MARVELOUS MIDLANDS 2011

The Midlands Model Engineering Exhibition is always an eagerly anticipated event. You can rely on a wonderful display of locomotives and a couple of dozen traction engines and wagons trundling around outside. Also a good sprinkling of other models - something for everyone. As well as competition and display models, a large number and variety can be found on the club stands.

And there is always something different. Here is our report on the things that particularly struck us. We include 66 photos selected from around 400 taken of just some of the models on show.

The project to build a brand new GWR 2-8-0 locomotive by the Great Western Society is something to be encouraged in every possible way. The project’s display at the exhibition included no less than five models of different sizes, the one in 2.5in gauge was built by LBSC himself which he called Lady Kitty and is now owned by Paul Wiese. It is interesting that the show most likely to display an LBSC original is this one.

Other locos of note included a Coronation Class being built in 3.5in gauge, Gerry Burchall’s gas turbine loco, and a G1 Crosti boiler for a BR 9F 2-10-0. Among the completed locos were many fine models, beautifully finished, many of them on the Northampton Society stand.

There were a number of well-executed compound steam engines. And I/C engines including a supercharged 25cc engine by Tom Pasco  and a rare Atkinson engine. It would be great if exhibitions encouraged people to run their engines. We remember first reading about the Atkinson engine in an article by the late lamented Monty Ellis. He not only understood such things very well, he had the gift to explain them to others. Seeing one run always brings back the memory of that article, and a delightful man.

The Midlands show also confirmed the increasing popularity of building from kits, especially trucks and boats. It also confirmed the continuing popularity of the pioneers of the hobby including LBSC and E T Westbury.

And when it comes to classics, what can beat the wonderfully simple design of Sweet Pea, the perfect beginners loco. This year was the 30th anniversary of the first publication of that design, and a number were on display.


To enlarge a photo click on it. For larger still click ‘download’. Or click ‘Play Slideshow’ and enjoy the whole lot.