Newport MRS in association with NAGNAG (the Newport and Gwent Neighbourhood Area Group of the Scalefour Society) held our fifth open day on Sunday 21st May 2023.
The open day gave an opportunity to chat with fellow modellers and share a few experiences. The layouts didn’t operate as they would at a conventional exhibition, giving visitors and club members alike a chance to swap tips and thoughts.
We had the following attractions:
Frecclesham O – details here
Abergavenny Blackbrook P4 – details here
O gauge running track: details here
Bernie Baker’s Orfe Quay, EM, details here
Stroat Harbour, OO, details here
We started setting things up on the Saturday evening, with the test track and both Freccleshan and ABB to erect there was too much to be left until Sunday morning
By 11.00 am we were ready to open the doors to the baying hoard, and in he walked.
Orfe Quay (EM)
Bernie Baker, well-known in Scalefour society circles and for his Allt-y-Graban Road layout, brought along his new EM layout, Orfe Quay
7mm scale is popular in the club, in several manifestations from tinplate, American 0 scale, 0 gauge finescale to Scaleseven. Finescale 0 gauge has the most adherents, and this was represented by Frecclesham, a BR(SR) branch line terminus, which was featured in the September 2014 edition of the Railway Modeller. One item on the layout that garnered a lot of interert was a travelling crane, built by the late and greatly missed Steffan Lewis, of Aberhafren and Maindee East fame.
Abergavenny Blackbrook (ABB)
P4 was represented with our more-or-less-complete-but-still-in-need-of-a-few-improvements Abergavenny Blackbrook (ABB), a BR(WR) branch line terminus on show. ABB was conceived as a quickie layout (kit turnout, ready-to-plant commercial buildings, etc.) on which we could run and soak test stock for LMJ. But,modellers being modellers some scratch- or kit-built buildings have crept in. ABB was featured in the April 2023 edition of BRM.
As a club we are aware that with P4 and 0 gauge modelling to the fore within the club, we might present an off-putting first impression to prospective new members, many of whom work in OO or N gauges, we were therefore, particularly pleased to be able to showcase new member, Ed Gordon’s OO gauge work-in-progress,
Ed’s OO layout, Stroat Harbour, has its first outing at the Open Day and was well received.
Scalefour Society / NAGNAG
Scalefour representation was led by Mike Garwood, co-ordinator of NAGNAG, the Newport and Gwent Neighbourhood Area Group of the Scalefour Society.
Severnside Area Group of the Scaleseven Group
Scaleseven, LBH’s Crindau Pill was the centrepiece of the S7 stand
Wagonman brought along this fine Scaleseven TVR Passenger Brake Van
Gauge O Guild
The Gauge O Guild publicity machine was out in force.
The Model Railway Trade
We also welcomed some of our friends in the model railway trade – Taff Vale Models, Rumney Models, 88D and Fred Lewis/Welsh Wizard Loco Works.
The Social Side
The open day gave an opportunity to chat with fellow modellers and share a few experiences – one of the great joys of the day.
Closing thoughts and Next Time?
So that was it! The day came and went but was it a success? Undoubtedly, yes. We made a small financial loss, but with charging nothing for admission that was to be expected. A few visitors expressed an interest in joining, which is encouraging, but our main goals to have fun, meet old friends and make new ones were achieved in spades.
Will we do it again? Barring major pestilence, unquestionably yes!
What can we do better? There are a few areas where we could make improvements:
The running track was underutilised, it only supports finescale 0 gauge and visitors may not have noticed the invitation to bring their own stock. We are considering a new multi-gauge test track – naturally including 18.83.
Should we make it a regular event? Annual or Biennial perhaps.
Several of the members’ interests, which include Japanese HO, Swiss HOm, narrow gauge to 4, 7 and 16mm/ft scales, 0 gauge Tinplate and American 0 scale, were not represented and could be next time.
The upstairs hall, which some may remember as the venue of 2016 AGM, could be used (if the weather is clement!).
Perhaps timing could have been better – May is so busy!
Promotion – we publicised the event on four forums but only the Scalefour Forum elicited any responses and had over six times the number the views of the next most popular.
Photos – NMRS and Danny Cockling