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Some thoughts on building models of all types and sizes

Some thoughts on building models of all types and sizes

Welcome. If you have not visited Minature Buildings before can I suggest you begin with my Aims and Scope article or at the Home Page. If you have visited before - welcome back. I hope this article is of interest to you.


There is nothing unique in modelling terms about Brittany in France.  This article is simply a collection of models that I saw during a trip there (and in Normandy) in September 2022. Though the section on cathedral models at Dol de Bretagne maybe deserves an article all of its own.

One shop window led me to add a whole extra section into my article about Santons, the French and Italian traditon of localised nativity figures. Yes, I know they are figures not buildings. I like model figures too. It's where my modelling enthusaism began as a teenager.

Another tenuous link to building models was in the Citadelle at Port Louis.  Barbara and I visit lots of castles while travelling in the Duchess.  This was a good one.  Slightly surprisingly I did not find within it a model of itself.  In my modelling fantasies I would make one for them.  This picture is an arial picture phographed from a poster on the wall.  The sort of view you never get to see for yourself unless you happen to have a helicopter or a drone.  Not only is the complex beautifully restored and maintained (by the state) the audioguide commentary was one of the best.  Clear, concise, interesting, well spoken, no fairy stories or fake charecters from the past.  Just the right level of detail, at least for me.

The three museums within the citadelle all have models but they are mostly of ships.  Reasonable enough since they are a part of the French national maritime museum.  I have selected a couple of photos of those parts of ships most like buildings.

One of the museums was about the activity of the French East India Company. This contained some dioramas including buildings. Not the highest standard of craftmanship but interesting and a bit different.

One other town we visited and enjoyed was Alençon. In Normandy, on our way down, rather than in Brittany itself. One of the highlights was the public library within a former Jesuit chapel. On display inside is a lovely wooden model of the roof construction.

The modelling highlight of the trip was the museum of cathedral construction "Cathédraloscope" at Dol de Bretagne. My photos, taken during a slightly rushed visit, do not do justice to either the detail or the quantity of what is on display. Models displayed not just for their own sake as reproductions of prototypes but as structured explanation of how cathedrals were constructed. Traditional models of course but also virtual 3D modelling. And some simpler storytelling models aimed at children but fun for adults too. There are more photos and commentary in a dedicated Cathédraloscope article.

As always, please e-mail Miniature Buildings if you have something to add. Comments, criticisms, extra thoughts, pictures, or even complete articles for inclusion in the Miniature Buildings site are all welcome. Or if you would like to be added to my mailing list to hear when a new article is published.

David, 3 January 2020 updated September 2021