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Dean Shellenberger's Wiener Riesenrad (Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel)

Hi folks, Doc here. Dean is back with another amazing scratch-built model. This one - a work in progress - is based on the famous Wiener Riesenrad ferris wheel in Austria, where it has been a popular tourist attraction for over a century. You can read more about the Riesenrad here. For now, check out the photo below, then scroll on down to see Dean's model.

Dean writes: "This "Island" of erectors-and-trains is built on a floating table in our foyer and greets guests as they arrive at our home. It includes a pedal-car dash board control panel and a scratch-built model of the Austrian Riesenrad Wheel.

The dash board utilizes 1955 Chevy dash board parts, two 1960s Corvair carburators and the front end of an old Murry kids pedal car. It has buttons and switches to turn on and off the trains, the Wheel and the other train accessories. It is made of plywood and a little imagination for the kids to operate everything!

The Wheel is a model of the Riesenrad Wheel in Vienna. It was modeled after the Marklin kit. I could not afford one of those kits, however I borrowed the instructions and used them to craft this model. It is approximately 4 feet tall. It is made of Gilbert, Meccano and Marklin parts. One of the challenges was to prepare and paint all the parts uniformly and individually - a daunting task. Many parts had to be cut as I could not find enough parts of the correct lengths.

The bottom supporting legs are made from Type I Gilbert girders, while the wheel is largely Meccano and Marklin girders. Meccano flexible plates were cut and installed near the tops of the large legs. Rigging-up the wheel was a project in itself. I had to build a plywood jig large enough to hold the outer wheel while also holding the center hub in place. It took some trial and error to get the jig right. I strung it up with a sail makers needle and a lot of dyed string. The bearings for the hub are the ball-bearing type from a sliding screen door and seem to allow easy spinning of the big wheel.

The wheel is powered by a standard Gilbert motor/transmission with a string. The rigging has held up well so far over the past year or so. I hope to add the Gondolas this year. Hope you have enjoyed the photos!! "