Always interesting to read this forum for some of the exhibition reports and impressions...I have a dark sense of humour.
I didn't travel up to the exhibition, so can't comment on the attendance, the access, the catering or the venue itself, so only commenting on the comments provided here.Lack of Cottage Industry traders
...those large size shows come with large size trade fees, which for most Cottage Industry traders are far more expensive than what their potential turnover of sales will be for the weekend. Most small Cottage traders have a limited range of products that they sell, so of course potential sales are limited. The other main factor is what major traders are going to be present...its simply not worth the effort and expense for the small traders when you have the big guys with their big stands making sales of $100's to $1000's, with all the hobby dollars sunk into the new release RTR loco or rolling stock 3 pack (have seen it first hand too many times, with the hungry hoard that pour into the venue and charge for the Auscision stand with fists full of cash...which is kind of demoralising for the little traders).Layout fatigue
...that kind of made me laugh a bit, especially given the layout that was referred to (Fingal). Whether or not you are into Tasmanian narrow gauge modelling, Fingal is a great layout, that has absolutely deserved each award it has taken and the magazine publication it has featured in. It's different, its visually very good, and perhaps the most important part from a modelling perspective is the entire thing is essentially scratch built...there are zero OO14 locos or rolling stock available, and given the vast amount of stock that Simon has created over the years of building this piece, it's a commendable effort (from own masters, to moulds and casts of a wide range that goes into the 100's of pieces). Its a layout that should be booked for plenty of exhibitions because it should be appreciated by the viewing public (although I imagine all the big RTR manufacturers don't like it because none of their boxes were opened and plonked on this one!). Add in the effort required to load this layout up and transport it across from Tassie multiple times. I;ve seen the layout about six times now, and would happily see it six more, but I believe this was its last exhibition as it has been sold and this was the weekend to deliver to the new owner.
There are plenty of other layouts on the circuit that I reckon I have been seeing out and about at the same exhibitions for more than 10 years, and those layouts even look fatigued! Fascia's all scratched, scenery covered in dust, models looking damaged...all stuff that could be cleaned up and repaired with a weekend on maintenance, and the layout would at least look presentable again. That aspect of these layouts I find poor and lazy, and frustrating that the general public are paying money to see this sort of presentation. Would be nice if some these tired old layouts maybe took a hint of pride in what they are displaying...or as much pride in their layout as they have in their brand new shiny RTR thing they have just plonked on the rails and paraded around the loop all weekend. The big layouts aren't necessarily the good ones, as these are generally giant club layouts that are normally guilty of the above comments, where the layout is just a place for club members to rock up and run their big collections on (without contributing anything to what they are running them on, such as dusting maybe).