Nottingham show wasn't on my calendar this year but when BRM acquired a new editor and he expressed a desire to go along, I offered to chaperone him.
Andy isn't from our slightly weird world, he come from among other things, the world of video games. Possibly the only group who might be considered "odder" than railway enthusiasts.To BRM, he brings skills at making excellent publications. For railway modelling info, he has a gallant team, including me, who are supposed to know about this stuff.
This doesn't mean he isn't keen to learn and the visit to Nottingham was part of this.
We arrived to a car park bursting at the seams. With incredible good fortune we bagged the last space as someone left. Had we ended up on the park'n'ride, arrival would have been later as the bus running the service sprang a fuel leak just as the show opened and there was a delay while a second was summoned.
Inside was quieter than I expected, but mostly because of bus issues. It allowed me to introduce my new boss to Ian Futers behind his layout Lochty Road. If you need a first exhibitor to meet, Ian is a pretty good bet as he's been doing this for years.
Part of the plan was to chat to the trade and for this I managed to arrange an introduction to John and Pat at Greenscene
. Here Andy had his first go at modelling with a tutorial on static grassing. The results were good so I'll leave him those bits on the layout.
To be fair, I assume it went OK. I was distracted by the Gee De
e stand opposite who had the new Airfix Quickbuild VW camper
on sale. When I stopped trying to buy (no card machine so cash was mentally reserved) a fuzzy green patch was in evidence and I took a picture.
We carried on around the hall in this way - N Brass
, Dart Castings
, Ten Commandments
, Cheltenham Model Centre
- all were happy to meet the new man and fill him in on the way they see the hobby.
It was also a first look at layouts in the flesh. He's been out to a couple of home models but now we had a huge variety of exhibition versions. There was a lot of N gauge on show and one favourite was Mills Bridge.
Very much under construction, they have managed to build in a proper northern haze through clever colouring. A roundy-roundy, once circuit is 2mm finescale, the other N gauge. Don't think I've ever seen this before.
Much smaller, but very inspiring was the OO Ashbourne Midland.
This is MY sort of layout. 6ft long but with plenty of operating potential. I could imagine myself enjoying building this a lot and it wouldn't be out of reach for a moderately keen beginner. Normally operated from the front, at shows, the owner stands behind in the conventional manner.
In O gauge, there was some ingenious wagon loading.
And if I hadn't left my programme in Andy's car (Hint: Don't leave it in you back pocket or it falls out on the way back to the station) I'd give you a name for the model. There was a nice Ford Railbus on it too.
One thing Andy had to learn is that the most important feature in any show is the catering. More specifically, the cake.
And that I have to take photos of the cakes or you lot get upset.
Despite being a leisure centre, food was pretty good. A cheese and tomato baguette with Diet Coke and red velvet cake for under a fiver. Not to be moaned about.
The other exciting feature of any show is of course, the second hand stall. Again, there were looks of concern when I pounced upon an absolute bargain - a Zero One controller, slave and two chips.
All for £2!
I'd have bought the Airfix GMR version for £3 as well if I hadn't been worried about carrying them both home on the train. All the DCC would can want for a fiver? Who says this stuff is expensive?
All in all, a good day out. Since he was still at work a few days later when I went in for a meeting, Andy wasn't scared off so perhaps we are less odd than we think?
Lots more photos over on Flickr.