The Art of Darkness

The Miskatonic Railroad

December 29th, 2015 by Cobwebs

General StoreModel railroading enthusiast John Ott has spent years creating a detailed miniature version of Lovecraft’s Arkham, complete with historically-accurate train engines and cars. He’s mapped out the rail line (with stops at Dunwich, Innsmouth, and similar towns), and all of the buildings have appropriate backstories.

Across Garrison, the Bensalem Building hosts a variety of enterprises. The mesmerists, Drs. Nikola and Mabuse, have set up shop selling questionable cures and “rubber goods.” One of the shady mesmerists can be seen with a female patient in the bay window, doubtlessly trying to convince the young woman how theraputic it would be to reveal the combination to her husband’s wall safe.

Next door, Messrs. Maskull and Nightspore offer astral travel for the adept, with tours of Tormance, Leng, and Barsoom a specialty. One would think they wouldn’t have many clients, but some prominent Arkhamites, namely the Carter family— Randolph, John, and Nick— rely upon them heavily. Dr. Caligari’s Cabinet, a curio shop, occupies the last address. Is that a shining trapezohedron in the window?

Up on the roof, Professor Pickering has his private observatory. Prof. Pickering is famous for having confirmed the sighting of those flashes on Mars a few years back. These days, he’s searching for a ninth, trans-Neptunian, planet— which he calls Yuggoth, for some reason— which he’s sure is there.

There are lots of photos and project details on his site:

The Miskatonic Railroad – Project overview.
Welcome to Arkham – City details and building backstories.
Arkham Wasn’t Built in a Day (or a Night) – Information about lighting and decor.
Deconstructing Arkham Station – Build notes for the railroad station, which was based on a real one in Salem.
Train Number Nine is Missing – A fictional history of the Miskatonic Railroad.

I’m a sucker for highly-detailed miniatures, and Ott’s layout has all kinds of fun stuff (like The Sarnath Theater, with posters advertising an upcoming show: “‘The DOOM’ Comes To The Sarnath, Sept. 24-30.” There’s also a group of workmen hauling a giant squid through the streets on a flatbed). It makes me want to grab a big sheet of plywood and start putting down track.

Ott has also done a couple of other non-spooky layouts, the Salem & Cripple Creek R.R. (inspired by Citizen Kane), and the San Diego and South Coast R.R., depicting San Diego’s gaslamp district circa 1908.

(via BoingBoing)

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