Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Oxford RoofI took this picture a couple of weeks ago when I visited Oxford. The vantage point is the tower in the centre of town where this an excellent view of the tops of buildings.

While I was up there it occurred to me that it's not very different from the view we have of most model railways. Whereas in real life we see things from eye level, to get this at a show means sticking your backside out into the aisle and rubbing the barrier with your nose. We all do it but it's not how any model is first seen.

Isn't the top of a building unexpectedly complicated ? This is a simple one but in addition to the usual ridge tiles and chimneys, of which there are several variants, you get some valleys with lead work and a surprising amount of slipped tiles. Most of the chimneys are capped in some way too. Surrounding buildings are a maze of air conditioning and duct work. Models tent to be a whole lot tidier.

Even really iconic buildings can look odd from the air. Try this link to the roof of the Selfridges building in Birmingham. Doesn't look so tidy now does it ?

1 comment:

Iain Robinson said...

Fascinating. I thought the thumbnail was indeed a model when I first saw it. I agree with what you say, I've been banging on for years about modelling roofs properly. They are not easy, though. And visual fatigue can set in with the over-use of the temptingly handy Wills sheets. In your photo the roofs seem to have different treatments of the pitches...tiles then slates..it's a fascinating world of detail and thanks for posting this.