[[quoteright:330:[[Literature/TheFountainhead http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dominique_admires_a_building_model_3454.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:330:So this is what the building she's in looks like.]]

->'''Number Two:''' Over the last thirty years, Virtucon has grown by leaps and bounds. About fifteen years ago, we changed from volatile chemicals to the communication industry. We own cable companies in thirty-eight states.\\
(''the thirty-eight states illuminate on a map'')\\
'''Number Two:''' In addition to our cable holdings, we own a steel mill in Cleveland.\\
(''a steel mill miniature illuminates in Cleveland'')\\
'''Number Two:''' Shipping in Texas.\\
(''a model ship off the coast of Texas illuminates'')\\
'''Number Two:''' Oil refineries in Seattle.\\
(''a model oil refinery illuminates in Seattle'')\\
'''Number Two:''' And a factory in Chicago that makes miniature models of factories.
-->-- ''[[Film/AustinPowers Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery]]''

Models of larger things are often used in fiction for a variety of reasons. Heck, if there isn't an immediate thing happening with the model in one scene, it's likely [[TheLawOfConservationOfDetail something will happen later]].

One common use is models to describe plans (that [[UnspokenPlanGuarantee will go wrong of course]]). Often overlaps with TheBigBoard, ExpositionDiagram and PlanningWithProps.

Another is a CorruptCorporateExecutive showing the plans he makes for some place he is going to rebuild after tearing down some place (that the heroes have to save).

Sometimes a model can actually be one of the special effects props on a show, thrown in as a [[GeniusBonus nod to attentive fans]].

A SuperTrope to:
* MiniatureEffects (the models have a meta use in the show)
* ModelPlanning (using these when describing plans)
* RealityChangingMiniature (the model affects the real object when interacted with)
* ScaleModelDestruction (the model is doomed)
* ThisIsWhatTheBuildingWillLookLike (a model of a future construction we are not likely to see completed).

Name comes from a line in ''Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail''. Compare FunSize.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In ''Manga/TheWorldGodOnlyKnows'' Haqua tries to summarize the events of her introductory arc with a miniature model of the school and animated dolls. It ends up with the figurines of Keima and Haqua engaging inů questionable activities.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In one ''ComicBook/GastonLagaffe'' strip, Prunelle manages to bring in De Mesmaeker to look at the scale model of their planned office building, hoping to get him to sign the contracts later. While he's showing off the admittedly impressive model, Gaston comes in with a miniature Gaffophone a reader sent him, and proceeds to play it. The building model proceeds to collapse instantly.
-->'''De Mesmaeker:''' Thanks for that vision of the future! BWAAHAAHAHAHAHA!
* In the ''Franchise/{{Tintin}}'' album ''Recap/TintinTheCalculusAffair'', the [[HammerAndSickleRemovedForYourProtection Bordurian military elite]] displays the effectiveness of a proposed new [[WeaponsOfMassDestruction sound weapon]] through the destruction of a "large North American city" (an {{Expy}} of [[BigApplesauce New York]]) on a TV screen to the [[KickTheDog delight of its audience]], only to reveal that they had merely used a smaller scale version to destroy a model. [[KickTheDog Everyone is disappointed]].

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* In one ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'' strip, the PointyHairedBoss is shown a model of a nuclear power plant their company is building. When he asks how large the real one will be, Dilbert says it will be [[InvertedTrope half the model's size and cost $20 to build]].

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The climax of ''Film/HotFuzz'' is in a model of the town (including an infamous weaponizing of it).
* In the live-action ''[[WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones Flintstones]]'' movie, [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Cliff Vandercave]] shows off a model of a new house-manufacturing machine to the company board. Everyone is impressed, except for Fred, who points out that the house the model made is much too small for anyone to live in.
* ''Film/{{Beetlejuice}}'' "NICE FUCKING MODEL!" * honk honk*
* There's also the City of the Future in ''Film/IronMan2'' [[spoiler: which turns out to be some important piece of plot-related phlebotinum.]]
* Film/{{Goldfinger}} had a very impressive scale model of Fort Knox and its surroundings.
* As does Willard Whyte in ''Film/DiamondsAreForever''. This provides a EurekaMoment where the SupervillainLair is, when Bond points out a model of an offshore oil rig that isn't part of Whyte's business empire.
-->'''Whyte:''' Baja? I don't have anything in Baja!
* ''Film/SupermanReturns'' has a train set used this way. Lex Luthor throws part of a Kryptonian crystal in the model lake to show its effect. Made extra creepy when the camera zooms on little plastic people and you hear screams.
* The Director's Comments in ''Film/DieHard'' stated the bridge model was for a bridge Frank Lloyd Wright had designed but never built, and borrowed for the movie from the Wright estate as the director was a fan of the architect. The model mainly serves to establish Hans Gruber as WickedCultured: "Oh, that's beautiful! I always loved to make models when I was a boy. The exactness! [[TheChessmaster The attention to every conceivable detail!]] It's beautiful."
* The spy film parody ''Film/TopSecret'' has the protagonists sketch their plan to infiltrate an East German fortress by drawing a crude map in the dirt. As the description progresses, the props get increasingly elaborate until they end up with a highly-detailed scale model of the installation complete with working train set.
* ''Film/{{Zoolander}}''. Mugatu unveils a model for the Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can't Read Good (And Who Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too). Derek Zoolander isn't impressed... [[ComicallyMissingThePoint because he doesn't realize it's a model]].
-->'''Zoolander:''' ''[incredulous]'' What is this? \\
''[Picks up the model and smashes it on the floor.]''\\
'''Zoolander:''' A center for ANTS?\\
'''Mugatu:''' What?\\
'''Zoolander:''' How can we be expected to teach children to learn how to read, ''if they can't even fit inside the building?''\\
'''Mugatu:''' Derek, it's just a small-\\
'''Film/{{Zoolander}}:''' I don't wanna hear your excuses! The center has to be at least... ''three times'' bigger than this!
* In ''Film/ThisIsSpinalTap'', Ian is very impressed with the model for the band's Stonehenge prop...until he finds out that it actually ''is'' the prop, thanks to Nigel's diagram featuring the shorthand for inches rather than feet.
* ''Franchise/BackToTheFuture''
** Doc Brown explains a couple of his plans using a model of the city of Hill Valley (apologizing that it's "not to scale").
** Actually lampshaded by Marty in the [[Film/BackToTheFuturePartIII third film]], as he's heard this explanation before ("Yeah I know, Doc, it's not to scale. It's okay, Doc.")
* On ''Film/AustinPowers'', Number Two says the trope quote, which includes the fact that one of Megacorp's enterprises is a factory that builds models of factories.
* ''Film/TheLastKingOfScotland''. What appears to be a building turns out to be a model being admired by Idi Amin.
* During the climax of ''Film/AntMan'' an ant-sized Scott Lang flees for his life across a model of the Pym Technologies building while security men shoot at him, their bullets tearing up the model around him in slow-mo as a parody of DestructionPorn scenes of destruction in other films. The fact that there's a track on the soundtrack called "A Center for Ants" makes it quite likely that the scene is a ShoutOut to the ''Film/{{Zoolander}}'' scene listed above.
* A goodly number of aircraft and sets in ''Film/TheBattleOfBritain'' were models. Many of the air-combat scenes involve clever merging of actual aircraft footage, studio mock-ups and model filming - which included a lot of exploding model aircraft sent to fiery destruction.

* In ''Literature/TheFountainhead'', people tampering with a model of a building Howard designed, to show that people aren't willing to take his work as it is.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In ''Series/BlackAdder Goes Forth'' Melchett and Darling show George a model of the stretch of ground that has been captured in the latest battle. It turns out that the model is on a scale of 1:1, so the actual gain is only a few square feet. Closer examination reveals that it's not even a model -- it's ''the actual square of turf''.
* In ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', Buffy Bot admires a model "City of the Future" at a science fair, but notes that she's never seen people that small.
* In ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|2003}}'', Bill Adama worked on a model of an Age of Sail ship over the course of the show, which he ends up destroying it in a fit of rage. The destruction was an ad lib by Edward James Olmos, who didn't know the model was very expensive (after all, in RealLife someone working full time can take a couple months to build one) and in fact on loan from a museum.
** [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Whoops.]] Still, it was that very act that REALLY drove home how screwed up things were in that episode.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'' "Boom Town:" Margret Blaine (really an evil alien) is planning on blowing up the planet and escaping in a Tribophysical waveform macro-kinetic extrapolator, which is hidden in the model of the power plant she's planning to blow up.
* In ''Series/TheMightyBoosh episode'' "The Nightmare of Milky Joe" there appears to be a ship in the distance that may rescue our heroes from the island they're stranded on. It's only a model, as Vince proves when he reaches out and plucks it right off the horizon.
* In The Architect Sketch from a ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' episode, the model for a set of flats has collapsing floors and catches on fire. During a presentation to the clients, no less. [[note]]The dangerously incompetent architect is still given the contract after revealing he's a Freemason. See Real Life below. [[/note]]
* ''TheGoodies''. "The Lost Island of Munga", opens with a model longboat floating in the water while [[TheNarrator Graeme's voice tells how long ago a crew of Vikings were blown off course by a mighty storm]].
-->'''Graeme:''' Suddenly the sea gets rough, there is a mighty wind, and a fearful noise fills the air!
-->'''Bill:''' Because Thor pulled the plug out!
-->''RevealShot shows Graeme is actually reading out loud from a book while sitting in the bath with a toy longship.''

* The parody of 50's sci-fi movies, ''Babes in Outer Space'' by Steve Lovett opens when a woman watching television is shocked by the sight of a SpaceStation being destroyed by a DeathRay. The next scene is a press conference where it's revealed that space exhibits in theme parks throughout the country are being targeted in an insidious plot to curb the dreams of future {{Space Cadet}}s.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The Mann vs. Machine map Coaltown in ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' includes a small museum containing, among other things, a model of ... the map itself.
* One section of ''VideoGames/TheLastOfUs'' has you pass through a room containing a model of a bridge that was apparently either designed or commissioned by whoever used to work there.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/BatmanMaskOfThePhantasm'', the climatic battle between Batman and the Joker takes place within a model of what Gotham City might look like in the future. The Joker disguises himself by wearing a skyscraper on his head.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' opens with the apparent explosion of a Gotham neighborhood, only for it to be revealed as a model, with the BigBad of the episode detailing his plans to make it really happen.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'' episode "Hail Doofania!", Doofenshmirtz makes a scale model ([[EverythingsBetterWithPlushies made of felt]]) of his floating city, Doofania. By the end of the episode, the city has sunk and only the model remains.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** In the episode "Who Shot Mr. Burns? Part 1", Burns uses a model Springfield to show Smithers his plan to block out the Sun in order to make everyone more reliant on the power plant. After Smithers quits due to Burns' descent into "[[CardCarryingVillain cartoonish super-villainy]]", Monty begins stomping on the model for fun:
-->'''Mr. Burns:''' Take that, Bowlerama! ''(stomp)'' Take that, Convenience Mart! ''(stomp)'' [[RuleOfThree Take that]], Nuclear Power Plan- ''(stomp)'' [[OhCrap Oh, fiddlesticks.]]
** In the season eight episode "Homer's Enemy", Homer enters a "build a model nuclear power plant" contest for kids... and ''not only'' kicks their asses[[note]]Homer's copy of the existing plant but with stripes added beat Martin's ''functioning'' model for a better one because Burns hates being told everything he's done isn't already perfect[[/note]], but humiliates his antagonistic co-worker into a VillainousBreakdown and accidental suicide!
** Another episode where Mr. Burns has a model airplane (the "Spruce Moose") he shows to Smithers.
--->'''Burns:''' ...and it will carry 200 passengers from New Yorks' Idlewild airport to the Belgian Congo in 17 minutes!\\
'''Smithers:''' That's quite a nice model, sir.\\
'''Burns:''' Model?
** He later orders Smithers to get into it with him. Smithers assumes he's joking, the model being about the size of a basketball, but then Burns pulls out a gun.
--->'''Burns:''' Now, to the plant! We'll take the Spruce Moose. Hop in!\\
'''Smithers:''' (''nervous laugh'') ah, sir...\\
'''Burns:''' (''cocks revolver'') I said, hop in.
** In season six's "Bart's Comet," they used a model to show the different ways they can blow up the comet -- all ending with Moe's tavern being set on fire.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'' Christmas special, the Monarch displays a scale model of the Venture compound as he gleefully outlines his plan to destroy Dr. Venture on Christmas Eve. Dr. Girlfriend is visibly ticked off.
-->'''Monarch:''' ...What??\\
'''Dr. Girlfriend:''' That model was ''supposed'' to be a ''surprise!''\\
'''Monarch:''' (''sheepishly'') ...I peeked?

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Ref. The Architect Sketch from a ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' episode, the model for a set of flats has collapsing floors and catches on fire. During a presentation to the clients, no less. (above)
** This was actually topical satire: in 1969 in London, a tower block called Ronan Point was so shoddily designed and built that it collapsed in ''exactly'' this way, with loss of life. Freemasonry was suspected as the reason why the London council approved ''this'' design, by ''that'' architect, using ''that'' construction firm. Nothing was ever proven, but a year or two later, a construction company executive involved in the Ronan Point disaster was convicted and jailed for bribing councillors in a different part of Britain. Several local councillors were also jailed for corruption and misusing public finances.