Playmobil Convention

Wolfsburg, 2006

Playmobil is just as popular in this household as dolls are...  and since I like to combine my interests when the opportunity arises, two Petite Blythe came with us to the Playmobil convention at Wolfsburg.

I love the "castle in the clouds" effect!

It was the second convention at which we were exhibitors and Lars had finished the Ice Palace only very shortly before - the paint had just about dried when we loaded the Palace into the car. As we had not finished the planned interior yet, we took all the winter themed Playmobil that we could find and improvised. With the result that what was originally inspired by the Palace of Jadis, the Ice Queen of Narnia, is now inhabited by a bunch of crazy Santas who spend the time between Christmas playing games and learning how to play "Spin the Bottle" from our vampires. You can just see their black carriage arriving in front of the Ice Palace.

Meanwhile, over at the Vampire Castle, the gang is preparing for another party. (Our undead are really having fun in their afterlife). It started out as a one-off silly idea, but by now it´s firmly established that our vampires are not only playing "Spin the Bottle" all the time - they also sneak into other displays and spread the fad to other "cultures"...

We brought the Ghost Ship, too.

 

Petite Cosmo joins the Santas for a game...

Next to the Ice Palace we set up a Natural History Museum. That´s John Steed and Emma Peel on the doorstep. They were indeed needed, as we had an actual crime happen during the convention: A dinosaur exhibit was stolen from the museum (really!).

I strongly suspect two little boys - around 9 or 10 -  who were apparently there without parents and kept coming back to our museum display. We also had a new box with the same dinosaur for sale, but it was one of the bigger boxes and out of their price range. They asked if we´d open it for them and sell them the dino only, but we refused. I guess they just helped themselves later on. *grrdamncursedlittlebastards*

We tried to make the best of it and added two policemen to the display to take up the case. (You can see pictures at ladioss.de) We were also able to replace the dino after the convention, so there was little harm done in the end. But my day was pretty much ruined after that had happened.

Nevertheless, overall it was a great convention with a lovely, familiar atmosphere, lots of nice people and most children were really nice and well-behaved.

Petite Goldie boldly goes where no Travel Blythe has gone before...

The Spaceship Wharf:

Our Playmobil friends will probably note that Petite Goldie and Cosmo have only infiltrated our own displays. I took these pictures on the last day, after the dino had been stolen and I was pretty down, so I just felt too shy to ask around if I could add them to others´ dioramas. Sometimes I´m that way.

We took quite a few pictures of everyone´s displays without Blythes, though.

To see more pictures of the Playmobil exhibits from this event and others, please´check out our other site at:     http://www.ladioss.de/ladioss/playmobil/wolfsburg2006.html

Wolfsburg, 2009

This is basically how we always see Wolfsburg during the Playmo Convention: the pedestrian zone, deserted at the weekend.

Wolfsburg is a fairly young industrial town, having been founded only in 1938 as a place for the workers of the automobile industry (Volkswagen) to live. Between 1938 and 1945 it didn´t even have a proper name, it was called "Stadt des KdF-Wagens bei Fallersleben" (city of the KdF-car = the VW beetle near Fallersleben). It was then named Wolfsburg after a local castle.

KdF stands for "Kraft durch Freude" (Strength through Joy), a political a large state-controlled leisure organization in the Third Reich, a part of the German Labour Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront - DAF), the national German labour organization at that time. Set up as a tool to promote the advantages of National Socialism to the people, it soon became the world's largest tourism operator of the 1930s.

KdF managed to set up production of an affordable car, the Kdf-Wagen, which later became known as the Volkswagen Beetle. Buyers of the car made payments and posted stamps in a stamp-savings book, which when full would be redeemed for the car. Due to the shift to wartime production, no consumer ever received a Kdf-Wagen (although after the war, Volkswagen did give some customers a 200DM discount for their stamp-books). The Beetle factory was primarily converted to Kübelwagen (the German equivalent of the Jeep) production. What few Beetles were produced went primarily to the diplomatic corps and military officials. (Wikipedia).

Wolfsburg has some recent attractions like the Autostadt (a huge open air museum about automobiles, owned and operated by Volkswagen), a planetarium (right next to the exibition hall where the Playmobil Convention is), the Phaeno Science Center, the largest hands-on science museum in Germany, and a private art museum (Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg) specialized in modern and contemporary art and said to be very good.

Cut Man saves the world from bad haircuts...

The Hoffmann von Fallersleben Bread.  The sign claims: "Tastes like it did in HvF´s time. Live history and poetry with your palate." *cough*

Fallersleben - formerly a town in its own right - became part of Wolfsburg in 1972. August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben (1798 - 1874), probably its most famous inhabitant, was one of the most popular poets of modern Germany. In politics he ardently sympathized with the progressive tendencies of his time, and he was among the earliest and most effective of the political poets who prepared the way for the outbreak of 1848. As a poet, however, he acquired distinction chiefly by the ease, simplicity and grace with which he gave expression to the passions and aspirations of daily life. Although he had not been scientifically trained in music, he composed melodies for many of his songs, some of which are still being taught at schools today. (Wikipedia).

Among his best known works  is the patriotic "Lied der Deutschen" which is set to a 1797 tune by Joseph Haydn and whose third stanza has become the German national anthem. The first two had become tainted by history.  The original first line of the first stanza, "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles, über alles in der Welt" (usually translated into English as "Germany, Germany above everything, above everything in the world"), was originally meant as an appeal to the various German sovereigns to give the creation of a united Germany a higher priority than the independence of their small states. But it was easy for the Nazis to use it in their own interpretation.

Alright: Back to Playmobil!

Let´s start out with cars since they are so important to Wolfsburg and also since we can relate so much to this diorama: Our own car broke down on the way to Wolfsburg. We managed to get a replacement rental car from the insurance company but it was smaller than our own, and it wasn´t easy to fit everything we had in the back (stuff for several dioramas) in the new car. The whole incident cost us a few hours, and though we had set out early to avoid the afternoon traffic, by the time we could go on, we were caught right in the middle of it...