Despite having felt a bit under the weather for the last few days I decided to head over to the Warley Model Railway Exhibition at the NEC today.
I last attended Warley three years ago, and as I commented at the time, was a little undecided about the experience as a whole.
Well, for one thing I felt there were a lot more 'normal' people around - maybe that has something to do with the Sunday exhibition demographic, maybe I've just grown older...!
The size of the event (it was held in Hall 5 this year, the largest of the NEC exhibition halls) while obviously a draw in certain respects, also has its downsides, chiefly the fact that you really can't hope to give as much attention to things as you'd like - unless I suppose you buy a two-day ticket. I was there for 4 or 5 hours but only really managed to pay fairly cursory attention to much of what was on offer. In retrospect, I always think it would have been nice to be able to linger a little longer at this layout or that demonstration or delve a little more deeply into what some of the traders had on offer.
Warley is obviously an 'all things to all men (and women)' sort of show, so the quality and appeal of the layouts and other exhibits, from my own point of view at least, is always going to be a bit variable. Call me narrow-minded (I fully accept it!), but I'll freely admit to merely a sideways glance at a fair few layouts and stands. However, a few layouts that did stand out for me were:
Askrigg Bank (4mm/00) - Absolutely stunning scenery, and what appeared to be a consistently high standard of modelling across the board. I wish I'd spent longer observing this one. The photos on the link don't really do it anything like the justice it deserves.
Worcester Road Diesel Depot (1:32) - A photo or two of this have recently appeared in MRJ. It's an amazingly realistic diorama (I suppose there is an unfair advantage of working to such a large scale though!) featuring the inside of a small diesel depot. It's a great idea for a small space, although I'm not sure it would work as well in 4mm given that the viewing 'window' would be pretty small although I have a feeling something like that (in 4mm) has been featured in MRJ in the past.
East Lodge (4mm/EM) - A really nice, well executed, GER layout (see photos at the end of this RMWeb post).
County Gate (009) - I've been impressed by the pictures on the website in the past, but it doesn't disappoint in real life! It's a large fictional representation of the Lynton & Barnstaple with some outstanding scenery.
I was looking forward to seeing Blea Moor, after the impressive photo feature in MRJ 194, but I have to confess I was somewhat disappointed when seeing it 'in the flesh'.
I'm sorry I don't have any photos to post but the lighting in the hall was pretty poor, unfortunately, and I couldn't seem to get the combination of flash, white balance and ISO right, so I gave up on trying to get any decent pictures pretty early on in the day. To be honest though, it's sometimes better just to enjoy the show without worrying about capturing it on camera!