phone 415-676-7254 | 510-334-0870

About Us

Images of the Past is a custom modelling company that specializes in the creation of unique artistry displays and layouts. Our creations are based on the dreams and visions that our clients request us to build for them.

We model: N SCALE to G SCALE Railroads; Slot cars: H-O SCALE to 1/32 SCALE Race Circuits

We create and specialize in:

Owners and Partners

Armando and Dan Vargas were born in San Francisco, CA. They grew up in a coastal town just south of San Francisco called Pacifica.

Our interest in model railroads started at an early age with Lionel trains. Our dad collected a large Super O set which included 773 Hudson, 746 N&W J, Sante Fe F3 and classic accessories, gantry crane, milk car, operating tower with men and plasticville structures.

Our dad, an Artist and Civil Engineer/Architect, took us at an early age to watch the trains at the Model Railroad clubs around the Bay Area. Our model building experience began at age seven when we started building craftsman kits from Revell, Aurora, Linberg Line, Airfix, Renwal and Monogram.

Aircraft Carriers/Aircrafts

We also enjoyed visiting libraries to research the history of Aircraft carriers and fighting ships using Janes fighting Naval ships for reference. We built over 80 Naval Aircraft carriers, destroyers, battleships of the US Fleet, HMS Fleet, German and Japanese Fleet, using Testors glues with Pactra paints.

Following our interest of Naval ships, we transitioned to Aircrafts and built P-51 Mustangs, Corsairs, B-17 Bombers to Super Sabre jets and B58 Hustler Bombers. We painted our hobby room ceiling sky blue with clouds and suspended the model aircrafts with fishing line.


Our inspiration to create miniature wonderlands came from Walt Disney during a visit to Disneyland in 1970. We rode on the People Mover and saw a future city display. When we got home from Disneyland, we took down the Lionel trains and started planning the layout to create a realistic city and scenery with trains. We then cleared out the garage and built a 20 x 12 foot tabletop layout, changing scenes over six times until the layout we designed had two levels and a lake with real water.

Classic Cars

In our teens, we spent our time wrenching on 1950's to late 60's Classic cars and early 70's muscle cars. To advance our skills during high school, we enrolled in Auto Shop, ROP, and completed college courses in Auto Mechanics. We took this passion to the professional level by working for specialty shops, balancing and blue printing engines, rebuilding engines, transmissions, rear ends, custom suspension kits, restoring vintage European to American Classic automobiles. The cars we restored were entered in the Pebble Beach Concourse and Street Rods for Power Tours to Hot August Nights.

Building Train Layouts and Slot Car Race Circuits

During our time in the Automobile Service Business, our conversations with our customers brought up questions about our hobbies and interests, trains and slot cars. Before we knew it, we found ourselves being invited to see their train collection and were commissioned to build extraordinary layouts.

The discipline and process of any unique project involves inspiration, vision, artistry, craftsmanship and technical skills. We take great pride in creating a dream layout for our clients, a dream that could have started from childhood. It is rewarding for us to see our clients beam with excitement when they invite family and friends to view a layout we created for them.

We wish you a lifetime of happiness and enjoyment in making your dream come true.

All the best,

The Vargas Brothers

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