Sunday 18 October 2015

A trip to Uckfield

In the peak of the exhibition season is the Uckfield show, one that stands out in my eyes as somewhat above average. And I don't just say that as I took Awngate there last year! The focus is on interesting layouts with good scenics and stock, in a variety of scales and themes, that are inspirational and enjoyable no matter what your particular interests are.

There were so many layouts I liked it was hard to narrow it down to a few favourites. One was Heybridge Wharf by Mike Corp, a 3mm scale (14.2mm gauge) light railway in Suffolk, it packed a lot into a small space and looked superb.

Oldshaw in P4 (Alan Bevan & Maggie Clark) shows that a "modern image" (well, 1980's) theme can have character and operational interest in a compact space. The appearance was just the right level of weathering and subtle tones without looking decrepit and depressing. And while I'm not usually taken with DCC sound the noise of that class 37 shunting reminded me of hearing ICI trains from my Geography lessons.

Obbekaer is a finescale HO (P87) layout by Geraint Hughes is based in Denmark, so a railway system I have no knowledge of. But again here is a simple concept of a passing station, beautifully executed with interesting details. This was my son's favourite, so to have captivated an 8-year old without fast exciting trains says a lot.

Rolvenden (Robin Gay) here modelled in P4 is a prototype that is well known, but not easy to model as convincingly as this. The fine trackwork of P4 really does add to the light-railway character, and the locos and stock recreate the quirky trains of the real line.

Now what scale would you guess this is? I'd be happy with a model of that quality in OO, but this one is 2mm finescale, and as you can see below the layout is tiny - the scenic area is about 2' 3" long - and was built to be carried in airline hand-luggage. On top of that the subject is a real place - or at least a small part of the Kyle of Lochalsh, the lighting and backscene really set the feel of a misty Scottish harbour.

I'd better stop there but really all the layouts were excellent, and there was good trade support too, the only problem being that it was rather crowded on Saturday morning! You can view more photos and more layouts at this link.

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