Blackpool Model Boat Show

DAVE WOOLEY reports on the October 2008 event

This well deserved Best in Show award went to the steam launch Lady Jane. The builder was Alan Luckett.

Its that time of year again when the season is drawing to a close and modellers turn their attention to the last big event of the year in the North West, the Blackpool Model Boat Show, held as it has been for the last four years at the Norcalympia Hall within the Norbreck Castle Hotel complex. The hall is well suited for hosting events like the model boat show and has sufficient room to accommodate traders, clubs as well as a reasonably sized pool.

The layout is based on the well developed formula, whereby most of the club displays are sited within the central area and vendors are around the outside perimeter. Although this is not a hard and fast rule, it does produce a good visual impression. Events such as these are now tremendously important to both modeller and vendor alike, providing an opportunity for clubs to promote themselves and give first time visitors a chance to meet up and perhaps make contact with clubs in their local area as well as meet traders face to face all in one place. I have found that many of the members manning the club displays are only to willing to discuss their club or any of the models on their display.


Whilst its always good to see vendors of long standing working exceptionally hard to please even the most discerning of punters, there are vendors new to the scene endeavouring to carve a niche in the market with their offering to the modeller a new product or service.

Two examples spring to mind:

MMB Smoke Machines make use of the basic element of tap water in their design to generate a smoke effect. This seemed to be very effective. For more information contact:

A1 Down Under Models, had their new submarine diving system which is essentially a precision engineered Perspex tube incorporating a ballast system with compartments for housing batteries, r/c and a sealed linkage system. For more details contact or tel: 01335 370587 after 6am.

Apart from these, many of the established names known to Model Boats readers were on site, showing their wares and as far as I could see doing decent business.

Around the hall

This year was indeed a vintage year for models, not just in their numbers (which is always a positive benchmark for any event) but also in the standard, variety and quality of them.

Its always going to be a very difficult task singling out each and every club for a mention, so Ill forgo that task, save to say that all the stands were impressive in their presentation and in the ingenuity of their displays. However one of the regular attending clubs was the Northwest Model Shipwrights. Not only was the standard of models displayed truly outstanding, but they were also cleverly presented, showing many aspects of the societies activities and clearly demonstrating the methods and techniques used in the preparation and construction of the models.

Interestingly, the organisers catered for individual modeller displays as well as clubs. This seems to be a growing trend and the best in show was indeed drawn from this category. As already mentioned, the overall standard was high and this can be appreciated in the pictures. Good use of the indoor pool was made, particularly on the Sunday, with the pool and frequency control in the hands of Mike and Ann Finnis.

Since the very beginning, the event has nurtured a strong and thriving competition element. Here again the judges had a demanding task over the two days with their deliberations and their work was quite demanding. There were so many outstanding exhibits that you could have spent much more than the two days to take in all what was on offer.

As a note for those planning to enter next year, its always very helpful for judging purposes if some form of documentation including construction and full size ship pictures accompany the model. This will provide, not just for judging purposes, but also for general interest, a real insight into the difficulties encountered and methods used by the builder to construct their model.

Ships Chandlery and ARTR models

Now an established part of many model boat exhibitions, the Ships Chandlery provides a service to many modellers, both those wishing to dispose of models and of course those wishing to acquire ready built models at a reasonable cost. There was certainly a wide and varied selection of such models with a brisk turn around, often with more modellers viewing than space was available.

At the other end of the spectrum and seen on the Graupner stand were what could be termed Almost Ready To Run (ARTR) models of exceptionally good quality. Regardless of levels of ability or interest, the Blackpool Model Boat Show produces a wide and varied range of models that will keep any boat modeller happy.


Like all events, this event is no exception since it requires bodies on the ground to make it all work and as always the Blackpool and Fylde MBC performed a superb job together with A Model World who have a major involvement in making it all happen. A hearty well done then, as without this input all of the thankless tasks like managing trade input, model entries, moving tables and building pools, just would not happen. If there was a downside, which was out of the hands of the organisers, this relates to the lack of really good illumination, but this was not too much of a problem. However, more light on the job in hand as they say, would make a superb event even better.