National Model Boat Show 2015

Anthony Addams reports from Coalville, Leicestershire

Now a well-established event, organised by Mark Williams of A Model World, this show in mid-April attracts clubs from a wide area and a useful range of traders. As usual, there were many superb models on show and it was unfortunate that the visitor numbers were also in competition with three major sporting events on the same weekend. The Hermitage Centre in Coalville provides all the necessary facilities and is not far from the M1 motorway. The organisers, ably led by Mark. provide a really friendly atmosphere and the judging of models in around 13 categories, so too many to cover all of them here.

The models

For this year, Mick Knowles was the honoured guest handing out the prizes, his extraordinary skills with HMS Diana and other period ship models being widely recognised and appreciated.

Best Boat in Show was awarded to Derek Hodge seen here on the left of Photo 1, for his scratch built battleship HMS Duke of York, a marvel of the model maker’s skill and seen here in Photo 2. The judging of The Best Club Stand is decided by members of the public and this year the Alvaston Pirates MBC won this award on their first attendance at this event. Here in Photo 3, their chairman Eric Platts is receiving the shield from Mick Knowles (right). They are a new club and this was the first time they had exhibited and they so enjoyed the experience they have vowed continue to support this and other events..

Malcolm Towland, together with his model in Photo 4, won the award for the best Scratch Built Fishing Boat. Tony Olliff regularly supports these events, and in particular the RNLI, with his award winning lifeboat models and this year was again no exception, some of them together with those of Mick Astle being in Photo 5.

Mike Hill fully deserved his award of Best Yacht with his Cambria, Photo 6. Several narrow boats were displayed and Amelia Rose by Joe Lilley attracted the crowds and justly deserved the prize for being the best in its class, Photo 7, and in Photo 8 you can see just how exquisite the interior is, the settee in particular looking really comfortable. This model both feels and looks just right, if you can appreciate what I mean.

In Photo 9, Adrian Abbott gained an award for his scratch built (apart from the hull), Fairmile D MTB 801, shown both as a finished fully functioning model, with a second hull partly completed to reveal the below deck arrangements. The interior of the engine room still remains to be completed, but he now has the four dummy Packard engines ready to be installed. Adrian has created his own scale CAD plan showing the purpose of each compartment and this can be just seen in front of the two models. This whole display attracted much interest and discussion. The functioning version has sounds by 'Battlecrafts' and whilst the guns blaze away as in Photo 10, the furious noise of these anti-aircraft guns drown out the roar of the four big diesels from the sound-effects module.

Also on the Daventry MBC stand were two other award winning models, the puffer Garaculus by David Newell in Photo 11, and now somewhat modestly, Chugger, my own fishing boat completed in spite of it originating from a very poor kit of 40 years ago, Photo 12.

Over on the Hinckley and Bosworth MBC stand, there were no less than nine submarines, these models always attracting considerable interest, Photo 13. Nowadays, many model submarines submerge statically, that is to say by flooding a ballast tank, but the group also displayed a dynamic diving model, which submerges just using its speed and hydroplane control whilst moving ahead. This is an inexpensive alternative option to the more sophisticated static diving submarines.

Trade support

For us modellers, one of the benefits of these events is that many of the traders we know (and love) are all under same roof and with the decline in conventional retail outlets, this is no bad thing. All the usual traders were on site , including ACTion R/C Electronics and Component Shop, Models by Design, Mountfleet Models, Mac's Mouldings, Mobile Marine Models, SHG Models, DK Figures and Adrian's Marine Figures to list but a few, as well of course A Model World themselves. Notably for model submarine enthusiasts, A1 Down Under Submarines were in attendance offering their bespoke dive modules etc.

Bring and buy sale

A feature of many such events is a Bring and Buy stall and here at Coalville there was no shortage of surplus models and equipment to be had, almost all of the bargains being snapped up on the first day, Photo 14.


This show is a popular Spring event in the UK Midlands being promoted by Mark Williams of A Model World with support from local clubs and model boating enthusiasts. It is a nice show, well worth going to, as well as being inexpensive for admittance and within a decent facility. The whole thing would not be possible without the commercial support of Mark, together with the voluntary support from local clubs and individuals, and that is much the same story as at other similar events and a big 'Thank You' is well-deserved.