Sunday, September 12, 2010

Exhibition report

Yes, that's right. A model Railway exhibition report. A British model railway exhibition report to boot!
I was recently in the UK visiting family and I discovered that my visit coincided with the Grantham Rail show. I needed to see a good old British model railway exhibition. See what I've been missing all these years. As luck would have it the show was even being attended by some old friends from Mablethorpe and district Model railway club. So we had a meeting behind the layout. Overdue membership fees were mentioned...
So to the show. Even though it was in a smallish hall, the organisers fitted 13 layouts in there and as many trade stands.
Every layout had something to recommend it, from N scale to O scale. All the layouts were well finished and presented. Even my American wife mentioned this fact.
So to my three favourite layouts.
3: Cromer (00 scale). A very atmospheric depiction of Cromer railway station in North Norfolk. The builder had got the modern atmosphere spot on even though it was a very simple track plan the standard of detail gave you a lot to look for.
2. Winterschlaf (0M scale): OK, so it's Bob's layout from the M&D MRC but it really is a cracker. The scratchbuilt buildings are super and the detailing is great. Oh and he let me operate the trains as well... :-D. My first experience with DCC and it all ran very nicely.
1. Rowlands Castle (00 scale) What can I say? This layout blew me away. A depiction of Southern England in 1944. Excellent running and once again a staggering level of detail. Perhaps everything was a bit too clean.

The show was so refreshing to attend. Compared to the US shows I've attended it pretty well beats them all. The sheer variety of layouts for a start. UK modellers seem to have more imagination about subject matter for their layouts. Here we had French and Swiss layouts, a model of a steelworks and a wartime England layout. Most US shows centre around large modular layouts or Lionel. Also the layouts are invariably modern image. I'd like to be proved wrong on this. Perhaps its just the Midwest.
My only criticism of this show was the amount of motive power depot layouts. No less than three of the 13 were TMD's. One in N scale and the others in 00. In my memory I can't tell the two 00 scale TMD layouts apart now. Alas there does seem to be a plethora (or plague) of TMD layouts on the British exhibition circuit these days.
No P4 layouts unfortunately but that didn't matter. I enjoyed myself anyway. I even came way with a book of layout plans for inspiration and ideas but that's a story for another day...