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 | Category: Model Exhibitions
entry 18 Mar 2014, 21:26
Hamburg Miniature Wonderland - Part 10 The USA.

As you enter the USA section from the Scandinavian section you are confronted by a model of Las Vegas.

Hotels I recognise include The Belagio, Treasure Island, The Paris, New York New York, The MGM Grand and The Luxor

As the night sequence descends the full extent of the lighting becomes apparent.

I think this section may be the Everglades ....

The trains in the USA section are given plenty of horsepower.

Large bridges figure strongly in the model

In addition to the railway, there is well populated freeway with plenty of trucks.

The USA was the last section on my tour of Miniature Wonderland. The timestamp on my last photo is over four hours later than my first. I did go back to the Switzerland section with the idea of going round again but my body had had enough so I left this amazing venue to spend the rest of the day sight seeing in Hamburg itself.

If I ever visit Hamburg again, I will definitely find time to pay another visit.

 | Category: Model Exhibitions
entry 2 Feb 2014, 14:56
The Hamburg section is followed by the Scandinavian section featuring railways and scenes from Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

A large country house / castle in the Danish section:

I noticed this rather familiar looking signal box towards the back of the layout.

This left me wondering:

* Did Danish railways build signal boxes using British architectural plans?
* Is this an early tryout building for the UK section due in a couple of years time?
* Is it a Heljan kit which has been mistaken as being Danish because Heljan is Danish?

The main station in the Danish section with a beach scene in the foreground

The main feature of the Scandinavian section is the harbour. This is modelled with an enormous tank filled with water. There must be filters somewhere as the water is incredibly clear. Several large model ships navigate in and out of the harbour with no visible signs of being guided. This is a cruise ship leaving the harbour.

I saw the real ship a couple of days later when I went on a harbour tour in Hamburg. It really does wear lipstick on the front...

The group in the back of the shot are on a "Behind the scenes tour". It's an attractive idea but you need to have good German to get much benefit from it.

The clear water in the harbour allows for some more underwater jokes. This is an octopuss' garden

An oil rig beyond the entrance to the harbour

A floating ship repair dock

The cruise ship was replaced by this rather more mundane item but a fine model none the less

A local train in Norway

Deep mid winter...

Another one for the kids, "The Flying Dutchman"?

That's all from the Scandinavian section. There's just the US left.

 | Category: Model Exhibitions
entry 26 Nov 2013, 22:55
The photos continue in the "Mittlel Deutschland" section of Hamburg Miniature Wonderland.

This is one for Neil - these buildings are from Rotenburg Ob die Tauber wink.gif

Not all the trains are hauled by diesels or electrics

I find these locos quite attractive:

This station is named Hamburg Dammtor.

The next section contains models based on Hamburg itself and will appear in Part 8.

 | Category: Model Exhibitions
entry 30 Oct 2013, 22:05
After turning from the Austrian section you are presented with this large mainline station:

There is a large roundhouse to the rear housing a number of steam locomotives:

A wedding cameo scene:

A reverse view of the station:

That Thomas gets about! Here he, Annie and Clarabel are running on the branch at the back of this section:

There are industrial scenes too such as this coalmine

Another valley

A branchline station which is served by a shuttle train

A theatre which is putting on a performance of Romeo & Juliet. The performers are quite sprightly and not at all wooden wink.gif

Another valley

That's all for now. The journey through Mittel Deutschland will continue in the next part.

 | Category: Model Exhibitions
entry 8 Oct 2013, 20:40
The first thing you notice on your right as you enter the building housing the Austrian section is the helix which moves trains between levels:

The first model on display is a Winter sports venue with an unusual competitor heading down the ski jump.

Being Austria, there are still mountains and bridges.

The characteristic bright red of OBB Inter City trains. You can just make out that the track is 3 rail, as was the Switzerland section.

The gondola system works on demand using a push button. These photos have been edited to improve the contrast as the light levels were quite low for taking photos.

A narrow gauge train makes its way through the snow

Another example of lights with everything

A train ferry but I don't think the ferry goes anywhere

On the other side of the building the landscape is greener. The trains traverse through multiple levels before returning to the far side

The electric fences are there for your safety - shades of Jurassic Park?

I can't resist lorry trains. This one is about to start its descent

And continues

That's all for Austria. Next stop Mittel Deutschland...

 | Category: Model Exhibitions
entry 5 Sep 2013, 21:58
This photo record of my trip to the Hamburg Miniature Wonderland continues with the second part of the Switzerland section.

Another model of a castle - this is one I don't recognise:

A quadruple headed freight spotted on the line below the castle:

I have a particular liking for Re460s in their various advertising guises. There are quite a few on the layout and this one had actually stopped so I was able to take a photo which is in focus.

A view back along Belloszona station from the foot of the stairs which lead up to the 4th floor. There is a particularly long coal train passing through the station at the bottom.

Part way up the stairs there are small "portholes" which reveal yet more models. This is of an underground station:

Climb another couple of steps and you pass this scene which puts the "Wunder" into Miniature Wonderland. It's a bit blurry because of the slow shutter speed but you get the picture.

There's a landing about two thirds the way up which just below the level of the 3rd floor ceiling. Looking back down to the entrance to the Switzerland section, you see this metre gauge station. Judging by the Golden Pass train, this is based on the line from Zweisimmen to Montreux which I travelled a few years ago.

Continuing on up the stairs this high mountain pass looms on the left. The cars appear to be selected to form a vintage run of the Mille Miglia.

On the opposite side of the stairway is this town which contains buildings from St. Moritz. The railings in the background are where visitors on the fourth floor can look down into Switzerland on the third floor.

One of steps has been left hollow so that trains can pass from one side to the other. These guys are masters at creating features you remember so that you tell your friends...

Even though we have now reached the fourth floor, there is still a large mountain for the trains to climb

Another metre gauge station

The houses in this village are typical of those found in the farthest reaches of the Graubunden

This last photo of the Switzerland section evokes, in a rather concentrated way, how the RhB lines wind their ways up and down valleys such as the Albula and the Bernina.

That's completed the section on Switzerland. Next is a brief visit to Bavaria followed by the airport.

 | Category: Model Exhibitions
entry 1 Sep 2013, 21:47
Early this year my wife informed me that a friend with whom she shares a common interest had discovered a four day course which was to take place in northern Germany, or to be more specific be based in Hamburg. I would not be attending the course but she thought it would be nice if I accompanied her to Hamburg in any case. As a railway modeller, I did not need to be asked twice for I knew about the Hamburg Miniature Wonderland but had never quite worked out how to incorporate a visit to Hamburg as part of a holiday. Now that problem had been solved for me smile.gif

The Hamburg Miniature Wonderland is based in three floors of a former early 20th century warehousing complex known as "Speicherstadt". This is located on the northern Elbe close to the city centre. At about 9:30 am on Tuesday August 27th, I arrived...

The entrace is situated on the second floor. The first model area is on the third floor. At the time of my visit, construction of the new Italy section was in its very early stages. As an appetiser for the main event, there was a series of small diaramas each about 3ft square depicting the change in human use of a small piece of geography starting with settled village from pre-history, passing through medieval, renaissance, enlightenment, industrial revolution, first world war and second world war periods. Above each diarama there was a slide show with captions in english highlighting points of interest. It probably took me about an hour to work my way through this area.

The Miniature Wonderland "proper" begins with Switzerland. As you come through the door and wait for your turn to get a place at the barrier (there have been 10 million visitors so far) you see this model of a Swiss station with mountains towering up behind it rising into the floor above.

The trains are just a small part of the landscape as you can see from this hillside and vineyards

Another view of the station. There is a model of the Loetschburg tunnel car train to the left of the picture.

The mountains are rugged and tall and some of the bridges are higher still.

The light levels are quite low so it is difficult to take "fast" photos with a multi purpose zoom lens. Most moving trains appear a bit blurred but this shot of the Glacier Express has just about come out ok.

There are lots of "little jokes" scattered about the Miniature Wonderland. These three road rollers all move back and forth along the road, including the one at the rear of the group.

There are some nice intimate scenes such as this river valley in among the big set pieces. The bridge sort of obscures the fuzziness of the double headed crocodiles. The branch line also carries a large number of trains; they are not just decorations.

The days are short in Miniature Wonderland - about 15 minutes. When the lights go down, scenes such as this rock concert come alive.

This interesting BLS double unit was stopped on the branchline so I was able to get a reasonably good photo.

I'm not sure everything is quite to full scale. The Wonderland is more a memoir than an exact replica. I am sure that Chateau Chillon near Montreau was larger than this when I saw it a couple of years ago. I still wanted the photo and had to wait quite some time to get a clear shot which did not have someones hand or camera in the way!

There is some very nice modelling on show, such as this mountain village.

That's all for now. I think it is going to take some time to work my way through the photos, selecting the good ones, resizing, uploading and then adding some text. I've no idea how long the process will take but it's not going to be quick. Whilst I particularly like Switzerland and its trains and may have taken rather a lot of photos, other areas in Wonderland include - more Switzerland, Bavaria, the airport, Austria, middle Germany, Hamburg, Scandinavia and the USA.

Thanks for looking. Check back in a few days for the next installment.


 | Category: Model Exhibitions
entry 11 Jun 2006, 18:32
The destination for this weekend's outing is in the photo shown below.
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But the destination was not "The Anchor Inn" nor was it for a pint of the amber nectar. In fact our destination can be seen at the very top of the photo, for "The Anchor Inn" is in Beer, and Beer is home to the Pritchard Patent Product Co. Ltd. better known to modellers the world over by their products marketed under the Peco label. (Note the recently heavily revised website which is well worth a visit).
Apart from the scenery,
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the sea air and the attractions of Pecorama itself, this was "DCC weekend" at Peco and all the major players in the UK were there in a marquee in the gardens. The marquee had a small extension this year compared to last and all the stands seemed to be slightly larger than last year or maybe that is because I had my reading glasses on.
I thought that my researchs on DCC had told me just about everything I needed to know before finally paying out the "big bucks" and talking the plunge, so I had travelled more in hope than expectation of learning something new. The first hint that something was brewing was the sight of a 4-6-0 chassis sitting on a rolling road on the South West Digital stand. Focusing a little better, I noticed two pairs of thin blue wires leading to two rather large 41mm(?) speakers, one each end of the rolling road. Leaning in I could hear the "chuff, chuff" of a steam engine at low speed. So there it was - a South West Digital steam project on show. I felt I had found a unicorn or other mythical beast.
I loitered about the stand for a few minutes and during that time, the engine was taken up to a faster speed and then allowed to coast to a halt. During the coasting period, there was no "chuffing", just the sound of the motion.
Apparently this "sound project" is a two cylinder Great Western steamer and is still at the prototype stage. I was talking to Steve and whilst he did not give a firm delivery date, he indicated that a time frame of a few months was what they had in mind. I did ask about 3 cylinder Gresleys and whilst I got the impression that he would love to do one, I gather they fall into the "don't hold your breath" category. He did say that the LMS was on their list after the GW.
Almost in passing, I asked him what he thought of the ESU ECoS control unit that was powering the 4-6-0. He said there wasn't a lot he could say since he had only received it at 6pm the previous day but that so far he liked it a lot. Whilst he was not able to go further than that as a recommendation, he was handing out 48 page English ESU brochures and I now have one. The anticipated price is 400 and delivery is about September I think.
I've always liked the look of ESUs wireless controller and have been impressed by the versatility of their sound decoders. It seems to me that they are the company innovating in DCC at present. I have read the spec of the ECoS and I think I will go for that one when it comes out.
So rather like the enjoyable cliff walk from Beer to Seaton where you can come across unexpected views, my visit to Pecorama produced a glimpse of British steam sound and a "bang up to date" DCC central controller.
All in all, a great day out and I didn't get my feet wet.
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PS. If you do decide to visit, take careful note of the directions on the Peco website. You don't get any signs to Beer or Seaton until you are on the A3052. You cannot just roll into Honiton from the A30 and hope to pick up signs from there. Otterton is pretty but a pretty long way from Beer.