourse of Waterloo Station on March 5 after it is assembled in the dead of night by a team of miniature model experts.  

A team of Hollywood special effect creators behind movies First Man and The Abyss have created a 20-foot Scalextric-style model of California

The model features miniature versions of the state's best-known landmarks including Disneyland, the Golden Gate Bridge, Sequoia National Park and Coachella Festival

The model features miniature versions of the state’s best-known landmarks including Disneyland, the Golden Gate Bridge, Sequoia National Park and Coachella Festival

Users wearing a using a Virtual Reality headset and can accompany their VR road trip with a selection of California driving inspired songs

Users will be able to see the view from the dashboard using a Virtual Reality headset and can accompany their VR road trip with a selection of California driving inspired songs

The model will be flown to London to greet commuters entering the bustling Waterloo train station on March 5

The model will be flown to London to greet commuters entering the bustling Waterloo train station on March 5

The diorama includes a convoy of miniature cars and RVs ‘road-tripping’ on four routes across the miniature California, capturing footage of road-trip journeys, which will be transmitted live to users wearing video headsets as well as across large screens in Waterloo Station.

Vision Scenery model and props studio manager Carl Horner explains the effort it took to make a scale model of California

Vision Scenery model and props studio manager Carl Horner explains the effort it took to make a scale model of California

Users wearing the headsets can accompany their VR road trip with a selection of California driving inspired songs, from Bruce Springsteen and Iggy Pop, to Prince and Rhianna.

Designed and built by an A-list team of Hollywood set builders, the model includes hand-carved replicas of California’s jaw-dropping scenery and magnificent natural structures, such as El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, the snow-covered slopes of Mammoth Mountain and the mid-century modern architecture of Palm Springs.

Viewers will also recognize 10 iconic sites from Los Angeles as the tiny camera-rigged cars go past the Hollywood sign, Griffith Observatory and even miniature surfers catching waves in Venice Beach.

The company that created the model, Vision Scenery, have made sets for top-billing movies including The Abyss, The Rock, and First Man.

‘The projects that all these guys have worked on, It’s a who’s who of the last 30 years of films,’ Vision’s model and props studio manager, Carl Horner, told DailyMail.com. ‘Any large or small budget science fiction fantasy or horror film in the last 30 years, these guys have been involved with it.’

Horner said the project was built in just nine weeks.

‘For me to not hyperventilate and die, I’m like ”no no we had 11 weeks.” But the reality after we went through with the team, tested out the vehicles and upgraded them, figured out the cameras and did all that, it was two weeks, then we had a little over two months to build it,’ he said.

‘The idea was can you do this beautiful rendition of California, but we’d like to have vehicles driving round with really small cameras. We’d heard that a number of other companies were like ‘Oh you’re daft, you’re crazy, you can’t do it.’ But we really do the impossible.

‘It took literally thousands of man hours. Vision has a 100,000 square foot facility with an incredibly talented scenery department where they built these sets for TV and films.’



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