Cosmic new addition ready for lift-off at Merrivale Model Village in Great Yarmouth
- Credit: Nick Butcher
It's one small step for a man but one giant leap for one of Great Yarmouth's most recognisable tourist attractions.
As Merrivale Model Village gets ready for open season, a new exhibit is preparing to launch - and it promises to give an out of this world experience.
Reaching for the stars at more than eight feet high, the Merri 1 rocket ship towers over the village, similar in stature to last year's new addition - a giant Ferris wheel,
The new exhibit, which cost around £20,000, places its giant visitors in the middle of a dramatic moment of conflict between protesters, scientists and the military.
After dedicating the off season to setting up MASA, its own space programme, the Merrivale government is preparing its first launch test, as it looks to install a state-of-the-art spy satellite to watch over the village.
Miniature reporters are broadcasting live from the scene, as photographers gather on mountain tops to capture the moment - oblivious of the fact they are in the presence of a Yeti.
Owner Peter Williamson said: 'This is probably our most ambitious project yet. We've only just let the cat out of the bag about it but the feedback has been very positive. People keep saying how good it is to be adding something so modern.'
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The fibre glass rocket measures in at 2.45m high and is on the backdrop of an enormous mountainous scene, complete with a waterfall.
There are also more than 100 different figurines playing parts, with a mock news broadcast adding to the drama.
Mark Land, who designed and built the exhibit, said the idea just came to him in a moment of inspiration.
He said: 'There were four of us working on it - the mountain along took a whole week. It was by far the biggest challenge we have taken on, but it was a nice one.'
The new exhibit will be open to the public at the weekend, with the village's preview day on Sunday offering a reduced entry rate of £2, with under threes free.
Meanwhile the village remains up for sale, with Mr Williamson insisting he will only sell to a buyer willing to continue the project.
He said: 'We've had a few enquiries, but the only suitable offer fell through. I won't sell to anybody who doesn't carry on the work - it's the village or nothing.'