In this Instructable I'm going to show you how we built a full-sized town and then blew it up. Under most circumstances it is highly recommended that you don't go around and blow things up, especially towns, so please don't try this at home. If you must blow up a town, please do it in a controlled environment, preferably alongside people who specialize in pyrotechnics, and with the permission of your local governmental bodies. And always wear your safety boots.
When I was a kid I used to build Popsicle stick bridges and then test their strength by trying to blow them up with firecrackers; yeah, I was one of those kids. When Tina and I were asked to build a WW2-era German town and then blow it up, well, it was pretty much impossible to say no - we love watching things explode. Working under the production designer Andy Berry, a small group of us prop and set-builders spent a month and a half on a military shooting range in eastern Canada for a television show called D-Day to Victory (it's a pretty spectacular show) working with masons, brick-layers, roofers, etc, putting up full scale buildings. A special fx team came in and blew up everything we built (it felt a bit like being a Dozer on the Fraggle Rocks). I myself got to rebuild and then ignite a vintage Volkswagon Thing.
This montage was assembled by the director of photography Jeremy Benning. Amaze balls!
A quick note about the show: the premise was that we would strive to make everything we built as real as possible. This meant using real bricks, shingles, 2x4 stock, real vintage cars and trucks, real WW2 tanks, real weapons and ammunition, real explosions. We were re-enacting stories and memories documented by WW2 veterans and we were trying to be as accurate as possible. There was NO CG ANIMATION on this show. If you watch the video clip you'll see some incredible footage - the show filmed the explosions using Phantom cameras encased in super thick steel housing containers (these cameras shoot at 1000 frames per second so you can slow the video down so much that you can actually see the shock waves coming off the detonations).
Step 1: Construction of the Town
- Pour a concrete base for each building.
- Start framing all the walls and roof structure.
- Lift these into place with a crane.
- Bring in teams of masons and start skinning the buildings with bricks.
- Install windows and shingle the roof.
- Build details and add them to the building (for example, the little windows on the roof - dormers - are fake, we built them and stuck them on to make it look a little more European).
Step 2: Make the Vehicles
Hugo, our resident genius, built a functional WW2 landing boat out of a dumpster. He killed about 8 angle grinders but it was pretty amazing.
Step 3: Add the Details
All of the street signs and shop signs were hand-painted (I snuck my family name onto one of the streets) and all of the houses got hosed down with watered down paint to make them look old. Some of the props were fun to build; there's a flame-thrower backpack that's made out of old hudson sprayers painted green.
Step 4: The Buildings
Step 5: Clean Up Your Mess!
And that's how you build and then blow up a town! Hope you enjoyed,