Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Aberdeen Model Railway Club Exhibition 2011

It has been several years since I attended one of AMRC’s exhibitions. They seem to have changed venues a couple of time and I lost track of them.

Fortunately a friend of mine, Jeff, let me know that this exhibition was coming along and I managed to slot it into my busy social calendar!

I am not particularly enthusiastic about the whole model train hobby, however I am a pretty much interested in looking at any model making endeavours and ,if nothing else, you can usually expect to see some high quality terrain! I had the added bonus this year, that I took my son along, and he is developing a keen interest in all things mechanical/engineering based, so it was great to see his fascination with all the train layouts (it probably means we will have to get a train set in the near future…).

OK, so lets have a look at some of the photos I took!

First off as we entered the exhibition hall we were greeted by this mountainous display. A really nice look to it, although I would have preferred it if it hadn’t been quite so straight. What would have really made it for me would have been if they had put a small side valley, cut by a small river or steam, somewhere along it’s length, this would have needed a small bridge for the track to cross as well. Still, a very eye catching display!


This layout has much more of an industrial feel to it. Lots of “rust and dust”. There were some nice touches that can’t be seen on the photos, like the flicker of a welding torch in one of the engine sheds.



Moving along, we have a nice display, that I think was set somewhere in Germany or Austria (Note to self: I should photograph the signs for these tables as well). A lovely mix of town and countryside, with some very nice model building. I could quite happily have have played a Flames of War scenario over this layout!


This was one of my favourite layouts. It was actually a commercial display by the company ( selling the kit on the layout. This is reputedly the smallest scale model railway commercially available, and at 1:450, I can quite believe it! I was really taken with it, and if we do decide to invest in a train set in the near future I may well be looking do it in this scale. You can just do so much on a very small table…


The problem I find with a lot of these club displays, is their linear nature. I suppose as a wargamer, I am used to seeing rectangular tables that get quite sizable at shows. These long thin layouts do disappoint me quite a bit. These two photos for example, show some lovely work on a couple of bridges crossing a small river. Really well executed, but when the display is only around 400mm deep (at that point), the whole effect is pretty much wasted.


Here is another very linear display, however, I did like this one, if for nothing else, it’s shear size and attention to detail were worth seeing.



This section of a display caught my attention for it’s shear craziness. I don’t know if it is based on an actual bridge (somehow I doubt it), but even if it is, it looks like it is the centre piece from a Wily Coyote or Wacky Races cartoon…


Looking back at the photos I took, I must have a thing about bridges, maybe they were just the most interesting features, to a non-railway modeller… anyway here is another one!


Both my son and I were very taken by this wintery display. In some respect, it was similar to the one in the first photo, however it had far more variety in the design of the landscape, even under the layer of snow…


As well as the railway modelling, there were a few other genres on display, here we have some Meccano. I  find Meccano fiddly and, frankly, frustrating. So I am always impressed when I see well made and “finished” Meccano models.


I took a couple of photos of this windmill, as I am in the middle of designing a laser cut windmill kit at the moment. It will be very similar to this one, appearance-wise, although I am initially making it at the 25/28mm scale (this one is 1/72).


I was pleased to see that Aberdeen Wargames Club put on their Battle of Harlaw game. I have missed seeing it a couple of times and having heard about it from Sholto Humphries of Scheltrum Miniatures (who is a member of the club), I had been wanting to see it for a while.


One of the things I was most impressed with was that a couple of the displays let kids have ago at driving the trains. My son had a great time driving this large scale set around a circuit.


One of the things that usually disappoints me with these model railway exhibitions is the amount to trouble some of the displays have getting their trains to run. There was plenty of that again today. This pair of crane was a good example, embarrassingly enough for the chap running it, as he had quite an audience of kids just waiting to see it pick up the container and place it on the train. He did get it to work eventually, but I wouldn’t call it smooth by any stretch…


Finally, just before we left, my son got his second go at driving a train. This time a much smaller scale, but with a lot more to do. He drove the train out of a siding, coupled up with a carriage, drove it about a bit, and finally decoupled it. I think this one really made the show for him…


So, to sum up, I almost didn’t bother attending the exhibition this year, and only went along after my son pleaded with me to take him. We ended up having a great couple of hours. Well worth a visit.

I have the TARGE Wargames Show in Kirriemuir in just over a week and a half, my calendar is so full at the moment!

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