Sunday, February 22, 2009

Princes Risborough 2009

Risex sign
Originally uploaded by Phil_Parker

I'd not planned to visit Princes Risborough show. In fact I didn't even know it was on when I happened to be in town and spotted a poster in a car park. However, you never know what you'll get with a local show and the town itself hadn't used up all the time on the "pay and display" ticket so I wandered in.

A lot of modellers disparage the local show. Surprising numbers consider visiting one to be beneath them - travel to a specialist event or one of the nationally advertised venues, fine. Go to the leisure centre or village hall and see what the local club are putting on, well I suppose I might but only if there isn't any shopping to do or nothing on telly...

That's always seemed to be a strange attitude. It's one that means "enthusiasts" miss out a lot. I remember seeing the famous layout "Chee Tor" at one of it's first outings in Darlington (I think) and marveled at the scenery. Later at larger events you Wood Streetwould have to fight through the crowds to get the same view I enjoyed. Most layout owners will test a new model somewhere quiet before heading to a bigger show. That way you get the worst of the bugs out of the system. It's literally a shake down because for the first time the layout is loaded in a car or van and bounced around the road system. It's amazing what this throws up or off !

Exhibition managers miss out too. The good ones trawl small events for quality displays. That way their shows get early appearances from layouts before everyone is talking about them. Anyone booking at a big event is already on the late side. I know you get models from distances appear but it's easy to forget that big shows have big budgets and nasty surprises can await club treasurers if you think you can book that layout seen at Warley because your show is only 20 miles down the road from the NEC - it's likely to be several hundred miles from the layout's home. Not something the bother megabudget Warley show but if you are in a village hall it's going to be a big hit on your funds. I once wandered round a show with a fellow club member who grandly pronounced that the layout we were looking at was the sort of thing that he would like to see invited to our exhibition. Recognising some of the operators I had to break it to him that the layout came from Southport, 130 miles away. And there were 8 operators who would need two nights accommodation. At the time this would have been a problem.

I digress. Risex (did no one look at this and think the schoolboy joke was a bad idea ?) takes place in the Risborough leisure centre filling three large rooms with 17 stands including 6 traders.

Wood StreetAnd there were goodies to be seen. From Swindon, Wood Street is a minimum space 7mm scale model which has some of the best paintwork seen anywhere. You couldn't fault anything but I especially loved the grounded van body at the front. This wasn't just an dead kit sans chassis dumped. Someone has taken the time to add hastily nailed on plank repairs, tear up the roof and even include a door on the end put in by the people using it as a shed.

The Agenoria models Avonside tank was a joy too. Representing the oily sheen you find on a cared for but not pristine shunter is difficult but this had been done as well as I've ever seem. Obviously the model has been dirtied and then cleaned to leave residue behind handrails and in joins. Time consuming but worth it.

The Brewery is an EM gauge model with another strong industrial slant. Again "dirt" is the strong point of the model but I also The Breweryloved the pipe bridge and general atmosphere. OK so I particularly like small shunting layouts - at least to build - but I think most people could take something away from this one.

What else did I pick up ?

Well, handbuilt 12mm gauge track in 3mm scale looks nearly as good as 14.2, or at least it did on Bulverhythe. After all the trouble we had getting things running on Flockburgh I still find this galling. How much easier it would be to employ Romford wheels on the locos and not have to compensate things !

GooseDemonstrators of painting an weathering passed on some useful tips for creating rust effects. I try these out before posting them here but in the meantime take a look at the Galloping Goose. I'm no fan of these lorry based rail vehicles normally but the incredible level of detailing on this one has me converted.

Of course I left the best 'till last. Catering was by the traditional wives, mothers and girlfriends of the club members. At least one of the team can make chocolate cake. And if there is one thing that makes me enjoy a local show, it's good cakeage. You don't get that at the NEC !

Lots more photos on Flickr

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