Thursday, February 8, 2007 at 10:12 am

HO-Scale Figurines in Toy Fair Shocker!

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That manufacturers of HO-scale figurines have models of naked people doing naked-people things is not new, but Dirk Kurbjuweit, covering the Nuremberg Toy Fair for Der Spiegel, and a bit too earnestly at that (Germans have never been accused of having a sense of humour), finds something ominous about all the sex, violence and contemporary events portrayed in the model railroad displays. Especially the violence: after cataloguing the indecencies performed by two-centimetre-tall figurines, Kurbjuweit gets positively existential discussing what the rest of us might find mordantly funny on the one hand, or pointed social commentary on the other.

A hiker chased by a Yeti falls from a hill and into a pit. Heavily armed policemen arrest a group of foreigners at a train station, including a woman of apparent Muslim descent wearing a headscarf and a black lady. A horse in front of the Boggensags butcher shop is about to be beaten to death with a hammer. Next door, a metal worker has lost an arm. There are copious amounts of blood everywhere. Meanwhile, a man urinates on a wall and a woman watches him, looking pleased. A single suitcase stands by the train tracks. Will it explode? […]

What’s going on? What’s happened? What is Fleischmann trying to tell us?

There’s only one explanation: Playing in those pastoral paradises was no longer a source of solace, because afterwards the real world always seemed even more miserable.

Now Fleischmann is turning the tables. Spend a few hours playing in the horrible world of the Toy Fair and you’ll be glad to return to everyday life.

Link NSFW. Via

Update, Feb. 10: The Times picks up the story. Worth noting that this story is essentially about the Der Spiegel reacting to the displays, rather than some genuine controversy that the media is merely reporting on. And model railroaders have been using figurines as gag displays for decades — this is nothing new.

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