National Model Engineering and Modelling Exhibition 2013

DAVE WOOLEY reports from Harrogate


This event has run annually for over 20 years now and has built a reputation for excellence in model engineering and general model making, particularly ship modelling. It is however, first and foremost a model engineering show, but if like me you have a wider interest in our model making hobby as a whole, then seeing the quality of the locomotive builds, jet engines, a powered miniature motor cycle and all the other outstanding examples of the craft, then you can’t help but appreciate the skill and endeavour of the modellers who build these superb creations. The venue has three large halls one of which is given over entirely to the trade, offering all forms of machine tools and supplies; the second is a mix of both trade and model exhibits whilst the third is entirely exhibits, with at least a third of that hall dedicated to model boat clubs, societies and the competition models. There are decent reasonably priced refreshments on site and the usual personal facilities and plenty of parking. The show runs over three days and many thousands visit the event from around the UK.

Competition models

The marine competition entry whilst relatively modest, was of a high standard. This year, as in 2012, the standard was high. One of the top award winners was John Hollis with his impressive model of Queen Victoria’s Royal Yacht Alberta and he had also displayed his earlier model of the Imperial Russian Royal Yacht Livadia on the Ship Modelling Society stand. Another top award winner was Les' Jones, best known for his early rowing pulling lifeboat models, who presented his model of the first Holyhead RNLI lifeboat.


A particularly fine model of the composite clipper Torrens built by Graham Cutler was close behind these two, the hull's copper sheathing being very impressive. Roy Whitton also had a second place award with his M.V. Balmoral, as well as Chris Behan with his 1:50 scale Russian Zubr (NATO designation - Pomornik) class hovercraft. Not only was this model well detailed, but it is also fully functioning. Not all the models entered were based on real ships and an example of this was a 1.5 metre long model of a Concept Trimaran aircraft carrier, complete with air group and working landing aids, which generated a considerable amount of interest.

Other models and club stands

It’s always a pleasure to have a good look at the models on the club stands and there were so many that were really impressive. A good example was Brian Young’s model of the S.S. Baroda c1914, that oozed period charm. There were a number of excellent examples of a perennial favourite, Blue Bird of Chelsea, as well as live steam models. One of the notable model engineering exhibits was an outstanding 1:10 scale model of a fully working gearbox, shaft and variable pitch propeller. There were a number of model boat clubs at the event, who put on displays that promoted our particular hobby and some individual modellers, including Paul Bannon with his 1:144 scale 1960's version of HMS Hermes with its numerous working features.


As mentioned earlier, the majority of the traders were catering for the model engineers, but there was much on those stands of value to us as model boat builders. Well known to us were SHG Models, Component Shop and Mountfleet Models. In the case of Mountfleet, it was nice to see them recovering from the fire which destroyed much of the hardware used to produce their range of kits.

The simulator

At one end of the model aircraft display was a large screen on to which was projected a model flying simulator program. I have never flown an r/c aircraft, so the experience was fascinating and yes, I took off okay, did some aerobatics, but crashed on landing! The mark of a good pilot is that the number of takeoff's always equals the number of landings…..


This event has a large model boating input, although being primarily model engineering orientated. It is however well worth a visit, Harrogate being within easy reach of York and Leeds should families wish to include the show in weekend break. My thanks to the organizers, Lew and Gavin Rex, plus the Harrogate team for all their efforts to put on, as always, a good event.