Scale railway modelling is a very popular pastime for adults and young boys. It can sometimes be a source of friction when dads don’t let their kids play with railway models, but as they get older, they are often brought into the hobby.
Rail modelling’s roots go back to the 1840s and electric models began to appear around 1900. The first model trains were not much of a resemblance to the real thing, but as the years went by and the hobby became more popular, the train sets became more and more lifelike.
Some railway modellers buy finished articles such as train engines, carriages, stations, models of people and then just assemble them. Some modellers may buy pieces and then modify them to reflect a particular period or livery, for instance. A simple example could be weathering, where a steam train engine might be made to look dirty, from the burning coal. Other examples could be adding people to the engine, such as a driver and a boiler attendant.
Some modellers even create their own pieces from scratch. Such models are called ‘scratch-built’ and are often made because a particular engine, carriage or piece is not available from mainstream manufacturers.
Manufacturers often keep tabs on these types of modellers and will often engage them to make prototypes of pieces that they want to mass produce. Another very important part of train modelling is the scenery. Some modellers will make up a fantasy scene, just concentrating on making it look as aesthetically pleasing as possible. Others, on the other hand, will try to replicate an exact place. Some modellers try to recreate a place they have seen themselves – potentially their own town – while others might just pick a historic photograph and replicate it through their railroad model. Modern train models are usually clockwork or electric.