There are many fine modelers in the hobby as you well know. You will find even more skilled builders who build dioramas or single static models like tanks and aircraft. Chuck Doan is one such craftsman who has built many exceptional models. Take a look at his website and see what I am bloviating about. http://members.fotki.com/ChuckDoan/about/
The Red Oak garage is one of Chuck’s 1/4″ scale models. He has created layers of detail and weathering touches that draws you in. His techniques create a level of realism rather than exaggeration. Aging, distressing or weathering is often overdone.
Chuck’s website has a ton of useful information. I found several white papers on techniques such as the peeling paint.
What prompted me to feature Chuck’s work was a photo that I found on the web. The picture shown below looks like Doan’s work except it was done on a one to one scale.
It is hard to imagine building a whole layout to this level detail but a few key building could capture a viewer’s interest and admiration.