|Prospect Point: An ultra-realistic HO logging/branch layout set in Montana|
While last year I was expressing my concern about the apparent downsizing of Cavalier and what it might mean for the wargaming hobby, once again the model railways show appears to be going from strength-to-strength.
From reading the show brochure, this - the 35th annual show - was their largest to date, with 70 stands, and, as far as Rachel and I could tell, every layout on display was a new one to the show.
And just to prove that the hobby is continuing to grow, not only did we meet friends of Rachel there, who'd brought their young son for the first time, but also Nick and Clare with my godson Alec and his sister Bettany, enjoying her first show as well.
|Orange River & Portland RR: a fraction of the detail in this giant layout|
A particularly memorable display for me, being the largest I ever seen seen there, was the Orange River & Portland RR - built by the Hallelujah Players of Woking - which took up almost the entire length of one aisle in the hall, being designed to 1:20.3 scale, which is usually reserved for garden railways (which I have a soft spot for).
The wargamer in me couldn't help but be drawn to Tony Bennett's detail-packed Project Iraq 2003 (which was raising money for Help For Heroes), depicting Basra, May 1, 2003, with the main fighting over and the troops have come across the remains of Maqil Railway.
|Project Iraq 2003: A working diorama with 17 vehicles and nearly 120 figures|
In one of the small siderooms, Nick had directed us to a fascinating layout (Belfield Hall), where the train stayed still and the layout's circular base revolved, showing three different scenes in turn (a station, a workshop area, and a timber yard). It was quite hypnotic to watch!
Increasingly, the annual model railway exhibition, is a purely visual treat for us, and this year certainly didn't disappoint, with scales and layout designs to suit all tastes.
We managed to resist the urge to spend any money, beyond the entrance fees, as Rachel isn't in a position to do anything about her Midale layout at the moment, and I'm saving my pennies for next weekend... on the off-chance that I stumble on some unexpected goodies at Cavalier.
|Westcliff GWR: Rachel was rather taken with the tiny beach huts in this 1920s Dorset seaside layout|