Sunday, 28 March 2010

Canberra Exhibition report 2010

I attended the Canberra Model Railway Expo yesterday and today. The exhibition was located this year at Kaleen High School in the northern Canberra suburb of Kaleen.

The exhibition used the hall, a stage, and some other general purpose rooms for the layouts and commercial stands. At first glance, it looked a little confusing with the all the rooms and the different pathways to and from the rooms (the exhibition organisers would have you believe that I am always lost and confused!). However, once I found my bearings all became clear!

The first things to say was that there was plenty of room to move around. This was because the layouts were given plenty of aisle width in the main hall. Layouts located elsewhere were not packed into rooms like sardines. This was excellent since mid-morning Saturday and Sunday had good crowds.

As usual, I bumped into many fellow modellers from Canberra, Sydney, and even Hawks Nest on the NSW mid-north coast. You can always rely on meeting a host of friends at an exhibition!

Now, to the layouts.

The class layout on show was clearly Sydney Terminal Station by Ross Balderson. This layout, in N scale, featured the magnificent Central Station building in all its splendid glory. The surrounding buildings and the park in the foreground were also brilliantly done. And the famous suburban "Red Rattler" trains maintained a steady procession around the layout, just like their 1:1 counterparts did over forty years ago. The following three photos give an indication of the overall display and the exquisite modelling.

The Sydney Terminal layout was a superb piece of architectural modelling; exceptionally well detailed, and exceptionally well lit. Full credit to Ross for his dedication and skill in building this layout. I expect the layout will be exhibited at the inaugural Bungendore Model Railway Exhibition (October 16-17) so make sure you can come along because the layout is a "must-see".

When I was not marvelling at Sydney Terminal Station, I was operating Willigobung on Saturday. Willigobung is a generic HO scale NSW layout set roughly on the Main South Line between Gunning and Cootamundra, featuring a station, goods facilities and a wheat silo.

Sunday morning saw me on my shift with the Canberra NMRA club's US prototype exhibition layout. We try and have a couple of operators out the front of the layout to let the kids learn how to operate the trains using the DCC throttles - a very popular option for "serious" young modellers!

Other layouts at the exhibition included the Illawarra Model Railway Association's Kelly River (HO scale, US) with the iconic bascule bridge, Smaldon Curve (HO scale, NSW) featuring a cement works, the small but effective Gum Tree Plains (HO scale, NSW), the ACT Model Railway Society's Twelfth Street Yard (HO scale, US), Canberra Monaro N scale Group's Australian N scale modular layout, Canberra Model Railway Club's Crestwood (HO scale, NSW), the German Mittelstadt layout (Marklin, HO scale), Victoria Mountain (HO scale, NSW) set in the Blue Mountains and featuring some amazing lighting effects, and an un-named US N scale layout with plenty of action and some great scenery that was near the canteen. Apologies if I have missed a couple of layouts but I didn't get a program this year.

More photos from the exhibition are below.

A 49 class on Willigobung waits in the passing siding for the all clear to proceed.

The cement works on Smaldon Curve.

Gum Tree Plains showed that good quality modelling is possible on a small layout; encouragement for all of us!

A Clinchfield Railroad steamer leaves the engine house on the Canberra NMRA club's US layout.

An express steam hauled freight train through Twelfth St Yard.

The Bascule Bridge, based on the Walthers model, on the Kelly River layout.

The commercial stands included Casula Hobbies, Gwydir Valley Models, On Track Models, Pallas Hobbies (where I got a great book (The American freight train by Jim Boyd) for $10 - thanks Dave!), and Runway 13. Also, there was a second-hand stall and a collector (Triang, Marklin) stand.

Peter from Runway 13 was also giving tips about airbrushing, while Bob Olde and Phil Badger were giving tips and tricks about model building. I must say it was odd to see Bob Olde on his own without his modelling buddy Graham Walker working beside him (Graham sadly passed away a couple of months ago).

Overall, the organisers must be congratulated for another entertaining Canberra Model Railway Expo. Get ready to do it all again next year!

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