This weekend was Hull MRS’ annual exhibition – the East Yorkshire Area Group had been ‘volunteered’ for the club second hand stand. Not ideal for us as we were very busy indeed and didn’t see much of the show on the Saturday – I didn’t get a chance until the last fifteen minutes before closure! But the Sunday allowed a little extra time.
One of my favourite layouts this weekend was Duncrieve Sidings, a contemporary layout in EM. It’s a very interesting concept, one which I first saw in Modelling the British Rail Era, which involves modelling just one end of a yard with an over bridge masking the ‘other’ end. It’s a great way to model ‘big’ trains in a small space; Duncrieve Sidings is just eight feet long. You see a loco bring its train to the end of the yard, uncouple and proceed to run round. Later on the wagons disappear in the other direction. The train is only two or three wagons long in this case but the way it is presented you don’t notice it and it’s utterly convincing.
Although based in Scotland parts of it reminded me of areas around Healy Mills and the trans-Pennine route areas – the rough waste ground reminded of areas around Scunthorpe where land shows the scars of past glories. The van making its way over the ground is typical of many inhospitable access points! A really lovely layout which I think is brilliantly observed and very well presented.
Easington Lane is always a pleasure to see – the modelling is of a very high standard. The layout is wonderfully detailed and everything is toned down and weathered so it all works as one. I was quite happy just looking at the layout itself between trains! But the stock is superb – all the modelling within the group is of a very high standard – Pete Johnson’s work, in particular, is just amazing.
One delightful small layout which appeared was Gordon Luck's Fish Dock Road which is a lovely little shunting puzzle in P4 based on Grimsby Docks. Interestingly it was exhibited on a table – it normally lives on a shelf. The low height made it ideal for children and wheelchair users to see – many layouts can be rather difficult for some to see and layout height is a debate which could run and run, especially for exhibition layouts.
One exhibit which I enjoyed watching was 16mm Scale Association’s layout; live steam has a real fascination for many modellers, regardless of their interests. I always think a large scale garden railway would be great! I think something like the Ffestiniog Railway’s Prince at the head of a rake of slate wagons or a Welshpool & Llanfair loco on a goods train trundling around the garden on a summer’s evening would be very civilised!
Of course there were layouts from within Hull MRS, including Driffield and Crumley and Little Wickhill but I find I look at the visiting layouts far more as I’ve seen the club layouts on many occasions – though in the case of Crumley and Little Wickhill it’s always good to see it for the scenery alone!
I think the Hull show is one of the best small club shows in the country – maybe I’m biased? But just look at the standard of the exhibits I have highlighted here – pretty good I’m sure you’ll agree. These local shows as they do wonders for the hobby and offer something remarkably different from the big shows like Warley or the scale society shows like Scaleforum and I think it's important that modellers and enthusiasts support local shows like these.