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.

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