- It's the show for P4 modellers
- Everyone wears tweed
- No one looks like they are enjoying themselves
- The merest mention of OO modelling will see you chased from the venue by grey-haired people wielding tweezers
Anyway, the last time I went to one was over 15 years ago and that was in Falkirk.
A move of venue from Leatherhead to Aylesbury in the same venue as Railex made a re-visit much more practical. Being handed a free ticket sealed the deal. Anyway, I hopped on a train and then the free shuttle bus service to the centre and grandly waved my ticket to those on the entrance.
First impressions were that it's like Railex but quieter. Trade, layouts demos (more of the later perhaps) but basically a normal model railway exhibition. No-one was wearing tweed either.
I made a quick circuit of the hall to get my bearings. The trade was certainly impressive. One RTR shifter, the excellent Cheltenham Model Centre, and loads of specialists. Hard core specialists who aren't afraid of etched metals or lead alloys. I was a happy man.
Layouts were pretty good also. I loved Midland Goods, not a lot happened but the modelling was first class and the design, with a warehouse you could see inside of, innovative.
Others were just as nice. Sadly, I can't remember names but there was a cracking run-down station with slowly decaying canopy.
My only moan would be a lack of barriers. It seems that this is trailed as a plus point. Something about removing the barriers with the layout builders. In my experience this just meant trying to see anything was a challenge thanks to middle aged men pressing themselves hard up against the baseboard fronts trying to absorb some P4 goodness. Only the less well viewed layouts offered a chance to look along the model without bodies in the way. A shame and something barriers keeping the punters a foot away would have fixed. I don't see them impeding chat - they don't for me.
People seemed to be enjoying themselves too, especially the Welsh guy and his crew in the corner. Communicating with either end of the layout was achieved by tapping the electrical trunking that formed the fascia to attract the attention of the other operator (both were at the front separated by the layout) and waving a board upon which was written a number. I'm assuming that this meant something and they weren't doing it to confuse us anyway.
Would I go again? Yes I would. It's worth it just for the trade. And I don't need to wear the scratchy trousers next time. I took quite a few pictures, not overall views but of some cracking little scenes seen on several layouts. This P4 thing isn't just about wheels you know...
Pictures from Scaleforum on Flickr