May is synonymous with Harrogate and the annual model engineering show that has developed over the years into a major national exhibition. Under the guidance of Lou Rex and his team, the event this year was one of the best, certainly from a model boating perspective. The show attracted 15 model boat clubs and associations, which were grouped within easy reach of the pool. There was also a dedicated area for competition entries which included model engineering as well as ship models, Photo 1.
The presentation and display of ship models by clubs from around the area, was one which each of the clubs entered into enthusiastically and with gusto, each aiming for the accolade of ‘Best Club Stand’.
The number and standard of the entries into this year’s static competition perhaps reflects the growing prestige of the event. Pride of place amongst the ship model entry and best in show went to a 1:32 scale model of the Llandudno Lifeboat Andy Pearce, scratch built by Arthur Barlow, Photo 2. The model became a focal point of interest and not only was the interior fully fitted to the arrangements found on the full size lifeboat, but she was also built as a working model.
This year saw a fine entry, many scratch built and in many ways reminiscent of the best displays seen at the great model engineering exhibitions of yesteryear. A further example was in this evocative working model of the SS Baroda built by Brian Young, Photo 3, with the added attraction of the cargo being handled from the forward hatch.
It was an unusual and a pleasant surprise to see a traditionally styled glass case model entered into a competition, my having over the years browsed through many museum ship model collections and appreciated the value of the skill that is lavished on this type of model. Here, Mr. J. Blackburn entered his model of a typical early 20th century cargo ship, based on the style of the museum model, even down to the elegantly turned spindle corners of the glass case, Photo 4. In addition, the traditional method of presentation of such items as windlasses and fittings, certainly led to a fine representation of a museum model.
Most certainly the quality of the models presented was high and this was also reflected in the warships. KM Bismarck, akin to the Titanic, has attained that iconic status, yet there are relatively few models built of this great battleship, certainly in the UK. However for Harrogate this was to change. Here a Mr. M. Doogan presented an all scratchbuilt working model of this famous warship to a scale of 1:96, Photo 5.
On many of the club stands a great deal of imagination and flair had been employed. Some like the York Model Boat Club displayed a well balanced presentation of models and like many of the other clubs, made good use of a TV monitor to present using a DVD the different activities of the club. Others like the Kirklees club, brought together many different and exceptionally well built models, such as this all scratch model of HMY Britannia with it’s remarkably detailed interiors, Photo 6. Now on display at Leith Docks, Edinburgh, HMY Britannia offers the scratchbuilder lots of scope for photographic evidence to enhance their model.
The indoor pond
Although the indoor pond was not particularly large, it was surrounded by model clubs and was used through out the day. One particular model that dare I say it worked realistically well, was Allan Robertson’s ‘skeleton’ boat. I say realistically, as there is no precedent for ‘rowing skeletons’, but the technique used in rowing was very real indeed. I am sure there would be modellers interested as to how this was done, Photo 7. An article perhaps? (ok by me - Editor). One of the pleasant features of shows like Harrogate is the friendly atmosphere and the keenness of club members to be on hand to discuss their models and give advice. This approach is exemplified by members of clubs like those of the Teesside Model Boat Club. The models are good as well, Photo 8.
These have been part of the show and exhibition scene for many years, but still remain one of the best methods of introducing any person to the intricacies and methods used by model makers. Seen here in Photo 9, is Martin Ransom demonstrating some of the skills needed in the construction of his superb wooden steam models, Photo 10.
The traders are part of that vital link in the chain that leads right back to the modellers workbench and along with the local outlets, major exhibitions like Harrogate bring together many and varied traders, such as SHG Model Supplies, Model Power Supplies and Model Motors Direct. One of the aspects seldom discussed in magazines, but always a topic of discussion following an event , is the catering. At Harrogate there is indeed plenty of good seating and a varied choice of food , all at a reasonable price which for those with many years of exhibitions under their belt will find to be very agreeable.
So there you have it, gone for another year, but not forgotten. Harrogate has become the exhibition for many aspects of modelling and not just model engineering. If you missed Harrogate this year, then pencil in the important dates for 2008 - you will not be disappointed!
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