Another Display Day at the Uni
(April 2010)

We did it again, another successful display day.

Working feverishly behind the scenes in preceding months MoBsters did all the work necessary to make the day a success; organising the venue, organising the publicity, organising the raffle and then setting up all the tables the day before.  Thanks to everyone involved in this unseen but vital work.

As a result, all the rest of us had to do was turn up on the day, set out our models and sit back to wait for the masses to arrive.  Every year we say that the display will be opened at 10 and every year Yvette is dealing with early arrivals well before that – but I suppose that if we said the display started at 8 people would still get there early.

The other remarkable thing about the display was the raffle.  I know that Wayne and Yvette could write volumes about the problems they have in getting donations for the raffle but they ended up with five or six substantial piles of kits that attracted a great deal of interest.

I have to admit that I was not in the best form for this year’s display, having picked up a rather nasty flu bug from somewhere and having just got back from two weeks hectic work in Sydney, so I just sat back, sandpapered my fingers away and watched the display happen before my eyes.  From this vantage point it seemed to me that the crowd was bigger than ever and there was also a fair amount of interest in the process of modelling.  I recall getting involved in a couple of rather detailed discussions of modelling techniques with people I’ve never seen before so I felt the day was probably worthwhile in helping to spread the word about modelling.

Who could forget the spread laid out in the back room for refreshments.  The last time I saw so many luscious cakes in one place at one time was at a CWA show.  Prez Zim was also a great service in taking food orders in the middle of the day and returning with provisions to keep us going.

Usually there seems to be a lull in the flow of visitors through the hall around lunch time that picks up in the afternoon.  This did not seem to happen with the same volume this year, which was probably due to the alarm that went off in the entrance hall and kept up its deafening tones all afternoon, despite the efforts of several MoBsters.  We probably lost quite a few visitors in the afternoon who could not get through the sound barrier to the display.

Even so, it was a good day and Make A Wish will profit from the display, as usual.  Where we will be this time next years seems to be somewhat in question.  I hope that things can be resolved so we are back at the uni next year because the venue is fairly classy, we have established it as the place to go to see our display and it seems to be just the right size for us.  But, wherever we end up, I’m already looking forward to next year’s event.

Oh No, Not Expo Again
(June 2010)

I’m sitting in the back of this outsized car hurtling down the freeway at speed with the music of our Patron echoing around.  Strange to say, I’ve never heard Hawkwind before, I may have given up on acid before they came along.  Beside me is a strange academic looking chappie who seems to be snoozing and before me in the pilot and navigator seats are two other strange people, chatting away about something just beyond audibility.  It’s all too confusing.  I look at my watch, it’s 7.35, for too early to be awake …

Sandown racetrack is becoming a familiar place, and so is the process.  We stand about in small huddled groups at the foot of the escalators as the Expo apparatchiks gaze down upon us.  It’s not yet 9.00 in the morning, almost time to wake up, so the conversations are muffled.  The practise of bringing along kits for sale in big plastic bags means that it is not as easy as it used to be to poke around in other people’s collection of kits, which means we stand and shuffle our feet.  ‘Why are we still waiting?’ the President enquires loudly.  I look at my watch, it’s 8.50 and the sun is barely above the horizon, or so it seems.  ‘Because we’re early,’ I mutter to myself as I try to catch another ten minutes sleep.  But I’m not very good at sleeping while standing up.

On our previous visit to this palace of buying and selling we’d been given a space in the gloom.  This time we were promoted to the widows tables, Praise be the Lord!  With the kits piled up on the table we could escape from the event, mentally if not physically, by turning our backs on the tables and gazing out over the racetrack.  Cars, painted up in outlandish colours, trundled around the race track – I thought they were supposed to go faster than that.  I wondered why all the cars went in the same direction.  Surely it would be more exciting if …

The doors opened like the parting of the Red Sea and the hoard rushed in.  Bless me, there are a lot of modellers in the world.  In a moment of ghastly imagination, visualise the sprinklers in the ceiling dispersing Zyklon B, ridding the world of a hideous hoard of what used to be called ‘The Great Unwashed’.

‘Be prepared’ is, so I recall, the moto of the Boy Scouts.  I went once but they preferred sitting around camp fires singing silly songs and tying knots to the much more rewarding business of sniffing Humbrol glue.  Nevertheless, I prepared myself.  I found a bag or two of kits that I no longer loved and had set my determination to ‘steely’, that I would resist buying too much.  My mojo must have stopped working for I stalked the piles of kits looking for those rare delicacies that have to be acquired, shuffling through boxes of vacforms, resin and half made kits the way a boar snuffles around for truffles.  But nothing.  In the end I bought but three kits; a Welsh Models HS748 that I had been looking for for some time to go alongside a 1/144 Friendship, and two avions de Karut.  One was a civil Ju86 that I thought would be much more civilised than the military version I believed I already had.  The other was an Ar234B that looked familiar, but there was no evidence in my portable database that I possessed one, so I bought it.  It turned out that my database is not as complete as it should be, and that the Ju86 I already had was the civil version.  Consequently, I have at least two kits to try to sell next year.  I wonder, should I put a $5 markup on them to salve my pride?

Modelling for fun and profit – welcome to Expo.

First the profit.

To get in you have to part with a few gold coins, more if you aren’t a pensioner.  When you get in the walls are lined with dealers who offer almost everything a modeller could want, all for a good price.  Depending on what you mean by ‘good’.  Kits of all kinds piled up to the rafters, books, decals, tools, on and on it goes.  Even those kits of semi-naked women, from which we avert our eyes.  My wallet was bulging with notes collected upstairs at the swap and smell and my pocket was sagging under the weight of my collection of gold coins, but my mojo has stopped working.  So that’s what erectile dysfunction feels like!

In desperation I went and bought a bucket of chips at the stall at the far end of the hall.  My pocket was much lighter and my stomach felt that I had fed it little lead ingots, but not very many.

Along the way I picked up a new airbrush – one can never have too many airbrushes.  And then, finally, when the frustration was almost overwhelming, I discovered that a stand at the end of the hall had a few exotic things and, hidden away around the corner where nobody would notice them, a pile of F-Rsin airliner kits.  These rare and expensive delicacies are appreciated by only a few connoisseurs around the world so finding this large stack of F-rsin kits was like running into the young Kathleen Turner at a speed dating session.  (Not that I’ve had the luck.)  One kit was going to cost me a mere $72.  A reasonable price from such a pearl.  The dealer must have been feeling unwell.  ‘Two of them for $120,’ he offered.  I’m quite willing to not give a sucker an even break, so I accepted.  ‘Three for $160?’ he queried.  Surely he was in need of medical attention, but I agreed to the bargain.  ‘Four for $200′, he declared.  If I’d had my mobile phone with me I would have rung the emergency number because that was the kind of help he needed.  I accepted, lightened my pocket and sauntered off with four F-Rsin kits bought at bargain basement prices.  The smile on my face must have been similar to what it would be after a fulfilling encounter with Kathleen Turner.  I hope the dealer is back again next year, still not aware that he has a serious medical condition.

Next the fun.

Somebody said there were over 600 or so models entered in the competitions.  I counted well over a hundred trophies, lined up like little soldiers ready to march forth to massage their new owner’s egos.

The only category that I got down on my knees to look at in detail was the airliners.  I liked the little Tu154 the best, but the judges didn’t agree.  The winner was a little Viscount, which wasn’t bad.  Another also ran was an Ansett-ANA Carvair.  Who judges these things!.  The Viscount kit almost falls together out of the box while the Carvair was made using Minicraft wings and a F-Rsin fuselage.  Don’t the judges know how hard it is to make those F-Rsin kits?

I must be suffering an attack of the Henries.  On a previous visit to Expo I decided that I had learned I wanted to make more models, not better ones.  On this occasion, and on reflection, I decided that I get more fun out of making models than looking at them.  Sure, there was a great deal of skill displayed in some of the models on the tables, but it’s not the same as getting your fingers stuck together with superglue or having your airbrush gunk-up when you’re laying down that final crucial coat of Alclad polished aluminium.

In the back seat of the Statesperson we cruise down a suburban freeway.  The pilot and navigator seem to know what they’re doing so I glance at my watch, it’s a bit after 2 in the afternoon.  Time for a snow snooze …