NFTS Model Makers Create Key Set Piece for Finale Episode of The Crown

As the ground-breaking series The Crown comes to a close, with the final six episodes currently streaming on Netflix, the National Film and Television School is proud to have over 60 alumni credited with making it a global success story. Their collective talents in sound design, VFX, composition, art direction, editing, model making and beyond have woven magic across six series, truly helping to define the essence of this iconic show.

In the finale episode of The Crown, as the Royal household plan ahead for the funeral arrangements of Queen Elizabeth, viewers see Imelda Staunton take a close look at a vast scale model of the Mall, with a meticulously arranged procession featuring hundreds of miniature military and VIP personnel. 

The model was carefully reconstructed for the screen by Chris Wyatt, Senior Art Director of The Crown and his team which included Alison Harvey (Series Set Decorator), Alison Cardy (Production Buyer) and Laurie Byrne (Set Decorator Co-ordinator), with the invaluable contribution of NFTS Model Making students enhancing its creation further.

imelda staunton looking at model soldiers shown on a screen

Renowned for the meticulous craftsmanship that goes into each and every moment of The Crown, it was key every detail of the Queen’s funeral procession was replicated on camera as accurately as possible. Chris and his team were tasked with sourcing over 800 soldiers, each from different regiments and forces and with their own unique uniforms. It quickly became evident that although some existed as toy soldiers and could be purchased, they were not available in the numbers needed, and a considerable number were unavailable off the shelf. This is when Chris turned to specialist prop makers BGI Supplies to create over 800 3D printed figurines from scratch.

On a tight deadline and with limited resources, the intricacies involved in painting the soldiers was going to be a major feat…enter NFTS Model Makers! Over the course of two intensive weeks, John Lee, head of NFTS Model Making department and his team of 12 Model Making students worked diligently to produce beautifully detailed and finely painted figurines, worthy of any close-up shots that might arise.

students sat at a table painting soldier models

NFTS Model Makers hard at work

Reflecting on the project, Chris Wyatt said: “My initial anxieties regarding the amount of work needed in the short time frame were eased once I saw the first batch of soldiers come out of the Model Making workshop at NFTS!”

John Lee commented: “I’m incredibly proud to see the work of my students feature in such a moving scene from The Crown. They were given an opportunity via my friends at BGI Supplies to step up and meet a real-world brief and this cohort more than delivered. Given they had only been students for six months, it’s incredible to see what was achieved in such a short space of time and a dream come true to see their work on the big screen so early in their careers.”

close up of painted miniature soldiers

Close up shot of some of the incredibly detailed soldiers

Model Making student Rob Mackie was sent on location during filming to work alongside Chris and the art department to set up the funeral model and carry out running repairs during preparation and shooting.

Chris Wyatt added: “A huge thank you to John Lee and his team of students at the NFTS. Filmmaking at its best shows the value of the collaborative process and this was highlighted in the coming together of so many talented people during this project.”

shot of the full funeral model with replica of the mall and model soldiers

The full model in situ during filming of The Crown's finale episode 

Bonhams recently announced a once-in-a-lifetime auction of close to 450 props, furniture, and costumes from all six series of The Crown, including those inspired by Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation Robes and Diana’s ‘Revenge’ dress. In addition, the Queen’s funeral model complete with over 800 painted military figures by our very own NFTS Model Makers will also be auctioned. 

Proceeds from the Bonhams live sale on 7th February 2024 will go towards establishing the Left Bank Pictures – The Crown Scholarship programme at the National Film and Television School to support dozens of students to attend the National Film and Television School over the next 20 years, enabling them to receive the specialised training the School is globally renowned for.

Applications for Model Making One Year Diploma open on 8th January 2024 to start in September 2024. Find out more:

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