RailWells (apart from being the Scalefour Society’s South Western show) always has a minority interest theme. This year it was modelling Australian railways and I was lucky enough to be invited along to demonstrate scratch building in S Scale and talk to people about the railways of WA and modelling them.
There were layouts representing Victoria in HO and NSW in N (both modern diesel era as it turned out), a display board and computer slide show showing pictures of Australian Railways and me. This is probably the first time that there has been this much Australian modelling at a single show in one place in the UK which is why the Southern Cross features on the show badge.
With only a six foot long table (that’s 1.83m for those reading in metric) it took a bit of thought about what will appeal to a British audience before deciding what to take with me. They tend to like stuff which is recognisably of British origin but that little bit different. I wanted to cover prototype themes from my chosen era (1900-1905) such as the variety of stock, traffic types, the livery changes and the private railways whilst bearing in mind that bogie vehicles take up more space (which reduces what you can display so only 1 coach). I also needed to be able to make points about different types of scratch-building with different materials as well as kits (represented by a G 2-6-0, G open wagon and horsebox). It’s easy to take far too much stuff and have it sit in a box for a weekend only to have to haul it back home at the end of the show so it’s rather different from going with a layout (where you want as much stock as possible). What I eventually ended up with is the models on the steps at the left of the table with my working area, photos and drawings to the right. The scratchbuilt models included V, a pair of I bolster wagons, N, A(MRWA), G (iron lined), J (wooden tank), AA, E, O, an unpainted 4 door R and 3 MRWA/GSR dropside wagons under construction as a batch.
There are a lot of people in the UK with family in Aus and I even chatted to one chap who had worked for the WAGR for a while in the 70’s. It turned out to be a fun weekend flying the flag for WA in Wells Town Hall (apart from the hour long traffic jams at Stonehenge out and back) with quite a bit of interest and lots of questions.