Why just take a picture of yourself in Coney Island when you can be shrunk down to six inches and placed in a miniature model of it to be put on display for all the world to see?
The Great Fredini’s Coney Island Scan-A-Rama gives you the chance to do just that. The former magician and freakshow barker is inviting visitors to the People’s Playground to step into his pop-up 3-D printshop to scanned head-to-toe and recreated as a plastic figurine to populate his scale model of the original Luna Park.
“It sort of converts you into an action figure of yourself,” said the Great Fredini, who now mostly goes by Fred Kahl.
Those who dare enter Kahl’s Scan-A-Rama — a small space inside the Sideshows by the Seashore building at W. 12th Street and Surf Avenue — first step up onto a rotating platform. Kahl mans the controls as the full-body scanner captures their image down to the minutest detail. The person appears as a three-dimensional image on Kahl’s computer, which he then sends to the 3-D printer, where the real magic happens. A 3-D printer works much like a 2-D one, with a head sliding back and forth, spraying layer after layer of plastic down until the image is complete.
“It’s basically a hot glue gun, squirting out melted plastic,” said Kahl.
Many have paid the $60 fee for one person — $100 for a group — and seen themselves transformed into flawless plastic statuettes. Kahl said it has become a popular attraction for couples, especially when they’re expecting a child — or in need of a wedding cake topper.
“It’s a great way to memorialize a moment in someone’s relationship,” the wonder-worker said.
The Scan-A-Rama is open Saturdays between noon and 7 pm, and Kahl plans to keep it up until mid-October. By that time, he hopes to have scanned enough actual Coney-goers to create realistic crowds for the replica he’s creating of the old Luna Park, which once stood on Surf Avenue between W.8th and W. 12th streets for more than four decades from 1903 until 1944.
Kahl said his model of the famed funzone will be a tribute to its architect, Frederic Thompson, one of his heroes. Thompson was a visionary who combined elements of Renaissance steeples, Hindu temples, and Middle Eastern minarets when he designed the iconic towers that countless later theme parks have imitated — and which Kahl has painstakingly recreated in 3-D on his computer.
“It was this elaborate fantasy land, and that is what Las Vegas and Disneyland, and really all amusement areas follow today,” said Kahl.
Once he has printed out the facsimile funland — and filled it with figurines of the people who have visited his own attraction — and put it on display in the People’s Playground.
Kahl estimates he needs three more of the high-tech printing machines to realize his grand vision, and to raise the $15,000 to make this dream come true, he started a Kickstarter campaign running until Aug 7. As of Aug. 1, he has raised $10,480 towards his goal. Kahl said he never imagined he would wield such cutting edge technology to recreate Thompson’s amusement park in all its glorious detail.
“It’s something I thought I would end up building out of toothpicks after I retire,” said Kahl.
Coney Island Scan-A-Rama [3019 W. 12th Street, at the corner of Surf Avenue in Coney Island.] Saturdays, from noon to 7 pm. $60 for an individual, $100 for a group.