I like Stoneleigh as an exhibition venue. I miss the Assoc of 16mm modellers show not being held there. Compared to many venues space never seems to be an issue and the catering is quite good. It also hold many many memories from the days of the Royal Show and trips on the original Echills Wood Railway.
There were some good layouts this year. As usual the lighting was a challenge and once again I was aware when taking photographs of the lack of decent backscenes.
I was rather taken with Earls Court, a layout I've wanted to see for a long time and which really makes the best use of a limited space. The real attraction for me though is the modelling of the shops, like the barbershops above, which I've kept in colour because it reminded me of an Edward Hopper painting.
Loch Tat is one of those layouts that I always think would benefit from being displayed at a higher level where individual scenes like these would predominate over the birds eye view.
Staying with 2mm scale I probably should have spent more time watching Wansbeck Road
Moving up to 7mm Weydon Road had some nice set piece scenes
I've been known to admit being tempted by an American HO layout one day. If I ever did go down that route I think it would be something like Wiley City. The prototype is rather endearing and the modelling really showed HO in a good light by being suitably restrained.
Lack of restraint is still one of the things that I find spoils the illusion of reality for me, and there were a few layouts at the show that simply didn't know where to stop. Eaton Gomery for example is one of those layouts where you struggle to find a scene that looks like everyday life and not like a historic reenactment on a preserved railway.
On the other hand I can see why people would find Foundry Lane a little too plain. I don't think it was helped at this show by lighting that didn't bring out the texture of the retaining walls.Personally I liked it a lot.
Richmond was exquisite and provided an opportunity for my favourite shot, looking down the track through a station. Unfortunately I failed to notice when taking it that someone's hand was very visible fiddling about in the fiddle yard, so instead it is represented by my alternative trademark cliche, the solitary Toad.
I was also very taken with the trackwork on Bodmin. This is what I would like to aspire to.
Ah yes, talking of trackwork...the nice thing about a show like this is that unlike Warley you can actually get close to some of the trade stalls. That means I came away with everything I had on my shopping list, including a replenished supply of C+L bits and pieces so turnout construction can resume as soon as my EMGS jigs arrive.
I also got a chance to chat with the extremely helpful Geoff from Comet and as a result my to do box now contains their chassis kit for the 57XX.
Last but not least I picked up a copy of Marcher Railways from Roger Carpenter and three postcards of the Tanat Valley that I'd not seen before.
If you want to see some more shots in colour then I did manage to make some of them presentable