#053 PROTOTYPE CHARACTER MODEL STATUE of BR’ER FROG
#053 PROTOTYPE CHARACTER MODEL STATUE of BR'ER FROG
Following the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Studio's Character Model Department was formed when Walt realized the artists needed greater control over their characters. Beginning in a single room creating model sheets under the direction of designer and story man Joe Grant, the department expanded to include sculpted figures when Walt decided something more was needed. Known as maquettes, a French term for "scale model," the three-dimensional models were sculpted and cast completely by hand and produced in small quantities as an aid to visualizing the characters from all angles. The department was closed in the mid-forties because of economies imposed by the war effort. In more recent years, models serving the same purpose were cast in resin and generally unpainted. Maquettes have always been rare and eagerly sought after, but Br'er Frog here and Timon in Lot #054 are in a class beyond and were prepared by Imagineering for theme park development. Sure as you're born, this uncanny model of the easy-going frog spending the mornin' fishing who stops to pass a few words with Uncle Remus is so real he seems ready to look up and fix you with his sharp gaze. Every wonderful inch was sculpted in acrylic over an armature and painted to perfection, including the weathered log on which he is sitting. And just look at those expressive feet. He is 10-1/2", his base is 10-1/2 x 8-1/2", and he is the original sculpt from which further maquettes would have been cast. Disney, 1990s.