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  • Writer's pictureMorgan Lea

Custom Custom Custom!

C. Scenic is built on the decades of our Benevolent Overlord's scenic work for television and film. Having worked in the industry since his teenage years, Chad saw the opportunity to gather a reliable crew of misfits with partner and Creative Kingpin Chelsea to fulfill the wild dreams of our clients. By that alone, the capital C in C. Scenic can stand for many things. Chad, Chelsea, Crew, Creative... The list can go on, but what we'll focus on here is Custom.

Most of the time, a client's needs are straightforward and to the point. A repaint here, an archway there, foam carved letters, wall flats and facades... We're always down to do it all. But sometimes, we get some really fun and wild projects that are extremely unique to our client's very specific needs and require that extra C. Scenic custom touch from start to finish. Here are some of our favorites from more recent years.

Dallas Vintage Toys' Castle Grayskull Entrance

Dallas Vintage Toys had a vision: entering into a land of classic toys and collectibles through an instantly recognizable archway of a beloved and iconic franchise that epitomized the exact corner of the market they were there to fulfill. By transporting customers into the past when cartoons were fully animated commercials for all kinds of toys, DVT would be able to capture the nostalgia of the past and bring it straight into the present. But who could possibly answer the mighty call of the Power Sword?

Hint: you're here.

C. Scenic is made up of a bunch of kids at heart, so this was truly a match made in heaven. Or, Eternia, rather. And so, the first step as always was to collect and research a bunch of references. And what better resource than the toys themselves?

It became pretty apparent that not only did the toys themselves differ pretty wildly over the years, but even the box art and design for the cartoons weren't always one-to-one. For instance, the skull's teeth varied from regular teeth to purely fangs to a mix of both. The door, also, was often more tall than it was wide. However, the fact that no matter how different each castle entrance may be, it was always recognizable as Castle Grayskull meant that we needed only to translate the key elements to this archway. And so the carving began!

Since the entrance to the shop is quite wide, the face of the skull needed to be widened as well. Large stacked stone columns frame the arch and two large, angular eye sockets as well as the skull's nasal cavity are engraved into place. With the face stretched and then given two large canines on either side of the craggy chipped teeth on top of the door frame, this baby was ready for paint.

When it comes to painting, the most exciting part is always in the details after the basecoat. Although Castle Grayskull is, in fact, meant to be gray, the stone also has several green undertones that keep it from appearing flat and lifeless. The earlier toys really made the green more overtones than anything, but because the storefront would also have a green interior, it was safer to take more inspiration from later iterations of the castle where a more realistic coloring was applied. The stone texture is achieved with the tricks of the scenic trade, combining a variety of techniques to give the castle its full dimensionality.

The final, final touches are given upon install, filling in the extra nooks and crannies with intricate detail work that makes all the difference, though you wouldn't think so at first. It's the little things that make the custom C. Scenic touch that much more special. If you find yourself on Plano Road in Dallas, be sure to drop by and see our work at Dallas Vintage Toys and check out their massive collection of collectibles.

Mercury Studios' Book Desk

Chad has a long history with the people at Mercury Studios, formerly known as The Studios of Las Colinas, having worked with them since his adolescence at the earliest point in his career. This long-time trust has allowed C. Scenic to work on some really cool and off-the-wall projects. In particular, the construction of a desk for the front lobby made entirely out of used books.

First thing's first, as always. A plan needs to be developed, and the best way for that to happen is with the use of scaled renderings. Paul, our lead designer, carefully drew out the desk by hand from multiple angles. The idea was simple in concept: a basic desk frame with adjustable shelves inside for hidden storage.

The books would come in on the exterior of the frame in neat, compact stacks with a variation in layering both horizontally and vertically for visual interest, as depicted in Paul's drawings. Two columns of books would be stacked at either corner of the front, as well, to frame the desk with a sturdy symmetry. With this plan in mind, the next big step would be obtaining the obscene amount of books needed to complete the desk.

And obscene amounts of discounted, unsold books were purchased in bulk. Now, as cool as this project turned out being, book lovers may need to turn away because after sorting the books by size, the next step required the skinning of covers and the gutting of books for their meat to stack and combine into the desk's frame.

Many covers were sacrificed as the time was taken to turn layers upon layers of book pages into book bricks. Once the stacks were created, they were methodically arranged into place to build the wall that would enclose the security desk.

And of course, the end result is a completely custom, one-of-a-kind piece that stands out and instantly greets any visitors to the studio as they pass through security clearance. Approximately 2000 books went into making this unique tour de force, which would get you 400 personal pan pizzas at Pizza Hut through the Book It! program.

$uicideboy$' Grey Day Tour

Finally, arguably one of the most complicated custom sets we've done in a while were three collapsible shotgun house facades for the $uicideboy$'s Grey Day tour.

Hailing from New Orleans, the cousins-gone-rap-duo were looking to bring their roots onto stage with them, and among the many iconic views to be found in NOLA, the colorful shotgun houses that decorate its streets was the ideal choice for what they had in mind. But not only did these houses need to be indicative of the place that held so much history to them, they needed to collapse on stage.

This meant a lot of things. The set not only needed to be able to withstand the usual set up and strike of a nationwide tour, it needed to be able to resist regular destruction. A plan for the many moving parts was going to be necessary if it was going to last this type of wear and tear.

With a 3D mockup for the anticipated on-stage demolition rendered, our team got straight to work in its construction. Rather than painting the facades and risking damage that we wouldn't be able to touch up while the boys were going around the country, the shotgun houses were instead printed. And once assembled, it was time to test for success.

As you can see in the video, the center green house facade also had a working door that would be used by the performers. But this wasn't the only piece we custom-made for extravagant entrances. The name of the band comes from a suicide pact made by Scrim and Ruby Da Cherry, and so the record label they cofounded with rapper Ramirez, G*59, is heavily themed around a memento mori motif, so for this tour, the duo would be breaking out of caskets adorned with their label's logo to enter the stage.

Definitely one of the Craziest builds we've done, but it just goes to show how far we're willing to go for our Clients' visions. We're always down for a Challenge if it's Cool enough.

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