IT'S A MODEL WORLD by Suzanne Hilton


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The title packs a disappointment for girls who will expect to read about the world of fashion modeling, but anyone who wants to learn about the scientific and technical (as opposed to commercial applications of scale models is likely to be equally disappointed by the contents. Hilton has obviously done some original research into the trade literature, but her findings are marred by the same tone of breathless boosterism that pervaded It's Smart to Use A Dummy (p. 1166, 1971). A model of Coney Island amusement park (used to ""stir up business""), the artificial waves of Big Surf in Arizona, movie studio models used to simulate battle scenes, and models which help architects envision the most practical floor plans for laundromats get equal billing here with wind tunnels used in aeronautical research, deepwater basins used by naval architects to study hydrodynamics and miniature rivers used to test the Army Corps of Engineers' designs for dams and canals. The principles of the latter are never adequately explained, while other inventions which are treated in considerable detail -- such as the ""environmental simulator"" used by city planners as a way of ""allowing people to have a part in planning large scale projects"" (and, it's claimed, thereby avoid disasters like the Everglades jetport and Alaska pipeline !) -- sound like little more than expensive gimmicks. Hilton's examples are so inadequate that they often undercut the very point she is trying to make (one court case which is supposed to show the value of architectural scale models in judicial proceedings is actually a suit by the model maker against the builder), and her undiscriminating mix of the trivial and serious uses of scale models is neither fun nor informative.

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 1972
Publisher: Westminster