Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Worlds in miniature

All right, so why is it remotely interesting to see a miniature replica that at first glance looks a lot like reality?


This thought was sparked by a visit, on holiday in Devon, to Babbacombe Model Village. Vast numbers of tiny figures in and around sets based on buildings and scenes mostly from the latter end of the last century.

 A city shopping arcade.

A garden centre.


A street scene with police.

 A wedding, complete with music.

A small dock area.

So why is this fascinating? All right, so the little humorous details help – the names of solicitors and the detective agency both raised a smile with me.And other little details made me stop and look again to see if I was really seeing them.

The occasional surprises add to the pleasure – this Addams Family mansion, for instance, or Stonehenge with druids.

And some of the scenes were somewhat more dramatic – the medieval castle under siege is unlikely to fall in view of the dragon atop one tower that breathed real fire.

Other scenes were more prosaic, like the modern fire scene - my wicked mind wondered if they had thought of taking the fire tenders to to deal with the dragon...


Morris dancers...

 And even flights of fancy like the rampaging mummies.

The fact that we are seeing a microcosm mirroring the reality around us is one of the fascinations, together with the simple delight in the model-makers' skills. The people responsible for the model village are creating their own reality, and letting us enjoy it. The odd details that catch the eye just add to the attraction. Is it any different to a writer creating a make-believe world?

Of course, my worlds don't contain disasters like this. Honest.

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