Always an excellent show, this year there was a special reason to visit, LWMRS exhibition layout Walford Town's final public appearance.
I remember Walford first being built back in the 1980s. At the time the club lived in a damp basement at the top end of Leamington Spa. The front room was home to the magazine collection and the back less salubrious (no carpet) room was for layout building. After finishing a members layout (Macduff) the group decided to have a go at a club EM project.
As I recall, Ian Futers made most of the PCB track but after this the group was fairly fluid. Eventually the model was completed by a team who had no interest in diesels or the current scene.
Despite this, the model was completed to a high standard. So high that it still stands perfectly happily with models a quarter of a century younger. This was despite, or perhaps because, there wasn't today's high quality RTR. Everything you see on the layout is well detailed using etched and cast parts, most of which are still available.
My favourite detail has always been right on the front of the model, a couple of broken fence posts.
Most people won't spot them, but I love the way the concrete has broken away exposing the steel bars in the centre. A well modelled detail based on careful observation.
Moving on, while the other layouts were really good, the one that caught my eye was Gweek North Quay.
This O16.5 model is full of atmosphere. Everything is modelled to a consistent high standard, but it's not squeaky clean as many finescale layouts can be. That is, there is life in the modelling.
Judging by the numbers in front of the model, I wasn't the only one to appreciate it.
While the museum conference centre is a little bit of a maze, the cafe is excellent. Lunch was some very fresh sandwiches accompanied by delicious cherry and coconut sponge cake.
Had I now planned to eat in the evening,£7.50s worth of boeuf bourguignon might have been the way I'd gone as it also looked rather good. Not badly priced either compared to pub meals.
Trade was good although I confess to not spending much. There was a lot of chatting though and I did pick up some goodies for future projects, so a worthwhile visit.
Only one complaint. I bought advanced tickets (actually wristbands) and it seems that these don't entitle you to take away one of the old cars found underneath the exhibition. I'm sure I'd have been doing them a favour as a nice new one could surely have been put in the space. That Jaguar XK120 would look lovely on my drive...
More photos on Flickr.