MinNature Malaysia describes itself as the largest permanent indoor miniature and train exhibition in Asia and the third largest in the world.
It opened in November 2016 after eight years of planning, raising funds, modelling and building.
It originally occupied a massive 17,000 sq ft space in Subang Jaya, but in July it relocated to the more centrally located Sungei Wang Plaza in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.
The miniatures are built to a scale of 1/87 or HO, which is the most commonly used scale for model railways.
Nearly all of the models have been built from scratch in plastic using 3D printers based on MinNature’s own 3D modelling, or from wood or plaster.
The only things that have been bought in are the figures of people, the model cars and trains and some of the trees.
It is not surprising that the models took three years to build and work is still ongoing for future displays.
The exhibition space is divided into zones. The first is Countryside Life and features miniature dioramas showing Malaysia-themed scenes of rural life such as a kampung, a quarry, a Cameron Highlands-inspired tea estate and an oil palm plantation.
The Leisure Park section includes a miniature wildlife park, a water theme park and an amusement park with moving rides.
All the models have realistic lighting and the layout is free from barriers so the children can get up close to the models (but no touching please!).
The power station with smoking cooling towers is very realistic and founder Alvin Wan uses the Industrial Park section to educate children on the need for clean energy and the benefits of advanced environment-friendly agricultural techniques.
The largest section is called The Dataran and contains models of iconic Kuala Lumpur landmarks such as KL Tower, the National Mosque, Maybank Tower and the Sultan Abdul Samad building.
A close-up of the model of the Sessions Court building shows the impressive detail that has been created with MinNature’s 3D printers, which show up flaws and imperfections and are, therefore, more realistic than the clean, precise cuts made by laser cutting techniques.
This is a great attraction and children and adults alike will enjoy it. Treasure hunts are organised that require players to search the model displays to find tiny details, keeping the young ones amused for ages.
Malaysia Traveller / FMT