In this Digital Content Producer article from 1998, several practitioners of old-school special effects are interviewed about their craft, including several comments about model-making and miniature use. Even though nearly ten years have passed since this article hit, I don't think much has changed. The comments about the use of physical effects in a digital age still stand, despite the advances in computers and digital imaging. Miniatures still have their place in filmmaking today, and it's not yet a "dying art."
Practical Virtues: Three Physical Effects Artists Explain Why Business Is Booming