The National Model Boat Show - April 2014.

ANTHONY ADDAMS reports from Coalville


This was even better than in 2013, the leisure centre being filled with 14 model boat clubs and 21 trade stands and a good attendance. Mark Williams from A Model World is the event promoter, but not to be forgotten are the model boaters' who volunteer to do the leg-work and help with setting-up. A feature of the event is the informal judging of models with some 20 or more prize plaques to be won.

Models and clubs

The modeller of the show this year has to be Bill Jefferson who won three prizes, each for a different type of model. On the Hull Model Boat Group stand, Bill displayed five very different large models and all scratch-built to top-notch standards. All were notable, but it is worth mentioning in particular his fully operational camouflaged German landing craft that was inspired by archive film footage from The World at War TV Series which showed German landing craft preparing for Operation Sea Lion.


A very different model was of a craft from a distant planet was called Naed. This prize winning AFOR (A For An Alien!) is a 'Water Born Patrol Officer' and it emits weird sounds whilst the lights flash and we mortals are told it communicates through Bilingual Universal Recognition Patter, aka BURP!


Dad's Army on the UK canals became a reality with Gerald Tough's converted WW2 narrow boat, complete with camouflage and a three inch 20 pounder gun mounting. Apparently, 50 such boats were actually converted for the War Ministry. Gerald has also created an r/c swan that is so effective, sightseers have thrown sandwiches to it!


Period ships were not forgotten and Mick Knowles had his superb HMS Snake 32 gun frigate on display and Richard Harris had his fine model of HMS Victory. Richard also brought along Gunboat No. 5, originally purchased from an antique shop, all these models demonstrating the best of British period ship model making skills.


On the Nottingham MBC stand there was an intriguing model of a wooden boat under construction by various craftsmen, they being depicted as cardboard cut-outs, a diorama that you could not avoid stopping at and examining.


Adrian Abbott's scratch built Fairmile D MTB 801 fought off dive bombers and enemy ships on my own Daventry MBC stand. Its two 6pdr guns rotate, the barrels flash with realistic sound effects, as do the Oerlikon guns. Two years in the making thus far, this superb model is still not complete.


Remarkable detail in miniature is now possible with 3D printing, allowing the smallest of components to be made and fitted together to allow their operational movement and the not yet 100% complete HMS Campbeltown Type 22 frigate by Reg Preece showed what is possible with this new technology.


This show would not be complete without Tony Olliff, a long time top-class model maker, who had his collection of award winning lifeboat models, and he collected a well deserved award for them.

Trade support

Alan Horn from Nottingham is successfully meeting a current demand for J-class yachts, the hulls and fittings being at very reasonable prices. The yacht's hull lines are so elegant and the keel design minimises the possibility of getting caught by weed on the pond, so a win-win for the scale yachting enthusiast!


Mike Allsop displayed his vast range of different sized flags and ensigns and I also liked the Bob-A-Bout Footy Yacht on The Vintage Model Boats Co. stand, this kit being recently reviewed and built in the May 2014 MB. Where would we be now without Keith Jewell of Modelling Timbers, who was retailing his astounding range of wood in different sizes and types, but also 100's of fittings in all shapes and sizes. Also, Adrian Clutterbuck (Adrian's Marine Figures) took over the George Turner range of resin cast figures that provide the essential touch of realism to our models and he does good trade at shows such as this. There were of course other well-established traders present so one could buy most of the essentials to pursue our hobby.


A good show, roughly in the centre of the UK, held at the beginning of the prime model boating season and well worth a visit as it has become more established annually.