I'm getting ready to go on a trip to London in October, (details here), and I have found yet another somewhat practical use for my paper models -- orientation. I realized when I finished the Tower Bridge model that I could get an idea of the size of the Thames river relative to the model, the size of the double-decker bus on the model, the size of six-foot tall me relative to the scale of the bus, and all of the above to my maps of London.
It turned out larger than I thought it would. Had I glued the ramps on, it wouldn't fit on this six-foot-wide shelf in my home office.
The rigging went smoothly, though it was very tedious. This is why I don't build ship models. I used dental floss, and some of it got a little twisted. Oh well.
I put the bus where I did for a reason. On December 20, 1952, at 9:35 pm, Albert Gunter drove his southbound double-decker bus across the rising bascule of the bridge, leaping the gap and safely landing six feet below. Passengers received only minor injuries; Gunter got a ten pound bonus in his pay packet. Gunter had been a fire-engine driver during the blitz, so I count him as a hero twice over.
I also enlarged a model of the Big Ben clock tower from the Canon papercraft site by 200%, which makes it roughly the same scale as the bridge model. Roughly. I used Google satelite maps to compare the two, and 200% felt right.
If I were to set the two of them a proper scale distance apart, I don't think they would fit in our modestly-sized apartment.