Can this really be a scale model of an airport? When watching it on video for the first time, you’d certainly be forgiven for thinking it’s real, and you wouldn’t be the first… or last. This complex, moving marvel is located in the Miniatur Wunderland theme park in Hamburg, Germany. Until recently, this marvelous museum was known chiefly for displaying the world’s largest model railway, but recently its new star has become an astonishing airport scale model which includes more than 40 aircraft (from Cessnas to A380s, even including an occasional Antonov A225), all performing some 360 taxiing, takeoff, and landing operations daily. The model also includes 4,500 ground vehicles, around a hundred of which also move, such as fire trucks, trailers, escalators, and jetways.
This, too, is the largest model of its kind in the world (150 square metres/1,615 square feet), and took more than five years and some 150,000 hours of work to complete, at a cost of 3.5 million euros. During that construction, the museum created a kind of video construction diary which shows many of the techniques and tricks used to lend maximum realism. In one of the last (see below) you can see the final tests in the final weeks before the inauguration, showing the impressive degree of realistic detail achieved.
Entry to Miniatur Wunderland costs 12 euros for adults, 6 for ages 14 and younger, and 10 for ages 65 and older, and I highly recommend it — it’s certainly something quite different and cool to experience in this dynamic German city!