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Watch the Millennium Falcon take off from the runway at Miniatur Wunderland

Watch the Millennium Falcon take off from the runway at Miniatur Wunderland

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Miniatur Wunderland

One of the most amazing sections of Miniatur Wunderland — a massive model railway installation in Hamburg, Germany that is Guinness-certified as the largest in the world — is the Knuffigen Airport. It's a huge model airport with dozens of planes and associated airport vehicles, all of which can move around on their own.

The highlight is the runway, where planes can "take off" and fly to faraway destinations, before returning (via a complex series of behind-the-scenes machinations) again. The planes, accompanied by accurate sound effects, are lifted up and propelled on a series of computer-controlled metal rods. Much of the airport is featured in the Miniatur Wunderland promotional video.

But there are more than passenger jets in the airport. The staff at Wunderland, tongue firmly in cheek, have created a Millennium Falcon model for the airport as well. It doesn't take off in quite the same manner as in the Star Wars movies, but it's still quite awesome. Details of how the Falcon, with its unique, unplanelike take off, was built (complete with troubleshooting of bizarre computer errors) is explained in a behind-the-scenes video from Gerrit Braun, co-creator of Miniatur Wunderland.

Having visited Miniatur Wunderland myself, I highly recommend it if you find yourself in Hamburg (or even just in Europe). It was incredible even without the Millennium Falcon — but now, it's even better.