Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Map & Miniature Miscellany - Model Cities, Panoramic Maps, Polymath Maps, Fantasy Buildings, Faraway Lands, Maze City, Papa's Maze

Enormous Scale Models of Cities are Mind-Blowing and Gorgeous
Vincze Miklos

"Sometimes the only thing more awe-inspiring than a city is a massive model of the city, rendered down to the finest detail. And of course, they're to scale. Which is itself amazing."

Gorgeous Panoramic Maps Drawn Long Before Satellites Even Existed
Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghen

"There was once a time when we had to imagine what our towns and cities looked like from the sky. There were famous artists who specialized in creating these panoramic views of Earth, though today, it's a lost art. They were called panoramic or aero views, each drawn by hand without help from a plane or satellite."

"The makers of these maps took the accuracy of their creations very seriously. The artist would walk through the streets of his subject, noting every detail available, from the location of trees to how many windows each building had. They would create a kind of proxy map using their notes, and only start drawing once they had a complete survey."

The Maps of an Ottoman Polymath
Public Domain Review

"The Bosnian-born polymath and all-round genius Matrakçı Nasuh is best known for his exquisite miniatures depicting various landscapes and urban centres of 16th-century Persia."

"The name Matrakci was not, in fact, his name by birth but rather a nickname referring to his invention of a kind of military lawn game called matrak, a word which means 'cudgel' or 'mace', the main weapon at the heart of the game. The name stuck, and later would come to label its very own genre in Ottoman miniature art, the 'Matrakci style', describing works echoing his penchant for detail and precision of execution."

Building Fantasy
Lucas Adams
New York Review of Books

Fantastical Cityscapes of Cardboard and Glue
Roberta Smith
New York Times

"Out of modest ingredients Kingelez creates a whole world, entirely his own. The sprawling, glittering future city is one example of an electrifying alternate civic space, a city made up of glittering skyscrapers that could easily have been crafted from stained glass. In addition to entire imaginary cities, Kingelez’s work offers an assemblage of eye-popping additions to any fantasy skyline. Each piece is riddled with decoration and ornamentation, bright pink foliage, circles and stars, and a color palette that always leans toward the bold and the vivid."

"Peering down at Kingelez’s array of visions like some benevolent Godzilla, it’s an easy leap to imagine the lives of those living and working in a cityspace that instantly feels so exuberant, and so generous. None of Kingelez’s designs feature private residences. What would it be like to live and work in a place that knows abundance and love the way Kingelez depicts it?"

Incredible Dream-Like Models of Faraway Lands
Alice Yoo
My Modern Met

Amazing Bonsai Tree Castles are Miniature Living Worlds
Lori Zimmer

"All my creation comes from my early experiences of bonsai making and maze illustration. I always got inspired from the question 'if I could be a Lilliput…' Maybe such small objects could be transformed to become a huge scale of buildings, castles, and the world itself."

"I built my career as a maze illustrator in my twenties. I got fully immersed in pushing a strong conceptual maze. From my thirties, I shifted my career from being a maze illustrator to being a concept maker for the catering trade that creates a fusion between food and entertainment. I applied my method of giving surprise and joy to people for which I cultivated in my career as a maze illustrator."

I’ve Been Developing This Maze City For 5 Years While Travelling Around The World
Bored Panda

"Rabath Jany is an ancient city in Babaria, built across the fiords of both Silvenaos and Yellow seas. It is better known as Maze city due to its complex architectural structure. I developed this painting traveling around the world during five years. The mix of different people, cultures and natural landscapes I met during my trip has deep influenced the development of the maze city. Rabath Jany is the result of such mix of cultures I met during my trips."

"Maze city is a mixture of modern and ancient technologies. Maze city’s inhabitants always used sailing ships. Otherwise, they also have a very sophisticated sky metro infrastructure with hundreds of sky lines running through all the districts."

Dad Spends 7 Years on Incredibly Detailed Maze
Spoon & Tamago

"Some people have hobbies. Other people are obsessive. But when the two cross paths, this is what you get. A Japanese twitter user recently unearthed an incredibly detailed maze that her father created almost 30 years ago. When pressed for details, the father explained that he spent 7 years creating the map."


  1. BRilliant post.

    I'd love to see more fantasy maps emulating cartography of the periods they are likewise trying to emulate... though of course this depends ont he role of maps in your game. For me they're usually GM aids so while I like something beautiful to gaze upon, Chris McDowall's topological diagrams might be more useful.

    1. Pointcrawling maps can be really simple and utilitarian - but because they aren't required to accurately represent distances at scale, I think they're probably easier to decorate with artistic flourishes, too.

  2. I would like to suggest an online resources for people trying to find nice historical maps for gaming

    use:https://www.davidrumsey.com/ has some absolutely BEAUTIFUL historical maps from roughly the 1600s to present, with some panoramic maps of cities as well. It is a part of Stanford University libraries, and all the maps can be downloaded.

    I can't recommend it enough if you are interested in real-world RPG settings or just want to yank an old regional map to overlay hexes.