In preparing to build layouts in my mind I like to have a clear picture of what I’m building and in order to do that what is needed is copious amounts of detail. In this day and age there is a plethora available to us modellers with access to the internet. However this doesn’t always conjure up the necessary facts, so the only way to combat that is “boots on the ground” as the military likes to say. For this factor I guess that’s why we model what’s close to us and not something halfway round the world although many do now with the help of the interwebs.

I have long been interested in the architectural aspects of layouts and the buildings on them. I think what started it off was seeing Pendon Museum and Chiltern Green at a very young formative age. I think it set me on the path of modelling the train in the landscape.

Step forward a number of years and I came into a copy of John Ahern’s Miniature Building Modelling, then it really started to grip and I started to collect more modelling books on the making of buildings. The library grew and grew then with the advent of video the collection of dvds started.

This helped with the modelling I wanted to achieve but I wasn’t happy with the final outcome. I wasn’t sure what was missing until I found the book on prototype modelling by David Jenkinson and everything changed. I could see that using a real location was how one gets realism. I have a feeling that the modellers and layouts I admired also appreciated the landscape first along with the railway and there’s plenty of examples that I can call on as evidence like Ditchling Green, Totnes and Yaxbury to name a few.

Now to the picture, not the best conditions but then it’s detail I want and not lighting effects. There’s plenty of reference around me and I also feel that a lot of the time when we are out snapping we are missing the mundane and that’s the important part for me. All the pics we take usually are pointing at something that’s attracted us like a landscape or an event but how often do we think of the things that we don’t look at. This is what I’m setting my mind to now as collecting the periphery is just as important as it was back in the mists of time. I think of the pictures from the beginning of the century and due to cost and the technology available we were lucky to have as many pics as we do. Now living in an age where the majority of us have a camera in our pocket there’s no excuse to record the minutiae.

So I’m now building my vernacular picture archive for data I’ll need to create the scene I want model in a future layout. I’m going to spend a bit of time traveling around my locale snapping away at anything that interests me. I have a bit of a thing for run down out houses and sheds and anything quirky but that’s another story.

Until next time..