Spalding Model Show 2017

Sunday being St.George’s Day I set out on a quest to visit the Spalding Model Engineering and Hobby Show. Despite the best efforts of the dragon, in the form of the Highways England re-surfacing crew, I survived the considerable delay on the A16 and arrived at about 10:30. A quick cup of coffee in the restaurant and I was ready to take in the show.

Burrell Traction Engine
“Albert” Burrell Road Locomotive

Outside there was a very good turnout from the traction engine fraternity. I counted 18 engines in steam and a couple of static steam models being demonstrated. The Burrell road locomotive “Albert” pictured above was very nicely turned out, I am guessing 3″ scale, I didn’t see the owner/driver to talk to.

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This rather strange engine named “Aenigma” caught my eye. It certainly lives up to it’s name, looks like a cross between a portable engine and a traction engine. The cylinder block is at the wrong end with a chain drive to the rear wheels. It is vaguely reminiscent of the American Case engines but the wheels are English. The boiler seems very long and the wood cladding acentuates this. I cannot find any information on this engine as I was taking photos at lunch time and no one was about.

The display of boilers and stationary engines was interesting with plenty of signage to deter small boys, and the not so small, fingering hot bits. One of the engines was driving a selection of Mamod machine tools invoking boyhood memories of playing with a Mamod steam engine, though I never had that many workshop machines to drive. Plenty of info on the stand explaining the setup and how the boilers were made.

Having strolled around in the sunshine enjoying the engines outside it was time to go indoors and see the show. The Springfields Event Centre has two main halls and this was augmented at the weekend by a large marquee. Some 35 club displays and 20 odd trade stands were well laid out in the two halls, there was space to see the displays even with a good crowd in attendance.

Just to the left of the entrance into Hall 1 the Grimsby & Cleethorpes Model Engineering Society had a varied display from clocks to workshop tooling. The Atmospheric Beam Engine by M. Ashwith was being turned over by a small electric motor the spokes of the flywheel show a bit of motion blur in the photo. A slotting tool for the lathe by Phil Dunham looks to be a useful bit of kit it is displayed in front of a nice example of Suum Cuique a horizontal mill engine by S. Cooper.

Saracen's Head Junction Group
Saracen’s Head Junction Group

Just across the way from G&CMES were the Saracen’s Head Junction Group with an impressive display of locos and rolling stock. Some of the labels were a bit far away to read and I cannot find any trace of the group on the interweb!

Showmans Engine & Organ
Showmans Engine & Organ

In a slightly shady corner was Nick Gratton with his fine model of a showmans engine and fairground organ. The organ has a built in music player and was belting out some old fashioned fairground music.

Model boats were well represented at the show and the Moorhen Model Boat Club had a good display. The warship models were excellent and I singled out HMS Mystic by Peter Beattie, this is a fine model of an Algerine class minesweeper which the builders father sailed on. A nice touch was the photo and medals. Meanwhile out on the boating pond Motor Torpedo Boat (PT-109) was being put through her paces.

Out in the marquee along with the 3 Counties R/C Trucks the Grantham Light Armoured Division had a good static display of military vehicle models along with those being driven around a countryside diorama. The Panzer and crew were very well modelled. The Grantham group have only been up and running a short while, a very good display from them.

The Melton Mowbray Model Engineering Society had a quite large display covering everything from cannon to 4″ scale traction engine. Built by George Dear, the young members first model when only 9 years old, the muzzle loading cannon is based on a 17th century original. A very good effort, I wish I could do as well and I am a bit older than 9! The Standard 2 and tender in 7¼” gauge by Allan Boyle is a good example of loco building skills. The club has 3½”, 5″ and 7¼” tracks at their club site. The 3″ scale Rider-Ericsson pumping engine by Rudi Michetschlager is from Camden Miniature Steam Services Castings. The 4″ scale Burrell was a bit difficult to photo being surrounded on 3 sides but this semi-atmospheric shot gives an idea of the build quality by Peter Fairhurst.

The Lincoln & District Model Engineering Society had an interesting display of work in progress and nicely completed loco models. I noticed an LTD hot air engine and a couple of very nice beam engines on the stand. I presume the Display cover is Lincoln Green (Sorry! had to say that.)

Hall 2 was very badly lit, alright it was dark, I had difficulty with the photos but just about managed this of Len Cooper’s fairground organ on a Bedford lorry chassis. Len kindly turned the lights off for me but the photo just doesn’t look right without them and the flash photo I took didn’t really work either. However I played with my photo editor and I hope the outcome shows off Len’s model OK, it really is rather good. Len had plenty of other model vehicles, all scratch built, on display. Len told me that most of the bodywork on the models is wood (balsa) and then carefully sealed, primed and mutiple coated to get the desired finish. Also in the gloom of Hall 2 were a couple of traders demonstrating 3D printing which was interesting as I had never seen this close up before.

Bourne Stormers
Bourne Stormers

Model flying clubs were well represented with Bradney Model Flying Club, South Lincs Soarers and Bourne Stormers occupying one end of Hall 1. There were also flying displays helicopters and drones in the marquee.

Spare Wheel Carriage
Spare Wheel Carriage

A stalwart at many shows The Guild of Model Wheelwrights had one of their usual fine displays. The British Napoleonic Spare Wheel Carriage was at the back of the display but caught my eye. Model is by John Castle based on a surviving limber and 6pdr gun in a Copenhagen museum.

There were a number of displays outside in the garden at the rear of the Events Centre. The Chain Bridge Forge had a mobile forge set up giving demos and making small items for sale. Sleaford 4×4 R/C Car Club were showing off their vehicles over a quite challenging bit of terrain they had created. There was of course the boating pool where the R/C boats were being shown off including a submarine but I don’t think the pool was really deep enough for it to dive properly. Last but not least rides on the model railway. For more information and pictures visit the show website.

Whilst perhaps not as large as some shows there was plenty to see and the show is well worth a visit especially if you are a bit more local than me, a 180 mile round trip!

Midlands MEX 2016

Went to the Midlands Model Engineering Exhibition on Thursday. An uneventual and speedy journey meant I arrived just before 10:00 and the car park was already filling up. A quick cup of something that vaguely resembled coffee in the mezzanine restaurant and I was ready with the camera. It was quite busy and not always easy to get good photographs and the ropes around some of the stands kept getting in the way. (Click On An Image For A Larger View)

Triple Expansion Engine O.B. Bolton Design
Triple Expansion Engine

This would be my choice for a prize, a marine triple expansion engine to an O.B. Bolton design in 1/12 scale, owner is Brian Newbound. I think this is based on the casting set from Brunell Models. The construction series was in Model Engineer from August 1985. A very good looking engine but I don′t know who built this one.

Two 7¼” locomotives caught my eye. The first is a ⅓ full size model of Phillips and Rangeley Railroad No. 3. (George M Goodwin) This is a 2-6-0 tender engine built for the lumber trade. The original, 2 foot gauge engine, was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1891 works number 11706. This model has been professionally built by Cromar White for Bob Whitfield in 7¼” gauge. The engine is huge and will probably soon be seen on the Echills Wood Railway in Kingsbury Water Park.

A bit smaller but none the less impressive is this model of Charles an 0-4-0 saddle tank quarry locomotive, part of the City of Oxford Society of Model Engineers display. The original was built by the Hunslet Engine Company Ltd of Leeds in 1882, with a works number of 283. for the 1′ 10¾” gauge Penrhyn Railway to carry slate from the Bethesda quarry.

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Brooklands MEX 2016

The Model Engineer Exhibition moved to Brooklands Museum in Surrey this year after a short break. Set inside part of the old Brooklands motor racing circuit, the Museum celebrates the motor racing and aviation history of the area. Brooklands Circuit was the world’s first purpose-built motor racing circuit, built by local landowner Hugh Locke King in 1906. The circuit is 2¾ miles long with steeply banked curves and an extra ½ mile start / finish straight in front of the clubhouse. Much of the original concrete circuit remains but you wouldn′t want to race on it now, the surface is very rough and I doubt it was exactly smooth when it was new. (Click On An Image For A Larger View)

Part of the Old Brooklands Circuit
1. Part of the Old Brooklands Circuit

With both the museum exhibits and the exhibition there was plenty to see. The competition and loan models together with the club stands were based in the museum whilst the trade stands were in a large marquee. On-site catering was good and there was plenty of seating both in the restaurant and close to the models. There was also plenty of outside seating available once it stopped raining and dried out.

The traders area was well supported but some of the “usual” suppliers were noticeable by their absence. A view inside the marquee (2) showing Chester Tools stand, quite a bit smaller display than I have seen before. With the increase in on-line sales and increasing costs of attending a show I think this will become the norm for future exhibitions. I had a quick look round but my wallet stayed resolutely in my pocket. Off to the model displays which were based in and around the clubhouse (3), built around 1907 it houses the members billiards room, the clerk of the course office, and you could find similar buildings on most horse racing courses of the period.

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Bristol MEX 2016

Braved Saturday′s somewhat inclement weather to drive the 110 miles to visit the Bristol Model Engineering & Model Making Exhibition. The exhibition, as in previous years, takes over most of the available space at the Thornbury Leisure Centre. Slightly different layout this year as the Centre was using one of the smaller rooms but plenty of models for visitors to enjoy and enough traders to supply all those engineering necessities and lighten your wallet. By my reckoning about 40 trade stands, 50 club stands and some 40 private exhibitors helped fill the display stands.

Bristol Society of Model and Experimental Engineers - Locomotive Display
1. Bristol Society Stand – GWR Rules

GWR Swindon works celebrates it′s 175th year and the BSMEE stand acknowledges this with a fine display of GWR locos. The Society also promoted a theme of “model making” for the show and this is reflected in the change of name for the event, which the observant will have noticed, I didn′t until I read the exhibition guide! Some of the GWR locos on display (1), two Saints nearest the camera 2908 and 2915 with 2286 a 0-6-0 Collet design tender loco on the left. Click On Photos For A Larger Image.

At the opposite end to the Saints are; (2) Frilsham Manor 7816 and Bradley Manor 7802. A general view of the BSMEE stand (3) and a view from the balcony (4) which shows how quiet it was, I think the weather and the Olympics conspired to keep potential visitors at home, apparently Friday was a lot busier. As last year I have selected just a few of the hundreds of exhibits on display.

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Midlands MEX 2015

The Fosse Way Steamers

The Midlands Model Engineering Exhibition has been a regular event on the calendar for nearly 40 years and I went to this years show on Friday. The journey was uneventful and once off the motorway quite a pleasant drive through the Warwickshire countryside. The weather was cloudy but dry, a good thing as some of the exhibits are outside including the Fosse Way Steamers (pictured), the Gas Turbine Builders Association and the South West Truckers who seemed a bit lonely in a corner by themselves.

Back inside there were some 50 trade stands and an almost equal number of club stands with 4 large Competition and display stands rounding things off. I have to report a severely dented wallet due to overindulging at some of the well stocked trade stands, note to self – buy less tools! There is plenty of catering at the show with a couple of outside stands and the inside mezzanine restaurant. Over the four days there are a number of free lectures covering such varied subjects as Hobbing Gears, Silver Soldering, Sheet Metalwork, Steaming Model Boats and Foundry-work to name but a few.

The following photos show just a few of the thousands of items on display. No special reason for the choices other than I thought they looked good at the time. Click on the image for a larger version.

The three stationary engines were all on the competition stand. The first is a model of Galloway’s non-dead-centre beam engine by Brian Brown which claimed a 3rd prize in its class. The Stuart No.9 engine was “highly commended” and the last engine is I think a Georgina over-crank engine but I missed the label and can’t credit the builder. There were a good number of small stationary engine models at the show many based on castings from the likes of Stuart’s and Brunel Steam Models. I am still working up to completing my Stuart Victoria.

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Bristol MEX 2015

The Bristol Model Engineering and Hobbies Exhibition is one of those annual shows that I have never managed to visit. As the price of petrol has fallen (a bit) I decided to make the 220 miles round trip at the weekend. I am pleased to say it was a very worthwhile journey. The venue was the Thornbury Leisure Centre just north of Bristol, easy to get to as it is close to the M4/M5 junction and plenty of free parking once you arrive.

The exhibition uses all four of the main sports halls with further exhibits outside. From the free guide I reckon there were about 100 stands split roughly 60/40 clubs and societies to traders, a very good mix. Unlike some model engineering shows there was a wide variety of related hobbies from R/C planes and helicopters through trucks and cars to the more usual model trains and boats. I even saw a stand devoted to quilting and needlecraft complete with sowing machine.

main hall
The main hall

The halls were very spacious and well laid out, there seemed to be plenty of room to move about and even enough space to take photos despite there being plenty of visitors. The main hall had a spectators gallery, where the photo was taken from, which is adjacent to the restaurant so it was quite nice to recover from the journey with a coffee whilst getting an idea of the layout below.

Wheelwrights Stand
Guild of Model Wheelwrights

The Guild of Model Wheelwrights had an extremely interesting and varied stand with many fine examples of their work on display. I was particulary impressed by the selection of farmyard machinery by Brian Young, two of his exhibits below (click on the image for a larger version), together with a fine artillery piece by J. Walford.

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