Tuesday, September 19, 2017
   
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TOKOMARU SURVIVES KING KONG

After a false start in 1996 and years of preparation thereafter, Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong finally made it into theatres mid-December, 2005. A significant part of the movie takes place at sea aboard an old tramp steamer, the S.S. Venture. When it came time to design and fabricate the engine room setting for the steamer, a process that began in earnest in 2003, the filmmakers turned to Tokomaru Steam to provide some necessary authenticity. The museum was privileged and happy to lease a variety of engines and other memorabilia to the production for use in a number of scenes below-deck. Pictured is a corner of the Venture’s engine room set and in the foreground, skilfully camouflaged and integrated into the surrounding machinery, is a fully operational engine from the museum. In a much appreciated and kind gesture, museum owners Colin and Esma were invited to Wellington to view the finished result and admire the full-scale version of the Venture moored at Queen’s Wharf. Steam fans will be pleased to know that Director Jackson makes good background use of the engine room machinery, while also adding atmosphere to a few of the sea-bound sequences by cutting to insert shots of the engines in all their close-up glory. And though we can’t promise to show you a well-fed Kong nudging a traction engine into action, we can nonetheless tell you more about our involvement with the movie, and point out all of the relevant machinery, should you pay us a welcome visit at the museum.

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