Before the advent of computer animation, ride manufacturers and theme parks relied on artists renderings to show off new attractions. Sometimes these were further fleshed out with elaborate models to create more excitement and help the park and their guests see what was coming for the next season.
|After Six Flags acquired Great Adventure in 1977, they began to invest and bring new thrills to the park beginning with the addition of the twin Lightnin' Loops coaster for the 1978 season. The novelty of a looping coaster was still something most people had never experienced and creating interlocking loops took that thrill up another level. Artist renderings really couldn't capture the look of the ride the way a physical model could so Great adventure tapped into the talents of a resource they had on site who was an expert at model building.
To create a model of Lightnin' Loops, the park turned to Arthur Thuijs who had
built the Garden of Marvels miniature village for Great Adventure.
Thuijs collection of over 50 highly detailed and intricately designed
European structures offered precise scaled-down versions of world known
landmarks and he was the perfect artist to craft the coaster model. He
created a colorful mockup of the twin shuttle looping coasters based on
the artist renderings, blueprints, and site plans for the ride.
The red, orange, yellow, and silver color scheme were copied directly from the original coaster renderings and the model faithfully reproduced every detail of the structure including the loops, stations, tracks, and queue layout. The model also included a fanciful walkway design with observation areas in the infield surrounding the loops - something that never materialized beyond the planning and design phase.
The model is shown here in photographs taken with
an artist rendering of the Garden of Marvels complete with its mountains
and Neuschwanstein Castle as a backdrop. Accented with
working nighttime lights, the model was the perfect prop to promote the
park's first major addition under the Six Flags name.
Three years later the Lightnin' Loops model was resurrected and repurposed as a reference point when the park presented a model of the Roaring Rapids water ride to the press in 1981. To truly be accurate, the wandering walkways were removed and the ground around the loops was redone to better represent the hilly terrain which was actually found under the looping ride. Once again, the miniature version of Lightnin' Loops helped illustrate the details of a future attraction in a way which only a scale model can.
|Original Spotlight: January 20, 2017. GAH Reference #: RIDE-1978-001
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