Saturday, June 07, 2014

DEMU 2014

The Diesel & Electric Modellers United show is a new one for me. I've been to the venue (Town Hall, Burton on Trent) before but not for oily boxes. Anyway, armed with a shopping list, I headed north on the train. Apart from a noisy family who got off at Tamworth for Thomas Land, it was a nice trip. Can't blame the kids for bouncing off the walls I suppose - they were off to Thomas Land - a world full of trains, a bit like the one I was heading for!

Anyway, the Town Hall is 2 mins walk from the station and I was soon in the main hall surrounded by layouts and lots of people. Saturday morning certainly saw a descent attendance. The show is a specialist event but open to the public. £8 for non-members to get in didn't seem unreasonable as the free programme showed there was plenty to see.

Main Hall

After A quick stop off at Black Country Blues to anoy Mr York, I worked my way around the venue. Starting with the shopping list I managed to pick up some bits from D&E videos although I did have to explain what a "Black Beetle" drive unit was until Charlie turned up to help his assistant. Plainly, he needs to invest more in staff training...

Trade wise, I did pretty well with some excellent tools and bits plus a very cheap N gauge loco kit for a future project. What I wanted though, was the O gauge Class 01 diesel on Judith Edge's stand. £100 looked like a bargain as the built up model looked superb in the brass. Very nearly added something to the kit stash there.

Brighton EastLayouts were unifromly excellent. OK, you have to like diesels and electrics but then the clue is in the name of the show. Specialist shows seem to attract quality modelling as the builders are being judged by their peers.

I liked Brighton East a lot, not because of the trains but the scenery. The station building an undergrowth really caught my eye. It looked just like those slightly forgotten areas of a modern station - not an easy trick to pull off. I'll be trying some of the techniques for future projects though.

Outwell village depot really appealed too. I've seen it before but this time the diesels were in charge. The track plan is a bit different and the scenes I've looked at in old photos have been really well replicated on the model.

One issue that seemed to affect a lot of the layouts was lighting, or the lack of it. The main space is a dark hall and so layout illumination is essential.

Some had got it but others needed a bit more work. A cracking scrapyard layout had lights at the rear of the scenic section illuminating the back of the models and throwing our side into shadow. It wasn't the only one not to realise you needs lots of light and it needs to be at the front or even in front of the model. Those in side rooms were probably better off in this respect, although I prefer the dark hall as it showcases models better.

Working around the venue is a bit of a maze too but it's not really a problem as there were plenty of signs as well as a plan in the programme. I'm pretty sure I found everything. Half a day well spent.

Apart from, and regular readers will be wondering about this, the cake. Quite frankly this was disappointing. While bacon butties were on offer, the cake looked mediocre pre-packed stuff and I left it alone and scoffed some found behind BCB instead. Still, while a major issue, it didn't detract too much from the rest of the show. Well, not too much anyway.

Never mind, next year it's a two venue event with displays at the National Brewery Centre. If I can't have cake, I'll be looking forward to quality beer!

Photos from the show on Flickr.

Yellow Sentinel


neil whitehead said...

Maybe one of your female followers could make make you a back-up cake to take with you or you could fettle one yourself using one of the cake kits available at all good supermarkets, to save disapointment.

Phil Parker said...

No time for that. I'm spending all my hours on cake based forums complaining about the quality of RTR cake and moaning that the manufacturers won't make EXACTLY the sort of cake I want.

Anonymous said...

Could be a lot worse.

Some people on model railway forums don't just moan about the subject - and quality - of RTR models.

Oh no - they also moan about the price if anyone actually manages to produce something to their exact(ing) specification.

Personally, I'd rather do something else with my time - like moan about the temperature at which a local hostelry is serving lager ... .

Anonymous said...

I don't know if it's just me, but venues can sometimes add something to shows. Judging by the balcony shot, that place appears to be full of character.

I actually find that shot interesting for other reasons - like the array of flood and spot lights hanging from the ceiling - an array that it sounds like some people might have been hoping to use to light their layouts.

Also noticeable is the magazine publisher's stand - instantly recognizable by a display board - and some guy(s) in uniform dark, short sleeved, polo shirt, complete with magazine masthead logo.

It's every bit as much a cliche as shops on model railway layouts - with names based around painfully predictable puns.

Every bit as much of a cliche as "identikit" trade show stands at the NEC - standardized "shells" - manned by guys in tacky suits, with even tackier ties, complete with the sort of smile that instantly says "Carcharodon carcharias".

Obviously, I'm not suggesting for one second that there's anything dishonest, or disreputable, about companies at tradeshows - far from it.

I'm certain that most are OK - and I'd have no problem about doing business with most of them.

All I'm saying is that, for me, a certain visual style has become synonymous with the sort of "in your face", "hard selling", which can create a barrier to forging a, trust based, business relationship.

Anyway, rant over.

From what you've said - and from your photos - I get the impression that this was an excellent show, at the sort of venue I'd enjoy visiting.

The only thing that worries me is that some people don't appear to be wearing backpacks - that will never do.

Phil Parker said...

It was an excellent show and the venue is full of character.

If anyone expects lights to be available ti illuminate their layout then they will be disapointed. Remember, these layouts travel up and down the country to events, they weren't just built for this one so they ought to expect variable lighting. Even if the lights shown hanging from the ceiling were available - directing them at the models would require a scafolding tower to set them up and consequential cost.

As for the magazine guy in a branded polo shirt - is it better that no-one can identify him because he blends into the crowd?

Anonymous said...

Fair comment.

Also no problem about the branded polo shirt - merely an observation that the things have become something of a cliche.