Sunday 2 May 2010


There was much talk yesterday about exhibitions and exhibition layouts. This while deconstructing some trestles (too low) and recycling the hinges for the new set. What is it about exhibitions that we all find so fascinating - apart from the social side that is? In the great scheme of things it's a recent development. When I started in the 70s there was Central Halls and York, the others were 'club' shows, not much more than open days in church halls. Now it's big(ish) business and what could be described as a travelling circus; the same acts appearing week in, week out.


Why do we haul our train sets out for public inspection? More to the point, why do we build them specifically for this purpose alone. Be honest, how many exhibitors out there actually run these layouts at home other than pre-show tests? The speed of pack up, usually before the close would indicate that it's not a wholly enjoyable experience and there's no large profit margin. So why bother. Or is it purely ego?

To answer these questions is impossible, but it's making me consider things carefully.


  1. Hmmm, that's a good question!

    I don't think anyone would admit to it being an ego boost but having exhibited layouts and demonstrated a number of times at Scalefour North it is nice when people say they like your work! To be honest for my I like it more if people want to hear how I'd done something rather than just saying they liked it.

    My dad and I have built a couple of versions of one scheme which is a permanent layout - the third version is to be commenced soon. There's a focus on operation too - with trains having a defined 'purpose' - so we know why they are passing through or stopping for this or that. This layout exists purely to please us!

    I am also heavily involved with Botanic Gardens and this is very much an exbition layout - it won't even fit in the club room when fully assembled due to its size! The main thing about this is the satisfaction of building I think and we've said no more than two exhibitions, three at a push, a year when it's finished.

    Both projects are fun to build and will provide a lot of satisfaction when finished too. The social side at shows is nice but ultimately I think it's just fun to build models with purpose and run them. If other people like what you've done, well that's just an added bonus!

  2. Because it's fun talking to other modellers and yes, it is nice to be told several times a day how great your model is.

    Most importantly, for me, it give focus to the hobby. I don't run layouts at home as operating without an audience bores me. Without showing I'd never get things finished as I'd flit from project to project.

    Mind you, at the end of a show I'm always happy to get home. A weekend spent on my feet talking is hard work even if it is enjoyable.