November 11, 2009

Everybody Wants One!

Astrid writes, "Hello Ray,
My name is Astrid. I am a nurse from Holland, and a big Phantom manor fan. I have built a Phantom Manor model, but I made it completely out of wood. It took me 1 year and 6 months. It is not really finished yet. I still have to complete the chimneys. Most days, when I was off from work, I worked on the house for 8 or 12 hours a day. It took me so much time, and a lot of my social life, haha!
Somedays when everything went wrong I thought I was never able to finish it.
I have faced a lot of big problems, but my husband always had a simple solution. He also made a solar (panel) on the roof, so at night when it gets dark the lights in the house go on.
I want to thank you for making it possible to have my own Phantom Manor at home."
Astrid, this is certainly one of the most spectacular modifications of one of my paper models I have seen! I have considered making "solid" versions of my mansion ever since I first designed them, but I dont have the tools or the space.
You have set a new level of excellence in Haunted Dimensions!

October 6, 2009

Hogwarts Rises!

Over the past week the skyline of Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure experienced a dramatic change!
The great tower of Hogwarts castle, along with Dumblewdore's spire, was installed.
Much still needs to be done, with at least another year's worth of work, but it already looks spectacular!

September 27, 2009


Haunted Dimensions turned 5 years old over the weekend!
As always, I want to thank you for your continued interest and support.
Although my original intent was purely to share my stuff, this site has helped open many doors for me professionally, and has rewarded me spiritually with the knowledge that so many of you have taken great joy and pride in completing my projects, or have been inspired by those who have!

Thank you!

September 21, 2009

Ghost in the Machine

As many of you now know, this year's Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights theme
is "Ripped from the Silver Screen".
Beginning this Friday, September 25th, Universal Studios will become the realm of the most famous and infamous creatures of Hollywood Horror.
In the process of designing this year's event and web site, we researched the history of horror moves, from the classics to the contemporary, and in our search for the truth behind the movie legends we came across an archive of information about a lost movie theater from the days of Carl Laemmle.
The Universal Palace Theater.
This history of the Universal Palace Theater became an obsession, and the more we researched the theater, the more fascinating and macabre facts came to light. Ultimately, it was decided that a scale model of the theater should be constructed in order to better understand this mysterious structure. Since I have a fair amount of model building experience, I was tasked with recreating the Universal Palace Theater in 1 inch scale, which means this model is over 6 feet wide and 7 feet deep! With the help of many other ar tists and technical specialists, the Universal Palace Theater now exists!
Once the model was completed, it was filmed and photographed extensively, and the photos were combined using an amazing piece of free software called "Photosynth". Photosynth was able to rebuild our model in 3D, by matching landmarks and patterns in each photo to organize them into an interactive 3D experience! I've been given special permission to share this fascinating glimpse of movie history to you, here on Haunted Dimensions!
You will be required to download the free "Silverlight" player, in order to see and explore the Universal Palace Theater. Keep in mind that this is a very new application, and people with older machines or lower bandwidth may have difficulty running the software.
Please step into the Universal Palace Theater!

September 20, 2009

A Spot of Tea in the Garden

Konstantinos, a 15 years old in Greece, has been featured here and in The Builder's Gallery several times over the years. He is and avid model builder and always does an amazing job!
This time I want to show his latest creation, designed by himself.
Konstantinos added the garden Tea House, from the Phantom Manor grounds!

Konstantinos writes, "I really like the manor's gazebo, but I couldn't find it anywhere, something that forced me to build one. I used the roof of the New Orleans Square Haunted Mansion cupola and the door of the Phantom Manor and kinda mixed them. The result was rewarding!! I also like my models to have extra dimensions, so when you open the door you see a photo of the Grand Staircase (I couldn't find a photo of the foyer). Finally I illuminated my manor by using old Christmas lights. I hope you like it as much as I do!"

Take a look at the beautiful scene!

September 16, 2009

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Universal Orlando revealed a few more details about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter coming to Islands of Adventure in Spring 2010.

More paper models? I think so!

September 3, 2009

Introducing, "The Usher"!

Even though certifiably dead and buried, the usher reportedly returns and can be seen prowling the aisles, lobby and catwalks of the Universal Palace Theater...coincidentally whenever subsequent tragedies have struck.

August 22, 2009

Happy 40th Anniversary, Haunted Mansion!

Wish I could be part of the celebrations at Disneyland!

August 9, 2009

The Return of Pepper the Pumpkin!

This past winter I made some small changes to the design of Haunted Dimensions and in the process I cut "Miscellanous Mansion Projects" from the site line up. Gingerbread Dimensions received it's own page, but my pumpkin carving post "Pumpkin Carving Tips" and the follow up "The Grim Adventures of Pepper the Pumpkin" were removed. Due to popular demand, I decided to bring them back and added them to "Other Haunted Dimensions".
If you are relatively new to Haunted Dimensions, check it out.

The Skoolhouse Paper Model Kit
I also added the paper model kit I created last year for Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights web site, The Skoolhouse!
You can now find it at Paper Model Purgatory.

July 26, 2009

Phantom Manor from Scratch

Maiggie, from Quebec, sent me photos of her custom Built Phantom Manor that she designed herself!

And Kenny, from Belgium, sent photos of his Bates House, in which he installed red lights. He also built the Phantom Manor model and Entrance Pillar. Kenny writes "Because i'm now a bit more experienced, I cut out the windows and put some red lights in the house.
So it realy gives a look like a Hountend house, especially with some blacklight put on it. I also put a close up from the pillar lamp from the phantom manor in it , so you can see the transaprancy plastic."

July 21, 2009

"Mystic" Attraction Coming to Hong Kong Disneyland!

Hong Kong Disneyland released new concept renderings depicting additions to the newest Disney theme park.
The new "mini-lands" will be called "Grizzly Trail", "Toy Story Land" and "Mystic Point". Each rendering is beautiful and exciting, but since we are in the Haunted Dimensions, Mystic Point is of particular interest to us!
Mystic Point and the other lands are set to be developed in phases over the next 5 years.

"In Mystic Manor, home to an eccentric world traveler and adventurer and his collection of exotic international artifacts, strange things are afoot as an enchanted music box releases its magical powers, thanks to a mischievous monkey.
Key Technology and Creative Elements

Inside Mystic Manor, a trackless ride system enables vehicles to move "freely" about the attraction as the story unfolds. Audio-Animatronic figures and special visual and audio effects help tell the story of mystical phenomena.

Within Mystic Point lies a beautiful garden full of relics and mythological figures, where guests discover a hidden world of illusions and mysteries that trick the eye.

Guests can dine at the Adventurer's Club amid a vast collection of unusual artifacts from around the world or purchase exclusive curiosities and collectibles at the Archive Shop. "

Hey, Hong Kong Disneyland,
this could be an AWESOME paper model for your guests!
Hint, hint! :)
Call me!

July 16, 2009

A Manor in Brazil

James, from Brazil, sent me photos of his Phantom Manor model.
James wries, "Hi master Ray, I send you my model of Phantom Manor, directly from Brazil. I never went to Disney, but with these models I fell inside the haunted mansions!"
Thanks, James! You did a beatuful job!

I also want to shout "Ola!" to all the other Haunted Dimensions fans in Brazil! I know there are many!

July 15, 2009

Weird Wonderful Wallpaper!

Monica writes, "The last time I was on Haunted Dimensions, I printed out a stencil design you posted of the wallpaper. I recently burned a stencil of the design, and made my very own HM wallpaper.".
Spectacular job, Monica! Every Mansion fan needs at least one room with this wallpaper!

You can find my demon wallpaper PDF stencil here

June 27, 2009

Halloween Horror Nights 2009 Revealed!

This time of year is always exciting for me. It's when we go live with some our new Universal Orlando Horror Nights themes for the new season, and when some of my web art is released. This year's tagline is "Ripped From the Silver Screen" and is sure to be a frightfully amazing event!

June 8, 2009

One Million!

Sorry for not posting in so long!
Besides being very busy helping to design new terrors for Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights, I also have several other projects keeping me away from Haunted Dimensions lately.
However, something I can not ignore is the fact that Haunted Dimensions has experienced a momentous occasion.
I have been keeping track of guest visits to this site since first going online on September 26, 2004 (I received 57 visits in the last days of that month), and this week Haunted DImensions surpassed the One Million visits mark!

I wanted to thank all of you for your continued interest and support!

April 4, 2009

Orlando Time

I have returned to Orlando for a new season at Universal Art & Design.

We spent Monday (which was also our 19th wedding anniversary) at the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT.
Or course, the Haunted Mansion was first. Everything looked great and the show was flawless.

March 2, 2009

The Question of Scale

I am always asked about the scale of my models, and how to convert them to other popular, standard modeling scales. Well, Donald, at "" posted this tidbit of information that might be helpful to those of you who want to convert my 1/66 scale mansions (Bates, Liberty Square, New Orleans Square and Phantom Manor) to HO, O and N scale for train set ups.

Donald writes,
"About Scale/Printing:
The Bates House is in 1/66 scale so to convert it to your scale divide the scale number by the scale you want to model to get a percentage enlargement or reduction value.

For example, to go to HO (1/87) scale :
66/87 = 0.7586 which is approximately 75% reduction. So when you are ready to print, check your printer options where you can type in a percentage of reduction or scaling. Punch in 75 and you will have an approximate HO scale drawing ready to print and cut.

So, if you want to go to say O (1/48) scale:
66/48 = 1.375 which is approximately 137% enlargement.

For N scale: 66/160 = 0.412 which is around 40% reduction.

So, in summary, the Plan Conversion Formula Factor is:

(Scale of drawing plan / Scale you want to model) X 100

Reduce plan by the above factor if less than 100 or Enlarge if more than 100."

Thanks again, ""!

February 24, 2009

Another New Paper Model Release!

On the heels of "The Bates House", I created another in my series of haunted mansion
cemetery tombstones. This one is the tombstone of "Good Old Fred", a favorite of mine.

"Here lies
Good Old Fred
A great big rock
fell on his head

In this case, the "Fred" stone is a tribute to Imagineer Fred Joerger, who created scale models of the
theme parks, attractions, and models for Disney films.
You can read more about Fred Joerger HERE,

Click HERE to get you "Good Old Fred" tombstone paper model.

February 18, 2009

Icons of Fright

I want to thank the horror movie web site, "Icons of Fright" for mentioning my Bates House model release!
It's very cool to be recognized by a horror fan site along with news about Jason, Freddy and Rob Zombie!

February 16, 2009

The Bates House Paper Model Kit: Released!

Ironically, designing a PSYCHO HOUSE helped me keep my own sanity during these long months of unemployment!
If you have constructed any of my other mansion models, then this one is comparatively easy.
If you never constructed my other mansion models, and want to, this model would be good practice!
I am very happy with it! I hope you will be too!

And please help me out with a donation of a buck or two. :)

Please report any downloading (or other) problems. Since this is a new model, with new web pages it is liable to be buggy at first.

February 11, 2009

A Few Last Tweaks

The Bates House model is nearly finished. I completed the construction diagrams and  just have to add the few written directions. Then I will save everything as a single PDF.
The entire model including the directions, will be 11 pages.
Ever since completing the prototype, I have been bothered by something that was not quite right.
The tower seemed wrong. I stared at it for days trying to figure out if there was something wrong with its proportions or angles. It just didn't have the same feel as the real house.
Then I suddenly realized that the little oval window on the tower roof was too large and placed too high. I fixed it and now it "feels" like the Bates House!
It is funny how something so small and subtle can make or break a design, and now it seems so obvious.
Below is the corrected tower roof with an inset of the way it looked before, along with a photo of the real tower window .

February 8, 2009

A Manor in Turkey

Ahmet, from Turkey, sent photos of his completed Phantom Manor.
Ahmet writes, " I have followed your works and I watch them with enjoyment".

Thank you, Ahmet! I enjoy knowing that my models are so international!
Wonderful job!

February 3, 2009

Bates House Diagram

Here is an exploded view of my Bates House model that I created as part
of the construction diagrams.

February 2, 2009

Bates House Prototype

I completed the prototype of my Bates House model.
I only needed to fix a few small problems. It took me about 4 hours to build (not including the troubleshooting). The ironwork and porch supports are printed on transparency film.
This model is 7 inches tall and 5 1/2 inches wide. Here are some shots where you can see my hand, for size comparison.
Now the tedious part, the construction diagrams and instructions.

Here it is next to my New Orleans Square haunted mansion model.
It is not as puny as I thought it would be!

January 30, 2009

Good Old Fred

I plan on adding a new item to my collection of Haunted Mansion tombstone paper models.
"Good Old Fred" has one of my favorite epitaphs!

January 28, 2009

Coming Soon!

I am finished creating the Bates House pieces and I am in the process of adding
the scoring lines in Illustrator. Then I will build the prototype and record the process
for the construction directions.

January 27, 2009

Psycho Music

I purchased some mood music to listen to while I continue to design my Bates House.
The Royal Scottish National Orchestra plays the full musical score of "Psycho"!
I bought it from iTunes, and look at the great album art.
I completed the textures and art for the model and have begun adding the tabs, slots and score lines.
I might have a prototype constructed before the end of the week!

January 24, 2009

Archiving News & Notes to!

I just completed the process of transferring this "blog" (News & Notes) from Haunted Dimensions. 
It became tedious to manage this page in Dreamweaver since I had no automatic archiving capability, and it would require that I build a new web page every time I needed more space. In order to postpone creating new web pages for archives (due to my own laziness), I would simply delete most of my posts after a month or two. Of course, that is the opposite of archiving!

I will continue to post all new posts on the Haunted Dimensions News & Notes page as usual,
but instead of deleting old posts, I will transfer them here. will be used as the new archive .

I'm still in the process of learning how it all works, and I'm sure I'll be hacking it as soon as know how. Meanwhile, stay tuned.

January 23, 2009

The Disney Special That Started It All For Me

The year, 1970.
The show, Disneyland Showtime.
Little Donny Osmond and little Kurt Russell, along with the rest of the Osmond brother, and actress/singer E.J. Peaker, took me on a jaw-dropping tour of the brand new Haunted Mansion attraction at Disneyland.  It became my obsession!  It took me 23 years to finally get there for the first time!  As I watch this again, I still get the same thrill and sense of awe I felt when I first saw it (when I was 7)!

January 22, 2009

Bates House Model Update

Alfred Hitchcock and the Bates House 1960

I am nearly finished creating the art and textures for the Bates house model.

As you probably know, the "original" Bates House set is located at Universal Studios, Hollywood, and is one of the highlights of the backstage tram tour. Despite being an icon of movie history, the Bates House facade is still just a movie prop, and as such it has been altered, repainted, and reconfigured over the years for the many movies and TV shows in which it has appeared since "Psycho". In fact, the entire structure has even been moved to different areas of the backlot over the years!
Universal Studios, Orlando, constructed a Bates House for their tour but sadly it was later
torn down to make room for the "Kid Zone".

So one of my challenges was to decides what version of the Bates House to design.

Of course, my preference was to stay true to the house as it appears in "Psycho", but as is so often the case, Hitchcock's Bates House was not constructed as a fully completed house. It was just a facade consisting of the front and left faces of the house. There was no right side, rear, or even a roof! Since then, Universal has completed the structure, so I'm basing those unseen sides on what is there now.
I also chose to make the house appear aged and run down since many of you will probably use your models as Halloween decorations. It will be a relatively accurate model of the movie facade, but it will also serve your generic haunted house needs.

Another small obstacle I encountered was in not knowing the dimensions of the facade.
This information would be important in determining the scale of the model.
I could find no information on the height of the house, but a friend of mine who works
with Polar Lights, told me the dimensions of the Polar Lights plastic model kit, and I used those numbers to determine a height of approximately 31 feet from foundation to tower top.

Below is a rough comparison of the size differences between Liberty Square and the Bates facade.

I would like my Bates House to be the same scale as my other Disney haunted mansion models, but the Disney facades are much larger than the Bates House. To design the house at the same scale as the mansions would mean it would only be 6 inches tall. Personally, I want my Bates House to be larger, so I decided that I will design the house to be 8 or 9 inches tall, but I would figure out the percentage of reduction needed for those who want to print their Bates House to be the same scale as the others.

January 15, 2009

Bates House Model 3D

My usual process for designing my paper models is to create the object in a 3D applications (Lightwave), disassemble it and bring it into a graphics program to apply textures (Photoshop and Illustrator). At this point I would also figure out the placement of the tabs and slots.
This time I decided to add the tabs and slots while I am still in the 3D application. This allows me to have an accurate placement of tabs and slots before I bring it into Photoshop, and determine if there are any conflicts with other parts.  I believe this will make the construction design much easier and faster since there will be much less trial and error in the process .

January 13, 2009

Putka Pod Possibilities!

The smallest pumpkins I ever carved!
After a little bit of experimentation and a lot of patience, I figured out how to carve my Putka Pods into extremely tiny jack-o-lanterns!
(See January 11th post, below, for an explanation of Putka Pods)

Using an X-acto blade, I first "drilled" small holes by carefully twirling the tip of the blade where I wanted my eyes to be. Then I carefully shaved around the holes to make them more irregular and less round.
I did the same process for the mouth, making a series of unconnected holes, in the general shape of a mouth. Then I "broke" between the holes until the mouth was complete. I drilled the nose hole last since, by this point the face is much more fragile, and I could stop drilling before the  face cracked or split.
Click image to enlarge
They are relatively hollow inside, other than a few seeds and segment walls, so they even look like carved pumpkins inside! Of course, not every attempt was successful. For every two successes, there was at least one failure caused by weak segments, cracks or carelessness. Luckily, my quarter lb. bag has a couple hundred pods, so I had plenty to spare.
I even experimented with soaking a few (and even boiling a few) to see if softening them made them more resilient. All it did was to make them rubbery and even more difficult to carve.

They are gnarly and unique!
Click image to enlarge
I feel a need to show you how small these guys really are!
So here is the batch I made this afternoon, compared to a U.S. quarter and a push pin.
Click image to enlarge
Here are some close shots of my "Putka Pumpkins" as they look on my Skoolhouse model.
The link to the free "The Skoolhouse" model I designed for Universal Studio can still be found on the Halloween Horror Nights website.
The link can be found in the November 20th post at the bottom of this page.
All of my other paper models found here, at Paper Model Purgatory.

Here is a shot of my Skoolhouse model. I used twings from the yard as trees and craft moss.This model is about 6.5 inches long.

And here are a few on the steps of my Phantom Manor model.
Find some Putka Pods and take a stab at it (without stabbing your fingers)!
Even if you do not carve them, they make sickeningly cute additions to your models, mantels, wreaths, and displays during the Halloween season!

January 11, 2009

Putka Pods!

Aren't they cute?!

Imagine this. Very tiny, organic, dried "pods" that look exactly like full sized pumpkins and are the perfect scale to use with my paper models!
I first discovered Putka Pods in a local farmer's market last year but for some reason I didn't purchase them. It wasn't until I was building my " Skoolhouse" model when I realized that these pods would look awesome on the model. Of course, then I couldn't find them again, and even the owner of the farmer's market stand where I first saw them, had no idea what I was talking about when I described them.
After a quick search online, using "pumpkin pods" as the subject, I learned they were called "Putka Pods".
They are grown in India and are dried. They range in size from less than 1/2 inch to 1 inch, and like real pumpkins, each pod has a unique personality. The natural dried color is a burnt orange, but they are available in a range of dyed colors and are sometimes infused with potpourri scents. They are very hard and seem durable, almost like a nut. Many even have little stems!
They are easy to find online and I bought a quater pound of them on Ebay for less than $5!

Even if you don't have any of my models, these pods have tremendous potential in the hands of creative folks (like you) here in the Haunted Dimensions!
I'll show you what I do with them in the coming weeks.
Click image to enlarge