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For whatever reason, a popular means of expressing one's enthusiasm for a piece of pop culture is to look at said thing and ask: "What if this was the size of a hamster village and made out of something completely stupid?" Replica and miniature hobbyists occupy a unique territory of fandom, but fortunately they're able to channel their obsessive natures into mind-boggling projects like ...

5 A Lord of the Rings City Made of Matchsticks

Ripley's

For reasons that neither science nor theology will ever be able to explain, Patrick Acton decided to spend three years of his life stacking matchsticks together to form the mountain city of Minas Tirith, as seen in the Lord of the Rings movies:

TheOneRing.net
"It's a burning passion."

Between the fortified city and the mountain upon which it sits, this seven-tier structure was built using 450,000 individual matchsticks. To us, gluing together that many matchsticks into a shapeless blob sounds like an impossibly tedious task, but Acton sculpted the city down to the last tiny detail, including windows, doors, staircases, archways, and even the trebuchets sitting atop each watchtower along the outer wall. He even managed to build curved walls and the winding branches of a miniature tree using nothing but tiny, brittle sticks.

Ripley's
We're amazed he didn't whittle a stick figure Denethor to plunge down in a fireball of self-fulfilling prophecy.

Acton's attention to detail was so specific that he had to create new buildings and structures to populate the fantasy capital city of Gondor, because neither the punishingly wordy books nor the 10-hour movie trilogy contained enough material for his liking. This makes Acton the first person in history to decide that The Lord of the Rings, in all of its adapted forms, simply wasn't long enough.

doryfour/Flickr
Acton thinks the final Hobbit film should be split into two parts.

The matchstick Minas Tirith is now part of the Ripley's Believe It or Not! collection, where it is displayed alongside other Patrick Acton structures, such as the 600,000-matchstick replica of Harry Potter's Hogwarts School of Wizardry, because Patrick Acton decided at an early age exactly how he wanted to be remembered.

TheOneRing.net
As the man who built a fantasy dick tower out of matches.

4 A 20,000-Piece Motor-Powered LEGO Batcave

Carlyle Livingston

If you wait long enough, your favorite pop culture property will inevitably be made into an impossibly expensive LEGO set. But the truly obsessed don't sit around and wait for that shit -- they make their own. Take Wayne Hussey and Carlyle Livingston II. They didn't feel like waiting for the gods of fun and whimsy to shine their light on Tim Burton's Batman, so they went ahead and created their own absurdly detailed LEGO Batcave themselves. The thing is so huge that you'd have to actually be Bruce Wayne to buy one in the unlikely event that they're ever mass-produced.

Carlyle Livingston
We're pretty sure you could fit a life-size billionaire orphan in there.

Livingston used to build props and models for the film industry, and Hussey is the director of BrickCon, a LEGO fan convention. With their powers combined, they were able to patiently spend over 400 hours assembling a LEGO replica of Batman's underground toy chest. The finished product consists of about 20,000 bricks and weighs around 100 pounds, which is enough to crush a child to death should it happen to tip over in the middle of a spirited play session. It includes five different Bat-vehicles to ride:

Carlyle Livingston
Six, depending on the type of stories you tell about his relationship with Robin.

A tiny armory:

Carlyle Livingston
Hang your Batarangs neatly, or face angry drunken Alfred.

And a miniature Batcomputer to decode the Riddler's nefarious riddles:

Carlyle Livingston
Complete with pictures of Catwoman and ... um, Abraham Lincoln.

The LEGO Batcave requires four tiny motors to power all of its moving parts, which is more than most people need in their entire house. However, that's nothing compared to Gotham Park, the LEGO replica of the Joker's headquarters created by Paul Hetherington. It doesn't just "have" moving parts -- the entire thing moves.

Modeled after an abandoned theme park, the LEGO Joker's lair includes delightful automated set pieces that feature Batman getting assaulted by villains and Commissioner Gordon being lowered into a vat of acid. The elaborate scenes in Gotham Park require an undisclosed number of 9-volt motors and 30,000 LEGO bricks -- a full 10,000 more than the intimidatingly awesome LEGO Batcave. Then again, if anyone was going to outdo Batman in elaborate ridiculousness, it would be the Joker.

Carlyle Livingston
Some men just want to see their free time burn.

3 Amazingly Detailed Titanic Replicas Built from Spare Parts

via Reality Pod

Jason King of Welwyn, England, is super into the Titanic, which hardly makes him unique, despite the fact that it seems like an unsettlingly strange thing to be a fan of. In order to express his boundless enthusiasm in an equally unsettling manner, King decided to build his own replica Titanic out of garbage, such as scrap VCR parts, broken clocks, and other bits of random junk nobody wanted. This is presumably because Jason King, a student of history, wanted to pay tribute to the little-known fact that the original Titanic was also fashioned from old VCR parts.

via Reality Pod
Our fact checkers have not verified that last sentence.

The finished replica is just under 9 feet long and was constructed over the course of two years, finishing just in time for the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's sinking.

Jason King
The Guinness is there both for scale and to honor all of the Irish trapped in steerage.

King researched the Titanic's blueprints and read over 150 books on the infamous ship to learn the precise locations of brutally specific details like door handles, signal bells, and even the number and positioning of the benches on the top deck. It is unclear how many Billy Zanes he sculpted, although we assume the final count was at least one.

Jason King
He fashioned a tiny Bernard Hill out of Slim Jim meat stick shavings.

Not to be outdone by a fellow tragedy enthusiast's mad scientist-level of obsession, Stan Fraser of Scotland flung 12 years of his life into the cauldron of oblivion to construct his own 1:10 scale Titanic replica out of two old motor homes in his backyard.

Peter Jolly Northpix
The trailers' occupants are trapped inside, victims of man's hubris.

To properly showcase this 100-foot mammoth, Fraser converted the inside of the replica ship into a full-size cafe and turned his house into a makeshift maritime museum. He also made sure to add a functioning Morse code station, presumably so visitors can relay his ransom demands to their loved ones once they realize they've been locked inside.

2 A Boeing 777 Made Entirely of Manila Folders

Luca Iaconi-Stewart

Luca Iaconi-Stewart is a San Francisco-based model crafter whose primary medium is cut-up manila folders, because it just isn't art unless you're using materials that were never intended to be used for construction. In our experience, the only thing you can build out of a bunch of manila folders is a stack of tax returns, but Iaconi-Stewart is a little more ambitious -- he's making a freaking Boeing 777.

Luca Iaconi-Stewart
It has more legroom than the Airbus we took last Thanksgiving.

In fact, Iaconi-Stewart's model is so impressive that the vice president of 777s at Boeing (because apparently every passenger jet model has its own elected officials) praised him for his expert craftsmanship and slavish attention to detail.

Luca Iaconi-Stewart
"We sometimes forget to put emergency exits in the full-size planes, so kudos on that bit."

Really try to let the enormity of his effort sink in -- he gathered up a stockpile of the single blandest office supply in the history of the universe, cut them into insect-size sections, and carved details like tray tables, equipment lockers, and cockpit control panels into them -- features so miniscule, you would have to be an autistic Victorian detective armed with a microscope and an amphetamine addiction to even notice. And he did this for fun.

Luca Iaconi-Stewart
And for his tiny insect army.

Iaconi-Stewart has been carving manila folders into elaborate shapes for six years, although most of his project time is spent creating the necessary patterns on his computer.

Luca Iaconi-Stewart
He used a special advanced program to design them.

Since the blueprints for the 777 aren't publicly available, Iaconi-Stewart had to use more obscure sources of information, such as a seating map from an Indian airline, to figure out the location of seating rows and overhead cabins. He also claims he had to learn "how the actual plane functions, down to the smallest details" in order to build an authentic replica.

Luca Iaconi-Stewart
His search history caught Homeland Security's eye; Luca will never fly in a real plane again.

He even put creases in the fucking seat cushions, because he is clearly an ageless papercrafting demon.

Luca Iaconi-Stewart
There are cup holders in his paper airplane.

1 The Entire World of Game of Thrones, Remade in Minecraft

Maruku/Westeroscraft

If you are a Game of Thrones fan with a copy of Minecraft on your computer and a troubling amount of free time, the people at Westeroscraft have a proposition for you: They're recruiting Minecraft players to help build a digital version of the world of Game of Thrones. Not just one castle, mind you, but the whole thing. And by "the whole thing," we mean the whole ...

pizzainacup/Reddit

... freaking ...

Westeroscraft

... thing:

Maruku/Westeroscraft
"We're still working on a life-size Peter Dinklage."

If you're not familiar with Game of Thrones, it's a show about boobs and penises set in the fantasy realm of Westeros. And if you're not familiar with Minecraft, it's basically like playing with LEGOs on your computer -- players log in to build whatever they can think of, one brick at a time. We've talked before about people who have built insanely huge things in Minecraft, but the guys behind Westeroscraft didn't stop at solitary landmarks -- they're constructing completely accurate cities, digital brick by digital brick, in their ongoing quest to recreate the entirety of George R.R. Martin's sprawling universe. And they don't allow any automated bots to make the process easier -- each brick must be laid by a real live user.

Maruku/Westeroscraft
"Ugh, the lift is supposed to be an inch to the left. Tear it down!"

For instance, in their re-creation of the capital city of King's Landing, they produced 2,000 individual buildings, each with unique furnishings on every floor (while presumably making good use of the Minecraft sex hack -- see "boobs and penises," above). But how does Westeroscraft protect itself against a disastrous troll invasion, which is a threat unique to fantasy realms and the Internet? How do they keep digital anarchists from coming in and deleting everything or reshaping the buildings into the phrase "4CHAN WAS HERE"? Easy: No one is allowed to drop a single block into Westeroscraft until they submit an application.

Westeroscraft
And they must swear to take no wife, hold no lands, and father no children.

That's right; in order to play this endless, unwinnable game and painstakingly place brick after brick into depressingly elaborate re-creations of fictional castles, you have to fill out a fucking application. Westeroscraft then tests all applicants on their ability to follow blueprints and interior design motifs. There are actual bridges in America that weren't built with this kind of lockstep determination and pedigree, and this is for a passion project within a tightly knit community within an objectiveless computer game.

Westeroscraft
The builders realize they're probably never going to finish it, but A Song of Ice and Fire fans are used to that feeling.


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Related Reading: Building a replica Westeros isn't enough for some people. Like this guy who made a scale replica of Paris in his actual yard. And if you prefer practical nerd quests, check out the fan-remastered Star Wars. Last, why not unwind with these shockingly plausible movie fan theories?

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