We are very grateful to all those, mainly MAFVA members, and some from Gravesham Model Club, and some traders, who undertook the thankless task of judging the competition.
For MAFVA, Paul Middleton writes:
'ON TRACK' 2016
Although it is only a one day event, the planning and preparation for the On Track show starts as soon as the previous year’s show finishes. Some traders like to book well in advance, and most clubs prefer to in case they lose their ‘prime’ spot. The MAFVAZone is slightly different in that there is a hard core of regulars, and other branches that join us when they can. This year we had the East Sussex MAFVA join us, and sadly Bedfordshire MAFVA were unable to make it due to illness.
For me, this year’s show started early on the Friday morning, and having got the domestic chores out of the way I decided to risk the traffic and set out at 06.30hrs. I was parked up on Folkestone seafront before 09.00hrs and heading down the road for a decent café breakfast. When I walked in to the Leas Cliff Hall there was Harold Hanna, the show organiser chucking tables about with two helpers. I pitched into get the tables for the Channel Suite loaded in the lift and humped through to the competition room and MAFVAZone. By lunchtime the tables were in and set up so I could get on with the MAFVA HQ stand, the magazine racks and the Cambridge display. By then a few Mafiosi had started to trickle in, and it became obvious that I did well to set out early, as there was a significant hold up on the Dartford crossing. I later heard that the Milicast team took 11 hours to get from Puckeridge to Folkestone, via Southend & the Blackwall tunnel!
That evening was spent in good company at an oriental buffet restaurant before slumming it for a nightcap in the hotel bar.
Saturday morning dawned a bit gloomy, but as soon as I walked into the hall you could tangibly feel the good “buzz” from traders and exhibitors. With the MAFVAZone set up there was plenty of chat, news and new models to discuss from friends old and new. I spent the morning manning the HQ desk and dealing with members paying their subscriptions, buying back issues of our magazine Tankette, and even a few new members joined on the day. Plenty of folk also dropped by for a chat, and even brought me a welcome cuppa.
After lunch I began my usual trawl around the traders, ostensibly to book them for the MAFVA Nationals in June, but sneaking in the chance for a bit of retail therapy and gossip along the way. The joy of the On Track show is the amazing diversity of traders who attend, so whatever kit, book or tool you are looking for, the odds are you will either find it, or a trader will get it for you. The fact that there are quite a few visitors and traders from the continent adds to the mix and increases what is on offer kit wise. Also whilst wandering around the traders I was able to see some amazing models on the club stands. Half way down the stairs from the street level was an amazing pair of German rail guns in 1/35th scale, the Leopold and the Dora, quite phenomenal!
My hectic schedule did not give me time to visit the competition room properly, but a quick glimpse, and then checking the official photos taken by the ever efficient Natalia showed the quality of the entries as being very high. The full album can be viewed at https://www.flickr.com/photos/kudosmedia/albums/72157664475597569 .
Added to all these aspects was a ‘make & take’ for the junior modellers, the chance to catch up over a cuppa or a pint and to get inspired by the models on display.
All of a sudden it was time for the presentation of the awards for the competition winners (Once we had got the ‘main man’ Rex Cadman out of the bar, he was probably mid-story…). The juniors were well looked after as not only the winners, but all entrants received a bundle of kits from Tracy Layton of Armourfast.
With the close of the show it was extremely pleasing to see that most of the traders and exhibitors pitched in to shift tables and chairs, which helped the small team of organisers a great deal.
The weekend was rounded off with a ‘fish supper’ in the company of Ian, Lily & Torin Hanratty of Friendship Models, a few beers back at the Southcliffe, then back to our own hotel, the Best Western. Over a civilised breakfast the next morning three of us reviewed the show and agreed it was an excellent weekend for all of us.
Next year’s show will be in the same location on Saturday 25th of February.
Paul Middleton 1528