Solar flares are 3D phenomenon but modelling a flare in 3D, including many of the important processes in the chromosphere, is a computational challenge. Accurately modelling the chromosphere is important, even if the transition region and corona are the areas of interest, due to the flow of energy, mass, and radiation through the interconnected layers. We present a solar flare arcade model, that aims to bridge the gap between 1D and 3D modelling. Our approach is limited to the synthesis of optically thin emission. Using observed active region loop structures in a 3D domain we graft simulated 1D flare atmospheres onto each loop, synthesise the emission and then project that emission onto to the 2D observational plane. Emission from SDO/AIA, GOES/XRS, and IRIS/SG Fe XXI 1354.1Å was forward modelled. We analyse the temperatures, durations, mass flows, and line widths associated with the flare, finding qualitative agreement but certain quantitative differences. Compared to observations, the Doppler shifts are of similar magnitude but decay too quickly. They are not as ordered, containing a larger amount of scatter compared to observations. The duration of gradual phase emission from GOES and AIA emission is also too short. Fe XXI lines are broadened, but not sufficiently. These findings suggest that additional physics is required in our model. The arcade model that we show here as a proof-of-concept can be extended to investigate other lines and global aspects of solar flares, providing a means to better test the coronal response to models of flare energy injection.