Over at the Scale Model News blog a few weeks ago, there was mention of an exhibition that sounded just up my street. The blurb promised "a galaxy of space, science-fiction and fantasy modelling." I wasn't busy and the venue was only an hour away, assuming I didn't get lost. And I could meet a hero - Matt Irvine.
Matt Irvine, for those who don't know, was the BBC special effects guru who not only built Blake's 7 but would turn up on Multi Colour Swapshop every Saturday morning to tell you how to do the same. I vividly remember him explaining how to make a teleport bracelet out of a slice from an orange juice bottle and a pink rubber. You don't get that in these CGI heavy days of modern telly.
Anyway, thanks to Mrs Satnav I found my way through the country lanes to the village hall where the show was being held. Although there was a car park advertised, this was full of Daleks so like everyone else, I parked on the verge some way down the road.
Wandering back to the hall, the first thing I saw was the costume from one of the Blake's 7 guards. As simple black suit with green visor and gas mask style thing, I always thought these were the best "baddie"costumes on television and to see one in the flesh was a real treat. OK, so there were stil daleks including some sort of emperor one but this was the business and I knew the trip had been worthwhile.
Having paid the pathetically low entrance fee of £2, I walked in to find Marvin, the paranoid android. The proper one from the telly series, not the film (apart from a walk on part in one scene) and it's fantastic.
The rest of the morning carried on in the same manner. On one table at the far side of the hall was a Space 1999 Eagle Transporter, the best space ship ever to appear in a sci fi show. Practical, rugged and with a certain beauty to us mechanical types, I don't think it has ever been bettered and best of all, no CGI, all the ships were models. At the show, I was looking at a restored original version a whopping 48 inches long. I suspect the organisers put it at the far end of the hall so I couldn't make a run with it. Mind you, if I was that way inclined then Marvin and the guard would have been coming with me !
On other tables Matt had brought the contents of his loft - better described as most of the telly shows I've enjoyed over the years. There was Liberator, Starbug (Red Dwarf), vehicles from Star Cops, a Tripod and even Orac.
Two "real" K9's were present as well as the man who provides the voice - something he does without electronic aids.
Elsewhere, Thunderbirds and Stingray replicas looked as good as the real things. Recreations of the puppets, including Lady Penelope and Parker, sat on a table near the door.
Should that not be enough, there was fantastic quality modelling both of odd-ball subjects and recreation of props. Even the trade, though limited, was excellent. I picked up several tools I'd never seen before and had I looked properly, would have walked away with an even bigger stash.
All good things must come to an end but on leaving I could enjoy the sight of 3 full sized, radio control daleks in the car park and another K9. One of the daleks sprayed water from its gun and had "shot" a child who was suitably scared. I'm not sure that the dalek speaking to her was helping matters...
Look, it was brilliant, just go and have a gander at the photos.