Sunday, February 08, 2015
New products at the NEC Spring Fair
Last week, I took a quick train ride to the NEC for the Spring Fair. This is a vast event where people who manufacture "stuff" promote their products to retailers. If you wan to know what you'll be buying for Christmas in a few months time - it's probably in here.
My mission was simple, grab some photos of Oxford Rail's new PO wagon for MREmag. I know it's "only" a wagon but as the first product from a new manufacturer it's especially interesting and there has been a lot of talk on-line about it.
Anyway, with this accomplished, I had a quick wander. With 6 halls to chose from, I wasn't going to try to see it all but it's always interesting to see what else is around in case there is anything train or boat related that I can report on for one of the publications I contribute to.
One very interesting supplier wasn't in the toys section (Home to Bachmann, Oxford Rail and the monster truck above) but in the hall that should be called "Christmas Hell".
Walking in to this hall, I was greeted with vast displays of animatronic Santa's, snowmen and gonks. It's enough to make you feel festive in February.
OK, maybe not.
Anyway, one stand sold little model villages with festive houses you could sit on snowy bases and populate with roughly 1/32nd figures that look like they could have fallen out of an unholy coupling between a Charles Dickens novel and 1950s festive movie.
While the buildings and people aren't any use, there is a range of scenic products including scatter, moss, wood, simulated coal etc. that look just like the stuff we use.
Chatting to the stand staff, the big advantage was that they are cheap. Really cheap. Pot of coal that would cost over a fiver at a model railway show for 2 quid. Bag of rough scatter a similar price.
You can read up on the range at the MyVillage website. If you want to buy, apparently the stuff will be on sale in your local garden centre.