Intermodellbau 2011

DAVE WOOLEY reports from Dortmund

This major annual international trade and model event was held from 13th to 17th April in Germany. For the first time in 11 years, I travelled by air rather than coach, which was a pity as the coach may be slower, but it feels more like a genuine break than when travelling by air. Unfortunately, the regular coach trip proved uneconomic this year, hence the change of travel arrangements.


The event must be one of the largest model events in Europe, attracting nearly 100000 visitors of whom some 23% come from outside of Germany. There are eight halls covering just about every known form of model making. This report is primarily focused on the marine aspect of the event, but it is worth mentioning that there are marine related displays and trade support located in areas other than the designated boat hall.

In the other halls, particularly those devoted to model railways, some of the finest model making can be seen, including many dioramas incorporating model boats. Another area of interest (as a model maker) are the fairground model exhibits which are extraordinary in their complexity of detail and imaginative content. Model engineering is changing and embracing computer technology, so German manufacturers are now bringing various new products to the model maker and engineer that were once the preserve of industry.

Model ships

After the Naviga Section C World Championship was hosted at Intermodellbau in 2010, I felt that 2011 might be a bit of an anti-climax. However, all of the clubs and displays rose to the occasion and made the model boat side of Intermodellbau interesting and thought provoking this year, especially the submarines. There was a particularly good input from one of the leading model submarine associations of Germany and the indigenous trade.
The pool in Hall Five is a magnet for those with an interest in r/c model boats. This is much better than Hall One (the original location), because of better lighting for photography and more convenient access. Pool activity was continuous each day with no breaks.

Demonstrations included a number of large elegant river steam boats, operated very competently by their skippers. Wind machines provided all the necessary ‘puff’ to propel even the largest sailing model around this pool.
There were demonstrations of themed sea rescues involving copious amounts of smoke and noise, all of which were a great favourite with the viewing public. For 2011, two sides of the pool were available for public to stand or sit alongside which was better than in previous years.

The standard of the exhibits is always a prime factor and clubs such as SMC Oberhausen EV and Binnenschiffe Duiesburg provided many outstanding examples of model shipbuilding at its best which included a 1:75 scale model of the research icebreaker Neuwerk, built by Hans Linde. On the Historical Shipbuilding stand examples of intricate and beautiful carving work could be seen in progress. Standing on its own, a small model of the North Cormorant oil production platform caught my eye. On it were several small working models, including a submersible with working lights and an r/c search and rescue boat. The platform was displayed in a darkened area with the rig fully illuminated and visitors were invited to have a go at operating the working models.


There were a few less model boat traders than in previous years, but Revell, Graupner, Krick and other specialist suppliers were still in attendance. Graupner showed their new 1:200 scale container ship Sydney Star (length 1135mm, beam 140mm) and retailing at 294.50 euros. Displayed on the Hobby Lobby stand were a number of models by the Chinese manufacturer TJ Models, including a very smart 1:100 scale generic tanker now available for 419 euros. Krick were displaying a number of their new fast electric ARTR models including a futuristic design named Sea Predator. If it goes as fast as it looks, then it will be fun and exciting to operate!


Although there will be some elements of repetition with an annual show, the organisers go to great lengths to try and have rolling programme of change whilst endeavouring to maintain the familiar parts of the show. Notably, this event always has a pool, flying area, r/c truck and digger hall plus the well known European model trade suppliers.

Travel to Dortmund this year was by a combination of flying from Manchester to Düsseldorf, then rail to Dortmund, underground to the Intermodellbau event itself and finally a taxi to and from the hotel. So yes, not as convenient as the coach party previously arranged by Dave Collier and Dave Veitch! The other disadvantage of budget air travel is that anything purchased that is bigger than a pack of cigarettes has to go in the hold of the aircraft for an extra charge! So, I understand that a coach may (I only say may!) be organised again for 2012 going via Hull and Rotterdam if numbers are forthcoming.