Tuesday 21st Mar 2017
Pottermore spoke to model unit supervisor José Granell about his job maintaining Warner Bros. Studio Tour London’s huge model of Hogwarts – including that time a fox turned up.
The Hogwarts model at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London is one of the most anticipated parts of the tour for fans. Displayed in its very own room, filled with grandiose music, illuminated by hundreds of tiny fibre optic lights and packed with miniscule details, the wizarding school has astounded Harry Potter fans since the Studio Tour opened in 2012.
But when it comes to taking care of the model, the job is just as huge as the castle.
‘Cleaning the Hogwarts model takes place twice a year,’ explained José Granell, model unit supervisor on the Harry Potter films. ‘Now that [Hogwarts] is a part of the Studio Tour we access it by climbing and walking over the model, which can be tricky.’
Hogwarts is currently being restored by José and his team, The Magic Camera Company – the same team that worked on the Harry Potter films. According to José, getting Hogwarts up to scratch is a tough process that takes weeks of planning.
'We bring in a team of technicians, who worked on the model during filming. We prepare all the new ground dressing weeks ahead of schedule before we start working on repainting the landscape and placing new trees and vegetation.’
The model represents the Hogwarts seen in the Harry Potter films, and includes features such as small model owls sitting in the owlery, and surrounding trees made with real wood and dried flowers. From adding texture to the rocks to re-glazing the lake, no detail is left out when the team fine-tune the model.
But with hundreds of fans visiting the Studio Tour every day, unexpected items can end up on the model itself and need to be fished out.
‘Small bits and pieces inevitably get dropped into the model,’ he said. ‘Then someone has to crawl under the model with a torch to retrieve it. It’s like a rabbit warren under there, you almost need a map to find your way out.’
However, there was one thing found in Hogwarts’ castle grounds that the team weren’t quite as prepared for.
‘The strangest thing we ever saw on the model happened when a fox was caught on CCTV cameras. The building hadn’t been sealed at the time, so one paid us a visit.’
To find out more about Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, visit their website.