Sunday, May 08, 2011

Blast from the past - Beatties

Beatties Bag

There are many readers of those blog who are saying "Blimey, a Beatties bag. I'd forgotten all about them." and others who are wondering what the heck are you showing us a plastic bag for ?

Well, you are seeing this because I found it recently and was amazed one was left. It's like a neolithic flint tool in it's historical importance. For those who are too young to remember (and shouldn't you be in school or in bed or something by now), Beatties were a national chain of model shops very similar to ModelZone. I best remember the big store in the middle of Birmingham. Like the modern versions, they weren't the greatest model shops in the world for us connoisseurs, but for most people they were fantastic. Bright, well stocked and with lots of toys, kits, slot cars and trains. If you wanted Hornby then you were in. Romford wheels - no chance.

Talking of Hornby brings me to the sponsor of the bag. Mainline Railways were one of the first manufacturers to make leaps in the quality and detail of their models. We gasped at wire handrails, separate details and locomotives that looked like the real thing. Someone else can explain the complex intertwining of the histories of Mainline, Palitoy (who owned them I think), Airfix model railways and now Replica and Bachmann. What I remember is that were impressed with the models even though they could still stand a bit of extra detailing.

All this makes me feel nostalgic for the 1980's. Where's my Miami Vice DVD ?

More on the store in the Wikipedia entry - who knew they had an e-commerce website at the turn of the century ? Wow !


Stuart said...

I remember that store in the centre of Brum. When at University there I would often wander round the shop when I should have been in lectures. My wife remembers going there with me as well!

Robert Thompson said...

I remember the one in croydon (which is now a Ann Summers!) and i remember going in there all the time for various bits and sometimes, bargains!
Funny enough, i got out my layout tonight to run in a loco which i use a H&M controller which has a beatties label on the back.

Craig Crane said...

That yellow bag was the sign of a good day out shopping.

Im wondering if todays kids will look back quite so fondly at ModelZone

Phil Parker said...

"That yellow bag was the sign of a good day out shopping"

I think that might be my favourite description in any comments. You are very right - comming home with a yellow bag meant you'd had a good deay and there was more modelling fun to come.

rctophobby said...

I remember that store in the centre of Brum.Hélicoptère RC