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This year I was invited to attend the Model Exhibition in Sinsheim, Germany with the Surface Warship Association (SWA). They have been invited to this show as model exhibitors for a number of years and are well known over there. For those who donít know where Sinsheim is, and I must admit I didnít, it is in South Germany near the town of Karlesruhe in the Baden-Wurttemberg District, a drive of just over 400 miles from Calais. This show is smaller than the better known Intermodellbau Event held in April in Dortmund, in that it only has six halls as opposed to the eight for that event, although one or two of the halls appear to be slightly larger and in any case, it is still a mightily impressive show.

Photo 1 shows the aircraft hall, with many of the r/c traders and Photo 2 shows part of the boat hall. There was a large circular pool available, which was approximately 40ft diameter and about two and a half feet deep.

The first thing of note I came across, was a matchstick fleet which unlike the miniature one in the UK, was built to a much larger scale, Photo 3. The example I picked out was of the Tirpitz built to a scale of 1:125. The builder used 71100 matchsticks and 56 tubes of glue in the making of this model, Photo 4.

A very interesting model I found was of an Arab Dhow which carried a 24pdr cannon on the bows. Apparently the original craft was used to get close to capital ships by subterfuge and then inflict damage on them to slow them down, so that opposing forces could catch up and destroy them. Interestingly the model carried a White Ensign of sorts, Photo 5. One of the best crowd pullers in the boat hall was a twice daily re-enactment of Red Indians attacking two US Cavalry rafts attempting to cross a river, all done with pyrotechnics and terminating with one of the rafts being set on fire by an Indian arrow. All the Indians were in traditional canoes, Photo 6, propelled purely by the Indians paddling. Photo 7 shows the detail of the ingenious mechanism used for each Indian canoe.

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Looking around the aircraft hall I came across the latest RTR model from Graupner which is of the Graf Spee. This model is 1480mm long by 168mm beam and retails at 1049 Euros which works out to about £829 in UK pounds at the time of writing. Once again the detailing on this model is superb, Photo 8.

I have to say that the Germans put a lot of effort into their stands and there were some excellent models on display, suffice to say that there were too many to mention all of them in this article. One stand specialised in classic sail and the quality of the models on display was superb. One example was the Cardiffian, a model of a Bristol Channel Cutter built to a scale of 1:16, the original boat dating back to around 1899, Photo 9. Another nice model was the Offshore Support Vessel Atair, built to a scale of 1:14 giving it a length of 130cm, which had many working features including cranes and anchor winches. It also had many sound units fitted including engine start, engine sound and shipís horn, Photo 10.

Whilst I have only included ships here, there was much more to see and it would take more than a day to see it all. Trucks and model plant equipment is very big here as are cars and railways. For the first time I saw nitro-engined car racing and boy is this fast. This is a multi-discipline show with lots of interest for all modellers and good trade support. For example, I purchased some Buehler motors which are ideal alternatives to the more common 380/385 type used in smaller scale models, for a cracking three euros (approx £2.20) each. Beautifully made, smooth running , powerful, very low current drain and excellent value.

I think I have painted a reasonable picture of this show and I certainly hope to return next year. The Surface Warship Association have a full calendar of events that they support in the UK each year and an active website: www.surface-warships.org.uk. QD is their regular newsletter, free to all members (and very good it is too - Editor). The Membership Secretary is Hilary Breeze, Tel: 01622 710528, e-mail: hbreeze@ecgroup.co.uk. The Editor of Quarter Deck (QD) is Peter Revill Tel: 01621 854765, e-mail: peter@furzelands.demon.co.uk.