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By: Paul Oliver
What has the Essex Steam and Country Show got to do with modelling I hear you ask. Well in actual fact quite a bit in it's own right. This show is an annual event held over the second weekend in September, at Barleylands Farm Museum, near Billericay in Essex, and encompasses just about everything associated with farming, and makes a great family day out.
The show has a large emphasis on steam engines and aside from a very large gathering of full size traction engines, the event is also similarly supported by model traction engines which also attract a great deal of public interest. The range of models and scales are wide ranging, and the same amount of loving care and attention is lavished on the models as the full size ones. I for one like to see examples of good engineering be it model, or in life itself, and there is evidence of this at this show.
Aside from the traction engines, model boating is represented at the show because of the use of a lake on the site. Model boating is organised by the Southend Model Power Boat Club, who invite other clubs such as the Brentwood, Moorhen, and the Association of Model Thames Barge Owners. Together these clubs put on a very good static display of their members models, and give demonstrations of model boating which are watched quite intently by the public. Apart from the large amount of free sailing of boats usually of scale models varying from warships, to tugs, passenger liners, and yachts, there is also models of Thames Barges, and fast electric racing is also evident in the form of several different classes that are raced over the weekend.
The fast electric racing at the event consists of Club 500, GT400, Eco 400, and FM3. There are four slots over the weekend , and the aim of the competition is to try and complete as many laps in the allotted times for the classes as possible. The competitions are effectively a series of qualifying runs with the best lap scores attained in each class determining the class winners. While the event is for fun there is no doubt that people still try to do their best - but have fun in the process.
This show makes a great family day out because if modelling is not your scene, you can watch some of the various crafts being demonstrated, or look at the vintage cars, motorcycles, lorries, and tractors, or watch farm machinery in action. There is tractor pulling, motorcycle stunts, working farm horse demonstrations, stationary engines, a fair, a market, amongst other distractions to entertain visitors. All in all this is a great event and one that I enjoy going to every year. Roll on 2003 where all being well I shall be back again.
By: Paul Oliver