Peter called dibs on sculpting Specs, the lookout for the Crow’s Nest (drop tower) ride. He sits in a barrel, perched on top of a mast, clutching a spyglass. Specs sports a pair of glasses, of course, and his eyes are a bit wonky. He appears young in years but well worn in battle.
As with most of the signs, we started by designing them in EnRoute Pro, sending them off to our MultiCam 3000 router to be routed from 30-lb. Precision Board HDU. Generally they were routed in three layers. The middle layer was cut out to accept a welded steel frame when I laminated them together. Then the hand sculpting began.
The sign posts were built in two sections to allow them to be shipped in containers to Trinidad. The bottom section will quickly bolt to a footing and then the top piece will easily slip into it. We’ve hired a rope-tying specialist to rig each sign mast on site.
The Scallywag Railway sign features Pike. While no one will ever be sure what kind of creature he is, Pike is a great engineer who takes great pride in keeping the railroad in top running condition. Angie applies the final coat of paint on the lettering. The sign is all painted with high quality acrylic house paint.
Each sign started with a sturdy welded steel frame. We then welded up a pencil rod frame to form the shape we wanted. We welded the upper and lower frames together and once the two halves were finished we pulled them apart for shipping. The tops fit into the framework which will be used to anchor them to the foundation. The same framework also anchored the sign in place in the shipping container.
Each routed sign is routed in three layers: front, rear and middle. I laminated a steel frame into the center with a piece of steel protruding out of the back. This was then welded to the steel frame of the mast which will act as the support. Once the welding was done, the galvanized lath was tied on in readiness for the sculpted concrete.
Tupper received three base coats of paint and a series of glazes. He is the accountant of the Scallywag gang. He’s also in charge of the Pieces of Eight spinning coaster. The ride vehicles are half barrels and so Tupper sits in one, too. Jenessa and Kendra had fun taking care of all the painting details.
As we dreamt up and designed each character, we wanted ridiculous extremes—just for fun. A turtle named Webster, who is an awesome climber and in charge of the rock climbing attraction, qualifies in a good way.
The Walk the Plank sign, shaped like a giant “monkey rock,” mirrors the attraction. Webster clings to the side. This is a twin attraction with a climbing wall called Skull Rock Scramble and a free fall which we call Walk the Plank.
The Treasure Quest attraction is a playground for young kids. The sign and stand needed to reflect the surroundings. Once again we started with a sturdy welded frame, then pencil rod to define a twisted tree.
One of workshop attendees, Philip John from Australia, volunteered to sculpt the parrot and did a wonderful job, too! We dubbed the parrot Parlay.
The completed sign sported a treasure hidden in the trunk, as well as some coins and pearls on top of the sign, giving the kids a hint of what they should look for in the playground below. The friendly parrot points the way.
Cookie is the chef, of course, and in charge of the galley. He was the first character we designed for this project and he set the tone for all to follow. We wanted gritty but lovable. While grownups may have some trouble ordering in this establishment, the kids will undoubtably love it!
Being a true pirate, Cookie’s left hand is missing but he makes do with a variety of attachments which are all the utensils he needs in the kitchen.
Twister would probably be diagnosed with attention deficit disorder these days. We imagined him wrapped up in a flurry of sail bits, swinging from the yardarm and enjoying every second of the experience. This one was all hand sculpted. His ride is called the Yardarm Twist and is one of those rides I best watch from a distance.

The attraction signs of Scallywag Bay

At an attraction, the signs add to the theme and create valuable photo opportunities

By Dan Sawatzky

Posted on Monday, January 4th, 2016

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The signs for Scallywag Bay are some the most creative and fun of all the signs we’ve ever done. Each sign for the rides and attractions features one of the characters of the park as an “owner” or “operator.” The signs graphically demonstrate the characteristics of these remarkable creatures.

The signs were built using a mix of materials, which was dictated by required detail and strength. The support structures for the signs are sculpted fiberglass-reinforced concrete over a welded steel armature. These were built in sections to allow for transport in shipping containers. Most of the signs were routed from 30-lb. Precision Board HDU with plenty of detail and dimension sculpted on by hand using Abracadabra Sculpting epoxy.

There will be more than fifteen character signs scattered throughout the two-acre theme park. Each one was a delight to create and each one was off the wall a little further than the last. The signs are a fun and effective way to convey the story and characters of the park to our guests. Each is a photo opportunity, and those photos often find their way to social media—providing more advertising for the park.

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Dan Sawatzky's shop, Sawatzky's Imagination Corporation, is in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada. Dan shares his experience in his Sign Magic Workshops on 3-D sign making, and his Sculpting Workshop.

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