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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!