Just yesterday, Martin, Joey and I took a wee roadtrip to the British Model Soldier Society’s Annual Show. It used to be held in a church hall in Pimlico, London, which was an easy trip down on the train, but the venue was very small and the competition hall was very dark. Since the pandemic, they’ve moved the show to Reading, which is more of a journey for us, but it’s considerably more spacious and has much improved lighting, both of which make it quite worthwhile, I think.
Also, the venue is just around the corner from what is apparently one of the best pubs in the region (and it was indeed quite good). This, combined with marginally cheaper beer than in London and Ely, makes for quite an improvement overall.
Hopefully you’ll see the benefit of improved lighting in the photos, but I should note that they did supply some very small battery-powered lamps that unfortunately left many of the models backlit to some degree. I suspect lighting overall would be improved simply by removing those lamps, or more expensively by replacing them with larger daylight lamps that can be angled to provide frontal lighting for the figures.
Anyway, on to the pictures:
As you may be aware – or notice from the pictures – the BMSS has a very strong interest in military history, so fantasy pieces and civilian pieces are relatively rare. This is fine – it is the British Model Soldier Society, after all – but it does mean that you’re never quite sure how those other pieces will be judged. In the end, the only real controversy from the Ely delegation was Martin’s Scottish Highlander (a military historical piece, obviously), which still got a bronze.
- Martin: Two golds (dragon and troll), two silvers (Yarry and Pirate Poopy-Pants) and a bronze (Scottish Highlander).
- Joey: Bronze (The Trio) and commended (10mm Viking).
- Fet: Gold (Apophys), two silvers (Bowie and Gaga), bronze (Freddie) and commended (10mm Saracen).
Overall, it was a fun day out without any stress over the show, which I think is something a lot of people miss out on at shows. There’s often consternation over how your work will be judged, whether you’ll win the prizes you may think you deserve, etc. I don’t think that’s really the case at the BMSS Annual Show for the simple reason that they really like giving out prizes, and generally seem to get the rankings about right (Highlanders notwithstanding). Also, several good pubs nearby. More shows need to remember that they should cater to people’s needs outside of the show. Pubs, in my case.
Finally, it was especially great to meet up with some people we haven’t seen since before the pandemic. A few of them are coming along to the Fen Model Show next week, so we’ll see them there, but we’ll be working so probably won’t have time to mingle.
On that note, we have two pubs basically right outside the venue for the Fen Model Show. We’re thinking about the visitors’ needs.