The Corio model railway club hold their exhibition each year on or about the Australia Day weekend at the tail end of January. This year it was on the 23rd and 24th of January at the Geelong West Town Hall. It is a very good location with plenty of parking locally and some great food and shopping close by. Close to public transport and easy to get to as well for those coming from out-of-town (like me).
As this is usually the first show I get to (unless i can get down to Warrnambool or Philip Island for their show at the beginning of January) my expectations are riding high and these are usually met on arrival.
This year however the show seemed to be a case of the good, the bad and the ugly.
When it’s good, it was very, very good.
- Jackson’s Creek (Gallery view)
This layout is a On30 layout showcasing the narrow gauge railways of Victoria. There were others apart from Puffing Billy though they all used the same or similar equipment to deliver their service. The presentation was outstanding. Well lit, presented and displayed (although a little more action would have kept people around a little longer) this was the outstanding large layout of the show. There are more pictures in the gallery available from the link above.
2. Murri (Gallery View)
Based on the Victorian South West, Murri provides a very well displayed layout for big trains running through typical Victorian countryside. I particularly liked the West Coast railway set running on the Saturday morning. For such a big layout though, there was little action happening and that downgraded it from best large layout for me. There are more pictures in the gallery available from the link above.
3. Micro Layout (Gallery View)
Tucked away in the back corner of the show, was what I consider the best layout in show.
Well presented, with a high standard of work throughout and ideal to help get people into the business of building small and interesting layouts this unnamed layout deserved much more attention from the club than it received. There were two other Micro layouts (and they’re in the picture, but they were put in the shade by this little beauty as you can see by the presentation, and the attention of the young man in the extreme right of the photo. The more you looked into the layout box, the more you got. The track plan was very simple but the level of presentation completely overwhelmed you.
What let the presentation down though was that it was not operating, and the builder was not there. The person minding the store had no idea and could not talk to you about the layout at all. Come on Corio, you have a real gem here, and this should have been shouted from the roof tops!
When it was bad, it was awful.
Rather than point fingers and show photos let’s talk about the standard of presentation. An exhibition aims to publicly display works of art, craft or other items of interest or provide a display or demonstration of a skill.
I am not sure that simply running a train on a layout is enough though. Especially when these were at very low height; which while perfect for 4 year olds do nothing for grumpy 50 year olds to whom they are of the greatest interest.
One layout in particular was very low in both height and presentation standard with cars derailing and operators not noticing. Talk about embarrassing? It was in a dark area of the hall and had no light rig to focus attention on the layout areas. I’ve seen this layout before and by comparison it looked old, dusty and tired. And not in a good way.
I was disappointed to note the layouts at the show that were not ready to exhibit. Among the problems were layouts still being set up an hour after the show opened, very poor lighting on many of the layouts, and what appeared to be constant derailments on one of the vendor’s layouts already mentioned.
More so was me apparently missing out on a range of layouts and vendors tucked away in a part of the hall – according to the exhibition guide – that was neither signed nor pointed out by club members. That was a real disappointment when I reviewed the day on my return home.
Being one of the closest non-Ballarat exhibitions the Corio show is one of my favourite exhibitions and it really starts my railway exhibition year. It’s still a 190 km round trip to see it by car but normally is well worth the effort. I’ve written an email to the club about my views and while I don’t expect a response I hope that there is a change next year – for the better.
You can find out more about the club and the next show by visiting the website at: http://www.coriomrc.org/.