Posted by: Andrew | October 25, 2015

If you want to understand the world around you … build a model railway!

I’ve started making some trees to add to my railway. I used a rather good and simple method of twisting wire, gluing on stands of sisal string, painting and adding flock for foliage, and I have to say I think they look rather good. But as I was making the first couple I thought they looked a bit big, too tall and bushy. So I started looking at trees as I was driving round Birmingham. If you’ve never been to Birmingham, one thing you notice here is that, for a large city, it has a lot of trees. I’ve always enjoyed seeing them but have never really looked at them before. So I looked to see how big they are and many of them are massive, much taller than the ones I’d made, and then I started to notice the shapes and colours, how high the branches start, how thick the trunks are. I started to really look at the world around me.

Then I remembered something I was told as a young boy trying to learn how to make model railways. A man at the model railway club told me that the thing about making a model railway is that you have to learn to be really observant. You have to look at the trains, but if you want to make good scenery you have to carefully observe the world around you, and see how buildings are made, where they stand, what plants are nearby what sizes and shapes they are what colours different items are made of.

Nearly forty years later, I’m now learning that message anew as I come to appreciate the trees around me all because I want to continue by boyhood desire to build a model railway.

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