Once upon a time, an Oldsubbuteo pitch designer had run out of ideas to create a new pitch. Then one day a passing princess suggested a pitch for princesses to play on. This was an alternative concept, and one that would never have been thought of by the designer if they had thought and thought for a thousand years! The designer decided from then on to talk to people, be happy to be wrong-footed and go with a new direction...
The designer suddenly realised that Polly Pocket figures are the perfect scale for Subbuteo, and remembered there once lived a 4-year old girl called Pippa who used to love playing with the Magic Kingdom set. So this became the first task - To populate the Magic Kingdom...
A messenger was sent out to go far and wide to to find Subbuteo spectators who wanted to live in the Magic Kingdom. It was potentially a very dangerous journey full of evil witches and grumpy kings and queens. However, as the magic Kingdom was the only model obtained so far, the evil witches and grumpy kings and queens didn't actually exist yet, so the journey went pretty smoothly. Many Subbuteo spectators decided they would make the journey to the Magic Kingdom. When they had all arrived a great celebration was held, with fun fair rides and a banquet.
Many other lands were built and Subbuteo spectators came from all around to live in the palaces, castles, cathedrals, mansions and cottages. Not many normal houses seem to exist in these lands - essentially you tended lived in a palace, a castle, a cathedral, a mansion or a cottage. If you specifically wanted to live in a house, it appears you had to share this with either a wicked stepmother or an enormous mouse...
Cinderalla's castle was largely inspired by Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria.
Cinderella or 'The Little Glass
Football Boot Slipper', is a folk tale about unjust oppression and triumphant reward.
The word Cinderella has come to mean someone whose attributes were unrecognised, and who unexpectedly achieves recognition or success after a period of obscurity and neglect.
As such the Subbuteo and the Beast pitch celebrates the plight of the underdog challenging the established order and winning against all odds!
Wicked Stepmother's House
Jasmin's Royal Palace
Jasmin's Royal Palace (also known as the Sultan's Palace) is loosely based on the Taj Mahal, which is located in India.
The palace has a toy room, where the Sultan keeps various toys, trinkets and collectibles, including a model of Agrabah. Whilst it cannot be stated for certain, the Sultan probably had a Subbuteo stadium permanently set up in this room and spent many happy hours playing matches with his courtiers, replaying the 1950 World Cup, in which India qualified for but did not make the trip to Brazil. The Sultan plays India in these Subbuteo recreations.
Apparently, it was the distraction of these Subbuteo matches that allowed Jafar's evil plotting to go unnoticed.
Evil Queen's Castle
In the Brothers Grimm collection of Grimms' Fairy Tales, one tale (Ref 53) is a tale of an evil queen who is very beautiful but proud and arrogant woman. When the King's first wife, the Good Queen passes away, Snow White's father remarries this beautiful but evil woman, who becomes Snow White's stepmother.
She owns a magic mirror, which informs her that her young stepdaughter, Princess Snow White has surpassed her in beauty.
The queen decides to kill Snow White. First, she disguises herself as an old peddler and offers Snow White colourful, silky laced bodices, and laces her up so tightly that she faints. The dwarfs return just in time... Next, the queen dresses up as a comb seller and gives Snow White a poisoned comb. Snow White is overcome by the poison but again revived by the dwarfs. Finally, the queen disguises herself as a farmer's wife and offers Snow White a poisoned apple. Snow White, for some inexplicable reason hasn't worked out she shouldn't trust strangers bearing gifts! 🙄
The moral of the story for a Subbuteo figure is to resist being repainted, and trust in the allure of age and always be an original heavyweight figure. This is the true beauty that all Olds seek!
Snow White's Cottage
One Hundred Acre Wood
With a little imagination, this small model incorporates many locations in One Hundred Acre Wood, including: Pooh Bear's House, Kanga's House, The Sandy Pit Where Roo Plays, A Nice Place for Picnics, The Bee Tree, An area with Big Stones and Rocks, Rabbit's House with an area for Rabbit's Friends-and-Relations, Owl's House, Pooh's Thoughtful Spot, Eeyore's Gloomy Place and Pooh-Sticks Bridge.
Pooh isis sporting his 'Ref 1' red top, and piglet is playing on the tree-top see saw with what looks like a Villa player.
This scene is positioned on the shooting line, so the linesman at the top of the middle tree can call any offsides.
The Monkey Temple
King Triton and Queen Athena ruled an underwater kingdom of merfolk, Atlantica.
They had many children, with Ariel being the seventh-born daughter.
Seventh-born daughters can often be rebellious (ask any parent with seven daughters) and this was certainly the case with Ariel. She longs to be a part of the human world, and finds a shipwrecked man called Eric (OK, Prince Eric) and marries him. Together they have a daughter they name Melody.
There is no evidence in Hans Christian Andersen's 1837 fairy tale "The Little Mermaid", that anyone played Subbuteo, but they probably did...
Only, half a dozen Dalmatians can be found in Cruella's mansion. Either the other 95 Dalmatians have escaped, or they were going to be too expensive to collect (you decide!)
There are however two versions of Cruella for some reason...
It could be a macabre scene, were it not for the Subbuteo spectator taking a turn at the piano, with an upbeat version of 'who let the dogs out' to lighten the mood.
Thousands of years ago in ancient China, Mulan. lived with her parents and a dog named Little Brother.
Mulan's father had once been a great warrior, but his leg had been injured in battle. He was still able however to play Subbuteo...
In our version of Mulan's palace, a couple of Zombies are playing football in the garden.
Mulan is either chatting to some of the Subbuteo spectators on the ground floor, or getting up to some sort of mischief with Muthu on the top floor. If anyone knows which figure relates to which character then please feel free to say something...
The Beast's Castle
The signature castle for the Subbuteo and the Beast pitch. In the story, an arrogant young football captain and his team members fall under the spell of a wicked referee, who turns him into Vinnie Jones until he learns to love and be loved in return. A spirited, headstrong village girl enters the Beast's castle after he imprisons her father. With the help of his enchanted team members, she begins to draw the cold-hearted beast out of his isolation.
Placing the lands
So, how to place the lands around the pitch?
When it boiled down to it there weren't many options. Cinderella's Castle needed to be next to the Wicked Stepmother's House; Snow White's Cottage needed to be next to the Evil Queen's Castle; and Agrabah Marketplace needed to be next to Jasmin's Royal Palace.
Also, the smaller models needed to be on the same side, opposite the magical Kingdom in pride of place on the half-way line.
So that was that... all the lands were fixed into place, using screws from underneath the 5mm MDF.
The banks of the brook
This was a painstaking task, involving loo roll water, a heated saucepan and PVA glue.
Each sheet of the loo roll was cut up into tiny pieces (maybe quarter inch squares).
These were put into a pan of water and boiled, and then mixed with PVA glue.
The saucepan still shows the markings of this epic encounter...
Filling the Brook
The first task was painting the MDF with various shades of blue.
Then lots of patience with a bottle or two of 'Realistic Water' from Woodlands Scenics.
Then some 'Water Effects' to give some areas a faster water appearance.
...and then lots of touching up to try and get that Disney brook look.
Growing the grass
This took an equivalent amount of patience, using different mixes and shades of fine turf to create a less uniform look across the scene.
Then some grass tufts were placed to create some natural boundaries between the lands.
Finally a selection of trees were planted, including an orchard of apple trees, from where the Evil Queen picked one and poisoned it to give to Snow White.