Munchkinland In Miniature
by Stephen Sisters
In late 1987, as merchandise started appearing, and events started gearing up for the 50th Anniversary Celebration of The Wizard of Oz, I began contemplating how I could contribute to the upcoming anniversary. Somehow I wanted to show my appreciation for the years of enjoyment the film had brought to my life by creating something to share with the rest of the Oz community.
I had dabbled in model building and miniatures in the past, and thought that possibly I could re-create one or more of the sets in miniature. At first, I looked into the possibility of building the Kansas set, but at that time, none of the set stills were available. (0f course, 10 years later, as we all know, some did indeed surface!) Then it dawned on me - what set could be more recognizable than Munchkinland? (Of course, it would also be the most challenging set to build, but I wouldn't discover that until I was too far into the construction to turn back!)
Armed with an array of set and production stills, and drawing from my education in Architecture, I started from scratch to draw up a floor plan and elevations of the entire village - from huts to hollyhocks. (Wouldn't you know, within months of finishing the model, the original blueprints of Munchkinland were published for the first time in "When the Lion Roars", a history of MGM studios.) The biggest challenge was making sure everything looked "proportionally correct" to the eye, and somehow it all just worked out. Of course, I wasn't quite sure if I would ever finish drawing the spiral of the yellow brick road so it looked right; I searched everywhere for mathematical formulas on how to draw a spiral, but none existed. So after weeks of trial and error, and multiple discarded drawings, the spiral was as close to reality as it would ever be, and I was ready to begin construction on the model.
The challenges of building each component of the model completely overshadowed those of the plans. Everything had to be made by hand due to the uniqueness of the set, and each component presented it's own challenges.
Following is a brief pictorial explanation of how & from what materials each part of the model was built.