The Model Building

The "fixers" of Miniatur Wunderland.

Without them the Wunderland would be deserted and dull: the model builders. The continuously growing team has been busy every day ever since the beginning. New theme worlds are being built, other theme worlds are being repaired and models replaced, and from time to time a few details in the scenery, or a complete Elbphilharmonie, are being added.

There is a difference between the Miniatur Wunderland and other big sites, not only in the loving devotion to detail and in the amount of work invested. Of course our details here can’t be as elaborate as they can be at home on 10 m2, where putting up the layout can take up to ten years time.
The following text by Gerhard Dauscher, chief of model building at the Wunderland, describes why the Wunderland is so special from a model making point of view.

Model Building At the Wunderland From Gerhard Dauscher's Point Of View

At the Wunderland, not only do we use the layout surface for building but also the far edges and corners of the plane have been discovered as a modeling area. Many model building ideas, like for instance a mining pit, a subway station, a dripstone cave, a vault, Atlantis, Area 51 and many others can be found at eye level for children. In the Scandinavian section you can dive into the depths of the ocean without using goggles. An acrylic window at the front of the real water basin gives you insight, all the way to the bottom of the ocean.
Buildings located directly at the layout’s edge show the life behind the front face because we left out the front walls so there is nothing left to block the view. Private homes, workshops, and industrial businesses show exactly what it takes to keep everyday life up and running.
There are "traffic routes on all levels" with all kinds of vehicles at the Wunderland. To name a few: a mine train, the subway, the cable car, the forest railroad, the ICE-high speed track, county roads, parkways, highways, ship routes, the harbour, the ocean, full size gliders, a hot-air balloon, a turboprop-plane, a jet, but also an UFO. And the best thing is that all these vehicles are in motion!

You can’t spot everything at first sight at the Wunderland - many details only reveal themselves at a second glance! Like on a treasure hunt many surprising details want to be discovered. To give you an overview over the scenery we have built steps onto the railings, so you can lift yourself a bit higher and see all the details that are hidden in backyards, behind trees or in the middle of a sunflower field.
And we all know tunnel vision. But looking at the high speed track through a Wunderland tunnel, you can watch the ICE-train coming at you at full speed from a distance of 15 meters.
Many meticulous hours of research with pictures and geological map material are needed to model a palette of steel, wood, and plaster into a mountain that looks like the real deal.
You have to be able to see and feel the rock surface which means that every square inch of "rock" is laboriously handcarved using tools our model builders have developed themselves. It takes up to six layers of paint to transform this great handiwork into a photo-realistic mountain.
Around 8 billion people inhabit this earth, their actions bringing good to it and sometimes less good. Our team at the Wunderland watch the people around them very closely and pick up all the details around them in everyday life. Accordingly, the figures in the Wunderland act like their human counterparts.
All stages of life, from procreation to death, are always present. We even attended to the subject of alien life forms. You can always tell what the Wunderland inhabitants are doing, Their feelings are written on their faces and expressed in their habitus. This is where we witness the normal course of life, in this realness. So it could happen, that one day you will meet a copy of yourself at the Wunderland!

It is not very hard for us to remodel our home country in all its variety. A lot more challenging is the remodeling of foreign countries. Even after spending a holiday there we realize more often than not, that we missed a lot of details when we were there. What do letterboxes look like in Denmark? What color are Swedish garbage bins? Just how big are the phone booths in Switzerland? What festivities and traditions are parts of the different countries? A lot of little details you also can’t find in guidebooks. A bigger help are the internet and getting in touch with people from the countries, who are actually living there. Because of the effort we put in, you, of course, can now also go to the Miniatur Wunderland and learn a lot about the countries on display!
Different countries also mean different trains. Ever since crossing the borders of Germany many colorful trains and different models have been rolling on our tracks. Especially Norway and Sweden have brightly colored trains; the ore trains over there are also surprisingly long and have very strong machines. Big Boy, the biggest ever built steam engine, makes the audience’s hearts skip with its booming sound. Like in reality, this engine in our USA theme world can pull two containers piled on top of each other and additionally pull five engines complete with a train of cars. In our Switzerland section the Glacier Express pulls your attention up the mountain on the Rhätische narrow-gauge railway to Heidi and her Grandfather’s universe.
Since we simulate night and day in our layout, the ocean of lights at night will capture you as a visitor. The impressions will go through your eyes into your head and hopefully straight to your heart.

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