MiniatureEffects are ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin - film effects acheived by the use of miniatures. They are technically a blend of InCamera and PracticalEffects, but a lot of time they're given their own listing in the credits since they often require specialists and staff focusing on just building the miniatures. It's not just a case of making smaller size objects (although that can be quite hard depending on how much the camera is going to have to focus on them). Smaller sized objects will have different textures, they take [[SquareCubeLaw stress and strain differently]], the camera perspective and focusing works differently, objects don't fall at the proper rate, fluids and explosions behave differently and the material the large scale object may be made out of may not be suitable for the small scale so a suitable visual approximation must be found.

Minatures can be used to replace large buildings and made man objects in backgrounds, often combined with a matte background. They can also be used to simulate the explosion of large (and thus expensive) objects like planes and bridges.

Before CGI, spaceships were just miniatures on a black screen with christmas lights, after CGI... well for sometime they remained miniatures but on a blue screen.

A SubTrope of OnlyAModel. If they're unmodified toys and/or box stock model kits, that's OffTheShelfFX.
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!! Examples:

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[[folder: Film ]]

* The ''LordOfTheRings'' films made much use of miniature for the cities and towers. However, when you're dealing with a 1/100 scale model of a tower that's supposed to be ''3,000 feet tall'', you still end up with a 30-foot structure - hence the crew's nickname for the models, "bigatures."
* Alfred Hitchcock would use aerial shots in places and making movements that were at the time impossible, such as for going between signs and buildings. He would often use miniatures then to make the shots possible. An example can be seen in the beginning of ''The Lady Vanishes'' even with little models cars being pushed along.
* The spaceships in ''StarWars'' were models, as a joke the crew would sneak things in. During the final battle in the ''ReturnOfTheJedi'' a tennis shoe was in the dogfight and a potato made do as an asteroid in ''TheEmpireStrikesBack''.
** Although the prequels are famous for containing lots of CGI, they also used miniatures, [[SpecialEffectsEvolution especially earlier on]]. In ''ThePhantomMenace'', for example, the pod race stadium was a miniature with q-tips used to create the audience.
* It's also how they shot the ''HotFuzz'' scene in which George Merchant's mansion explodes.
** Parodied in the fight scene in the model village.
* James Cameron likes breaking big toys so for things like the bridge destruction in ''Film/TrueLies'', the tanker explosion in ''Film/TheTerminator'' and the ship Film/{{Titanic}}.
** Much of the final fight in ''Film/{{Aliens}}'' between [[spoiler:Ripley and the alien queen]] was done with miniatures. They filmed the live-action stuff first, and many of the crew were concerned that they couldn't possibly do all the rest with miniatures, but Cameron insisted they could (and was right).
* Ever seen an airplane crashing onto the runway in a film, knocking down telephone poles? Only a million times? Miniatures, all of them.
* Every {{Kaiju}} film, ever. Come on, you didn't think they actually filmed a 200-ft lizard stomping through a real countryside, did ya?
** Well, almost. Both American versions of ''Godzilla'' used CGI, as did ''Film/PacificRim''. However, ''Pacific Rim'''s director Guillermo Del Toro mandated that [[http://io9.com/unbelievable-pacific-rim-video-reveals-all-of-the-kaiju-634921963 all the Kaiju be designed so]] that if they ''were'' suits, [[TheCoconutEffect a stuntman could fit inside them]].
* [[Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail "It's only a model."]]
* Mocked in ''TeamAmericaWorldPolice'', which doesn't disguise its "[[{{Supermarionation}} Supercrappymation]]" effects for RuleOfFunny. The fact that the MonumentalDamage is being inflicted on models is made completely obvious, and a scene where the marionette protagonists are attacked by Kim Jong Il's trained panthers features two housecats with roars dubbed over them.
* Film/VForVendetta. You didn't think they blew up the actual Parliament, did you?
* A good deal of the special effects in ''Film/BatmanBegins''. Creator/ChristopherNolan was adamant about not using CGI unless absolutely necessary.
* The iconic "DeathRay" scene of ''Film/IndependenceDay'' was done by blowing up a styrofoam model of a skyscraper and using a platform to throw some Hot Wheels into the air.
* For the first six ''Film/HarryPotter'' movies, Hogwarts was [[http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lbigc28IyK1qzkrj1o1_400.jpg an intricate 1/24th scale model filmed in front of a green screen]]. In ''[[Film/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows Deathly Hallows, Part 2]]'', they [[SpecialEffectsEvolution switched to a CGI version of Hogwarts]].
* The 1953 version of ''Film/{{The War Of The Worlds|1953}}'' might well have pioneered the use of "bigatures" in motion pictures--the Fighting-Machines alone were somewhere in the ballpark of five feet long.

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[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* Every starship in ''Franchise/StarTrek'' until the last two seasons of ''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine Deep Space Nine]]'' - ''[[Series/StarTrekEnterprise Enterprise]]'' was the first to not use models at all.
** Lampshaded on ''Film/GalaxyQuest''. "That ship was (hand gestures) ''that big''."
* Due to the...minute budget the BBC gave ''Series/RedDwarf'' most of the effects were miniatures, even well into the mid-1990's.
** Most notably, the model for the Red Dwarf ship itself was 8 feet long, as the ship is supposed to be miles long.
* Staple of tokusatsu shows like ''SuperSentai'' and by extension ''PowerRangers''. No matter how fancy CGI robot fights get, PeopleInRubberSuits fighting in a miniature city ain't going nowhere. Even this is subject to SpecialEffectsEvolution; the model cities get increasingly detailed.
* In ''{{Inazuman}},'' miniatures were used to let non-giant characters wreak major havoc on town almost as well as the Rangers' giant fights, relying on them much more than other series did. Computer-generated effects were in their infancy and a model is as realistic as your art department is willing to make it, so its visuals were to die for.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** Whenever the TARDIS flies through space in classic ''Series/DoctorWho'', it's a miniature. Special, ahem, [[IncrediblyLamePun props]] go to the Dalek Emperor in ''The Evil of the Daleks'' and "The Parting of the Ways" and to the Time Lord space-station in ''The Trial of a Time Lord''.
** Played with amusingly in "Planet of the Giants". The TARDIS miniature used at that time is [[SpecialEffectsFailure not very good]], and is obviously, although forgivably, just a tiny model. So it's enjoyable when we're first shown a closeup of the miniature standing amongst tall stones on an alien world... and the camera zooms out, revealing that it's just over an inch tall and sitting in a crack between crazy paving slabs in a British garden in the 1960s.
** The Dalek ships in "The Dalek Invasion of Earth" were just spinning bottle caps dangled in front of the camera. The DVD release altered these into CGI ships that were on-model for the Dalek ExpandedUniverse comics and [[TheMerch toys]] that existed around that time.
** The Dalek assembly line in "Power of the Daleks" uses [[OffTheShelfFX Dalek action figures]].

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[[folder: Theme Parks ]]


* The set pieces in ''Ride/BackToTheFutureTheRide'' were done via stop-motion animation through miniature sets. Everything riders see, from the destruction of the Texaco sign to the icy waterfall, is a miniature.

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[[folder: Western Animation ]]


* Spoofed in ''WesternAnimation/TheLegoMovie''. President Business's black 2x2-brick-shaped (but made of thousands of bricks) ship detatches from the top of his tower - we see it in long shot as a single 2x2 brick floating off a stack of 2x2 bricks accompanied by a child making a buzzing sound. This is {{Foreshadowing}} for the [[WelcomeToTheRealWorld big twist coming up]] to [[DeusExMachina save them]].

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