Welcome to Model rail
The appeal of the past never fluctuates. Our desire to find out how things used to be is as strong today as it was 100 years ago. It’s arguably stronger today in fact, as technological changes not only enable us to analyse historical evidence with greater accuracy, but also because as technology develops, many of us feel the urge to retreat to a simpler, less complicated world.
Time travel is a popular subject for filmmakers and novelists as they fulfil the human dream to be able to go back to the past; archaeologists and palaeontologists spend their lives looking at historical remains to better understand the past. Even physicists act as historians as they try to piece together the origins of the universe.
Buildings can tell us so much about human history - as well as leaving us with many unanswered questions. We can only marvel at Egyptian pyramids, the spectacular Inca ruins at Machu Picchu or even our very own Stonehenge. But how were they built?
These are particularly famous examples, but we can very often find intriguing historical buildings on our own doorsteps. There’s something very special and somehow comforting about knowing that your local pub or church was on that site centuries before you existed, and will remain there long after you’re gone.
Chris Leigh, with the help of his son James, has put together a guide to identifying the architectural styles of times past, not only to help you date buildings but also to give your layout some history. A Saxon arch here or a Tudor window there will give your layout something extra - a sense of depth.
Historical buildings play key roles on Mike’s and Chris’ project layouts and they act as a microcosm of the wide interests that we railway modellers have in the past. Chris has gone for a castle, the classic building of times past, as it conjures up images of kings and knights, battles and courtly love.
Castles pretty much went one of two ways: they were either left in ruins or were restored by well meaning Victorians. Chris’ take on a 13th century Welsh castle has been ‘sympathetically’ restored.
Mike’s interest is almost at the opposite end of the spectrum: the Second World War. It’s strange to comprehend that this event, which had such far-reaching repercussions, is still within living memory. We’ll never truly know how the soldiers garrisoned in Chris’ castle behaved, but Mike has a truly vast resource to aid the construction of what promises to be a very intriguing model railway.