Some very interesting developments at this years show!
Well allot of the show was a bit samey. the demonstrators were there, there was nothing really new there.
There were some very interesting items on the trade stands though!
The thing that really caught my eye was the Brima Road Systeam. I didn't see this one coming! Its not often in this hobby that you see something that could really be a game changer. Evryone knows about the faller road system. its ok, but it has its limitations. I never felt it quite fulfilled the potential of a proper model road system.
That's where Brima comes in! This is in a totally different league.
The faller system was essentially a posh toy. this is a system to properly motorise cars (automobiles to my American readers!) or trucks. if you have a 1950's layout, you can buy your 9050's vehicles and motorise them with the Brima components.
This has the potential to bring a huge amount of interest to finescale layouts that can seem a bit actionless.
But if this is to be embraced, then layouts certainatly need to plan for it. a retrofit would be a complicated process.
It may also start to bring a new audience to the hobby. there is no reason why entire layouts cant be constructed with the road system as the main focus of the layout.
I will be following this one with great interest! And I really hope to get my hands on some of the components when its released in the new year.
The main manufacturers were there. I'm afraid I didn't spend long looking at them but for me the highlights were the test shots on the Hornby stand. the earlier southern coaches will be a nice addition to the fleet and will look great behind a T9 or Bridgton Terrier!
Peco was there. they seem to have found their mojo these last couple of years. I got very bored with their products but these last couple of years they have produced those beautiful L&B 009 coaches and this year they have unveiled some Glyn Valley rolling stock and overhead catenary. I wish them the best of luck!
Something that really struck me this year was the difference in the exchange rate. normally continental stock is seriously expensive. in my opinion too expensive. I don't mind buying high quality models, but I do insist on value for money and for a few years now I simply don't think that European models have done that. But a combination of a strong pound and a weak Euro have made a big difference this year. At last years exhibition you would have been hard pressed to come away with a modern continental locomotive for less than £250, this year £160-170 gave you an interesting and varied choice.
There were layouts too!
I didn't take many pictures of them. partly because photography in the NEC is not easy! And partly because if you look on any of the model railway forums you will find any number of pictures taken by people who seemed to walk around the exhibition with their finger constantly on the shutter!
Although I didn't take any pictures of it, I would like to put in a word for Burntisland 1883. I don't particularly like the way the harbour has put 5 feet between me and the station at the back, but apart from that, I think this is one of the finest layouts I have ever seen. the detail is superb. I love the stock, its exquisitely finished. I also love the fact that none of it is a cliché. its unlike anything else on the circuit. on some layouts I can stand there and know the manufacturer of just about everything on the layout. Having a layout where so much has been scratchbuilt or so heavily modified is really refreshing.