The Model Boat Convention 2008

DAVE ABBOTT reports on this well established event
The Prize Winners and Judges with Andy Ball

The Model Boat Convention was held over the Saturday and Sunday of the August Bank holiday. This was the 19th year that it has been held and the third time at The Birchwood Centre, Birchwood Park, Warrington following 16 successful years at The Boat Museum, Ellesmere Port. The venue is in the centre of Birchwood Business Park and it is easily accessed from both the M6 and the M62. The modern centre provides catering facilities throughout the weekend, but the big plus is the large lake just a few steps away. The theme for this year was Cruising and the show was fortunate to have Andy Ball the local radio broadcaster as a special guest, who has a particular interest in model boats. He opened the show on the Saturday morning along with a parade of model boats on the lake organised by the members of Runcorn MBC. Andy has an interest in lifeboat models and can be seen operating a model on the lake under the guidance of Arthur Barlow. As you can see from the photographs, we were extremely fortunate with the weather.


The trade was well represented over the weekend with S & M Tools, Mount Fleet Models, Speedline and Scoonie Models to mention just a few of them, but there were many more. All were busy over the weekend and it was an opportunity for face to face discussions with people that you might normally only contact by telephone or email.


Over both days there were some useful demonstrations, one in particular involving Leslie Jones, who was showing how to make miniature rope for models. He has developed a machine which is still in the experimental stage to make miniature ropes that hang in a scale-like style. This is achieved by the insertion of a metal thread through the rope, which can then be bent to stiffen the rope, such that it will hang in a proper manner.

Another useful demonstration was by Orlando Design and they showed the art of spraying models and general artwork, with a focus on weathering model boats using the range of LifeColor paints. These paints are particularly useful for spraying models with rust marks etc. and I have used them myself.


A number of the model boat clubs were in attendance showing their models past and present. Just to mention a few, there were St Helens and District MBC, Runcorn MBC, Liverpool MBC as well as others. Some super scale models were on display and although some have been seen previously featured in this magazine, I photographed some for your interest.

Moving away from model boats, there is now an interest in the making of motorised vehicles and a few such models seem to be now appearing at shows. The detail work and the skill required to build and operate these models is very high and there were also some tanks in attendance at a rather large scale.

Junior competition

On both days a competition was run on the portable pool outside the main entrance. This was set up with a small course of buoys to encourage juniors to have a go at steering. Much to the organisers surprise, there were around 30 juniors taking part over the two days, with prizes being donated by Andy and Steve from Scoonie Models.

On the lake and judging

Activity was continuous over the weekend with all types of vessels performing for the general public, including tug-towing, warships and even a demonstration of water skiing. As at many shows, there was an element of competition and a team of dedicated judges were on hand to judge the various classes which proved to be hard work for them, such was the standard of model at the show. The final hour of the event on the Sunday was taken up with the prize-giving for the different classes and special guest Andy Ball was kind enough to assist.

Many thanks to the convention committee and in particular Jean and Arthur Barlow for organising a great weekend. Next years theme will be Naval Vessels, so watch out for a press release with information in due course in this magazine. Contact details are Mrs Jean Barlow, email: or tel: 01492 583433.