Model makers from the National Film and Television School bring Roald Dahl’s Writing Hut to life

Posted by
Roald Dahl Museum & National Film and Television School
Posted on
2:30pm, 18th June
Fantastic Mr Fox, Museum

Model making students from the National Film and Television School have brought Roald Dahl’s Writing Hut to life... with a twist in the tail! See the model on display at the Roald Dahl Museum this summer, as part of the 'Imagining Fantastic Mr Fox' exhibition.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel Fantastic Mr Fox, students of the National Film and Television School's Model Making Diploma brought to life an exciting and detailed display model featuring Roald Dahl’s Writing Hut.

The model faithfully reconstructs Dahl’s famous Writing Hut in miniature, and imagines Mr Fox ‘burgling’ the hut by burrowing up through a tunnel to retrieve his tail!

Model making student Jonathan Thrower reflects on how the intricate model was brought to life:

“We thought it would be a fun thing to play with in a 3D format and to include lots of metatextural references to Roald Dahl’s wider work whilst also keeping the model very much in the spirit of Mr Fox.”  

Head of Model Making John Lee, expands further on what this meticulously crafted project entailed:

“I thought about the different ways we might best be able to celebrate this iconic anniversary, create an engaging and challenging module for my students and weave in my love of model making with the Roald Dahl book. I’d been lucky enough to work on Wes Anderson’s animated film and our lead visiting tutor, Joe Holman, sculpted the original Mr Fox character whilst working at course partners Mackinnon and Saunders. Other visiting tutors who had also worked on the film; Josie Corben, Roy Bell, and Gary Welch came on board to help out during the build. 

My students started out the project by visiting the Roald Dahl Museum. We were given a guided tour of the archive, where we were able to view some of the original hand written manuscripts from Dahl’s book, along with scenes which never made it into the final version.

The original concept design became a collaborative process between the students, who came up with the idea of using the interior of Dahl’s Writing Hut as the centrepiece of the model, with the Mr Fox character from the film burrowing up from underground and into the hut to recover his tail.

Within the model, we pay homage to lots of Dahl’s other books by featuring hidden ‘easter eggs’ within the design such as the giant peach from 'James and The Giant Peach', Wonka chocolate bars from 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' and a tortoise from 'Esio Trot'.

The entire model was completed in five weeks just before the UK wide lockdown began in March 2020. It was tough going but the model makers were half way through their one year diploma so were very organised, worked well as a team and more than rose to the challenge."

Find out more about how the model was created in this behind-the-scenes video:

Imagining Fantastic Mr Fox at the Roald Dahl Museum opens on 26 June 2021 and runs until mid-September. The exhibition is included in the cost of a Museum ticket; all visitors must book in advance for Museum entry.