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Adam Savage, former co-host of "Mythbusters" and now host of "Tested" on Youtube, was recently asked the question, "Why do you think we find scaled down miniature things so appealing?" You can watch the first 2 minutes of the video below to see his answer. Spoiler alert, he really doesn't answer the question. So I ask the same questions here. Why do we find scaled down miniatures so appealing?
In my case, I have enjoyed model building as long as I can remember. I recall the GM Exhibit at the New York Worlds Fair had a big effect on me. But I don't know if that was result of my existing interest in modeling or if it inspired it. My dad built a train layout for my brother and I as kids, but I never was that interested in trains very much after that. I was more into cars, armor, ships, rockets, and airplanes as a young teen. It was only after my son was born that I became interested in model railroads.
For me the fun is in the creating. Once I have the object, it's time to move on and build another. That is why I often sell, dismantle, discard or give away many of my completed projects.
Why miniatures versus full scale objects? That I don't know for sure. Perhaps because it's easier to work on a wider variety of things.
Miniatures have been with us for a long time. In the Getty Villa Museum in Malibu, CA I saw an exhibit of miniature figurines that Roman citizens collected. So the hobby is over 2000 years old.
But, now I have come to realize that model railroading is a fantastic, if not the best, miniatures hobby. I find the multifaceted nature of it most rewarding. Historical research, carpentry, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, electronics including the software side of computers, artist work, photography, and videography are all aspects that I find interesting and rewarding. Plus, a model railroad is not a static thing. It actually comes life when the trains move and even more when the crews operate it.
Modeling a military railroad combines several of my interests such as military history, figure modeling, warships, on top of the railroad subjects. That makes it more satisfying for me. Civil war era railroad modeling has the advantage of smaller rolling stock, so the space claim is less for any given scale subject.
The social side of model railroading is also rewarding. My wife is no longer amazed that no matter what town we visit, there is usually a model railroader I can visit and go in their house. My layout visit log says I have visited over 300 different layouts since 1992. How many hobbies have that level of personal interaction?
So what do you think?
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