Saturday, 16 February 2013

Choo choo - model train time!

Today we took our annual trip to Tonbridge Model Railway Club's exhibition. As it's held less than half a mile from our house, we normally make it every year - and it's worth going as the layouts do change from one year to the next.

I must admit this wasn't a vintage show in my book. The actual trains will always be secondary for me but I love the scenery, my favourite setting being the English countryside from times gone by. This year there seemed to be more industrial and urban settings, or (heaven forbid!) those that concentrated purely on the trains and hadn't bothered much with the rest of the layout.

That said I did take a lot of photos so will share a few of my favourites.

This is close to my favourite type of scene, although it's in a larger scale than I usually prefer.

I have an N gauge layout myself, so I tend to lean towards trains in a smaller scale but the one above was done really well. I like to be able to look at a photo and not be quite sure if it's real or not. Sometimes layouts in O or OO can look plastic to me but this is beautiful.

Another view of the layout above.

Water can be a difficult thing to pull off in miniature but these days it tends to look very realistic. The modeler who created the layout below used rippled glass which is very effective.

Whether it's a model boat, dollshouse or train set - it's all about the detail. Look at the bunnies!

I was very fond of the scene below too - lovely detailing on the buildings and this was just a small part of the layout.

 The closer you get, the more detail you see.

Although I like taking close up shots, I also think it's important to show how much detail is contained in such a small space. It's only when you see a layout in context that you realise just how much work must have gone into it.

 Talking of context - GIANT HAND ALERT!

I adore my train set but my dad built it for me about 23 years ago and I can see that it looks a little dated. Modelling has moved on since then and trees are now so realistic, it's hard to tell if they're real or not.

I don't think the photo does this river justice - it had been done rather well. Lots going on in this layout.

I don't mind the odd industrial layout if it's been done well and the one below is a good example - lots of detail and different things to look at.

 See the bus above? Turns out there was a bit of a drama in front of it.

Also on this layout was an engine carrying a couple of Daleks. I enjoyed listening in to the young boys next to us who were speculating that this was, in fact, a Dalek factory where they would be melted down to make new Daleks.

Another tranquil scene. I like the greenery in the garden and creeping up the house.

Taking a break from collecting the hay.

Note how big the humans are here....

...and how tiny the man is in front of his workshop.

You can't tell that the Scout's fire was flickering here but it makes the cotton wool smoke look quite effective.

A more modern, urban setting. Not my favourite of layouts but touches such as the graffiti make it very realistic.

And finally, one of my favourite layouts. Church bells rang out from this busy country scene, I could have stared at it for hours.

Modelers are always keen to tell you about their work. They tend to be men in their late sixties which makes me worry about the hobby a little - I would hate for it to die out. This particular show is always full of very young enthusiasts though, carrying little steps around provided by Tonbridge Model Railway Club. It helps them get a better view and I hope gives them an added enthusiasm for the hobby.

If you're into miniatures but have never been to a model railway exhibition, do go along to a local show. I'm sure you'll find it just as enchanting as I do.


  1. These are fantastic. Really incredible work!


    1. Glad you enjoyed them - there's so much detail in the layouts and it's hard to capture it all in a photo.

  2. Wow Nicole, these are fantastic. Those water pictures...and some of those picture I wouldn't have known they were miniatures. What a great exhibit to have so close to home.

  3. Hey Rachel - Tim says he's sorry he called you Nicole. There's a Nicole on your comment and last night we ran into an old Nicole from the bookshoppe that once made his javanella (a coffee caramel chocolate vanilla milkshake), drinks.

    He's got Nicole on the brain. So sorry.

    And wow, to these pictures. Even the water looks real.

    1. Ha - no worries, I'm glad you both liked the pictures :-)

  4. Ha ha, Tim can get away with calling Rachel 'Nicole' - I can't!

    I'm slightly envious that although Rachel was using the same camera I use every year - and she claims to not know how it works - her pictures are so much better than mine.

    1. Yeah well, to be fair ... Tim can't call me Nicole either, but you'd be able to get away with it. My Tim, not so much.

    2. I told you you could trust me with the camera!

  5. I too love model railway scenery. My husband is about to start on a model railway project and has just bought a very large shed (16ft x 10ft) to house it in. He is going to do the trains and industrial scenery and I am going to do the village and farms :).

    1. Wow, that sounds amazing! Having a shed to house a railway would be brilliant. Hope you'll be posting pictures :-)

  6. I will but might be a while before there is anything worth seeing.