Creating Physical Miniatures From Virtual Worlds – Bringing Tiny BioShock To Life

by Kyle Hilliard on May 31, 2014 at 01:54 PM

During his working hours, Andy Jarosz runs the company he owns – one that makes camera and lighting gear used by the film industry. In his free time however, Jarosz creates impressive miniature sets inspired by video games. We’ve featured his Battlefield creation before, which you can check out here, and his latest creation is a familiar location from BioShock.

It was the work with his company where he learned the art of miniature creation and where he acquired he tools to give his creations their impressive detail. “I grew up being inspired by the effects artists behind Star Wars and building kit models, and hearing that the new films will actually have practical models and effects has inspired me to create some of my own,” Jarosz says. He makes his models purely out of an appreciation for the art, and because he enjoys seeing the end result.  “Who knows, maybe one day I'll be working on models for Star Wars, hopefully inspiring others,” Jarosz says.

Comparing the reference location to the miniature

Jarosz spent 25 hours on his latest creation, and much of that time is devoted to pre-planning and drawing out designs. He opted for creating the BioShock miniature because the area he was interested in creating only required two foreground walls and the cove in the back. This project was a shorter commitment compared to previous work, but still required an impressive commitment of time.

His BioShock piece is 1/26th scale and uses all manner of materials and tools. For the posters Jarosz printed the images onto sticker paper, applied them to a plastic frame, and drybrushed them for effect. To get the dents in the railings, a small heat gun was used to bend them properly. The floor, as well as the assorted debris, is made of plywood laser engraved with smaller grain. Jarosz used this creation as an excuse to buy a 3D printer and printed the Little Sisters and other aspects of the miniature. The rocks are rocks.

I asked Jarosz if these sets could be used for stop-animation, but he said, “They're really too small to do any kind of stop motion.” Right now, they’re just fascinating art projects. “I am still trying to figure out what to do with them,” Jarosz says. “I would love to build some nice showcase enclosures for them and either give them away in a drawing, sell them on Etsy, or even send them to the game studios themselves.”

As far as what he wants to work on next, Jarosz seems to be leaning towards a popular Bethesda title, but he’s not ready to commit. “A lot of people have been asking for Fallout, which I think is a fantastic idea. I'm not planning anything specific at the moment, but there's certainly no shortage of inspiration.”

Adding the lighting

You can see more images of Jarosz’s BioShock miniature in the gallery below.