Flemington, NJ – June 2018 – Northlandz Model Railroad Display

As you drive along US Route 202 near Flemington in western New Jersey you will come upon a building alongside the road that at first glance appears to possibly be vacant. Set behind a small parking lot, and on this summer day somewhat overgrown by weeds is a 50,000 square foot gray building.

When you stop and walk inside you see a small snack bar and gift shop, and the appearances of something past it’s prime. However as you pay your entry fee and head in you are in for an amazing experience.

For it is here in Flemington, New Jersey that you find what is one of the world’s largest model train display.

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What started as a hobby in the basement of Bruce Zaccagnino in the early 1970s eventually developed into something much larger.

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Bruce was a musician and computer game designer but whose passion was model railroading.

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The display has over 400 bridges …

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Eight miles of track ….

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They also have some static displays including this train wreck – note the passangers hanging onto the side of the car.

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Some of the displays appear to be 15′ high.

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The rail yard.

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Another of the 400 bridges across a deep ravine.

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The detail is great – this is a tower in the amusement park.

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Another massive bridge with a monastery on top of the mountain.

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More ravines and bridges.

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There were a few trains running but with the size it became a game to listen for the trains to come across the features.

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A model of the famed Firth of Forth bridge in Scotland.

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Another view of the same bridge from below.

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Putt putt course from hell.

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The Golden Spike location in Utah.

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The control room. Northlandz is an amazing place to see – don’t let the slightly worn look of the outside and lobby deter you – it is well worth the visit.

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Baltimore – May 2018 – American Visual Art Museum

At the base of Federal Hill in Baltimore is the American Visual Art Museum. For those who enjoy the unusual, this is a museum for you.

Founded in 1995 by Rebecca Ann Hoffberger, the museum started out as a display of artwork from Ms. Hoffberger’s psychiatric patients who had created the art as part of a program known as People Encouraging People.

 

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The museum is now located in two buildings housing over 60,000 square feet of exhibit space.

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One of Ms Hoffberger’s goal was to encourage and promote artists who come from outside the academic or institutionalized learning spaces.

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As a result you get a great eclectic mix of exhibits.

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Including a life size sculpture of a man made out of small gauge wire.

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As well as interesting interpretations of the human form.

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The dress below was made on 3D printers from the original, the artists mother’s wedding dress from the 1940s. Each circle was hand created to celebrate her mothers life.

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As a finale (for us) – a Pez collection.

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Canton, OH – April 2018 – Model Ship Museum

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At the edge of Canton, Ohio behind a row of old shopping areas, is a building that at first appearances is a vacant factory. As you drive up you see a small sign that says ‘Blue Water Majesty Museum’.

Once you enter and meet Larry Pulka, the owner and craftsman, you see it is much more. For more than 40 years Larry has built from scratch model ships. These ships are built just like the real thing, starting with the skeleton and beyond.

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The display area is well done, with display cases and backgrounds very professionally done.

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Most are scale sailing ships.

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Each ship has details such as lifeboats, railings and masts. All are built out of exotic woods, using different woods to represent the various colors.

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Larry goes into such detail that he has made tiny wood nails that are used extensively.

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Further detail is shown in the peripherals on the ship.

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If you find yourself in Canton, Ohio it is well worth a visit to go see Larry and his amazing ships.

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Chicago – December 2017 – Museum of Science and Industry

The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry was the perfect choice for another exceptionally cold December day.  Located in the Hyde Park neighborhood on the South Shore of Chicago, it is located in the former Palace of Fine Arts from the 1893 World Columbian Exposition.  It became the Museum of Science and Industry during the 1933 Century of Progress Worlds Fair.

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The famed ‘Christmas Around the World’ tree greets you as you arrive during the holiday season, standing 45′ tall with 30,000 lights and ‘snow’ falling twice an hour.

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My main purpose for the visit to what is essentially a children’s museum was to see the ‘Great Train Story’, a 3500 square foot HO model railroad display.

This model leads you from a large Chicago model along a 2200 mile journey to Seattle. It is located in the transportation hall, underneath a Boeing 727.

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The downtown Chicago model has many details including the El.

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When you reach Seattle it is complete with the Space Needle.

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The other exhibit I wanted to check out was the lego ‘Brick by Brick’ display. Interestingly despite all the interesting architecture in Chicago from Frank Lloyd Wright they chose to use Fallingwater, located near Pittsburgh (although it is the best architectural home in America)

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The Pyramids were represented, including a cutaway to show the interior.

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Same as with the Roman Colosseum. While the exhibits were nice, we have seen better exhibits for both the Lego’s and model railroad displays (Cincinnati History Center comes to mind, as well as Entertrainment Junction). Still it beat being outside in -2 Ft (-15 C) weather.

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Hamilton, OH – August 2017 – Remote Control Airplane ‘Flying Circus’

The Cincinnati Remote Control Airplane Club has been around for over 50 years. Once a year they host a ‘Flying Circus’ at the Butler County Airport in Hamilton, Ohio. This event allows them to showcase to the public their love of their airplanes, as well as their skill in flying them.

There were a number of models both in scope of the time of aviation design as well as scale.

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One of the highlights was an event to break balloons by flying low and fast and clipping them with (hopefully) their wheels. Not all used their wheels.

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A few slammed into the display holding the balloons.

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Some of the landings made it but a bit off course.

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The pilots went to pick up the remains of those that crashed.

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A Wright Flyer model was flown, albeit very briefly before crashing.

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The models were amazing in detail – from a distance it is tough to tell they are models.

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The coordinator had a great hat.

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A model Valkyrie deloyed a chute to slow it down when landing.

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Some of the landings were dicey, but made it.

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A trio of Red Baron bi-planes put on a great show.

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Some model jets made an appearance.

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Another close landing.

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In the end it was a great show.

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Pittsburgh – July 2017 – Carnegie Science Center

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The Carnegie Science Center, like most science centers, is geared towards children, but with an excellent railway model of the highlights of Pittsburgh I wanted to check it out.

An added bonus was the Robot Hall of Fame, as well as a submarine docked on the banks of the Ohio River!

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An interesting display showing the stress high heel shoes put on a woman’s ankle and foot.

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Forbes Field

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Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater

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Danger Will Robinson….

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Hilliard, OH – May 2017 – N Scale Model Trains

A rainy Sunday morning meant trying to find something inside to do. Fortunately there was a N Scale Model Train show in Hilliard, Ohio. N Scale is a very small scale, and the scenery that the various groups did was very intricate.

The model rail clubs came from throughout Ohio and surrounding states. The best was easily the Dayton N Scale club, as they had working carnival rides, ski lifts, and many others.

A German Rail Station

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With the small scale they build models in suitcases, and in this case, a guitar case.

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Some of the scenery the trains run through included a drive in movie theater.

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The ski lift.

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Clubs came from as far away as Indiana and New Jersey.

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The small, fast moving trains proved to be tricky to photograph.

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Another station.

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