Are Model Shows Worth Visiting?

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Are Model Shows Worth Visiting?

Postby glencairn » Mon May 21, 2018 8:55 pm

Having been to a couple of Model Railway Shows recently, I have thought some of the exhibitors do not wish to run any trains. There is a growing number who just stand around chatting amongst themselves oblivious to the paying public.

Some exhibitors think that by having a number of rakes of trains in the fiddle yard and running the same two trains continuously all day is 'great'. NO it isn't.

Some exhibitors think that a square inch of scenery is all that is needed for the paying public to 'drool over'. Well it is not.

Lets see some action on the layouts otherwise Joe Public will stop visiting and the Shows will die.

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Re: Are Model Shows Worth Visiting?

Postby mahoganydog » Mon May 21, 2018 9:06 pm

Hi Glencairn,

Have to agree with you. I've patiently stood and watched what promised to be an interesting layout but nothing was running. I do enjoy the small O gauge layouts though, often shunting with hand from the sky uncoupling.

The other thing I often see is poorly maintained models lurching along often needing help. To me this shows a lack of preparation, I don't let mine behave like that.

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Re: Are Model Shows Worth Visiting?

Postby Emettman » Mon May 21, 2018 9:18 pm

At the worst they are object lessons in how not to behave at exhibitions, or even how not to design layouts for exhibitions.

The worst I've ever visited was at I********e.
Too many layouts leaving badly cramped gangway space.
Almost every layout was a GWR branch terminus, with the majority, especially the bigger, having little train movement.
And the layout operators almost without exception avoided eye-contact or conversation with the public.

This is for exhibition managers to get a grip on, with a briefing on what is expected as good practice, amongst other things.

Having said that, this is about the only show, large or small, that I felt wasn't worth the travel time.
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Re: Are Model Shows Worth Visiting?

Postby flying scotsman123 » Mon May 21, 2018 9:23 pm

I felt exactly the same and stopped going to exhibitions altogether about 8 years ago. Recently though I decided that seeing as there was a big exhibition near my student digs I ought to go along, and I was pleasantly surprised, it seems some are better than others. This was the BRM Doncaster one, so it seems reasonable to assume the BRM organised ones might be at the better end of the scale.
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Re: Are Model Shows Worth Visiting?

Postby Mountain » Mon May 21, 2018 10:01 pm

They are worth visiting.
For me there are excellent layouts and good layouts with a few not so entertaining ones. Strangely, some of the not so entertaining layouts are the ones which look excellent in the magazines but less so at an exhibition. This isn't to say the builders have not worked hard on them, as they are often works of art.
What makes a good layout? One is movement. We have a hobby with working model (Or sometimes toy) trains here, so they have to be seen running!
Secondly, so things dont get boring, a fairly regular change of what is running.
Thirdly, some interesting scenery or an interesting setting.

Some things that I dont like the sound of. There have been suggestions that all those who exhibit their layouts must wear suits and look professional. We all come from different backgrounds. If this is a hard and fast rule, I won't want to attend either as a customer or a layout exhibitor.
Another suggestion in the modelling press is that no one should exhibit without having a timetable showing what is running. I have to say to the man who suggested this to get a life! While there is certainly nothing wrong with fixed timetable, to suggest that only layouts which have this feature are "Professional" and that those that dont run to fixed timetables should not be exhibiting (Which this article suggested) means that most of the really delightful and entertaining layouts won't be turning up at exhibitions.

What makes a good layout for exhibition? Something that is viewable for the young and old. Something that is a joy to watch where the ones exhibiting are having fun and the public will enjoy! I saw one GWR layout that was at head height. It was also operated from the front. It was aa fully enclosed layout with a built in lighting etc. It was operated by a model railway club. The problem I had was that I went to look at it, but the operators were chatting so it couldn't be seen. They then went to lunch leaving a junior operator. (He was in his late teens to early 20's. Now as the loco was coming into view, his head followed the loco and he wouldn't chat to me when I said "Hello" etc... So I couldn't see the train! It was impossible as he had his back turned to republic. A very bad design for exhibition use! So dont set a layout too high.
I may have said another "Dont" in the past. One man was operating a real life timetable that was not speed up. Worse still, his model was of a small branch line which only had a few trains pass a day! When I watched and waited for ages, and others wanting to se trains came and went, I asked when will he run a train. When he said to come back in 2 hours and so many minutes (I think it was 2 hrs 45 minutes) time, I almost thought he was joking, but he wasn't! Crazy eh?

Now for the really good ones I've seen and remember. One was a H0 gauge USA Wild West based model railway I saw at an exhibition at Aberaeron over a decade ago. The operators were really having fun and so were we watching it! It didnt fail to have an audience, just because they were having so much fun sending trains back and fore to each other! It was an end to end layout of about 20ft-25 ft long.
Another I saw recently. It was an 0-14 layout. Everything, or almost everything had been scratchbuilt. Trains trundled along. It was a real pleasure to view even though part of it wasn't quite finished. Every direction I looked had me ask "How did you make this" and "How did you make that!" I was surprised it didnt win best in show. I remember seeing some excellent fences made with handmade barbed wire!

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Re: Are Model Shows Worth Visiting?

Postby Ex-Pat » Mon May 21, 2018 11:42 pm

There are very few shows in Ireland so I have to fly to Warley and Glasgow each year, although last year I got to Wycrail at High Wycombe as well.

The first 2 shows are of course large enough to swiftly move on to another layout if a particular layout is experiencing problems. I think we have to accept that faults can occur at any time, but I agree it is certainly annoying when it is obvious that idle chit-chat has nothing to do with any fault preventing trains from running.

The Wycrail show gave me no cause for complaint and it was an enjoyable change.

You can of course always leave feedback with the organizers (if you aren't brassed off enough to directly ask the operators why they aren't operating!).

Despite one or two "failures" I still consider it worthwhile visiting shows - particularly if there is a good trade presence (not many model shops in Ireland either!).

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Re: Are Model Shows Worth Visiting?

Postby Paul-H » Tue May 22, 2018 7:14 am

One thing I don't understand is why anyone would think it's ok to show a seriously unfinished layout at a show, been to quite a few shows this year and seen quite few layouts with little more than track layed and a few buildings randomly placed.

Mind you even they were not as disappointing as the one I went to last weekend, advertised as having 20 layouts, when 5 of them were tiny suitecase layouts from the same exhibitor. Most disappointing.


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Re: Are Model Shows Worth Visiting?

Postby Richard Lee » Tue May 22, 2018 7:27 am

Whenever I visit the relatives in the UK about once a year, I try and get a visit to a show in. This helps me get little things like paints and so on without having to worry about international postage. It also gives me a chance to see layouts that I may have become aware of from Internet forums. Last year I also got to see the 1/16 narrow gauge live steam radio controlled locomotives from such firms as Roundhouse that I had seen on YouTube. If I still lived in the UK I would probably try to get to about 2 or 3 per year.

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Re: Are Model Shows Worth Visiting?

Postby b308 » Tue May 22, 2018 8:22 am

Paul-H wrote:One thing I don't understand is why anyone would think it's ok to show a seriously unfinished layout at a show, been to quite a few shows this year and seen quite few layouts with little more than track layed and a few buildings randomly placed.

To demonstrate how a layout is constructed, that's why it's OK... As long as there's not more than one in that state I don't see a problem, not everyone who visits is an expert and they can gain a lot be seeing a layout in it's "bare" state...

I agree with Mountain, it is worth visiting exhibitions, though for those who want running I'd suggest that for those of us who operate single or double manned to operate and chat to you at the same time can prove a bit of a disaster sometimes! ;) If you have half a dozen operators though there should always be something on the move...

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Re: Are Model Shows Worth Visiting?

Postby Bigmet » Tue May 22, 2018 8:37 am

flying scotsman123 wrote:... it seems some are better than others...

And how. My regular local show which I try to attend is the CMRA event in January (long held in St Albans, the last two years at the Gordon Craig Centre, St Evenage). Never fails to please. But doing it on this scale is a major effort in event management, and needs experience and reputation - however it may have been gained - of the 'how to' of attracting suitable exhibitors and trade and using the exhibition space.

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Re: Are Model Shows Worth Visiting?

Postby alex3410 » Tue May 22, 2018 9:35 am

You will get to know which ones local to you are worth going to, the one in my town is OK but the main reason i go each year is its 5 minutes down the road :lol:

The next nearest one (15-20 minute drive) is naff, its expensive to get in for the size of it & the last 3 times its had nothing of interest so i wont be bothering again.

The next nearest one again is fantastic and well worth the 45 minute drive each year, just goes to show you have to give them a try.

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Re: Are Model Shows Worth Visiting?

Postby b308 » Tue May 22, 2018 11:02 am

Of course you could always have a look on the UKModelshops website which will give you details in most cases of what to expect to see.

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Re: Are Model Shows Worth Visiting?

Postby Scrat » Tue May 22, 2018 12:35 pm

What annoys me are "Stupid" layouts and modes of operation:
-circle with train racing around without stopping anywhere
-board with houses set on it without roads or any other scenery
-huuuuuuge station building beside a "station" with only one platform
-Electric locos running under the wires with pantographs down
-Shunting loco hauling an express on the mainline
-Express loco hauling a coal train
-Rake of coaches (same type, same manufacturer) differing in buffer height by about 5mm (in 00 gauge)
-Trains stopping in the fraction of a second (concussions for everyone on board)
-Trains giong to and fro on a single line, reversing direvtly without stopping or even slowing down first.
-trains mixed in era and area, e. g. German 52K, short smoke deflectors, bathtub tender hauling the Royal Scot.
Most people with no railway/modelling background just see something running. We need a bit more

I do not need to see that a Pug can travel at HST pace. Rather the opposite.
How slow can a HST set creep into the station and stop at the platform?
How slow can a shunter go?

However there are many good layouts about.
Two years ago at Cologne exhibition I spent much time watching an 0-gauge layout of a depot.
Lots of locos shunting slowly and precisely.
Another layout had beautiful scenery and just one line. Only trains from that era and area were run.
Not the usual mixture of steam, electric, anything the manufacturer has in stock.

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Re: Are Model Shows Worth Visiting?

Postby End2end » Tue May 22, 2018 12:49 pm

I think so yes, although I havent visited the large model shows like Warley et al. I tend to go to local or club exhibitions like Crawley MRC's or down to Gaugemaster for thier annual exhibition.
A lot of what I photograph whilst there is for inspiration and great ideas I can take "onboard" and I do like to see the layouts in the flesh.
I agree though that something needs to be running and height can be a problem.

On the other side, permenant layouts can be just as dissapointing. Mevagissey model railway looks like it's had a nuclear winter dumped upon it since my last visit and yet they want £4.50 to walk round in a circle. Such a shame as theres lots of interesting cameos, moving items and buttons to press to activate things....if you can see through the dust. :( God only knows how they keep the track clean?
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Re: Are Model Shows Worth Visiting?

Postby Lancastrian » Tue May 22, 2018 1:47 pm

I just don't go to any anymore, maybe it's me getting older but there just doesn't seem much to interest me. The local ones that I used to class amongst the best seem to be slowly dying a death
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