Monday, 26 September 2011

Miniatura, NEC, Birmingham, 25th September 2011

Last night I got back from the NEC absolutely exhausted. It was decidedly the best show I've done so far.  There were masses of stalls, something like 200 I think; it felt more like three hundred.  I did my usual methodical tour of all the stalls before I bought anything and then went trawling round again trying find the bits and bobs I thought I might want. 
I did actually spend money on my first tour. I picked up from a couple of people who I had ordered things from.
The first was Jennifer's of Walsall. I have bought from them by post and at shows a few times before so I know their stuff well enough to know what I wanted. the most important piece was a kit for a gas cooker from Phoenix Models. I managed to locate it for sale in three three places . Phoenix itself at £35 in kit form, at Pinchbeck, where it is made up and painted beautifully but costs £65; then I saw it at Jennifer's for about £25 pounds. I've girded my loins and ordered the kit and intend to have a go at building and panting my very first white metal model.  I'll post details of how that turns out whenever I get round to cracking on with it. I did buy some more bits and bobs from them - Arts and Crafts wallpaper, brick cladding, a shop door and door handle (oops I only bought one!) and a small size dresser.

This shop is a bit of a challenge in that the rooms are very small so everything needs to still be 1/2th scale but made finely and on the small side. No huge welsh dresser and six foot table for this kitchen. I'm not convinced by the vinyl brickwork now I have got it home. I don't find it very convincing or the bricks very defined and it seems a bit dainty in the handling of it which wouldn't bode well for the outside of a house which might take a bit of wear. No decisions made as yet. As it cost £9.95 I'm in no rush to throw it away. I'd appreciate opinions from you about doing realistic bricks easily and even better how this particular material works if you've used it.

The second pick up was even more wonderful.  At the Stafford show I hade bought three perfect (meat) salads and had since contacted the maker to see if she had a veggie option or one with prawns she said she would make me one.  After a bit more chit chat and my saying I have a problem getting historically correct food she offered to make me Ellen's cold supper if I sent her pictures/ideas of what I wanted.  Hey presto three days later she had the lot made and waiting for me to collect from the show.  Her stuff is absolutely wonderful and around around £3 a shot unmissable. Absolutely wonderful........go visit Amanda Speak I can't recommend her enough.

So, within half an hour of being in Hall 11, I already had several little treasures in my bag.  After that I spent my time sussing out how to do the outside brickwork and roof tiles (no decisions made!) and collecting heaps of ideas and information and contacts for all kinds of future plans.  As always I did very badly in terms of actually buying anything from my 'I absolutely must get these things at the show' list.

I did do the classic thing of buying two chairs cheaply and then later seeing 2 much better ones for about double the price I paid. I had seen identical ones to these at four times (!) the price which is how I ended up buying the cheap ones in the first place. When I saw the nice ones at a good price I actually plucked up courage to ask the first supplier if I could change the chairs for something of a higher value.  This was a bit of a problem for me as they didn't really have anything I wanted. My problem ten pounds pair of chairs got swapped for quite a nice sink for the kitchen.  This is for a kitchen which wasn't going to have a sink as that would be in the scullery. It wasn't unknown to have a sink in each place and any way Ellen has done a lot of remodelling and modernising of Le Tout Paris so she could have it as she wanted.  After all she has chucked out the range had the cimney breast knocked out and got a newfangled gas cooker.  

So here I am, one tired, but happy, mad lady with a lot of new toys. You'll notice that all the furniture is unfinished white wood so this new project is becoming more and more mine as I have a lot of finishing of stuff to do. If you want to see all the things I bought you'll need to click on the Wentworth contents album for the prawn salad and Le Tout Paris contents album for the rest. Feel free to ask me about any of them ..........

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