SWING in Littlehampton

Last weekend the Small and Wonderful Industrial, Narrow Gauge and light railways (SWING) group held their exhibition in Littlehampton. It was very enjoyable with layouts in scales from N to G scale, both standard and narrow gauge, and it was held in a super venue. Here are some photos of the layouts that most appealed to me.

Worton Court in O-16.5 is part of a larger modular layout first exhibited over 40 years ago. It was refurbished in 2014 by Geoff Thorne and two other members of the original team. It represents the remains of an estate railway in the 1960s, where mineral traffic still exists and a supporters group are introducing tourist passenger trains.

The rural atmosphere appealed to me, the whole layout is highly detailed and I was impressed with the quality of the modelling.

The layout has some impressive rust effects.

Geoff and the team were very friendly and we had a good chat about the techniques they’ve used. The mineral wagons in the photo at the top of the blog were made from bass wood and cardboard. The team use a laser cutter to cut the wood for the wagon floors and sides, mark the planking and enhance the grain effect. The metal strapping on the wagons was made from laser cut cardboard and the rivet heads are circles of card stuck on individually(!).

The wooden sign in the photo below was made from laser cut basswood and the lettering was created by partially cutting through the wood with the laser.

I was very taken with this caravan. It was made from laser cut cardboard, carefully glued together with UV activated glue. The team said this glue is ideal because the parts can be carefully positioned, then the glue can be activated and it sets in a few seconds enabling the modelling to progress rapidly.

Fintonagh is part of an imaginary branch of the Clogher Valley Railway in Ireland. As three foot narrow gauge it is modeled in O-21. David Holam has created a beautifully presented layout. It is operated from the front and because the operator stands on the end of the layout they can talk to the audience but they don’t block the view.

David’s made some lovely buildings. For the rendered finish on some of the buildings he used artists paper and this has worked very well.

The stone work on the station building was created by scribing DAS clay.

I particularly liked this view across the station into the town beyond. The shop fronts are very well detailed but the don’t dominate the scene. It gives a very natural effect.

A lovely railcar.

It was a pleasure to see Scarside again. This is an OO9 layout built using set track, has tons of operating potential and measures only 90 x 20 cm (36 x 8 inches).

Neil Brigg’s imaginative approach shows what is possible in a small space. The modelling is very detailed. Neil’s even included the point rodding. It’s not something you see very often on an 009 layout but it really adds to the atmosphere.

Finally, a layout you can walk around and view from every angle. East Quay by John Niblett is a charming 009 layout built mainly from card, often recycled cereal packets. The warehouses were made from card covered in brick paper, and the metal hulled boat made of card too.

The rotating water wheel was constructed from card, powered by a motor from a OO scale loco and is driven by a ‘belt’ made of cotton thread.

The blue locomotive in this photo was made from, you guessed it, card. John has even pressed on the reverse of the card to produce raised rivet heads.

The layout features an engineering works. The viewer can walk around the layout and look into the detailed interior. The machinery in the works is powered and operational.

The whole layout is mounted on a trolley that has built in drawers for storing all the tools, uncoupling hooks and other other essential items that one needs to operate a layout at an exhibition. A really clever idea.

There was a good selection of traders. I brought some loco detailing parts from Avalon Models and some 7mm scale children from Master Piece.

Many thanks to the organisers for creating and running such an enjoyable event.

Finally, I brought this from the 7mm Narrow Gauge Association stand. I’m convinced tea tastes much better when I drink it from this mug 🙂


  1. Steve
    Thank you very much for your review of SWING pointing out points that I missd
    I spent most of my time behing the 7mmng modelling goods stand
    I,m glad you liked the Mug.
    Will we see you at the Burtan Show


    • Hi Richard It was was great to see the Assocoation sales stand at Littlehampton. I forgot to mention i brought some Evergreen tube and Grandt line pieces too 🙂 I am definitely hoping to be at Burton, it looks like it will be an excellent show. All the best Steve


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