Unlike of the emerging world of drones, the miniature train world is well known to me. As a toddler I was completely obsessed by trains riding through The Netherlands. My mom regularly took me to the train station just to show me the trains passing by. On rainy Sundays my dad allowed me and my sisters to  completely fill the living room with his Märklin train set, making it extremely difficult to cross the room without tripping over the tracks. Eventually the obsession faded away, but did something spark when I had the opportunity to visit Rail 2016 last week?

Together with Shapeways colleague Mitchell, I ventured to Houten to find out what is happening nowadays in the world of miniature trains. Before joining Shapeways, Mitchell was already a renowned Shopowner with his train miniatures and accessories (check shop Spoorobjecten).

We already knew that Rob Bisschop was amongst the exhibitors, displaying extremely detailed model trains which were made of Frosted Ultra Detail, who teams up with Mitchell on several projects.


While above you only see the top case of the train, Rob Bisschop carefully hand paints every single one of them and then adds electronics and wheels, transforming them into working N-Scale miniature trains.


Most of the event was made of huge, extremely detailed, landscapes. Below you can see how much work and material is involved in creating a miniature world that your trains can roam.


Since a lot of this work is done by hand, I do see a huge impact for creating unique, custom miniatures or even parts of the environment. While Frosted Ultra Detail already offers great details for the trains, imagine you can use 3D Printing to create the entire world you’re building! Having your own (crashed) car, your own house or your own family without the hassle of a lot of manual tooling represented in there, isn’t that amazing? Rumor has it Mitchell is working on people that have dynamic pieces so you can lose them in your model train world.  We will make sure he shares!  Seeing all this inspired me to ask my dad to borrow his Märklin train, more updates about that later when I’m done playing..