Apart from a local politician when a scandal is brewing, there is nothing quite as invisible in the Little World as:
a. Rubbish bins. They are everywhere in real life, from the standard wheelie bin to the industrial dumpster. But we hardly ever see evidence of them in model layouts. This is not the fault of the manufacturers – I have counted wheelies, skips, tinnies, and skips in scales ranging from 1:160 to 1:12. It is just that no-one seems to put them out. We need a scale Bin Night!
b. Fire hydrants. To he fair, in modern suburbs the hydrant as such does not exist above ground. There is a steel flap plate in the ground and a blue ” H ” sign somewhere on the road to guide the Fire and Emergency Services people to it. The old red plug is rare. But every modern industrial or commercial structure has big red boxes and pipes and wheels to show where the fire protection is. We should make more of a feature of this as the shapes are generally pretty simple. The signage is graphic too.
c. Police boxes and call boxes. Not as common as before and since the police don’t man their own suburban stations all that much either, somewhat pointless.
d. Telephone junction pillars and switch boxes.
e. Electricity supply control boxes and road signal boxes. We always seem to think that intersections operate by themselves. In reality there are a number of cream, beige, grey, or green boxes and cabinets dotted about the suburbs.
f. Post boxes. They are a simple thing to make now that the Victorian pillar is long gone. Every diorama needs a post box.
g. Likewise every layout needs a telephone box. You can vandalise it or not, just as you please, but remember that if you want to attract Superman, you are going to have to give him somewhere to change clothes.
h. Telephone and light poles. These are simple enough to model, and you can get ready-made ones from the large-scale railway section of the hobby shop. Your scale cars need something to run into on wet days. The rigging of the poles is a little problematical as it is hard to get scale wire to sag evenly. You can use stretched sprue if the layout is not to be touched.
i. Kerbside litter. The streets of Perth are remarkably clean compared to New York, London, or other places. But gutters still collect leave and leaves make dirt dams. Real rubbish is easy enough to get and grind up to form the trash. Don’t pay for litter if you can make it.
j. Bus stops and shelters. Even if there is no bus available for the scale in which you model, you can still make a bus shelter cheap and give to commuters some feeble hope of service. Who knows – the die-cast makers may decide to make a generic 1:18 scale bus and you can paint it to match your city’s livery.