There are now flights leaving every five minutes from Times Square, but those American Airlines 737s soaring through the air won’t be boarding passengers any time soon. They’re only 15 inches long.
The not-so-jumbo jets are the latest addition to Gulliver’s Gate, an ever-growing attraction of miniature scenes spread across 50,000 square feet of former office space. The wee world, which celebrates its first birthday in May, takes the idea of model trains and runs with it: Meticulously detailed recreations include the Brooklyn Bridge, the Great Wall of China and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The Tower Bridge actually opens, while real water streams over Iguazu Falls.
The places and people of Gulliver’s Gate are created using both 3D printing and hand sculpting at a 1:87 scale. There is an interactive element, too. Each visitor receives a key, which can be used to activate such scenes as clucking itty-bitty chickens and felucca boats coasting down the Nile.
The idea, says head of model making Adrian Davies, is to “let people look back at the real world from a new perspective.”
The exhibit was built by model makers from around the world, including Buenos Aires, Argentina, and St. Petersburg, Russia.
The new micro airport—which, unlike the rest of Gulliver’s Gate, is not based on a real-world location—was introduced this winter. The airfield features a bustling terminal and busy runway; the planes take flight via a complex system utilizing GPS. “There are multiple micro computers in each plane,” says Volker Klocke, Gulliver’s Gate’s head of engineering. “The airport works based on a ballet of multiple systems that bring it all to life.”
Your mini vacation can be permanent
Gulliver’s Gate downsizes visitors as well
As any model train enthusiast knows, no landscape is complete without people to live in it. Gulliver’s Gate has plenty of tiny townsfolk—including Spider-Man and The Beatles—and their numbers are growing. The exhibition has a scanner rigged with 128 cameras, with which staff can produce 3D-printed replicas of visitors in three sizes, ranging from wedding cake toppers to Ken and Barbie height. Those who wish to take their likenesses home are welcome, but you can opt to become a part of the exhibition, thereby achieving (drumroll) minor celebrity.