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Brighton Modelworld 2013

Report by Les Chatfield

For the first time I took a selection of my models to Brighton Modelworld; an annual three-day exhibition held this year on 22th–24th February at the Brighton Centre, right on the seafront. The Centre is an enormous building with five separate halls full of various models of, to quote the old song, "trains and boats and planes", not to mention a gigantic 8-foot tall Ferris wheel made of Meccano by John Molden; the largest model in the show. Fortunately my stand was nowhere near this leviathan.

I set up my models which included my biplane Bristol Bulldog, several steam engines, a V2 rocket and a new model — the Schmidt Coupling Meccanograph, inspired by a lovely model seen at our SELMEC annual show last year. I wired up all my working models to my patent drill battery-driven controls and fortunately everything was in full working order. After labelling up and some final touches I was ready!

The mighty crowds arrived! Soon it was obvious my Meccanograph was going to be the star of the show especially as I gave away the finished patterns to the fascinated spectators! My enormous Bristol Bulldog grabbed a lot of attention too, especially from children when I let them start its engine by reaching into its cockpit and pushing the throttle (switch) forward. I was even photographed by several visitors holding my V2 rocket model. Saturday was by far the busiest day and I needed eyes in the back of my head to keep tabs on everything. A clockwork driven dynamo driving a small Meccano power hacksaw was very popular with children as they could wind it up and watch it generate electricity for the tiny model to run on. My lack of a "Do not touch" sign proved very popular; a few bent models are worth one or two new Meccano club members!

Les shows one of his models to a visitor
Les shows one of his models to a visitor

Chris Warrell turned up on the Saturday and informed me he had obtained tickets for the Frank Hornby 150 launch for me that evening (see his report on this fascinating evening). I managed to obtain a Frank Hornby T-shirt that I will donate to the club for auction or a prize. [Editor's note: I also have one to give away.]

The last day dawned and an old friend turned up to assist on my stand. He really enjoyed himself demonstrating my various working models and even had a shot at answering some of the questions asked. I think a new Meccanoer is in the making. The whole experience was great fun, the fellow exhibitors extremely friendly and helpful and the visitors (especially the children) very interested in what I had on show. If I had had some Meccano sets available I could have sold them by the dozen. Many people were not even aware that the system is still available. I really think that once again the world is ready for Meccano. I will definitely be here next year.


» This article appeared in the March 2013 issue of SELMEC News.

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