Today, as a guest of James Finnister, I went to the Spalding Model Engineering and Hobby Show.
I was thinking the Hobby bit might be a nose curler, but there was nothing of the kind there.
In fact there was a huge selection of model boats and a fair bit of model engineering. Most of the boats were very good, with model lifeboats VERY good. I just can't get wound up about model lifeboats! Surprisingly few warships, fortunately. Hovercraft, which is very unusual.
The Gauge 1 mob had their usual oval test track with beautifully built model locos, in steam. But they don't chuff. In fact they make no noise at all, less than an electric, which begs the obvious question......
Equipment was a bit sparse, but I suppose one mini mill from China looks pretty much the same as another and has just as much backlash in the screws, rendering it useless for serious purposes.
The 3D pushers were there too. One of them had a laser cut wooden framed machine! That's gonna be accurate, ain't it!? It sat producing perfectly useless truncated pyramids. His comment when I said about all the lined, stepped junk it inevitably produces was, "just put a load of filler on it", was so typical of the arrogance that these people have. When their ghastly machines can do what Modelu's machines can do I'll treat the 3D printers with some respect.
The price of raw materials is frightening. I bought some copper tube for a central flue and cross tubes for a boiler I want to build. Damn all really. £4-80!! I picked up a piece of nickel silver, 1mm, 3"x3"...£2-80. I put it back! Ye Gods, all this game is just so ridiculously expensive these days.
Once again, model flyers were infinitely friendlier and more pleasant than model boaters. Inviting me to far flung clubs I shall never see, but warmly encouraging. I wish they were not so expensive to join. Actually many model boat clubs are just as pricey, but I can put a model yacht on the river up the road and that's all it costs, nuttn, but to fly costs membership and insurance, as does model engineering.
Absent, from this model-fest, were model yachts, unfortunately as I was hoping to see how they're rigged, and slot racing. I mention this last as there is a new part of the Springfields complex which has installed a huge King slot track and which is flogging Scalextric and a lot else besides. Surely they should have been there with a stand. But what WAS there of a car nature and you won't see these many places, was round the pole cars with diesel, glow and petrol engines. I realised it was here in Linclonshire because a wee bit up the road is England's one and only tethered car track. Once upon a time, the land was dotted with them, but we're down to just one and that's in somebody's private garden. The guy had wanted a car, but couldn't afford the collectors' money asked for them now, so he made a furnace, made some casting boxes, melted some old car parts, made the patterns, made the moulds in foundry sand and cast the aluminium in the sand moulds of major model car parts. Then sanded and polished them until they looked like those in my copies of Model Car News from the '40s. A remarkable endeavour.
So, there we are. A fair attempt at a general model show. All old farts of course and like so many other hobbies it will all fall by the wayside when the current crop of practitioners die off or become incapable.
Thanks to James for a drive of his 7 1/4" gauge petrol/electric loco and to Issy for the ride to the show and back.
Day rounded off with tea and cake at the Fenland Aero Club nearby.