One of the regular comments we receive about Melbridge Dock is that people like the way everything is weathered and fits in with everything else.
While the layout might not be the greatest model in the world, no single part stands out as either really good or really bad, and that's what gives the best overall effect.
I'm inclined to suggest this is the same for all the best layouts. Yes, there will be brilliant modelling but the key is all the modelling will be brilliant. The modeller has developed and standard and stuck to it. If they don't then the model won't (IMHO) look as good because the good/bad bits will stand out and catch the eye.
Which makes me wonder about modern RTR models. While the keyboard warriors howl for ever greater detail, you wonder if the layouts the models run on are to the same standard. If they are then there are some seriously impressive models out there.
I suspect not though. Most stock will run past crudely assembled card kit buildings through faded flock-covered hills along track ballasted with rocks.
On one hand this is fine - it's their model after all - but as the demand is for perfection, are the "builders" realising this? In turn does this drive the "I can't build stuff good enough myself so I'll just buy everything" mentality?
Was the "golden age" of models sometime in the 1990s before RTR quality soared to levels that most of us can't hope to match?
(Photo: Andy York. From the 2016 BRM layout special)