MAFVA, Paul Middleton writes:
Once again I hit the road at ‘stupid o’clock’ on the Friday to miss the M25 morning madness, and once past the Dartford crossing had the forgotten joy of driving in daylight, albeit into blinding sunshine. Arriving at 08.00hrs, plenty of parking on the seafront, and my habitual café fry up before commencing work. On my return to the Leas Cliff Hall I was pleased to see the team lounging by the already unloaded tables. The morning was then spent moving tables to locations using the lift to transfer them down to the Channel Suite. Getting the use of the street level lift made life easier to unload my car which I could then move to the underground car park, where it could sit for 24 hours for a mere £3.00! (The drawback being to remember to pop over on the Saturday morning to buy another ticket.)
By the time I had set out the tables, MAFVA members had started to arrive ready to set up their displays. I then completed the HQ stand and was able to ‘mingle’ with the team. By 17.00hrs those stopping overnight were ready to find the hotel where a group of eight of us from around the country dined together in the very hospitable surroundings of the Clifton Best Western Hotel, and put the (modelling) world to rights till they shut the bar.
An early start to welcome the remaining exhibiting teams of Mafiosi, and open up ‘shop’ for the membership. Kindly folk kept me supplied with tea as I was soon drying out with all the talking. As well as back issues of Tankette, we had a box of decals that were on offer for donations, being the residue of the collection of an incapacitated modeller the proceeds helping to pay for his care home.
The MAFVAZone had eight branches displaying a wide range of models all made to a high standard, and several people were ‘sticking the plastic’ giving demonstrations of modelling techniques, plus Fiona on the Cambridge stand making a quilt (It was cold outside…). Sharing the Channel suite either side of the MAFVAZone were the competition room run by John Ham & Chris Grove,
which soon held an excellent display of entries, particularly from the youngsters, and the other side was the radio controlled tanks trundling about. As always the bar on this level was open doing a roaring trade serving snacks and drinks, as was the bar attached to the main hall.
Once I had an ‘understudy’ manning the desk I set off on my first foray upstairs to find the main hall full of traders, club displays and wargaming, plus a make & take. Most regulars were there, plus some new names, and as always, it takes me a long time to get round and speak to them all. Inevitably some are busy each time I walk past, but I can at least see their latest products on display. Various clubs were up on the balconies, and at the foyer level was Avid reader and a display from the Poppy Appeal. Always good to see them, I trust everyone was generous in donating. At the street level the small café there was also busy as visitors fortified themselves before descending into the show, or readying themselves for the journey home. As with all the watering holes around the hall, this also allowed folk to sit and chat, exchange ideas and information. This is one of the joys of shows such as On Track, promoting the camaraderie of the hobby.
It was soon 16.00hrs and time for the presentation of prizes, and it was an honour for me to be asked to do the presenting instead of the announcing. The juniors were sponsored by Armourfast, although sadly Tracey was unable to be with us, but the youngsters were pleased with their kits. The adults were also pleased with their trophies, and then it was time to pack up.
Being a show for modellers by modellers, we all pitch in to help fold the show away, and our MAFVAZone exhibitors helped stack tables while the ‘hardcore’ of Ken, Annabel & Dave shifted them up in the lift. We were actually done by 17.40hrs, and sat down for a cuppa! The remaining four had another enjoyable evening, discussing the events of the day, before driving home on the Sunday morning.
For those that exhibited and traded, many thanks, those that entered the competition, well done, and those who attended as visitors, we trust you had a good time, bought what you wanted, and got plenty of ideas. A final thankyou to Harold Hanna who pulls it all together.