Posts Tagged ‘MAFVA’

A fantastic week

21 December 2016

I’ve just spent the first week of December on one of the best week’s holidays that I’ve ever had, a trip to the USA.  In a previous post I showed pictures from a visit to The Netherlands with friends from Cambridge MAFVA to the museum at Overloon.  Following on from that, I also joined them on a visit to the Scale Model Challenge show in Veldhoven, also in The Netherlands in September.  A few weeks after that show, one of the Cambridge MAFVA members, John Paulding asked me if I would like at accompany him on a visit to the USA where he was attending the Performance Racing Industries Convention at the Indianapolis Convention Centre in Indiana, USA.  This was an opportunity of a lifetime.  It was something that I’ve never ever done, having never travelled any further than Corfu in Greece with my daughters, which was over 20 year ago.  I thought it over for a couple of days and then accepted such a kind offer.

My first view of North America

My first view of North America

We started off with an Air Canada flight from Heathrow to Toronto, and then a smaller plane from Toronto to Cleveland, Ohio.  The photo shows my first view of the North American continent from 37,000 feet flying over a snowy Labrador or Newfoundland.

Inter-State-70

Inter-State-70

For the first couple of days we stayed with Jim Mesko, who is an acknowledged author who has written 45 books on various aspects of the Viet Nam war, and who is a Viet Nam Veteran himself.  Jim then drove us to Indianapolis, via a model shop in Columbus, the state capital of Ohio.  One thing that I found fascinating throughout the whole of my week in the USA is how so many things are similar, but different to the UK.  The photo above shows a truck at a rest area on Inter State 70, on the way from Akron, Ohio to Indianapolis, about a 7 1/2 hour drive.  What is interesting about this photo is that the one truck is carrying two others in a piggy-back style behind it, with the first of the white trucks attached to the fifth wheel coupling of the lead truck, so that the other two can turn around corners.  This would never be allowed in the UK as it would not comply with our Construction and Use Regulations (thinking back to my old days as a Trading Standards Officer)

Jim and John outside the Convention Centre

Jim and John outside the Convention Centre

The photo above shows Jim on the left and John on the right in front of the entrance to the Indianapolis Convention Centre, which is absolutely vast.  It was dry in this photo, but at a bone chilling 20 F (- 6.7 C).  We soon had several snow flurries, but nothing much until the Sunday.  I was expecting the show to be at the Indie 500 race circuit, but the Convention Centre was right in the centre of the city.  We stayed in a motel that was just outside a ring of Inter State routes that surround Indianapolis, which was 16 miles from the centre of the city.

Inside the PRI show

Inside the PRI show

The show was held in two huge halls, all carpeted throughout, with hundreds of exhibitors and what must have been thousands of visitors.  I had my mobile phone with me, and this showed that on the Thursday I walked 7.6 miles just going up and down all of the isles of the show.

In the Lucas Oil Stadium

In the Lucas Oil Stadium

We ended the Thursday with free drinks in the Lucas Oil Stadium that is linked to the Convention Centre.  Dare I say, yet another first for me, to be inside an American Football stadium.  I was told that it has about a 40,000 seat capacity.

Just one of the many cars on display

Just one of the many cars on display

On the Wednesday I spent some time at the show taking photos of just some of the countless cars on display.  The show had everything from fan belts to wheels to milling machines and 3D scanners to drivers clothing and anything else you can think of related to any types of racing car, including  quite a few attractive young ladies helping to sell their company’s products, with almost everyone offering goodies such as stickers and pens or baseball caps and t-shirts.

Mean and ugly

Mean and ugly

For me, the prize for the most brutal car on display must be this one, very cleverly painted to look old and rusty, but quite the opposite.  Just look at the size of the engine and air intakes!  and yes, with massive rear wheels and two parachutes at the back to stop it.

Dayton, Ohio

Dayton, Ohio

On the way back from Indianapolis on the Saturday we called in to the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.  The museum is in all four of these huge hangers with everything inside from the first powered flight right up to space travel.

A collection of balistic missiles

A collection of ballistic missiles

If ever the Cold War had turned hot, it would have been these beasts that would have been flying from the USA across to Russia.  It was quite sobering to look at them.  They also had a mock-up of the control room inside a missile silo, with the seats and controls of the two operators far enough away from each other so that no one person could have set off a missile without working with their partner.

The Apolo 15 command module

The Apollo 15 command module

By way of a contrast, here is the actual command module from the Apollo 15 mission to the moon, still heavily tarnished from re-entry to the earth.  Whilst the missiles looked huge, this looked tiny.  It must have been unbelievable cramped for three men to have travelled all the way to the moon and back in something as small as this.  They also had several other capsules on display, with the one-man ones even smaller.  It really makes you appreciate the nerves of steel that these astronauts must have had.

Warthers Museum

Warthers Museum

On the Sunday we visited Warther’s Museum in Dover, Ohio.  I had never heard of this before our visit.  Mr Ernest “Mooney” Warther made a living from making some top quality knives, and also made these wooden models of locomotives.  The one thing that is amazing about these is that all of the parts are press-fitted together, without a single whiff of glue anywhere!  The brown parts are wood, and the white ones are ivory, all hand-carved, including all of the lettering that have pins on them that go into the wood.  What is more, all of the wheels, connecting rods, and pistons worked!  Some incredible model making.

Massilon, Ohio

Massilon, Ohio

There had been some snow in Indianapolis, but there was some more when we got back to Jim’s house, and then even more in Dover and, as you can see in the photo above, in Massilon, Ohio.

Road sign

Road sign

We called into Massilon to visit another model shop, to the left in the photo.  What this also shows is yet another example of things being similar but different.  I have known for years about Americans use of the word “Math” where we in the UK say “Maths,” but here’s another one that I didn’t know about.  In the UK we have “Road Works Ahead” but in the US they are, or rather it is  “Road Work” with no “s.”

We came back on the Monday night/ Tuesday morning, with a combination of cancelled flights and delays.  I left Akron, Ohio at 2pm (7pm UK time), got in to Heathrow about 12 noon, then found our cases were still somewhere on the North American continent, had a four and a bit hour coach journey from Heathrow back to Cardiff where my daughter Rhianwen and her children picked me up and took me back home at 7pm, 24 hours later and feeling both shattered and jet lagged – also a first experience, although less welcome.  Nevertheless, this was truly a week that I shall remember for the rest of my life.

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MAFVA Nationals & some new dioramas

6 July 2016
Rab's Commander & Challenger

Rab’s Commander & Challenger

I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the MAFVA Nationals a couple of weeks ago.  One of the main things for me about belonging to a national organisation such as the MAFVA is that you can meet up with people from all over the country rather than just locally if I were in an un-attached South Wales club.  One long-time friend of mine is Rab Burns who had come all the way down from Scotland to attend the show in St. Ives in Cambridgeshire.  Rab has made up a large collection of 1/76th scale tank transporters with a wide variety of loads.  He has also made up one of my Scammell Commanders and Challenger as you can see here.  I think he’s made a superb job of them.

DROPS with a Samaritan

DROPS with a Samaritan

Here’s another of Rab’s 1/152nd scale models, a Leyland DAF DROPS and Samaritan.  Mounted on a simple base with minimal groundwork, but enough to put the model into some sort of context.  Another nicely executed piece of work.

Stalwart Limber made up as a REME vehicle

Stalwart Limber made up as a REME vehicle

And finally, here’s another little gem from Rab, one of my Stalwart Artillery Limbers made up as a REME recovery vehicle with its crane stowed forward to maximise the amount of room for the crew under the tarpaulin over the rear body.  Rab won quite a few prizes at the MAFVA nationals for some of the other models that he brought along to the show.  He is an amazingly prolific modeller, and always to a high standard.

My new pylon diorama

My new pylon diorama

Here’s what I took along to the MAFVA Nationals as something new.  Not so much a military diorama as military vehicles in a civilian setting.  At the end of April I attended the Bristol Model Railway Exhibition as a trader and was next to Severn Models who make a variety of etched brass kits in several different scales, quite a bit of which is in N gauge, including this pylon.  I have thought about making a scene like this for some time, but wasn’t able to find a suitable pylon.  There is an N gauge one in the Scale Link range, but theirs has three arms, two on  one side, and one on the other and looks more like a French one than a British one.  There is also a pylon in the Kato range, produced by Heljan who I believe are a Danish company.  So okay for mainland Europe and Japan, but not quite right for the UK.  So Severn Models have finally filled what has been a big void for me.

I have deliberately shown it in my hand as every now and again I seem to get people confused over the scale of my models.  I recently had a series of e-mails from someone who wanted me to make a diorama for him as he had seen my work on this blog site.  I suddenly wondered if he was aware that my models were made to 1/152nd scale rather than 1/72nd and so pointed this out to him, and I’ve heard nothing more since then.  A pity really as I could have made what he wanted in 1/72nd scale, but just to make it clear, all of my dioramas for the last twelve years have been in 1/152nd scale.

A close-up of the vehicles

A close-up of the vehicles

A closer view of two of the vehicles.  Just bog standard vehicles from my range painted white to represent some of the vehicles used by Western Power and Distribution.  They have a large depot just down the road from where I live and seem to have some quite unusual looking vehicles.

Looking at it from the other end

Looking at it from the other end

Here’s another view of it, showing the Unimog at the other side.  I picked up the base at the On Track model show in Folkestone in February.  It was designed for a small vignette of two or three large scale figures, but is just right for what I wanted.  It is far more interesting to use an irregular shaped piece of wood rather than just a rectangle of MDF, which does have its uses, but not for this scene.

Abbot firing position

Abbot firing position

I couldn’t get this finished in time for The MAFVA Nationals, and didn’t want to rush it, so finished it of a couple of days later.  The original idea for this came from an Army Benevolent Fund calendar for 2006 that consisted of military paintings by Terence Cuneo.  The September picture was of E battery 1 Royal Horse Artillery in 1974 showing a Battery of Abbot self-propelled guns on an exercise in Detmold, Germany.  My model is not exactly the same as the painting, but is based loosely around it.

Another view of the whole thing

Another view of the whole thing

This is another diorama using wood as a base.  In this case it is a slice through a tree trunk with the bark still intact, which I think helps set the thing off nicely.  The trees and bushes came from a trader I saw at the IPMS Avon show in Thornbury (by the old Severn Bridge, same venue as the Bristol Model Railway Exhibition).  All of the vehicles on this diorama were originally made up as single vehicles to show my latest releases in my range of models.  They cover quite a few years with the FV432 being the oldest and the Ferret Mk.2/3 next to it the most recent.  They now have one base to show them off, which I think looks a lot more interesting than single vehicles doing nothing.

Unloading the ammunition

Unloading the ammunition

The position of the Abbot and the Stalwart is a straight copy from the painting.  All of the figures started off as a box of unpainted Preiser 1/160th scale German railway figures.  I altered their trousers and jackets by scraping with scalpel blades to make them look more like military trousers and tunic, and then I sliced off the tops of their heads and replaced them with pieces of plastic rod rounded off to form a helmet.  The painting in the calendar shows all of the crews in berrets, but the hard hats looked better to me.

The other Abbot to the front

The other Abbot to the front

Another view of the whole thing.  The Abbot to the front here has camouflage nets around both sides and front, with the one behind it having the net deployed by some of the crew.  Both Abbots have had their hull rear door opened up, to allow for the ammunition to be fed into them and to allow the fumes from firing the gun to disperse.

Looking across at the scne

Looking across at the scene

And finally, here’s another view of the diorama.  One of the big plusses for me about modelling in this tiny scale is that you can tell a complete story in a relatively small area,  This would be quite a large diorama in 1/76th scale, but there’s almost as much detail here in something that is half the size, and a quarter of the area (half as wide and half as deep).  The photos were taken out in my garden with a sheet of blue card behind it.

A visit to The Netherlands

8 April 2016

Over the Easter weekend I went with my friend David Burton from South Wales MAFVA (the Miniature Armoured Fighting Vehicle Association) on a visit with members of Cambridge MAFVA to  a show held by TWENOT – Tweede Nederlandse Organisatie van Tankhobbyisten, the Dutch Armour Association, to celebrate their 40th anniversary at the Oorlogsmuseum in Overloon, just north of Venray in The Netherlands.  This was the first time that I have ever attended a model show outside of the UK and it turned out to be an absolutely brilliant weekend.

We set off on the Thursday, which proved to be somewhat eventful.  I arranged to pick up someone at 4pm in Rugby, then go to Duxford near Cambridge for 7pm to meet up with Cambridge MAFVA and take some of their models if they needed any extra room in their cars, and then to follow them to the ferry at Harwich for 10pm.  Well, that was the plan.  David and I set off with plenty of time to spare, and then got stuck in roadworks on the M5, which delayed us by about an hour and a quarter.  We eventually got to Rugby by 5.15 pm and then did a mad dash to Duxford.  We got there at 6.55pm, with one of the Cambridge cars driven off and the other ready to go.  We followed them up until a roundabout near Stanstead airport where we duly lost them in the dark and rain.  Luckily David spotted a signpost for Colchester, so we followed that.  By pure good fortune, and a bit of wellie, about 20 miles further along the road we managed to catch up with the car that we were supposed to be following, and then got to the Harwich ferry terminal as planned.

 

My first view of The Neherlands

My first view of The Netherlands

The night crossing on the ferry went okay, although I didn’t get much sleep, and got up to see the ship sail past the huge industrial complex of Rotterdam and in to The Hook of Holland.  In the past as a married man I have done plenty of driving in France visiting my ex-wife’s relatives, but nothing for 21 years, and never in The Netherlands, although driving on the right hand side of the road is easy enough when most of the journeys were on dual carriageways or motorways .

 

The Nationaal Militair Museum

The Nationaal Militair Museum

We started the Friday by driving up to the National Military Museum in Soesterberg.  I was told that this has only been open for about 18 months, and is the combination of several older museums in to one.  I was expecting to see mainly WWII vehicles but was pleasantly surprised to see that they had a lot of Cold War vehicles on display as well.  The site looked like a large Cold War airfield, but discovered that it was in fact originally a German WWII airfield that was used on bombing runs to Britain, until bombed itself by the RAF.  It was later used post-war by the US Air Force.

Looking down on the main exhibition hall

Looking down on the main exhibition hall

Here’s a view from a balcony down onto the main exhibition hall.  They had quite a few aircraft on display, both hanging down from the ceiling and on display outside, and with a multitude of exhibits from self-propelled artillery and tactical nuclear missiles (Lance) down to DAF trucks and armoured personnel carriers.

A Ferret Scout Car

A Ferret Scout Car

I was expecting to see a Centurion, which I did, but one surprise was seeing this Ferret Mk.2/3 scout car.  I didn’t know that the Dutch used them. For anyone interested in Dutch armour I can highly recommend this museum.  The whole place is very light and airy with plenty of room around all of the exhibits.  The only slightly down side was that many of my photos were taken looking towards the glass panels of the outside, putting the vehicles into shadow, although you can see in the photos that there were plenty of lights on the exhibits.

The Airborne Museum at Oosterbeek

The Airborne Museum at Oosterbeek

We then travelled east towards Arnhem where we visited the Airborne Museum at Oosterbeek.  I didn’t take any photos inside this museum, but it was very well presented and graphically illustrated the horrors of war.  The visit started at the top of the house and worked down to several basement levels, ending in some large 1:1 scale dioramas of the streets around Arnhem.  Very powerful stuff and well worth a visit for anyone interested in Operation Market Garden.

From there we travelled south to our hotel in Boxmeer.  This was a former Convent that had been converted into a hotel with a blend of the old buildings with modern stainless steel fittings, which surprisingly complimented each other very well.  The highlight of the evening was in the restaurant where a single chef prepared a meal for the 11 of us that was absolutely brilliant.  We then retired to the bar where we gradually retired to our rooms for the night, with the South Wales contingent amongst the last to leave the bar.

Our stand in the museum

Our stand in the museum

We got up bright and early on the Saturday and made our way to the Oorlogsmuseum in Overloon which is a very pretty little village.  The museum also holds the George Marshall Collection of WWII American trucks, that was very impressive.  Our stand was linked next to the Cambridge MAFVA one, with another MAFVA member Yuri joining us with his wife.  David brought along a bright red cuddly toy of a Welsh Dragon, which may now become our club mascot.  You can see it to the left of our sign.  A little bit silly, but why not.  This is after all just a hobby.

A Dutch Centurion

A Dutch Centurion

I had a good look around their Centurion and was interested to see that it was fitted with the foul weather hood over the driver’s hatch, which you don’t see very often.  It would be an interesting model to make as it is a British tank, but with a different colour scheme and very Germanic looking smoke dischargers.

Part of the WWII American truck display

Part of the WWII American truck display

Here’s a view of one very small part of the George Marshall Collection that is huge.  The Diamond T tank transporter was shown here with a drawbar trailer loaded with wooden ammunition crates.  These tank transporters were used by the British Army well into the 1960s until replaced by the Antars, albeit with a new Rolls Royce engine fitted to them.

Leaving The Hook of Holland

Leaving The Hook of Holland

The two days at Overloon soon ended and then we set off back to The Hook of Holland for our ferry back home on the Easter Sunday night.  The journey there again proved to be eventful as we had an almighty storm as we went along the motorways and viaducts around Rotterdam, with horizontal rain and gale force winds.  When we got to The Hook of Holland the sky cleared, with everything set for our journey back home.  This photo shows the sun setting over the vast industrial complex of Rotterdam with a coaster sailing past us.

Storm Katie in the North Sea

Storm Katie in the North Sea

The journey home soon changed from calm to a raging storm, Storm Katie.  David and I woke up at 3.30am with the ship rocking all over the place in the gale.  The original plan was for the ship to land at Harwich at 5.15am.  We ended cruising up and down the East Anglia coast as far north as Norfolk for several hours (although we couldn’t see anything other than the white horses of the waves, and one other passing ship that you can see above), waiting for the storm to blow over, with several passengers, including some of our friends, being sea sick, although luckily not I nor David who has spent some time in the Merchant Navy.  We eventually landed at 1.15pm and gave our farewells to our friends in Cambridge MAFVA.

All in all, this was an absolutely fantastic weekend with plenty of new things to see and experience. The Dutch people, and our friends from TWENOT were all very friendly and helpful to us, and they all spoke really good English, which was just as well as my knowledge of Dutch is zero.  But the biggest thanks though must go to my friends from Cambridge MAFVA as it was each and every one of them who made David and I feel so welcome, and we just had a good laugh and plenty of jokes over the whole weekend.  Well worth attending.

 

 

An Evolving Design

18 March 2016

I have been a member of the Miniature Armoured Fighting Vehicle Association (MAFVA) since the mid 1970s, some 40 odd years ago, and have recently been looking at our Association’s logo.

The original design

The original design

The Association started in 1965 and was originally known as the Miniature Armoured Fighting Vehicle Collectors Association, although the ‘C’ for Collectors has been omitted in this early issue of Tankette, the Association’s magazine.

A Tankette from 1970

A Tankette from 1970

I joined the Miniature AFV Association in the mid 1070’s, but have since managed to get some earlier issues of what I have always found to be a really useful magazine (only available to members, so you have to join our Association if you’d like to have it).  By 1970 (probably earlier) the Association had developed a logo that has continued in use right up to the present day.  The logo shows a line drawing of the first tank ever to be built that was made by the William Foster Company in Lincoln and was affectionately known as “Little Wille” after its creator.  This first tank was really just a design concept, which went on to develop into tanks armed with guns that were successfully used in the First World War.  Little Willie is surrounded by a 12 toothed drive sprocket from a tank, that is attached to the tank’s engine and gearbox, with the teeth locking in to the tracks and so, as the drive sprocket rotates, it moves the track forward or backwards.

The 1983 version

The 1983 version

My knowledge of the 3D version of this design goes back to when I first entered any models in The MAFVA National Competitions that are held once a year.  First places in a class are awarded a trophy and certificate, and the seconds and thirds get just a certificate.  So I’ve got quite a few certificates, but just a limited number of awards, that makes them all the more precious (not worth a bean as a resin casting on a bit of wood, but there was a huge amount of effort put in to making each of the models that won any awards).  At the 1983 Nationals I entered several 1/76th scale models that got nowhere, and a 1/35th scale armoured Bedford RL ‘Pig’ that won the award for the best Post War model in the competition.  You’ll see that someone has now made a 3D version of our logo.  My friend Paul Middleton, who is now the MAFVA President (which he well deserves) tells me that it is actually an escutcheon.  I had to look in my Oxford Dictionary which says that “an escutcheon is a shield on which a coat of arms is represented: a family shield”  which seems to describe it quite nicely.

The 1988 Nationals in Manchester

The 1988 Nationals in Manchester

Five years later I was at the 1988 Nationals in Manchester.  I had dropped off my wife and children to look around the city centre whilst I went to the model show. I can’t find any certificate to go with this award, so I don’t know what it was for, but you can see a further evolution of the “Little Willie”  surrounded by a mailed fist and with a red rose (of Lancashire?).

The 1990 Nationals in Glasgow

The 1990 Nationals in Glasgow

This was taken a stage further with a really well produced version of Little Willie, this time surrounded by a Scottish thistle to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Miniature AFV Association, and that the Nationals were held in Glasgow.  This time I can say that I was awarded this for either a 1/76 scale model of a Foden 8×4 Cargo Truck, or for a 1/76th scale model of a Combat Engineer Tractor, both of which won 1st places.  This is a particularly attractive design.

I was discussing the MAFVA escutcheon with Peter Bailey of London MAFVA at our Annual General Meeting in St. Albans last Sunday and he told me that he believed that this design was made by one person, but I now know that it was designed by Derek Hansen of Accurate Armour.  You can see that he has done a superb job in sculpting this design which still looks as good now in 2016 as when I first saw it in 1990.

The 1999 version

The 1999 version

It would appear that someone, somewhere later removed the thistle part of the design to leave the drive sprocket and the Little Willie.  My model club, South Wales Branch of the Miniature AFV Association used resin copies of this design when we held the MAFVA Nationals in Cardiff in 1998.  This one was an award to me at The Nationals the year later in 1999 for fist places in the classes for Small scale softskin kit – a Bedford TK; or for Small scale softskin conversion – Leyland DAF DROPS Truck.

A resin copy from 1998

A resin copy from 1998

Going forward to a few weeks ago, I was wondering what one of the Little Willie escutcheons would look like if I cast it in pewter.  The one above had been painted, so I took off the paint with Mr Muscle oven cleaner (make sure you follow the instructions if you want to use this as a paint stripper as it’s quite nasty stuff), and then used Milliput to fill in some gaps around the edges of the drive sprocket.

The end result

The end result

And this is the end result.  The pewter has ben cleaned with files and then rubbed over with a brass burnishing brush.  The sun has caught it at the top of the cog, but it is of a more even colour than it looks here.  Many previous versions of Little Willie have been made in resin and painted with metallic paint, but this is the first one actually made of metal.

I took some with me to the show in Folkestone (see my last post) where I gave Paul Middleton some of them for use as awards at the 2016 MAFVA Nationals which will be held in The Burgess Hall, Westwood Road, St.Ives, Cambridgeshire PE27 6WU on Fathers Day 19th June this year.  If you want to see the best of British miniature armour modelling, and softskins, this is the show to attend, and also with one of the best selections of specialist traders as well  I sold several of these “Little Willies” at Folkestone, and also at the MAFVA AGM where they appeared to be very popular.

 

 

The MAFVA Nationals 2014

17 June 2014
The left hand side of our display

The left hand side of our display

Last Sunday 15th June I went with my club, South Wales Branch of the MAFVA, to the National Competitions of the Miniature Armoured Fighting Vehicle Association (MAFVA) at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, a few miles south of Cambridge.  The event is held in a large marquee that is to the side of the American Air Force hanger.  What adds to the appeal of this show is that there is also a military book sale inside the American hanger, with a military vehicle rally on the grass next to our marquee, with most of the vehicles driving around the airfield, and there’s the Land Warfare hall nearby and next to that is a driving area where you can see several of their vehicles drive around a very muddy test track.

Four of us went along and we managed to put on a good display.  In the photo above you can see the models of Des Burgess who makes them to a consistently high standard.

The centre of our stand

The centre of our stand

Next to Des were the models of Paul Williams who was there with his wife and son and as usual had a varied selection of models on display.  As far as I know, Paul has never entered any competitions and models purely for his own enjoyment, which is exactly how it should be.

The right hand side of the display

The right hand side of the display

To the right of the display were my models, and at the rear two large dioramas from David Burton.  David has only been with us for a couple of years, but has the knack of making some very effective diorama bases, and is very proficient in weathering and toning the vehicles.  As for me, there was a selection of 1/48th scale, 1/76th scale, 1/152nd scale and 1/200th scale to add a bit of variety.

The Mexeflote loaded up with vehicles

The Mexeflote loaded up with vehicles

The only thing new that I took along with me was the Mexeflote, now loaded up with vehicles, which I think really enhances it.  It raised quite a bit of interest like this.

 

Looking along the display

Looking along the display

Here’s another view, looking along the display.  The MAFVA Nationals must be by far the best purely military modelling show in the UK.  There are other larger shows such as Scale Modelworld run by the IPMS in November, but that is mainly a model aircraft show, or there’s Euromilitaire in Folkestone in September, but that is still mainly a model figure show.  What I like the most about the MAFVA Nationals is that it is such a friendly show.  It’s more like a large family re-union as we are all members of the same national organisation, taking part in our hobby within regional groups or clubs.  It’s the one show where I can meet up with friends from Scotland, or North of England and renew old friendships.  A thoroughly enjoyable day out, and full credit to Paul Middleton and the Cambridge MAFVA branch for organising it so well.

Arborfield and Duxford

19 June 2012

Last weekend four of us from South Wales MAFVA went along to the MAFVA Nationals at The Imperial War Museum, Duxford, near Cambridge.  En route three of us visited the REME Corps Weekend Open Day at Arborfield, near Reading, which was just off the M4 motorway, so not much of a detour for us.

The Scout SV

The Scout SV

The first thing we saw at Arborfield was quite a surprise, something never seen before by the public, a mock-up of the Scout SV (Specialist Vehicle).  This particular vehicle appears to have a hull from either an Austrian or Spanish vehicle together with a dummy turret from Lockheed Martin.  What is amazing is that this vehicle which will be categorised as Medium Armour will (if it comes into service after its trials) be replacing the CVR(T) family of Light Armoured Vehicles.  This particular variant will replace the Scimitar which you can just see to the right in the photo behind the Scout.

3/4 rear view of the Scout SV

3/4 rear view of the Scout SV

Despite the size of this vehicle, it will have a three-man crew of driver, commander and gunner.  The 30mm Rarden gun used for many years on the Scimitar, Sabre and Warrior will be replaced on the Scout by a 40mm weapon which should give it improved lethality.  The vehicle on display is just a mock-up to show people what the Scout SV will look like.  There’s a good chance that the trials may result in numerous differences between this and the actual production version, if the trials are successful.  For instance, this vehicle had spare track pads and winter snow “teeth” on the side but, as far as I can recall,  British vehicles have spare track links with pads attached, but never before with spare pads (at least, not on the outside of the vehicle ).  There is a Welsh connection here as the headquarters of General Dynamics UK are in Oakdale, in one of the Gwent valleys a few miles to the east of me.

A Warrior Repair vehicle ready to lift out a power pack

A Warrior Repair vehicle ready to lift out a power pack

Sometimes it takes years to get to see something, as in the photo above.  I have seen and photographed pack changes on Chieftains, Challengers, FV432s, Abbots and Scimitars, but I’ve never before seen a Warrior pack change.  In this case it was just a static display rather than actually changing the pack, but it shows the lifting beam attached to the Warrior power pack with the decks open.  You’ll notice that the Warrior’s turret has its gun facing rearward and the rear stowage basket has been removed from the back of the turret and placed on top of it.  This could look quite interesting in N gauge, although making the powerpack in such a small scale could be quite a challenge.

Warrior power pack on a DROPS flatrack

Warrior power pack on a DROPS flatrack

In this photo you can see the two elements of the Warrior power pack, the duck-egg blue engine to the right (in the standard colour for British military engines) and its silver coloured gearbox to the left.  These can be removed from the Warrior as a single unit, but on this flatrack they have been separated from each other.

The South Wales MAFVA stand at The MAFVA Nationals

The South Wales MAFVA stand at The MAFVA Nationals

We only stayed at Arborfield for two and a half hours and then went on to Duxford where we arrived mid afternoon.  In the photo above you can see our South Wales MAFVA display during the show on the Sunday.  We each had one module and the table in front, with a few extra models in the central module with the sign.  From the left there are models from Paul Williams, then Mike Johns, Des Burgess and me.

Our stand from the other end

Our stand from the other end

Here’s another view of our stand from the other end, with my models nearest the camera next to Des’.  This is always the biggest display for the Branch, other than our own show in the autumn.  The MAFVA Nationals is always a very friendly show, with the chance to meet up with friends from right across the country and a good selection of traders to see representing most of the miniature armour cottage industries.

Some of my little beasts

Some of my little beasts

I know this isn’t a brilliant photo, but is shows some of my little models.  I mounted one of my Ferret models in bare pewter on a wooden base, and made up two others that were painted.  One was in satin dark green and the other in matt green and black to show the two most common paint schemes used for these vehicles.  They raised quite a bit of interest.

On Track Military Modelling Show

4 March 2012
The MAFVA Display area

The MAFVA Display area

Last weekend, on Saturday 25th February I attended the On Track Military Modelling Show in Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone.  I was originally invited to attend this show as a trader, but I did so once when it was the Trucks ‘N’ Tracks show over a whole weekend, and I sold just 7 models over the entire weekend.  I enjoy making my little models in 1/152nd scale, but this is most definitely not a popular military modelling scale.  As a result, I agreed to attend solely as an exhibitor.

Another view of the MAFVA display, showing the South Wales stand

Another view of the MAFVA display, showing the South Wales stand

One of my friends in South Wales MAFVA, Mike Gill offered to come along with me, so we went together with a joint South Wales MAFVA display. We were in the Chanel View Suite  which is a level below the main hall, so we had plenty of exercise up and down the stairs with two flights down from the entrance into the main hall, and another down to where we were.

The South Wales MAFVA display

The South Wales MAFVA display

At the previous show in the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton I displayed a variety of different models, but this time I had just my little 1/152nd scale models, from the first ones cast in resin right up to the recent Scammell Commander and Challenger 1 in pewter. To emphasise that this was a display rather than just a sales pitch, I put captions against each diorama to explain a bit about them.

The newest and one of the oldest

The newest and one of the oldest

In this photo you can see at the top left the newest models in the form of my little Pembroke scene that I’ve described in previous blogs, and below that my workshop scene which is one of my oldest with all of the models made of resin.  One good thing about resin models is that they are a lot easier to convert.  On this diorama are Land Rovers opened up with stretched sprue tilts added, and several vehicles with doors open.  The big downside is that my friend who cast them for me is a very experienced resin caster and even he had difficulties casting these little models.  He gave me just the relatively complete castings, but there were still a number with air holes that couldn’t be sold.  When it came to me deciding which material to use when I re-launched the range a few years ago, it was clear to me that I had to use metal, although I wanted something a bit better than the more usual white metal, which is why I ended up using lead-free pewter, that is both lighter and tougher than white metal.

End view of the display

End view of the display

The depot scene at the back of the display was shown with some Dragon 1/144th scale models, Challenger 2, Warrior, MLRS, and AS90.  I’m pleased that I got these models when I did as I haven’t seen them on any traders’ stands, nor in any shops for quite a while.  In front of the depot scene is my one of a Welsh Models vac-formed Hercules in 1/144th scale, and next to that is my first 1/152nd scale diorama of a road during the first Gulf War, which I still like despite being 24 years old.

A closer look at the centre of the display

A closer look at the centre of the display

Here’s a closer look at the centre of the display.  I included a 1/200th scale Ramped Craft Logistic as I’m still pleased in the way that this model turned out.  I have deliberately left it as I first produced it, with just some dusting to keep it clean, but no polishing to see how the patina of the pewter develops.  So far I think it still looks quite presentable.  Also on display are two resin models of a Bedford MJ and 3/4 ton Land Rover Hardtop, still left in bare resin, and a partially tilted Leyland/DAF DROPS pewter model to show the difference between the two materials.

I’ve now come to the last in my outstanding orders which will be dispatched in the next couple of days, which means that I can concentrate in building up some stock in time for the London Festival of Railway Modelling in Alexandra Palace in three weeks time.