A new show in the calendar? Are those Daventonians mad? Surely there are more than enough toy train shows without another one?
It seems not.
Anyway, after getting a little lost on the way into the town, we turned up at the school where the show was being held after lunch. There's no need to go first thing in the morning as it's much quieter in the afternoon.
The show is held in 3 halls, no classrooms thank goodness. First thing we see, an excellent display of model boats! Some really fine models, especially the scratchbuilt Clyde Puffer. Well displayed with clear information on each, this was an excellent show. Maybe lost on railway modellers but we enjoyed it.
All the halls held excellent layouts - something that will dismay people who look down on local events. I could see at least 5 of the layouts fitting in well in any company and have pointed a magazine photographer at some of them as they really deserve a wider audience.
Starting small, we had Roneat, a tiny N gauge layout that easily comes under the banner of "inspirational because everyone has the space for it" as well as being good enough quality that everyone (OK, mostly everyone, not the people who never build anything) would be proud to have built it. A small Scottish station with shunting is so unlike most 2mm stuff we see, it stands out for this alone.
Despite the amusing name, "Fryupdale" is a small LNER station beautifully modelled and with a very impressive painted fascia panel. In fact as a display it was a treat.
None of the buildings could count as conventional, in a way that tells that the owners have looked at real buildings and then produced miniatures from scratch.
Pride of place went to a Sentinal Railcar of a type that reminded me I've always fancied scratchbuilding one.
A set of well-modelled coal drops completed the scene. Again, these fitted in well in a way that made me think someone knew the real thing in depth. This wasn't a case of having bought a set of Skaledale drops and then looking for an excuse to stick them on the train set.
Backing on to this was Burton Bradstock. Whilst a longer scenic display and making much use of kits built structures, there was still a lot of "railway" about it.
The kick-back private siding was my favorite feature but the overall impression worked well for me. It also looked like the sort of layout you could enjoy operating for a long period. Well, as long as 4mm scale 3-link couplings don't drive you mad!
For those with a broader outlook, the On30 module display was full of top-nothing modelling. American modellers seem to get the hang of dusty and rocky scenes in a way we Brits don't
Perhaps it's because you don't have a choice and we very rarely need to model a desert, but when you see it done well, I for one appreciate it.
Trade was also very impressive. A couple of good RTR sellers, Merican Models, Blackham Transfers, a good bookseller and even loco stock boxes. Not bad for a first event!
Finally, the catering.
Just so I had something to write about, cake in chocolate and lemon flavours was purchased and I am happy to report tasted lovely. Moist, not too sweet and just the right portion size. It was so good, we took 4 more slices home...
All in all, an unexpectedly good show. In a year or so, I expect to be boring people with tales of seeing some popular layouts before they appeared at the big events.
More photos on Flickr