Monday, January 14, 2008

St Albans Model Railway Exhibition

7mm Shay
Originally uploaded by Phil_Parker.

What a cracking show !

First, Flockburgh went very well. All the stock behaved itself with no real problems. Obviously I’m not going to claim a complete lack of derailments or stalling locomotives, but those were very few and far between. Generally everything was good. Considering the grief that accompanied the building of this model, that is fantastic.

The scenic extension made a huge difference to the model. As you can see from Saturday’s picture, the curved end to the quayside really helps complete the scene. For such a short section of scenery it received a disproportionate amount of attention. Since the layout has been on the exhibition circuit for a while, many people we looking for a second time. Although it’s not done that many shows, 3mm Society members often make a real effort to get out and see the few models in the scale – exhibition mangers please note !

Anyway, we spent quite a long while explaining the rationale behind the model and the methods used to achieve it. Quite a few people surreptitiously poked the water to see if it was wet too !

The show was very busy on Saturday and pretty full on Sunday too. There was a lot of chat about modelling something that is rare with enthusiast as they often prefer not to ask questions.

The others railway layouts were superb too. Gordon & Maggie Gravett showed their French narrow gauge line for the first time. Dirty track troubled the model both days, something the St Albans hall is notorious for. The modelling couldn’t be faulted though. I loved the scene around the river. It’s a definite case of, “I wish I could do that”. Mind you ,there were echoes of their previous railway layouts in there, the little shops looked very similar (in spirit) to those seen on Ditchling Green years ago.

Next to us was a demo of 7mm scale narrow gauge American railway modelling. The picture shows the model I most wanted take home with me – a brass Shay. Costing around be around the £1000 mark I won’t be rushing…

You can watch it on video here.

Outside the show, our accommodation was lovely. You stop in the Ardmore Hotel – comfy and with a reasonable breakfast. They were accommodating enough to do this early so we could get to the show comfortably. With the hotel being a short walk from the venue, and the venue being in the middle of town, we didn’t have to drive at all on Saturday meaning a pleasant lunchtime pint. Food was served in the pub next door. They struggled a bit but as we were on two big tables, this just gave us all time to meat old friends and make new ones, so much better than eating behind layouts.

A good weekend.

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