Time Bandits map reproduction

 Metropolis Graphics Newbanditsmap V4
This morning, I noticed that my friend Mike Liebhold, a fellow researcher at Institute for the Future, had a beautiful and curious map on his desk. Turns out, it's a stunning replica of the map from Terry Gilliam's 1981 film Time Bandits. The map reveals the locations of "time portals," holes in the space/time fabric. Graphic designer Jon Heilman created the fantastic replica and is now selling them for $100 in the Boing Boing Bazaar. They're printed on canvas and measure 40" x 24.5". Mike spoke with Heilman and the following is some of what he said:
The history on this map began in 2001. Another fan attempted a recreation with limited references, but made a very promising start and had maps printed. This is known as a Kapow (the creator's screen name) version 1. Kapow admits it's pretty inaccurate. He received better reference material and made version 2 and 3 maps. He did not sell those in large quantities and knock-offs are rare to non-existent. Two other fans made their own maps and sold them in various runs. Kapow received a very rough scan off an original map for his version 3 and it's pretty accurate. The others used the same references I used for mine. The newest DVD of Time Bandits contains a small foldout of an actual screen-used map. It's very beat up, has lots of weathering and seems to have been poorly assembled from multiple scans (probably made by simply placing the map on a flatbed scanner) so that some details are lost or misaligned. Also, the clock panels are completely cut off. However, this scan combined with a couple images from books I have plus every screen capture I could make served as enough reference material to create a very accurate replica. A gentleman in California who assisted Kapow with his version 3 offered guidance in accurizing the color scheme a bit and has since purchased 4 of my maps and claims it's the most accurate replica he's seen to date. I began creating mine in January this year and it took about two months. I have studied the film and every printed reference source I could find to create this replica and it is very accurate to the screen-used map. It has been drawn completely in Photoshop with the goal to create a replica that looks hand-drawn. The file is enormous containing 188 layers with a file size of 1.72 GB. This level of fine detail is replicated using the highest quality printer available.

UPDATE: Adam Savage of Mythbusters emails:
The "gentleman in California" that is referred to is me. I've been obsessed with this map FOREVER! I did help with advice about the overall colors, and actually did the clocks on one of Kapow's versions. I do indeed own 4 of these, in addition to 3 of Kapow's and the one that I painted for myself when I was 19. Some time ago, Gilliam was given one of these.


  1. Oooooooooooooooooooh. I’ve always want that!

    Evil: When I have the map, I will be free, and the world will be different, because I have understanding.
    Robert: Uh, understanding of what, Master?
    Evil: Digital watches. And soon I shall have understanding of video cassette recorders and car telephones. And when I have understanding of them, I shall have understanding of computers. And when I have understanding of computers, I shall be the Supreme Being!

  2. now with this map and my time machine from Napoleon Dynamite. i can go back to the summer of 83 and not take that dare….

  3. Hugely quotable movie and great gift idea!

    “If I were creating the world I wouldn’t mess about with butterflies and daffodils. I would have started with lasers. Eight o’clock. Day One.”

  4. “Mum. Dad! Don’t touch that! It’s evil!”

    Yes I want one, I think the best picture would come from the Polaroid with the dwarves.

  5. “And how long have you been a robber?”

    “Four foot one.”

    “Four foot one? Jolly good!!”

    Must have this.

  6. I read the title of this post all wrong. I pictured guys with masks who steal watches sailing around reproductive systems… you know, mapping reproduction.

  7. Just thought I should chime in with a huge thank you to all who have ordered maps. I’m stunned by the response.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you

  8. Wow, I just rented this on DVD last week on a lark. Very cool idea. But… some of the colors are wrong :-(
    For example, the upside-down triangle ‘badge’-looking symbol in the upper right has a red down-point. In the repro it’s green… a few cirlces in the central area are a bit off too.
    (don’t try using this repro for time travel;)

  9. Just wanted to chime in here – I just got one of the maps delivered from Jon, and this thing is absolutely phenomenal in person… *definitely* worth the money!

  10. STDOUBT-

    I assume you’re referring to the map seen during the credits sequences? You are correct that this map has different detailing. But, more than one prop map was created for this film and they ARE quite different. That red/teal triangle is the most obvious difference, but there are many others.

    My replica duplicates the map(s) used during actual filming. You will also note that the map seen in the credits sequence (which was undoubtedly made after filming was completed) has clock panels on both sides. The map used during filming only had clock panels on the left-hand side. Check the famous scene where the dwarfs are holding up the map for Kevin’s polaroid.

    My theory is as follows. Gilliam created the first map for filming. Possibly it had clocks on both sides and the right side was damaged, so it was cut off. Maybe those right-side clocks were never there. Anyway, they use the map throughout filming and it takes a lot of abuse. After filming wraps, they need to create the opening/ending credits sequence. They roll out the map and it’s SO beat up, they decide to create a new one with less wear. It’s so close to the first that no one should notice in the theater or on that horrible 240-line VHS tape, right? This was 1981 and 15 years before anyone heard of DVD. And to make it look more finished, lets add those right-hand clocks back in.

    Rumor has it that both Terry Gilliam and George Harrison kept a map from the film. Based on an account from someone who saw Gilliam’s copy years later (he said it looked like Gilliam had used it to line a bird cage), I’d say the map scanned for the DVD insert was Harrison’s. And since it has details which differ from the credits sequence map, I think we can assume that Gilliam kept the newer map and Harrison had the screen-used map.

    All pure conjecture really, but based on sound reasoning I believe. If anyone has better info, please add to the knowledge base. And thanks to everyone who has purchased a map (or maps)! The response has been thrilling!

  11. To anyone who was thinking about getting one, do it. I just got mine and Jon has really done a fantastic job here.

    I’m off to find a hole to the Time of Legends…

  12. Again, a huge thank you to the Boing Boing members who purchased a map(s). You have made my tax calculations challenging, but I’m thrilled at the response. Maps will continue to be available and they keep selling from various BBs and eBay. Long live Time Bandits!!

  13. I know this was a couple years ago but all reviews, as well as my research, have kept leading me here for the best map of the universe. My brother is graduating music college and I’d like to get him one of your maps. If you’re no longer making them do you know of anyone who is?

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