Category Archives: Outings and Shows

Two Model Railway Show Reviews + Pictures & Videos

February-May is the peak season for model railway shows and I try my best to visit a few each year. This blog entry covers two recent show visits: the Basingstoke Model Railway Show, Berkshire and last weekend’s Trainwest held in Melkham, Wiltshire.

Basingstoke Model Railway Show
The main thing I noticed at both shows was the increasing number of high quality n-gauge/2mm layouts. It is clear that this scale has come into its own in the past few years. The quality of modelling on layouts like Freshwater and Dentdale were stunning. The Class 33 diesel on Freshwater had a wonderful weathered finish.

Here are some photo highlights:

Picture by Ruth Haynes

Picture by Ruth Haynes

Picture by Ruth Haynes

Picture by Ruth Haynes

Picture by Ruth Haynes

Picture by Ruth Haynes

Picture by Ruth Haynes

Picture by Ruth Haynes

It was also nice to see the Heljan/Hattons Beyer Garratt pulling a giant train of coal trucks around the Newbury Clubs Falkland Vale.

It was also great to finally see Fisherton Sarum in person.

I gave into temptation at the Basingstoke show and purchased a new DCC control system for Brewery Pit, in the form of a Power Cab. I was very surprised at how cheap this system actually was.

Trainwest

This was my first visit to Trainwest in Melkham, Wiltshire. Having recently moved to Swindon, this is now one of my local shows. I was very impressed by the high quality of exhibiting layouts. Each layout was exquisite.

Picture by Ruth Haynes

Picture by Ruth Haynes

Picture by Ruth Haynes

Picture by Ruth Haynes

Picture by Ruth Haynes

Picture by Ruth Haynes

Picture by Ruth Haynes

Picture by Ruth Haynes

It was good to grab Giles attention from his layout (End of The Line) to talk about mini RC Cars and it was also nice to say hello to Golden Arrow Kits in person (and talk Bulleid Leader).

It is difficult for me to pick a favourite layout from Trainwest, but I must admit that I really enjoyed watching the transition era (late 1960s and early 1970s) diesels whizzing around Highbridge Road, a real treat. This is a period that is rarely modelled and one that I also hope to capture in miniature one day.

Also of note was Galatia, KS, which looked very realistic. Most impressive was the transition from the road crossing to the backscene. The telegraph poles and aspect were very effective at fooling the eye into believing there is a long straight road running off into the distance.

I would also like to give honourable mention to the biennial Narrow Gauge South, which I missed this year. I would have liked to have gone, but I had far too much relaxing at home to do.

Here are the two videos of the show:

Basingstoke Model Railway Show 2014

Trainwest 2014

Newbury Model Railway Show 2014

Last weekend I visited my local show… well, now I think about it, the Newbury Model Railway Show is no longer my ‘local’, but it matters little.

Here is my video of the show:

I certainly got 100% value out of my £4 entry ticket.

There was some impressive modelling on show. I think I will have difficulty choosing my favourite from the following layouts.

Red Hook Bay

This is an American HO gauge layout set in the 1940s. This model really captures a busy dock-scene. Something that many layouts try to achieve, but don’t always succeed. The attention to little details is brilliant. The ice-blocks on the quay being one of my favourite elements. The extra realism provided by laser-cut buildings was also quite prominent on this layout.

The Wantage Tramway

The Wantage Tramway is a OO9 gauge layout micro layout and is very attractive. I should have really asked what motors were underneath some of the locos as they had some very impressive running qualities. The small steam tram had some amazing slow gearing. The coaches were well made too. The layout of the buildings was also attractive to the eye. The layout performed faultlessly for the video camera.

Dawes Creek

This is an Australian N gauge layout, representing Victoria State in the 1970s and 1980s. I think the stand-out aspect of this layout is the backscene and how well it integrates into the layout. The backscene is hand painted and easily competes with modern photo backscenes. The low horizon really gives a feeling of plain country. The gradual change from model terrain to backscene beneath the timber bridge is really amazing. With sounds and well spaced structures, I think this layout inches to the top of my favourite list.

Other highlights

I was so pleased to finally see a ‘Maker-Bot 2‘ in person. What an amazing machine. It was much smaller and cleaner than I was expecting and I was surprised at the quality and rigidity of the models printed on the device.

I also had a close look at ‘t gauge’ on the Robin’s Run layout. I didn’t realise that t gauge could be so affordable. I will definitely give this some further thought and join the t gauge forum.

I also enjoyed an introduction to making model trees that will come in very useful on Brewery Pit.

Purchase-wise, I managed to avoid shelling out on more locomotives (I have a mortgage to pay these days), but I did manage to buy some tools missing from my arsenal and a set of high quality modelling books on buildings, scenery and loco building. Unfortunately, the rain was so terrible that it soaked the cover of one of my books when we left the show which caused some anxiousness later in the day, but I am happy to report that although a bit wavy in places, the book is okay.

Thanks Newbury MRC for getting me back in a modelling mood.

Visit to Model Rail Live 2013

On 21st September, I visited Newark Showground in Nottinghamshire for Model Rail Magazines exhibition. The venue was a large metal industrial-type unit, which afforded lots of space for layouts and traders.

There were lots of models on display, with some really impressive large layouts. I must admit that some of my favourites were of the smaller variety. Sparkle, was probably my favourite: which is a HO Gauge, German layout set in winter. The barren trees are very effective, and the subtle use of glitter also adds a lot to the overall winter scene. Plus there were some nice little steam locos on show.

It was also nice to see Deepcar again, which now features some newer motive power in the form of Olivia’s Trains EM1s. One of the highlights of the exhibition was seeing two LMS garratt’s passing each other on Radford Mill; I was lucky enough to film it (does this make me a model-train spotter?).

My second favourite layout was ‘The end of the line’ which featured a standard gauge siding with a narrow gauge system loading up the trucks. There was even a moving flat-loader truck (which inspired my current workbench project: a 4mm radio control car).
Exhibiting at a show like this must be quite a challenge. It is something that I have considered doing, but I’m in no rush to dive-in.

Below is my video of the show.

Swindon Railway Festival (2013)

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I visited the Swindon Railway Festival on Sunday 15th September, and what an enjoyable show it was.

The cost at the door paid for both entry into the STEAM Museum (which tells the story of the Great Western Railway) and the model show. The museum is built into some of the former Swindon Works buildings, which is a simply wonderful venue for a model railway show.

The quality of modelling on display was quite amazing. I really liked Carsmoores Scrapyard, I was impressed by the small size of the layout and the detail and lighting. The owner of the layout even gave me some nifty tips on building landscaping from foam board and DAS clay.

Another favourite model of mine was Tucking Mill, which was a highly detailed 2mm layout. The level of detailing on 2mm layouts has increased so much in the past few years that I start to wonder why I don’t take the leap. Tucking Mill has some lovely subtle landscaping in place and some nice motive power. I particularly liked their point-changing levers, which activate a slow turning servo which changes the point-work.

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Hornby’s stand included early versions of their upcoming P2, which was looking beautiful. I am really pleased to see that it has separate fitted hand rails, after all this ‘design clever’ nonsense. I also spotted a plastic seam near the front of the boiler, which I hope is an indication of future models with stream lined fronts! Hornby’s Sentinel diesel shunter is also looking impressive.

I also had an enjoyable discussion with a chap from the broad gauge society and discovered that there are some models I can build in that gauge. Maybe one day.

All in all, it was a great day out. Below is my video from the show:

Visit to the Doncaster Model Railway Show (2013)

Two weeks ago me and my Dad visited the Festival of British Railway Modelling in Doncaster.

It was our first visit and we both really enjoyed the day. The best thing about the show was the number of big layouts (in a UK context), which allowed some good length trains to be run.

Wisbech and Upwell Trams

My interests in the Wisbech and Upwell Railway were well catered for with some interesting discussions about how to model the tramway version of the Drewry tram (see separate post). The highlight for me was the Y10 ‘super sentinel’ shunting around Happisburgh Goods. This was an odd coincidence as I recently begun development of this loco using a 3D modelling programme, thus I took the opportunity to take pictures from all angles (the pictures of the top being a God-send).

O-gauge Y10 'Super Sentinel' on Happisburgh Goods

O-gauge Y10 ‘Super Sentinel’ on Happisburgh Goods

Grasslands

I was also interested in the disturbed grassland and ephemeral vegetation modelled on Kensal Green (sorry… went all ‘ecologist’ there). Their grassland just seem to have something that my current efforts don’t seem to have. I think it is do with the thicker layer of decayed vegetation beneath the current growing stems (closer to the buildings). I think I will experiment and see if I can improve mine.

Disturbed and ephemeral grassland on the 4mm Kensal Green

Disturbed and ephemeral grassland on the 4mm Kensal Green

Black Country Blues was also looking impressive with some great modelling of recently disturbed vegetation, very much the colours, structures and ‘feel’ of the surrounds of home ‘back when’ (Me and Dad thought we recognised the view from Barr Beacon).

Purchases

I was in a wallet-burning mood and was quite set on buying a D11 Director, which I managed to acquire from one of the cheaper vendors.

D11 Director from Bachmann

D11 Director from Bachmann

Unfortunately for said wallet, I then came across another subject I am interested in: a T9 in Southern Green with ‘British Railways’ on the tender. Opening the box I was quite surprised to find a colonial star on the front (apparently this was the designate royal train). This wasn’t evidently clear from the box and it would be nice if Hornby considered expanding beyond the traditional ‘side profile’ photos on their model-boxes. I also find them not the most flattering images, but that’s me. The colonial star didn’t of course amount to the surprise of finding an elephant on the side of my Heljan BR Blue Falcon when I bought it a couple of years ago!

Hornby's Royal T9

Hornby’s Royal T9

Video

Below is my video from the show, hope you like it:

Warley Model Railway Show 2012

I have not visited the Warley show at the NEC for a number of years. My last visit (some 3 or 4 years ago) was quite exhausting.

I am pleased to say that this years show was my most enjoyable visit to the exhibition, with some very impressive modelling on display.

‘Cliffhanger’ was a very impressive layout; constructed on a steeply angled base board. More on this superb layout can be found here.

Another great layout was ‘Veldhoveh 1935’. Positioned in a picture frame and viewed from a fixed perspective. This super small layout gives the impression of looking along a busy street in 1935 to a photo-realistic finish. It is all achieved with the clever use of different scale buildings and trains, not to mention the novel idea of creating a ‘skewed’ train that appears to be driving off into the distance.

If you can understand Dutch and fancy reading more about it, visit here.

Below is my video of the the show, enjoy!