...then don't publish any photos.
I always try and be positive about model railway shows, and attitude that I find helps a lot.
But today I returned from a show feeling, well, disappointed. Even my wife was surprised at how little time I spent there.
It was a local show that I've always enjoyed in the past, in fact, one I think has consistently punched above its weight. But this year it did nothing for me. Unusually I was even more disappointed when I reviewed my photos. I really didn't think any of them showed a layout in a good enough light to be shared, except for one I've photographed a lot in the past, and another that to be fair I couldn't get a good shot because of people who stood in front of it chatting. That, incidentally, is my perennial complaint about this particular show. People take up a position and stay there for ages.
I suspect some layouts went down very well with a lot of the attendees, especially those featuring mainline running or lots of locos on shed. That is fine, I know they aren't to my taste but I do understand why others love those styles of layout. I'll also be honest that having looked at the list of layouts booked to attend I knew not many were my cup of tea. Not that cups of tea were easy to get at the cafe, yet again.
So what didn't I like, choice of prototype aside?
I'm going to pick out some big themes, some of which aren't always wrong, but were in the context of the layouts today.
Backscenes that were too low, had very visible joins and weren't an integral part of the scene.
This was compounded by several of the layouts having narrow baseboards. Narrow baseboards can work, but they need thought to be put in to how they are blended into the backscene and the balance between railway and scenery.
Animals and vehicles placed in ways that looked unnatural and placed without observation of the real thing. A silly example of this was a herd of cows on a steep slope that clearly were from a set designed to be used on a flat field.
Outdated scenic techniques, especially trees and grass. Last time I checked it was 2018, do you really think that glueing down acres of out of the packet scenic materials is good enough to put on public display?
Coming up to date is loco sound that doesn't sound quite right in an exhibition hall., which I recognise is a challenge.
And finally, that dreadful feeling that the out of the box models were the best thing on some layouts.
No, actually, that the saddest thing was the lack of imagination and aesthetic elements in favour of simple triggers like "Oh look an MPD layout with lots of lovely locos"
I know I never have, and never will, exhibit myself, but my point is the same show has done so much better in the past. Those three or four layouts that, in addition to the crowdpleasers, raise the standard of a show to the "must go to" level were, for me, so noticeable by their absence.
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