THE 39th Midlands Model Engineering Exhibition was held from October 13-16 at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre, The Fosse, Leamington Spa, and headlined The Show for Model Engineers. It lived up to that and more, writes Malcolm Ranieri.

The breadth of displays and stands encompassed models of all sizes from railways, steam and modern; marine, inland and seagoing; traction engines; road transport; aviation; horse-drawn vehicles and horological, scientific and automata. The Midlands Meccano Guild took first place for Best Society Stand with this outstanding creation (above).
Outside the exhibition halls the Fosse Way Steamers paraded miniature working models of road steam and a working model rack saw bench, with around 30 examples from 1.5in to half-size 6in. The Coventry Society of Model Engineers presented their 5in gauge track for passenger rides in association with the Polly Owners Club. Lectures and workshops from experts on specialist modelling were arranged throughout the exhibition. There were more than 1000 models from more than 40 club and society stands and specialist suppliers from more than 50 companies for those looking for a missing part or model engineering equipment requirements.

Each year the exhibition themes a number of celebrations, anniversaries and special exhibits. This year was the bicentenary of Robert Stirling’s patent Heat Economiser and the Stirling Engine Society and its stand attracted much attention.In the air, it is the iconic warplane Spitfire’s 80th anniversary; in 1936 the Supermarine Spitfire K5054 took to the skies from Southampton Airport. Designed by the famous R J Mitchell, this single-seater fighter aircraft was used by the RAF and other allied forces during and after the Second World War. R J Mitchell was the chief designer at Supermarine Aviation, a subsidiary of Vickers-Armstrong. The fighter plane endeared itself to the British public, which endures to this day, due to the triumph as the main fighter at the Battle of Britain in October 1940, though to be fair the Hawker Hurricane played its part. A display by Ian Peacock of Spitfire models was much admired.

In the air, it is the iconic warplane Spitfire’s 80th anniversary; in 1936 the Supermarine Spitfire K5054 took to the skies from Southampton Airport. Designed by the famous R J Mitchell, this single-seater fighter aircraft was used by the RAF and other allied forces during and after the Second World War. R J Mitchell was the chief designer at Supermarine Aviation, a subsidiary of Vickers-Armstrong. The fighter plane endeared itself to the British public, which endures to this day, due to the triumph as the main fighter at the Battle of Britain in October 1940, though to be fair the Hawker Hurricane played its part. A display by Ian Peacock of Spitfire models was much admired.

For your writer, the outstanding railway model out of some superb opposition at the exhibition was the Phillips & Rangeley No 3 (below) on the Echills Wood Light Railway stand, a 1/3 scale model of the 1891 Baldwin Locomotive Works No 11706 – a 2ft gauge railway in the State of Maine, US. This was the first 2ft gauge 2-6-0 tender locomotive built by Baldwins, the locomotive model built to run on 7.25in gauge track at Echills Wood. The locomotive was built by Paul Frank 
to an original erection drawing, and 
detail completed by Paul and designer 
Gerry Clarke.

Each year a competition is run for the best in show models of the various types on show and judged by acknowledged experts. The Society Shield for the club stand voted by peers as the most interesting and attractively presented is not an easy task!

I attended on the first day of the exhibition and the numbers of enthusiasts enjoying this first-class show were very good.

The exhibition director Chris Deith, show manager Avril Spence and the team at Meridienne Exhibitions must be pleased after all their hard work in putting it together. With the 40th event next year from October 19-22, we wonder what the team at Meridienne are conjuring up to celebrate?