Nightmare Before Christmas Vampire Maquette Restoration and Display

Restoration and a custom Halloweentown inspired base for a production-made vampire maquette from The Nightmare Before Christmas

During the production of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas several maquettes were mocked up using different paint schemes and looks to create the unique look of each of the citizens of Halloween town. Once those designs were finalized, maquettes like this Vampire were used as 1/1 scale physical reference for the puppet makers when they were creating the rest of the puppets for the film.

Overall this vampire maquette was in great condition, and only needed a few areas of restoration. Lead artist Patrick Louie started by recreating the missing collar pieces, and painting only that patch to blend the new material in with the original.

While the figure was in excellent condition, over the years the thin, fragile material of the Vampire’s signature umbrella had cracked and the paint had started to chip. With repairs like this, it is not as simple as just gluing the 2 edges together. You need to add additional support in so that the pressure from the curvature of the umbrella did not cause the break to reoccur. This was especially challenging as the material was so thin, but once the umbrella was repaired, Pat then bonded all of the remaining paint and then in-painted the missing areas where the paint had chipped off, while leaving as much original paint untouched as possible. 

To finish give display context Pat created a themed base, which matches the very much signature style of Halloweentown. The cobble stones and Jack ‘o Lanterns were carved by hand and painted with a very dark and Tim Burton-esque paint scheme. Lastly… Christine at our studio had the unenviable task of packing the extremely fragile umbrella for shipment to our client. Her clever work on that packing allowed this bit of Tim Burton history to survive shipment to our client and this Vampire’s new home safely!

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Have an original movie or television prop in need of restoration or a unique display? Email or call today and let’s discuss your project!

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A few words from our client…

“This project turned out way better than I could have ever imagined! I came to Tom and his team with this piece from my collection in need of restoration and a custom base. I told them I was open to suggestions and they took my simple concept for the custom base and built upon it, coming up with some epic ideas that brought this project to a whole new level. They were very good at keeping me informed throughout the whole process, sending high quality progress pictures, and making sure to ask any specific questions they had for me about what I wanted done. I’ve been a big fan of TSD’s work for some time now, so I knew to expect great things, yet this project still completely exceeded all of my expectations. Everything from the quality of the restoration/custom display work to the fantastic communication, to the way everything was very meticulously packaged and sent back right away. Everything made for a fantastic experience that I couldn’t be happier with. I will certainly be returning with some more projects in the future. Thanks Tom!”


Fredrick W