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Editor: Jaap Horst

Volume 15, Issue 3

The wood miniatures of Alexei Safonov

Alexei Safonov builds these incredible miniatures, of different cars (not just Bugatti)

He makes model cars, made of wood and valuable hardwood, such as ebony, rosewood, Makassar, boxwood, walnut, hornbeam, beech, Rhodesian teak, pear and some others, as in the miniature each part has the own color of wood.

The models have from 400 to 2500 individual parts and various moving parts and mechanisms. Steering of the original machine, for the Ford T it has the planetary gear as on the original. Gears are made from coconut shell, on the other screw-type mechanisms, gears are made of boxwood or bone.

The suspension functions, operates under its own weight, with springs made from bamboo plates. Doors open when you click on the handle with a spring made of bamboo. The Trunk and hood open, the Bugatti has turning blinds on the side of the engine hood (or bonnet).

Models can be partially dismantled. All the machines were made from drawings and photographs, for the Bugatti, no good drawings and photographs could be found. A trip to France was made to the Schlumpf museum in the city of Mulhouse where Alexei personally did measurement, photo and video shoot with two Bugatti cars, Limousine type 41 Park Ward in 1933 and Royale type 41, 1929.

For the Bugatti, the body is made of ebony tree. The complete motor functions with moving pistons, crankshaft and propeller cooling, with spinning propeller shaft and gears through the gearbox in the rear axle. On the minature radiator there is a replica of the elephant ornament, with the height of 4,5 mm. The instrument panel is almost as the original. In the model of limousine in the cabin are arranged secret chairs, with an identical mechanism of the original and it is just 2,500 individual parts (this model is entered in the register of registration in the Guinness Book and Record Book of Russia.)

On models of Alfa-Romeo and Bugatti it is possible to change the spare wheel, all removable. To manufacture one model needs from three months to more than a year, depending on the detail and size. The collection was exhibited in Italy at a special models exhibition in Turin, three times in Germany at the motor show in Leipzig, and in France at the international congress of enthusiasts Bugatti in Molsheim near Strasbourg.

Total number of models made is 12.

The Size of Bugatti Royale in length 24.4 cm.
This model has many moving parts and mechanisms, it consists of 2100 individual parts. Click on the picture of the chassis below, to see a very detailed view.

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