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August 07, 2008

Stop and Smell the Miniatures

Nyny01_2click photos to enlarge 

Artist Michael Chesko must live by a similar credo. He first caught the miniature bug while working as a software engineer for Motorola in the early 1980s. His original creation... a sprawling imaginary city named Britannica! His medium and tools... balsa wood, Xacto blades, and fingernail files.

But after ten years of purely creative (but somewhat geeky) fantasy, he realized he must put childish things aside... after all, why spend time daydreaming when one could enjoy the demanding exactitude of reality?

And so, he brings us Midtown Manhattan, his most ambitious work to date...



This scale miniature of Midtown took 2000 hours to complete. As reference, he used blueprints, old photographs, digital reproductions, and satellite images. On a good day, he'd work his way through four city blocks. The entire model is 36" x 30"... a good deal smaller than most office desks. At the 1:3200 scale, the Empire State Building Chesko's favorite skyscraper) roughly reaches the dizzying height of a Campbell's Soup can.


All of us here at the Republic pretty much flipped when we saw Chesko's hand-carved miniatures. Yet we're torn. Because the Republic also takes joy in childish, boneheaded fantasy. That's why we're dying to see some of Chesko's earlier Britannica work! C'mon Chesko!... show us the geeky fun stuff!


Nyny05_2 1 Downtown New York. 2 Downtown and Midtown

Chesko's Midtown model will soon go on display at the Skyscraper Museum in New York. Much thanks to Micheal Chesko himself, who sent Tinselman these photos!

August 7, 2008 | Permalink


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Yeah! Bring back Britannica!

Posted by: ScottE | Aug 8, 2008 10:09:37 AM

You might be interested in this. http://simonwoodside.com/past/2008/8/11/the_ultimate_cut_out_book/ ... and check out the last link on white lego bricks for something directly related to what you're looking for in terms of fantasy cities...

Posted by: S Woodside | Aug 10, 2008 10:16:46 PM

Hi, do you have Micheal Chesko's contact email. I am a journalist in the UK and would like to do a press story of him. Regards, Dean

Posted by: Dean Murray | Oct 2, 2008 9:50:40 AM

HI Robyn, I linked to your post from my blog: http://www.buildingcollector.com/ which is about collecting souvenir buildings. I do a series of posts which I call "3-D Maps" http://www.buildingcollector.com/search/label/3-D%20Map Check it out. Thanks, Dave

Posted by: Dave | Feb 2, 2009 8:04:01 AM

Wow, amazing work! Miniatures are a fantastic passtime and something I am just starting to get into.

Posted by: Amber | Mar 17, 2009 5:49:26 PM

I would absolutely love to see his models comprehensively photographed and photosynthed.

Posted by: Nate Lawrence | Nov 1, 2009 9:26:19 PM

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