Is it really "attention to detail" or just a side effect of digital animation? Spending weeks modeling just a few minutes of scene you probably get to know every object pretty well.
Well - that could be said for today's animation; and even yesterday's too. But in the case of that early movie, in 1986, they probably had to take a ton of hand measurements, photographs, etc - in other words, the method of modelling the item involved a ton of fairly manual labor. There wasn't the same level of 3D digitizing equipment and such back then. So that probably influenced the attention placed on the real object and the model itself, to an extent.
Speaking of mechanical design, can you explain the rivet placement (or explain why rivets would be used) on that scoreboard?
Well - given that its a movie, it's just done to make the scene look better, and less flat; a form of "greebling" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greeble
But in real life - if you had a large object like that (think of a plane, or a train or similar) - it would be made of sheet metal, but the metal wouldn't have the inherent strength as-is to support it's shape, so there is an armature or skeleton underneath (generally made of more metal), to which the sheet steel needs to be attached. So - it would generally be attached with rivets or screws - rivets are generally used for such designs where the metal shouldn't come apart from the armature (and screws where access, removal, or replacement is needed).
Today, what would be used would be glues or spot-welding, or even some kind of "unibody" construction, where the support structure is "pressed" into the metal itself in a die-molding operation (like that used for unibody automobile chassis). Perhaps even a composite sandwich structure...