Monday 14 February 2011

Wood End, St. Albans exhibition

Wood End St Albans exhibition In the last couple of days I've been bounced some comments from one of the forums re: display boards and exhibition plaques. I've got mixed feeling about this and referred to this shot of Wood End at St. Albans in 2000. The drop down board was originally added to protect the card wall, but we soon added some info, covered with a sheet of perspex and framed it. Would I do this again? No. It ruined the visual balance as well as the physical balance (the end/corner board was cantilevered from the main two). I'm coming to the opinion that the rise in display boards can ruin a perfectly lovely layout. The above is quite subtle compared to some, but when they become bigger than the 'viewing window' of the layout then you are in danger of disappearing up your own arse.

Ditto exhibition plaques. There are a couple on the Garn fiddle yard front and one on the main board, but looking at the above photo, do they add or subtract? Looking now I think they look messy and take the eye away from what the main point of the exercise is. In fact I would possibly go as far as to say that they are are a bad idea full stop. Do we really need to wave these past 'glories'? This is like me putting my CV on a flip chart next to me when I'm working. Yes I've done TV, yes I've done West End, but does anyone give a monkeys? Of course not. And it is the same here. the fact that I've done a couple of ExpoNGs etc. is irrelevant to where I am now and the model that you are looking at - in fact it distracts.

It will be noted that while yours truly stands motionless in this photo it shows a rare chance to see Nigel showing is party-piece Frankie Howard impersonation.


  1. Exhibition palques - I love getting them but wonder what to do next. There is a board with a few of them on our fiddle yards on the Dock and Hospital layouts. We haven't done it on Flockburgh because there isn't the same space available. Where we do display them them, it's an edited highlights selection. Usually the first show and some of our favorites.
    As an exhibtion manager, the boards are a handy guide to how far a layout will travel and where it's based.
    I do like information boards though. For the public they are very useful and a good place for spotting lists to engage the less enthusiastic visitors. I agree that when the board is bigger than the display you ARE disappearing up your own...

  2. I hadn't considered the angle of ex' mgrs knowing where you come from, but then if they want the layout...
    The other idea is to mount plaques on a seperate freestanding board a la classic car show rosettes.

  3. If they want the layout they ask two questions:
    "Where are they based ?" (How much will the petrol cost)
    "Do they travel ?" (Not everyone does)
    Not sure where you would put a freestanding board although I quite like the idea.

  4. I'm with you here, except that sometimes a little information can be helpful. Especially to explain an odd scale/gauge, or unusual prototype. Also I never follow the show guide as I walk around the show, so something like the 2 paragraphs you might get in the guide can be useful.

    But an in-depth account of the history (real or imaginary) and construction of the layout - no thanks! Better to have a handout for the 1 in 100 people who might be interested!

    As for plaques, I have even seen them stuck to the backscene! On a panel hiding the fiddle yard, or the end of a layout, but not as a distraction to the layout!