The Midlands Model Engineering exhibition is as good as ever. There are lots of beautifully made models. I look at the workmanship and wish I had a small percentage of the abilities of those metal craftsman.
And then I spot a flash of genius. Someone has made a tool anyone who has ever spray painted something wants. A motorised can shaker.
Who hasn't read the instruction on the side of the paint can which say something along the lines of "Shake the can vigorously for two minutes after you hear the sound of the ball bearing moving."
And who hasn't shaken the can for a bit, heard said ball bearing move, given it another half-dozen shakes and then decided that is enough.
If only I had one of these devices, my paint would always be properly mixed!
Incidentally, does anyone remember the ACME device that you used to be able to buy to shake Humbrol paint tinlets? I'd like one of those as well.
Elsewhere, there were a number of unusual designs. If you recall the famous photo of LMS diesel shunters lined up outside the works, you might know that one of them wasn't a diesel. It was a double Sentinal (Update: That should be Sentinel-Doble - see the comments). Look what I found on display:
For some reason it was on a turntable running at 78rpm (ask your parents, kids) which made photography difficult. I found some construction photos here though.
A few feet away, a proposed LNER design for a diesel that would be based on a surplus Newport Bo-Bo electric locos. Gresley was behind it apparently and the project only died when the engine supplier got cold feet over the output required from his equipment.
Finally, you find an experimental bevelled gear. I can't find anything about this one on the web but would be fascinated to know more:
Finally? Well, OK, then how about a real, working GT3:
Quite a selection. I know weird prototypes are pretty popular among the RTR model railway community, but it takes real commitment to build one of these. It's not like you can get your hands on any castings, you're building it from raw metal or nothing.
More pictures from the Midlands Model Engineering Exhibition 2012.