Chicago Museum of Science and Industry

I couldn't make it to visit George this year, so my brother and I opted for a visit to Chicago instead.  While there we had to venture over to the Science and Industry museum to see the newly constructed model train layout.  I had heard that it was big  - and that it had many large structures, but I still wasn't prepared for the mammoth scale of the downtown Chicago part of the layout.    While the layout is a far cry from a "craftsman" layout and lacks the detail and interest of many smaller more detailed layouts, the buildings were great in themselves. 

Most of the large buildings are built to fool the on looking eye.  They are more like a theatrical set than a model railroad; but I found a lot of the tricks they used in construction can be applied to parts of our own layouts.  For example, many of the stone buildings do not have stones carved into them.   They are simply inked on or penciled in.  A lot of the detail on the buildings is also just painted on using 3D techniques.  Look closely.  From the aisle you can't tell.  If you zoom in with a camera, you can.  I think I will apply some of these Hollywood style tricks to some background buildings when I get to that point on my own layout.

This view gives a sense of how big the Chicago diorama is.  It's huge.  Here is a birds eye view I took while riding on a Pterodactyl.  The layout goes from Chicago to the suburbs to the Midwest - thru the mountains and into Seattle. Many modern reflective buildings had to be modeled. 

Some buildings have multi colored windows and are made to light up when the room lights are dimmed. This was a particularly detailed building.  The stone coloring is simply painted on. More nice stonework.  Because of the dim lighting I had to use a flash and the thus, the colors are not exact. Most of the buildings on the layout are done after prototypes - like this one.

Yet another beauty.  I have a feeling they used their fair share of plexi-glass... This is a great building with all it's towers and details. In this closer look at the building in the last picture, you can see that most of the depth and details were added by painting.

Yes, they have the Sears tower.  I don't know if it's 100% to scale though... Another tower pic - the multi colored windows add a lot.  More modern buildings. They have added a lot of vehicles to the layout, but they need a LOT more to represent Chicago!   PS- I hate to drive in Chicago.

They did a nice job of fitting in the river and the drawbridges - which lift and lower periodically.       

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