St.Albans and District Model Engineering Society

The BIG St.Albans Model Show 2023 report

2023 Exhib Flyer Front_cropped
BIG Show

I always feel a bit numb after the event and this year was no exception.  The show came together in the way that we can allow last minute additions and changes.  This year we had to be a little more precise with our planning and had our own direction signs.  The Show was a hive of activity our members were involved and were on hand at the various tables and exhibits.  The clubs turned out  and the visitors were happy.

With the tickets sold at the door a visitor would get a map of the model show wrist band type tickets and a free go for the younger ones on the robot wars feature.  We also had tokens for sale for the chuck glider stand where you can colour in and assemble and take home your own version.  This was very popular as gliders were being flown all over the place.

The catering was not an all-female affair, we seem to be politically OK in that respect!  I lunched there both days and enjoyed the ploughmans lunch.  The catering area was the only noisy place, as in the various Halls there was just an occupied buzz.  We had the usual very young come along with parents and grand-parents.  We have strived to find the elusive fast fingered phone and Facebook, Twitter and Twok  fanatics in their teens.  I have talked it over with our advertising team of Abigale and Hannah and they are thinking of this for next year.  They did a great job for us again this year in getting us publicised on Social Media.

On the Sunday as I was escorting the Mayor of St. Albans around I introduce him to Abigale and Hannah and he commented on how well they had worked the media.   He passed on his card to them as cross generation issues were his theme for his year as Mayor.  I showed and introduced him to most of our exhibitors and we got round the whole show in a bit less than an hour, at which time he had to leave for another engagement,

Our visiting clubs did us proud with excellent models and interactive items and demonstrations.  Thanks also must go to the help we received for setting up the have a go pool, which was also available for sailing on by the clubs.  The Meccano area was very active this year and the games and tests of skill were excellent, you could also buy Meccano as well.  Getting visitors down the long corridor was assisted by having the ever-popular Yellow Train in operation.  We owe much to so few who folded themselves up so small for so long in showing the little ones how to drive the train.

Other more relaxing railways were in the large adjoining room to the main hall and parents could sit while little ones were mesmerised by the Garden Railway trains.  There were more trains of smaller gauges in the gym.  The De Haviland model railway club came out to us with an O gauge railway and a very nice have-a-go one.  An exhibitor from pre-covid times made a welcome return with an N gauge railway.

We had a few new items, the  most spectacular was the huge jet powered De Haviland Sea Vixen and a demonstrations of powering up a jet aircraft, all outside of course.  Also outside there were 2 smaller enclosed grass areas which had the train rides and the saw-mill driven by the traction engine with a living van, and there was the pool and a small team of members running 3 sets of transmitters for the club owned have-a-go model boats.  This had a finger driven clock for the next show and there was always a queue waiting. Drones and a hot air balloon were run in the adjacent green area.


The double gazebo with the club logo had a 5 inch gauge rolling road beneath its canopy with a steamed up loco and the steam powered toy workshop.  Our Chairman had his very large Tiger tank on demonstration with various not normally breakable items put in harms way.  All having the share of interested visitors.

Along the other corridor which initially also had the small robot wars attraction led down to the student canteen where there was a large set-up of vehicles and digging machines running around on roads created on the Friday evening.  It is a big area and also had a have-a-go lorry to run with some guidance.  A big crowd puller with many very excited young lads looking on.

We were aiming at visitor participation and on our own stand we had several steam engines running on compressed air.  On a large TV was a video of last year’s exhibition, and several visitors suddenly saw themselves on their previous visit.  On the Sunday we moved the large aircraft to be part of our stand and this improved visitor numbers.

The robot wars was brought into the main hall as it seemed isolated where it was.  The free tickets worked well, additional ones for sale did not!  The Saturday was very busy but the Sunday less so but still we had much the same numbers as last year, so busy, busy, busy!

Already thinking of next year and improvements that can be made, however it is our membership that enables it all to happen.  I hope everyone enjoyed the two days, it is rewarding to see all the smiling faces of the little ones and chatting to the dads who had little experience of hands-on mechanics / engineering at school.

Lately on TV there have been programmes that repair and restore even down to household items like radios.  I hope that there were a few visitors who really would like to repair and understand how things work and model engineering is a good starting point.

All our contributors have had a thank you letter and also one from our Chairman.

Thanks must go out to all our active membership who were there over the weekend and all the other times when things were discussed, agreed and organized.  The wives and ladies who fed us all with smiling faces and a cheery greeting.  The lone man was the ‘muscles’ and it all worked very well.

Thank you all.