AUGUSTA — In an auditorium buzzing with model railways, tracks and cars in various sizes, the dollhouses and accoutrements seemed out of sync.

But it’s all a matter of scale.

“Generally, a man who has a model railroad for a hobby will have a wife who has a dollhouse,” said Barbara Hagan, of Windsor. “She’s doing something in a different scale.”

Hagan should know. Her late husband, Richard, was a model train buff.

“The hobbies sort of complement each other,” Hagan said. “If you’re working on one scale and he’s working on another, you understand each other’s requirements.”

The 31st Whitefield Lions Club Model Railroad and Doll House Show took place Saturday at the Augusta State Armory and attracted hundreds of spectators. Steven P. Laundrie, of Randolph, a Lions Club member who organizes the show, said the show is limited to about 100 tables and attracts some exhibitors year after year.

Richard Hagan coordinated the Whitefield Lions Club Model Railroad and Doll House Show for many years, and Hagan was an exhibitor for 29 years.

However, Barbara Hagan, who has a dollhouse shop in her home, said this will be her final year at the show.

At 81, she said, “I’m getting too old.”

She brought a four-room dollhouse this year as well as a series of room boxes she had crafted, including an exquisite carpenter’s shop where tiny tools await the return of a skilled cabinetmaker, and a fire extinguisher is atop the workbench in case of a disaster.

Hagan’s dollhouse shop is one of the few remaining in the area, she said, adding, “There used to be a lot of shops, but with the economy the way it is, there’s not as much discretionary income.”

She showed off what looked like a dining room hutch in a 1:12 scale, but the top half was a miniature dollhouse itself, set in a 1:144 scale, also known as micro scale, with staircases rising between floors. In fact, the 1:144 scale is close to the “N” model railway scale, 1:160.

Kathy Allen, of Sidney, whose items were set up next to Hagan’s, said collectors sometimes move from larger to smaller scale as the numbers of their collectibles increase. It’s all a matter of conserving space.

Allen has made miniature items for doll houses for more than 30 years, explaining that most are 1:12 scale; in that dimension, a 6-foot-tall person would be depicted as a 6-inch tall doll. “That’s the common scale,” Allen said.

In that scale, she fashions colorful Christmas and Valentine table settings that would look totally at home on a dollhouse dining table.

“Doll house people party a lot,” Allen said. “They decorate for the holidays, have lots of pets, and mine have tea parties.”

She calls her work “scrapping” or “upcycling.” She takes pieces of ordinary items, such as children’s erasers, to create red and white cookies spread on baking trays and cooling racks. Other treats look like heaps of walnut shells, but are really coriander seeds cut in half.

“I’ve been cursed with the ability to see alternate uses for things,” Allen said. “I like the scrap craft of it because it makes things affordable, and your eyes see what you’re supposed to see. It’s more fun than housework and cheaper than psychotherapy.”

Her items are less expensive than the finely crafted vintage furniture.

On Saturday, cats proved one of the more popular purchases, said Kelley Drisko, of Augusta, who was helping Hagan.

Barbara and Bill Studebaker, of Studebaker Miniatures, of Rockland, brought her needlework and his fine wooden furniture, all crafted for various scales of dollhouses.

The model railway displays and related items took up much of the auditorium and all of the stage.

Terrence P. King, of Monmouth, librarian of The Great Falls Model Railroad Club, which is based in Auburn, said people take up the model railroads as a hobby for any number of reasons.

“I got a train set as a kid for Christmas,” he said.

Then there is the lure of the train whistle.

“You always wondered where the cars came from and what was in them.” King said.

The Whitefield Lions Club Model Railroad and Doll House Show is one of the top fundraising events for the Lions Club, which supports a number of community causes. Club president Cindy Lincoln, who was helping in the kitchen area Saturday, listed some of those as the local food bank, providing holiday gifts for residents of Country Manor, and a children’s Christmas event for needy families, as well a Thanksgiving harvest dinner.

The Whitefield Lions Club meets the second and fourth Thursdays each month at the Lions Den in Coopers Mills.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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