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Modelling in Somerset

In the first of an occasional series on aero modelling, visits the Fleet Air Arm Museum's Model Show, held on February 13 at Yeovilton in Somerset.


This is what the Yeovilton model show is all about. Surrounded by traders and real aircraft, where else would you want to be? All images courtesy Glenn Sands

Now firmly established as one of the leading model shows within the UK, and now viewed as the curtain raiser for the hobby show season, the Fleet Air Arm’s 2010 show on February 13 this year proved to be another great success. Although there weren’t as many new kit releases as we might have liked, the traders there were doing brisk business, while those hidden gems and much sought-after out-of-production issues could be found second-hand under the club tables. Let’s face it, this is partly what makes this show so great – I know I came away with a wallet that was a lot lighter than when I arrived.

While the regular traders were present, such as The Aviation Bookshop, and The Aviation Book Centre, it’s the setting and buzz from the modelling enthusiasts that sets this show apart from the others. Airfix 1/72 Sea Harriers were still high on everyone’s wants list and where else can you pick up a couple then wander around the corner to see two full size examples on display! Many a modeller could be seen with a digital camera taking images of the undercarriage bays and vortex generators. Accuracy is everything.

Just one view of the stunning array of aircraft models entered in the competition during the day.
In the past it has been assumed that those aircraft with a tail hook tend to be favoured in the modelling competition. But having been asked to judge this year, I found the entries were as diverse and to an exceptionally high standard as ever, with subjects ranging from 1960s muscle-cars through to a couple of exceptionally well-made P-47D Thunderbolts using the 1/72 Tamiya kit.

For me the Yeovilton show has all the ingredients of what makes a classic British model show: great traders, real aircraft on hand to view and the general buzz and excitement of the start of the show season.

There were not many figures in the competition, but this bust of B-17 Waist Gunner was one of the best.
While many of us have been cocooned away in our modelling dens, during the winter months, we’re all keen to exhibit what we have been building and to find out the latest gossip as to what may be coming later in the year. There’s literally everything a modeller could want, from a model flying display outside on the tarmac normally reserved for Lynx helicopters, to radio-controlled tanks duelling amongst the crowd. Show organiser Tracy Ufnowski excelled herself again this year and I’m already looking forward to the autumn show.

My lasting reminder of the show was at the end of the day as modellers from all over the country, many clutching carrier bags stuffed full of kits and books walking across the car park in preparation for their long drive home. The buzz and praise for this years show could be heard echoing across the car park, carried by the typically blustery Somerset wind. A great show that is not to be missed on anyone’s modelling calendar.

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