Annual Model Exhibition – My childhood rekindled


North Down Model Railway Societies annual model exhibition took place on Saturday and Sunday 12th and 13th of April and my family and I decided to take a trip to Bangor for a peek.

As a young lad growing up, I was always interested in model building and the kind of models I had ranged from American cars and trucks through to battleships and the mighty Saturn 5 rocket. My parents also bought me my very first train set at the age of five, which is one of the few things left from my childhood that is still with me today. I personally can’t see any reason why any child should be bored today. I could count on one hand the amount of times that I ever got bored, simply because of the hobbies that I had. If I wasn’t out on my bike or playing with my pals I was model building or playing with my train set. I believe it’s things like this that children are missing in their lives and one of the reasons why they get bored so much. It is also a clear indication why video games alone aren’t a good thing.

Anyway back to the model show. Entrance fee was a respectable £4 for adults and £3 for children and the moment I entered the hall my eyes were wide open. I felt like a boy in model paradise and there weren’t just model train layouts either. A wide choice of model clubs were present from local model boat clubs, model plane owners through to Meccano model clubs and train artists. There were even model clubs from as far as Dublin and the Midlands in England all in one show and sharing a common interest.

Here are a few of my favourite moments captured on camera for you to have a peek at and I hope you like them.

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Above are a couple of examples of model oo scale buildings that were created by a model builder from down south of the border. He demonstrated that you can make many items yourself using general house hold materials.

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Boats have always been a soft spot for me and model boats (which I have owned) are no exception. These are just a few show examples and in my opinion were extremely well done.

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War landscape building was something that I never got into myself but I still had an interest in it. I tried it once but never pursued it any further. These were done by a local model maker and stirred a lot of interest from the public. I spent a lot of time taking photos of these detailed model landscapes.


Of all the amazing layouts that I saw that day, this was the one that captivated me the most. It was a replica of O’Connell Street, which is the main street in Dublin. It was brought up in sections from Dublin by a group of ten enthusiasts who told me that it took ten hours to construct and get running for the show. Now that’s dedication for you so well done and thank you lads for giving your own time to share this for all who had the pleasure of experiencing it.

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There is some amazing attention to detail in this model layout and it must have taken a tremendous amount of time to build from the beginning  to the end. I really love the trams and the wee guy on a bicycle.

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Even the wee barge on the river Liffey showed the amount of attention to detail from the model builders, was at its peak.

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This layout above was a small but a very interesting layout. It had some great wee features in it such as the lit up lanterns and cute stone house that appears on the first image.

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These were a couple of model navy ships that also appeared in the show, which were from a different club from the previous pics.

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Here are two examples of genuine steam engines that were hand built by an enthusiast. This is a real skill from a genuine engineer.

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Above are two examples of work from a model builder who created these fine examples from wood. Clearly they are for show only, but are magnificent and would look fantastic in any home.


There weren’t just models of trains at the show as seen here. These are just two examples of many fine train art paintings that were at the show, done by David Briggs. I’m a photographer and enjoy what I do so much, but I know my limitations when it comes to painting. David is from Lisburn, County Antrim and is a well known artist in this field. You must check out his work some day.

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This was something really different and stood out at the show for me. How many places can you get a haircut and explore the golden age of steam travel at the same time? The Johnston family’s decision to combine their traditional barbers skills with their interest in local railway history has led to one of the most unique and fascinating attractions in Northern Ireland. This is one barber I will be paying a visit to some day.

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Meccano was a part of every boys toy collection when I was growing up and probably in some girls collection also. These models were part of a Bangor Meccano club and they showed some excellent displays that day. The wee truck was a scaled replica of a local tanker drivers vehicle, which the model builder designed himself from scratch. Great stuff!

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Some fantastic examples of Meccano models, which clearly took many hours of building. I really love the diversity of individual items from ferris wheels and windmills to boats and steam traction engines.

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This scaled model of a boat just blew me away and must have taken hours of thought and building. Well done and thank you to the person who brought it to the show along with the other Meccano model builders that exhibited that day.

It has been many years since I paid a visit to a model show and to be honest after the visit to this fine show I wished I visited more in the past. It was also great to see the many families with children visit the show and support it. I would urge anyone who has never been to a model show to go and experience the atmosphere as it is like no other. Maybe you will catch the bug and get your self your first model railway or boat. 😉

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