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Other exhibition stuff and Chatham Cranes

David Holman




These are the cranes I mentioned at the Dockyard & which the late Ted McIlroy made fully working 7mm scale models of. See Mayner's blog/thread on the Fenit branch.


As for exhibiting...


The amount of other stuff that the exhibitor needs to take with him/her is considerable and no doubt I am not alone in being neurotic about leaving something vital behind when I go to a show. So, along with the baseboards, trestles or other supports, plus lighting and pelmets, what else needs to go?

Starting from the ground up, we need a set of drapes, to hide the baseboard legs. These days, they should be fireproof and not be within 15cm or so of the ground. Thankfully, my drapes have been recycled over several layouts, though I still rely on drawing pins [and sore thumbs] to fix them in place. Velcro one day…

Electrics come next. Most shows only give you a single mains socket, so that means several additional multipoint leads. Arigna Town needs four points for its lights, plus one for layout power, two more for buildings, plus at least two more for the spare controller [wheel cleaning] and a soldering iron. And this is a relatively small layout.

Generally, this all goes in what I call my ‘sundries box’, which also includes odds and ends like pieces of plywood [for packing layout feet], eight clip-spots, screwdriver, gaffer taper, soldering iron and a plastic box with all the M6 bolts and wing nuts which hold the various fittings in place. The latter something I dread leaving behind! An additional ‘box’ is an old brief case, which takes the transformers, hand held controller [Gaugemaster], spare controller [H&M Clipper], uncoupling hooks and an A4 file with layout info. One set for me [the wiring diagram amongst it], the other basic info on the layout for folk who might want to invite it to future shows.

Then there is the ‘tool box’. This is my long suffering cantilever box with all my modelling tools, plus a range of minor bits and pieces. Essentially, if I need something that isn’t in there, I can only hope there is a tool stand [like Eileen’s Emporium], or I’m stuffed. That said, if the layout is well built, then nothing should go wrong, but given the state of British roads these days, I am often amazed that the entire layout hasn’t been reduced to kit form, long before I arrive at the destination.

Will be fascinated to know what other folk take & any ideas on keepimg things to a minimum. For me, this is the key difference between the owner/operator [who has a couple of mates along to help at shows] and the group layout which may well arrive in a large van or even a 7 tonner. When Mostyn Yard [a splendid P4 opus] arrived at Chatham last year, the team spent at least 5-7 hours setting up and knocking down. Much as I admire that sort of dedication, I like to be away within an hour of the show closing & the record was actually just 15 minutes, with a 3 board 7mm NG layout.


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My great idea about one day creating a small shelf diorama for exhibiting have just evapourated. Hard to lug that amount of kit around, plus I've no curtains to spare....!

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Fear not sir - the amount of stuff both decreases and increases with the size of the layout. So a four foot self jobbie will go in the boot of the car with one or two lights and box of bits no problem. Something like Gresley Beat requires two seven ton trucks, which just doesn't bear thinking about, but the team obviously enjoy it.

Once had a 7mm ng layout on three 90cm x 45cm boards, which included folding legs. While set up time was an hour, by slowly packing away stock at the end of a show, it was in the car in 15 - 20 mins. As for curtains, one of the best ideas I've seen was on a Hornby tinplate layout.nthey used tea towels which had clearly been gathered from preserved railways. Looked really good and a nice change from plain black.

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Love that second picture....


I have a book by Tubal Kain with plans to build a live steam crane as per the photo, he calls it 'Hercules'. I bought the sheet brass and a few other bits of brass-n-steel blanks to build it and stick it on an O gauge wagon.


One of those long term projects


Hey Glenderg, wrenie may have a CIE tarp he could lend you for curtains....!

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