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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Midlands Model Engineering Exhibition

I made the effort at the weekend to drive the 80 odd miles to Leamington Spa to attend the Midlands Model Engineering exhibition. There were a good number of trade stands there and my wallet was a bit lighter on the way home. I did take a few photos but I only had my phone with me and the quality of most shots was fairly poor.  It is also difficult to line up good shots, when like most exhibitions, the stands are fairly crowded although it seemed to thin out a bit in the afternoon.

tractiion engine
Burrell Traction Engine

Got a reasonable shot of a Burrell traction engine and also of it’s smaller sibling a 3″ scale model, being one of the good turnout provided by the National Traction Engine Trust who were visiting the show for the first time.

3" Scale Burrell Traction Engine
3″ Scale Burrell Traction Engine

Model Engineering clubs were well represented there being some 40  club stands showing a fine selection of work. One that caught my eye was the Knightcote Model Boat Club who had an excellent display which the photo does not do justice.

model stand
Knightcote Model Boat Cub

All in all a good day and well worth a visit, definitely on the calendar for next year.

2014 Show Guide

Neuwerk

Since my brief time as an engineer in the Merchant Navy, I have always had an interest ships and shipping. I have been building a model, Loyal Mediator, for many years and hope to sail it one day. I have often thought that Neuwerk, a German Coastguard vessel would make a great second model. I tried some time ago to locate plans for this without success (see Nautical Ramblings ). A renewed search of the “Interweb” together with much use of Google Translate has at last come up trumps and I have sourced not one but two sets of drawings. One set I have already received from VTH (Vertag für Technik und Handwerk GmBH) in germany which is a 1:100 scale set of drawings for modelmakers. Another set of original drawings from the ships owners, WSA Cuxhaven, I still await. All I need to do now is finish my current model to get some practice, then learn how to scratch build a model and finally set to and create a model of Neuwerk. Going at my speed about another ten years should see it OK!

A Plan For Action

An Untidy Workshop

I would love to build highly detailed, beautifully painted, accurate and stunning models of ships or traction engines.

Why don′t I? Because I am too impatient. I want it finished now! OK perhaps I can manage a few days concentration, maybe a whole month but I read that some model engineers spend 6000 hours or more on a model. Now assuming that you can utilize a full working week, say 40 hours, that works out at 150 weeks, that′s 3 years. That’s full time, what about the engineer who can only manage a few hours a week grabbed after work or at a weekend, we are talking decades to finish a project. My attention span would have long since wilted and been left lying with the swarf on the workshop floor.

I am also really good at starting things but when I get to a difficult bit or a boring bit, putting the project aside until I am in the mood. The trouble is the right mood invariably never returns. This tends to lead to a surfeit of part completed models around the workshop. Now I am determined to fix this problem of my own making but have yet to determine how. Resolve is fine but putting plans into action seems not quite to become a reality.

Step one is to actually get into the workshop, many engineers would be very pleased to have a workshop like mine, so why this reluctance to enter. At the moment there are bits of wood, chipboard and the like stacked here and there, too good to throw away but having no immediate use. I have put up a shelf for my woodturning bits and pieces but in doing so have displaced my selection of saws. This has led to a collection of “stuff” on the bench. Every time I get into the workshop I say “This needs sorting” but haven′t made a start. Perhaps if I solve this problem it will lead to more productive time being spent there.

So a plan emerges, get rid of the wood that I am never likely to use. I just know if I throw it out I will immediately find a use for it but steps must be taken. Clear the bench, this means making a rack or finding some means of storing my hand saws. Trouble there is I have pretty well run out of wall space, having shelves practically everywhere, still I can squeeze something more in I am sure. Perhaps a redevelopment of the storage space under the bench in a similar manner to that under the lathe bench will help?

It’s not much of a plan but a plan nevertheless. Could this be the way forward only time will tell. Watch this space.