Modelling-Highlights in the Wunderland

Since it is nearly impossible to represent all highlights in this section, you will only find a small selection on this page. Let yourself be taken away by reading about architectural modelling and exceptional modelling techniques!



The AOL-Arena: Soccer stadium, sports arena, and event location in Hamburg. By representing the AOL-Arena, an extra-ordinary model was created in the Hamburg section. As soon as the visitor enters this area, the arena simply can’t be missed. To the left, the former “Volksparkstadion” is located right in front of the visitor, and the local derby HSV vs. St. Pauli is on. All goal scenes can be watched on the stadium boards (LCD-displays). By the way, this is one of the many push-button actions! Some facts concerning the model: The building time exceeded 1000 hours, total cost (material and salaries) were well over 20,000 Euros. Roughly 2,000 LEDs have been built in and more than 12,000 fans took their seats. A couple of facts concerning the prototype: The AOL – Arena has a total capacity of about 55,000 places (all roof-covered ), 10,000 for standing visitors, 2,100 so-called “Business seats”, and 50 lounges for 10 to 20 persons each. The floor area covers 50,000 sqm, the lawn is heated, the roof reaches 35 meters high in the sky. In January, 2004, the AOL-Arena was officially appointed to a 5-star stadium by the FIFA. Since a true scaled-down version of this arena would cover an area of 2.2 meters by 3.0 meters, the model was built in ratio of 1/150.

The „Speicherstadt“

Historic background: In lieu of an old, canal-threaded merchants and dwelling quarter, a new warehouse complex for the 1888 opened freeport of Hamburg was projected and built on the Brook island south of the customs canal. The long blocks of warehouses with street- and canal fronts form an impressive unit, sometimes seven floors high. The somewhat austere impression is aerated by small towers, gabels, gazebos, or cornices. The bombardments of WWII did not spare the Speicherstadt but it didn’t suffer any irreplaceble damages. The warehouses served, and still do so for the largest part today, as storage places for high quality import goods. These are tobacco, coffee, tea, rum, dried fruit, nuts, or spices, as well conserves, optical and technical equipment, raw silk, and oriental carpets. The largest carpet storage in the world houses about 120,000 sqm of handmade carpets. The Wunderland Speicherstadt was built using a technique called “Kitbashing”. This means that commercially available kits are basically torn apart and re-built to complete new building. It also means that walls, roofs, and sometimes even windows have to be cut to size, and, of course, have to re-painted. The most tedious task was to assemble even the smallest cornices and gazebos. To give a convincible impression, our Speicherstadt model faces a canal on side and the cobblestone street on the other. The “extra” is a model railroad in a model railroad. In the fourth floor of our model runs the smallest railway of the world in a ratio 0f 1/9000. It is activated by another push button action.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas ist he largest town in the State of Nevada and famous for it’s large number of casinos. Exactly this circumstance drove us to the decision not to model New York or Hollywood but Las Vegas. More than 30,000 LEDs were installed in the buildings and on their facades in order to achieve all the effects that can now be marvelled at. This town needs one computer exclusively for light controls. The buildings were built to resemble their prototypes and so you can see the Hotel/Casino Luxor, MGM Grand, Treasure Island with the pirates show and sinking ship, New York surrounded by a spectacular roller coaster, and many more. Located in the foreground of the layout is the Casino Royal which visualizes why 5 electronics had to solder one year. This building alone required 6 weeks to solder in all LEDs and, using the fine copper wires, you could easily knit a sock from them.

Schauertal Bridge

The idea to bridge the main aisle with a bridge came up because we wanted the visitor to experience the rumbling of passing trains over their heads. A really sturdy construction was absolutely critical. A span of 3 meters (approx. 9 feet) and chance that a visitor first wants to feel what he sees led to the decision to built this bridge using metal. We used the Gruenental-Bridge over the Northsea-Baltic Canal as a prototype. All in all, 60 meters of brass were cut to pieces and then soldered again to a fragile looking framework construction using 1 kilogram of brazing solder. The bridge heads at either side have to support a weight of 15 kilograms.

Wunderland Transcontinental Tunnel

If you unexpectedly sense a slight vibration under your feet you might eventually stand on top of one of our trains passing just 5 cms (2 inches) underneath your soles. This ambitious and elaborate project is the first connection between Hamburg and America worldwide. Our trains fight every day for the “Blue Ribbon”. But don’t worry: our trains are well protected by a bulletproof glass pane that is 20 millimeters thick. Heavyduty equipment had to be used to dig into the concrete floor and gain 10 centimeters (about 4 inches) depth on a stretch of 5 meters (about 15 ft). The walls were lit with 400 LEDs to enable a clear view under dark deep waters. In order to avoid any leakage due to water from extensive floor cleaning, strong emphasis was put on leak tightness of the seams between floor and glass. What happens if a train derails? The longest arm of our tallest team member measures just one meter (3 ft)! Definitely not enough for 5 meters of tunnel track… The only help is a “Cleanup-train” consisting of 4 locomotives which, hopefully, push the stuck train out of the tunnel.

St. Wendel Mountain in the Alps

St. Wendel Mountain covers a secret which can only be seen through a small viewport at the mountain’s front flank. You wouldn’t believe it – the massif needed 170 meters of track! The trains disappear in a deep valley and high above the heads of the visitors, the mountain spits them out again just underneath the summit. The largest helix in the Wunderland consists of 12 spirals of 1.6 meters diameter and winds up like a screw thread. The trains negotiate a height difference of 1.4 meters on a track length of 75 meters, equalling a running time of 5 minutes. Using steel threads of 16 millimeters diameter and nuts, the helix levels can exactly be adjusted to the required gradient.

St. Michaelis

St. Michaelis is the most famous church in Hamburg and is also known as „the“ landmark of this town. It’s history already started in the 16th century and reached it’s culmination point when the tower was completely destroyed during a fire blaze in 1906. Thanks to the determination of the Hamburg parliament, the tower could be re-initiated in 1912. The elaborate modelling project, approved by the church’s director, is completely scratchbuilt. As an orientation we had original plans and many photos showing the details. It took about 1,000 hours of hand-sawing and filing even the tiniest styrene pieces until a magnificent building was created. Just like the prototype, a Wunderland-trumpeteer follows a century-old tradition: he climbs up the stairs to a small window and plays a choral on his trumpet.

Storebelt Bridge

The largest structure in the Miniatur Wunderland is a rendition of the Storebelt bridge on which cars and trains cross the strait of the North-East-Sea. For this suspension-bridge of 8 meters, an extra work space had to be set up. Using wood, the main beam underneath the street was constructed as a casing since the wiring for illumination, train control, Carsystem components had to be hidden inside this beam. In order to avoid warping, 4 people were required to turn over this flexible, 8 meters long beam on the workbench. Stability also called for massive wood as building material for the pylons which were screwed to the layout benchwork. 8 team members lifted the finished street over tha water basin and threaded it into the pylons. The model is a true suspension bridge and thus, 100 single hangers strung to the main cables hold the bridge in place over the water. Cutting and hanging 80 meters of fishing line took 14 days. Total building time of this giant is six weeks.

Real water basin in Scandinavia

Rails for trains, streets for cars, … and water for ships. Real water, of course, and it takes more than just a bucket full of water to roll a ferry from one side to the other. Behind the scenes, a high tech installation is needed which, with all it’s sensors, pumps and drains, can only be controlled by a highly sophisticated SPS – control system. Humidity, Water- and room temperatures, as well as filters have to be permanently checked. We also have to make sure that our fellow tenants don’t get wet feet in case of leak, and so we installed an emergency program which empties the complete basin in about 6 minutes. The basin covers an area of about 80 sqm (approx. 861 sqft ) and contains some 25,000 liters (6,604 US-gallons) of water – all in all 30,000 liters (7,925 US-gallons) of water are in the system. By simulating the tides and operating a functional lock the ships traffic becomes a unique attraction. The tidal range of about 4 cms ( 1.5 inches) requires that 2,500 liters (660 US-gallons) have to be moved from the buffer basin in the third floor to the layout basin in the 4th floor in just 8 minutes. Since water is a valuable resource the grey water is used to flush the toilets.

Open Air Theatre

Self-propelled vehicles and ships cruising the oceans in the Wunderland are little sensations amongst laymen and experts alike. Now, even the figures started to learn moving. Our team of precision mechanics manage to produce technical wonders with a maze of cranks and linkages powered by the smallest motors underneath a scene which enable smooth movements of the small figures on the surface. The open air theatre is a cultural “must” for every Wunderlander. After the welcome applause seizes, the musicians in the orchestra pit trim their instruments before the flood lights come on and the curtain opens. Then Romeo dances over the stage and waits for his beloved Julia who – without hesitating – appears on the famous balcony. But alas, the moony lover forgot his ladder! So the only thing left for him is a longing look up to his Julia and he has to leave to solitude again. The opera fans give a big round of applause until the final curtains falls and the deeply moved visitors go home.  


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