I recently watched Carol Reed's 1940 British wartime thriller NIGHT TRAIN TO MUNICH. I love the stylized artifice of these miniatures, which look like they could have come right over from Hitchcock's THE LADY VANISHES, and have a certain charm and character lacking from slicker, big-budget miniatures or today's CGI models.
THE LADY VANISHES opens with a similarly charming miniature town. A crane shot passes over the model trains (complete with miniature human figures next to it). It then passes in front of a quaint little model house before moving on to a side street, where a model car passes by.
These models, which probably seemed palpably artificial even to contemporary audiences, contain the imagination and skill of the artisans who created them, lending these films a distinctly human touch.