Odd name for a model railway show isn't it?
When I saw it on the list of potential titles for the first Hornby Magazine show in Warwickshire, I wasn't keen to put it mildly. Since then though, it's grown on me. Now I really like it. There is a certain "Barnum & Bailey" feel - we are putting on a show to entertain you.
Anyway, this was to be my last hurrah with the magazine and so I volunteered not just to bring Clayhanger Yard along, but to help mark the floor out as as well. The Heritage Motor Centre is an odd-shaped place, but as it turned out, thanks partly to some handily printed carpet, the process went very well.
The show itself was, I am told, very good. Truth is, I spent both days behind the layout talking. An awful lot of talking. I mean some rally long sessions where I explained some of the Parker's Guide models on show as well as how we'd built the layout.
Visitors came from far and wide. I spoke to people from Australia who had followed the Clayhanger articles in the magazine. A gent from the USA who follows this blog (Hello) and someone from Canada who takes photos for a UK kitmaker. Quite a cosmopolitan hobby really!
I did manage a quick walk around on Sunday afternoon. The layout quality was higher than any comparable show of its size. You'd expect this sort of selection at the NEC but there you have so much to see, time with each exhibit is limited.
As far as the rest of the show went, well, numbers were really good. The layout of the venue worked OK although as I mentioned it's a really funny shape so a couple of years practise will be required to make best use of it. The driver from A-Line coaches decided to take his lunch when he should have been driving the shuttle bus and not when there was a break for eating. That's the sort of thing that makes organisers wonder why they bother...
There were a few complains about the place being a maze but I think this was caused by the layout of the museum. With the downstairs full of cars to see, the route to the escalators to the show wasn't as obvious as it should be - the museum signage isn't intended to get you into the conference centre after all. I was collared by a couple with a baby buggy who had been up in one lift which took them to a gallery not full of model railways. It took me a few minutes to work out there were two lifts and they wanted the one that wasn't obvious. Less obvious than me wearing a branded shirt anyway.
I did wonder if the cars would delay the visitors. They didn't. The first were up in the show on the dot of 10am when we opened. Never mind, I'm sure they took a look on the way out. I bet I wasn't the only one who wanted to try to take his train set home in the DB5 near the entrance. Of course, the prototype TR7 fastback would have been much more practical but they wouldn't let me borrow that either.
Oh, and cake. There was some on sale, a very nice Belgian bun thing. Not too sweet or large so better than most really. If I'd spotted it on the first day, I could have tried the ginger cake too as that looked pretty good. Never, mind, I'll be a punter next year so my time is my own. Looking forward to it already.
Photos on Flickr