Monday, July 13, 2009

More Exhibitionism

DB says: Your roving southern correspondent was cajoled into attending the Alpine Energy Model Railway Expo in Timaru on Sunday by his mother. Warning: Alas, no NZ120 content.

Attendance looked pretty good from where I was standing - 13 layouts, 7 trade stands nicely-endowed with often-overpriced merchandise, and plenty of paying punters. We weren't alone in lingering at most of the layouts for quite some time (and Mum is no trainspotter), which filled us both with warm thoughts of it being a good show and well worth the $6 admission.

One of the most popular layouts was a fairly large local HO setup that featured loads of animation. Hidden magnets drag boats around a lake, clever Faller trucks and buses navigate the highways as if by magic - even pausing in front of buildings, a chairlift spins up the mountain, skiers run down the slopes, smoke comes from a power station stack and even a volcano erupts from time to time with a deep rumbling that could easily be mistaken for a passing WRX.

The Stamping Ground (below), from NZ120's formerly-own Glen Anthony, also garnered hoards of spectators. This is a neat wee layout comprising two (soon to be three) modules that packs plenty of action into a small space, including animated water wheel, stamping battery and gold digger; ore that is loaded from bins into the wagons and then dumped at the battery; and a couple of trains that purposefully shuffle the wagons around to effect this. Although not a huge layout, it's peppered with interesting scenes and people were easily amused for five minutes before they'd seen all the action. And all running very smoothly with kadee magnetic uncoupling, hidden point operation, lots of wagon-tipping unloading and not a five-finger-shuffle in sight. A really well thought-out and executed layout set amongst captivating scenery.

So that's the takeaway - "lots going on" keeps the punters amused.

Of course another, often easier, way to do that is to simply run lots of trains. The winner here, with about a dozen concurrently operating trains, is the following fairly rudimentary, yet completely mesmerising setup. Yes, every train in this photo is moving, and its all made of Lego, including this nice BNSF doublestack train. The layout is also in the foreground of the top picture. Its big.

I spent a surprisingly long amount of time staring at this layout with a silly grin on my face and Mum liked the blue train out of shot to the right. From what could ascertain, primarily because it was blue.

A couple of other interesting ideas...

A small and achievable N scale layout that could both live at home and attend exhibitions is the two-module Wedderburn (shame it was populated with American rolling stock) below with the station out front and a small fiddle yard hidden behind a backscene. All in about 8x2 feet. Mum lauds praise on the layout's exhibitor, who is doing his best to avoid eye-contact.

I'm a fan of the theatre-diorama-look as well and this (below) is fairly effective for something that's not a huge leap up from the diorama-in-a-night that ECMT presented a few weeks ago (here and more pics here). It is an HO Swiss timesaver-style module billed "as an example of a layout for a small space that can be incorporated into a larger home layout, have a fiddle yard added to one or both ends, or linked to other layouts Freemo style". Good stuff. Just the sort of thing NZ120 modellers should consider for part of a home layout.

Attached to one of the few NZ exhibits:

As a postscript, or should that be pre-script, on attendance after reading Rhys' post, there was a double page full colour spread in the local paper earlier this week (half was adverts from local businesses and a couple of the more distant trade stand businesses which no doubt funded the spread) and there were a few large canvas signs around the town above the main road as well as outside the venue. The hall itself was also on the main road/bypass through Timaru, so a few people may have seen it as they were passing by. It wouldn't surprise me if it was on the radio as well. I seem to remember the Christchurch people doing a really good job of publicising their shows. After all, if you're going to go to all the trouble of staging an exhibition, you might as well have some people turn up, eh?


ECMT said...

Some nice shots DB. I'm already planning the Mk 2 version of the "diorama-in-a-night". Just have to find the dimensions of allowable carry-on luggage for air travel.

That guy with the Wedderburn layout is looking a bit concerned at the attention !

Druffsmum said...

Druff's Mum and Dad also attended the exhibition on Sunday and were impressed. Druff's Uncle was involved with the main layout. We couldn't get to talk to him as he was too busy chatting to interested patrons.It was great to see some teenagers working the bits that go.And all the children that were enchanted. Just what is a GSE dash 8. I earwigged on some animated conversation about it. Thought I might have been caught up in a KGB spy ring.
You should have popped around for a coffee Kiwibonds !

Anonymous said...

HI, Thank you for attending the Timaru train show, shame you apear to have either walked around with your eyes closed or looked at some traders prices and not the better ones (or do you have short arms deep-pocket syndrome) There were 2 NZ120 locos present and on the Saturday 1 was either running or on show (kato U30c & C30-7 painted in NZ rail colours, I do realise that they are not 1/120 scale bodies, but 99.9% of show visiters could/would not know - only the rivert counters would pass a comment - rude .....!!) Shame you missed the good parts of the show There is always the Nelson show where I could visit and see that you do things correct!!! yea right!! (your thoughts please)

Motorised Dandruff said...

Hmm, where to start,
1) From what I have seen traders in this counter tend to operate with sizable markups (theres no way you could afford to sell kits through them and break even)compared to shopping locally in New York (where our correspondent lives while he's not chasing trains in some god forsaken corner of the world, or China). In fact I would qualify as the short-arms-deep-pockets man in this set up, as if I can make something rather than buy it, I will (from whatever I have on hand).

2)It's my opinion (and here's where I'll really get the hard hat out) that repainting N scale models while admirable, does not make then suddenly Nz120 models, just as repainting Ho scale models does not make them S scale. It's harsh I guess, but we have been making our own models for 20 odd years and consider it to be not overly difficult for the average modeler. With the availability of Trackgang products now everyone has axcess to reasonably priced correct scale models.

3)As I have already pointed out the Nelson 'show' I went to was a bit of an aberation as far as train shows go. I was not involved in the organisation but was just an exhibitor, who only went for one day, so as for 'showing how its done', thats not how I've seen it done before. There is a show at easter next year which from last years effort is quite well organised, and I hope to have some sort of display layout operational by then.

To finish off I have just re-read the offending post and I can find nothing factually wrong with any of the statments contanied, which after all are one mans observations of an event from his viewpoint. The Wedderburn layout was mentioned as an ideal size for the aspiring Nz120 modeler to cut his teeth on.

I'm not sure if I've made my point but my brain is mush as I've been trying to read patents all day (and playing with solvents in the lab. Weeeeee)