Well its that time of the year again! The Warley exhibition is just around the corner!
I wanted to write a preview article for the show, but before we get to that, here are a few pointers about attending Warley.
First of all... here is a link to the shows website...
I am not in any way affiliated to Warley Model Railway Club. I have no vested interests in any of the traders attending other than as a happy customer.
Now that bits out of the way!...
Transport - rail is by far the easiest way to attend the Warley exhibition! Birmingham international station is just a stones throw from the exhibition hall. but be aware that the trains can get VERY busy. I strongly advise you to book your tickets in advance and make sure you reserve a seat. this isn't so important in the morning but certainatly in the evening, all of the exhibitions tend to close around the same time and you have all the day trippers getting out of Birmingham. the trains can be very overcrowded.
if you book early enough, you can often get a first class ticket for a couple of pounds more than the second class ticket. this is a really good deal!
when I was younger, I always wanted to get there early to get the deals on the Bachmann stand! the scrum at the start was exciting! But... I have mellowed quite a bit since those days and I am perfectly content to get there around 10am. no longer do I have to sharpen my elbows!
Food. The food in the hall is terrible! and also VERY expensive! But the airport is only 5 minutes away. there are normally no queues and the food is half the price. just walk back to the airport and get on the shuttle. its also a good chance to get some air for a few minutes after a morning in the busy hall. there is a Burger King or if you are feeling a little more up-market there is Frankie and Bennies.
Warley is the only exhibition where I make a point of attending on both days.
I tend to spend the Saturday checking out the exhibition and the Sunday I tend to spend meeting friends. this is just about the only exhibition that EVRYONE attends, so for people who are at the other end of the country, or even in other countries!... sometimes this is my only chance to see them.
PHOTOGRAPHY - I teke my camera to Warley, but it seems that everyone else does too! If I am going to photograph someone else's work, I ALWAYS ask their permission. only once have I ever had anyone refuse. and more often than not, it tends to open doors to shots that I wouldn't have got otherwise. The operators have often built the layout and know how to show it off.
On the other hand there are often layouts where the operators are completely disinterested but that's another story!
ok, now down to business! I can go through each and every exhibitor and layout so here is a list of things I will be looking out for when I attend the show.
The only one that really grabs me is Ian Rathbones painting workshop. The only other one I have a passing interest in is the 3D printing demonstration. But honestly, if I wanted to take a look at 3D printing I would head in the direction of London jewellery week rather than a model railway exhibition, the technology is a good 2 or 3 years ahead in the jewellery industry.
in the theatre, mike Edge is going to be giving a talk on industrial locomotive development. normally this wouldn't interest me, but the fact that its mike edge could make it interesting.
there has been a long running argument about weather people want to see the little traders that don't sell enough goods to cover the cost of their stand.... or the big box shifters that pay the fees but frankly get a bit samey.
Warley is an expensive exhibition for the traders to attend. In terms of stand cost its the second most expensive behind Alexandra Palace and a good number of the smaller traders have simply been priced out of the show.
But that's not to say there wont be plenty to see!
Agenoia - Always an interesting stand, even though I rarely part with my money there. they always have something interesting on show and often have a box of rejects where you can pick up a bag of castings on the cheap! also check out the kit for the Agenoria loco. A throwback to the dawn of railways!
Aiden Campbell Miniatures - Being a rolling stock builder I rarely have a chance to populate a scene with figures... but if I did then Aiden would be pretty high up on my shopping list. I always take a quick look to see what's new.
Alan Gibson Workshop - If you need any bits and bobs for your loco or some driving wheels then Gibsons will probably be your only opportunity. expect queues so you might want to time this one for later in the day.
Bachmann - expect a scrum! there is a good supply of locos returned for repair. I tend to find that deals just as good can be had elsewhere, but tis always worth a look. Also check out the cabinets where you will find prototypes and test shots of upcoming models!
Branchlines - The alternative to Gibsons! also check out a few interesting kits! sometimes I find the quality at Branchlines to be better than other manufacturers for little bits and bobs. their bearings and some of their castings are exceptional. but its really about time they had a proper website!
Brassmasters - They have recently taken over the Martin Finney 4mm range. I don't think they will have any big show stopper announcements, but one to watch in my opinion.
C&L - For P4 track they are the market leaders. They also sell Carrs fluxes. I don't really get on with the fluxes (that's why I started selling the DCC concepts flux!!) but the Red Label is excellent for whitemetal work.
Cheltenham model centre - One of the only box shifters I actually take a serious look at! they sometimes have some really good deals on things that have been removed from boxed sets.
D.C. kits and models - Seem to be more DVD's and books than the kits these days. but still worth a look. They also sell Kaydee couplings!
Dapol Ltd - Well worth a look if your into N gauge.
Dart Castings/MJT - Another bits and bobs seller! I am looking for a nice horse drawn carriage to be a load on a carriage truck I have built. I will be seeing if its finally available! they also do bits for LNER and various other coaches. in the absence of 247 developments (althought he has stopped doing the coach stuff anyway...) Dart Castings and one to watch.
Eileens Emporium - One of the main tool sellers at the show. A refreshing lack of low quality junk!
Grainge and Hodder - Its really great to see these guys at a show. They are a behind the scenes manufacturer that produce allot of the etchings on the market today. but you have probably never heard of them! Take a look at their laser cutting services! very interesting!
Golden Age Models - Exquisite brass models. I cant afford them but always go and have a look.... one day!
Heljan - I am looking forward to seeing any test shots of the Sarah Siddons that was announced last year.
Hobby Holidays - The makers of the Masterchassis and a good supplier of tools and materials.
Merican Models - I would love to say these are nice modern kits... but it would be a lie! having said that, they do represent locos for which there are no other kits available and the kits are sold for a very reasonable price.
N Brass - The bits and bobs maker for 2mm scale. they always have something interesting on their stand. if you get the chance, check out the little trestle bridge! its beautifull!
Phoenix Precision Paints - My go-to man for any paint. also one to watch with the other ranges they have taken over. prices are ok.
Picture Pride displays - If you don't live to far away or are going by car then take a look at any show offers! there can be some really good deals.
Rapido trains - Really one to watch. I have ordered the APT-E and so I will be very interested to see what else is in the pipe line. the Stirling single is allot of money but I may be tempted... will there be a new announcement?...
S&M tools - A really good Hardware store in Hatton Garden.
Well... that should keep you going for an hour or 2!!!!
Enjoy the show.