MythBuster Adam Savage builds intricate 'Shining' maze diorama
This model of the hedge maze from the Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick's classic horror film has the level of detail you'd expect from an experienced movie model maker.
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
It's no secret that "MythBusters" host Adam Savage is a die-hard movie fan. His man cave is chock-full of props, replicas and costumes from favorite movies, including "Star Wars," "Blade Runner," "Ghostbusters," "Indiana Jones" and older classics like "The Maltese Falcon." Savage has prided himself on building everything from Barbarella's space rifle to Hellboy's glove.
This time around, Savage decided to construct an architectural model of the hedge maze on the grounds of the Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick's film "The Shining." It took Savage a month to design, build and complete, and involves 80 linear feet of interior hedges.
In the latest episode of "Tested," Savage discusses his inspiration and process for crafting the intricate model. After attending the Stanley Kubrick exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art numerous times, Savage was annoyed to discover that the maze model on display wasn't the same as the one in the movie. So he decided to build a more accurate model. (Savage explains that there are multiple mazes in the movie; he chose the architectural model that Jack Nicholson's character looks over in the Colorado room.)
The first step was drawing the maze on craft paper on what he believes is a 1:1 scale to the model used in the movie. While the one in the movie was probably made of foam and textured with sawdust, Savage wanted his to be sturdier. Using a lighter-weight type of MDF particle board called Trupan, Savage set out to build 80 feet of hedges inside the maze. He started building the maze with the most difficult part -- the outside walls, which have columns with pyramidal crowns.
"This is a very significant and daunting construction," Savage says in the video. However, he says, "I'm confident that this is as accurate as it can get." Explaining his build plan, he says, "Using my map I'm going to work from the inside out...Everything gets placed, marked, predrilled from underneath, counter-sunk and then screwed with screws."
For the flocking process -- adding a texture that gives the maze its hedge-like look -- Savage coated the pieces with a neutral-pH adhesive and a modeling product classified as "Fine Turf - Green Grass," then dried them in a little DIY oven made from three pieces of wood and a hairdryer taped to the side.
Once the hedges were fully painted and flocked and ready to screw down, Savage added the final touches of tiny people, benches, a map kiosk, a magazine newsstand and miniature streetlamps that actually light up. Now that the hedge maze model is complete, it will be shipped off to be part of the official traveling Stanley Kubrick art exhibition.
For a more in-depth discussion of Savage's build, be sure to watch this video that explains the his process step by step. Fans wanting to build their very own "Shining" hedge maze model should check out Savage's build notes for detailed information on designs, materials used and reference photos.