Scale Model World 2022 was something I’ve looked forward to since Scale Model World 2021. Last years show was a massive deal for me. It was the first one since I returned to model making after a not insignificant break, and also due to the pandemic that we’d all endured for years at that point. The thing I will always remember from 2021 though is that although I was joyous at it’s return, I was silently disappointed by the significant downsizing – walking into the first hall and it being entirely empty.
2022 settles my mind however, being what I’d say is 2 and 2/3rds of halls full. The first hall (arguably with the best lighting) was full of pure displays as it was before. All the international displays were present here, alongside some of the larger displays too. It was refreshing to walk round and just being the presence of the community and enjoying all the wonderful displays.
The second hall, then, featured more displays with the exterior walls stacked with traders (we will talk about traders second) and the third hall mirroring this, but with a gap in the middle (probably one double rows worth) and having Airfix in their usual spot and Tamiya/Italeri at the top end of the hall. There was also a return of talks throughout the day, whether from authors or former pilots or one on scratch building which I regret not attending.
In terms of time I started going round at 9:30am and was not finished until nearly 4:30. Obviously I take a lot longer than your standard attendee (and I still managed to miss a few stands somehow) – but it does mean that if you’re going to look at everything you’re going to be there for the best part of a day , or the entire day.
In terms of how I feel about the show, I loved it. I had a fantastic time. It was amazing to meet people from clubs I’d never seen and meet fans of my site and Youtube channel. I genuinely felt very emotional at times at how lovely both my community and the model making community are.
The wider variety of clubs from Wales, Scotland, England, and internationally (USA, Germany, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Serbia, Netherlands, Slovakia and Czechia all in attendance) made this show feel much more like the shows of old. I think it’s so important for us to be able to meet people from around the world and share our experiences and reify the shared love we have for the hobby.
The traders around the show were varied, with book venders, model kit venders, modelling suppliers, and of course second hand stores! It’s not unusual to find rare kits and bargains at Scale Model World and this year led me to some kits that I’d been trying to find for nearly 2 years!
“I worry the price is a barrier for casual attendees at this point”
The show has increased in price over the years. Originally the show felt like a bargain and I want to say it was £10 a day. Last year it was £15 a day, and now it’s £20 a day. IPMS Membership makes it free and now means it’s almost the same price as entry. I do wonder where this will end and appreciate that IPMS/SMW don’t set the cost of the venue – but it is concerning. I worrythe price is a barrier for casual attendees at this point; £20 ticket, plus £7 parking, plus fuel or transport…it’s not cheap. At the same time, £27 for a days entertainment is significantly less than comparable conventions.
I just wonder if maybe Scale Model World needs to do more to engage with content creators to encourage attendance and do meet and greets for those who want to. I am a tiny creator, and I love meeting people there – but there is very little promotion that I’ve seen really pushing the show (myself included). The only way we’ll get people to go is by encouraging it!
It is a complicated matter, but I’ve also heard the general cost to traders has increased more too resulting in traders abandoning the show. What was bounded around was 15 traders choosing not to attend due to cost; this is not something I can confirm but it does worry me. We’ve seen similar things happen at RIAT – a lot of model traders stopped going as making the money back become impossible…I just hope we don’t see the same here as shopping is half the reason people go.”
“To me the show is a must attend; I look forward to 2023 already”
So there clearly are some issues that need to be discussed for next year. I hope there is a lot of transparency and openness on all sides …but to me the show is a must attend; I look forward to 2023 already and have marked it in my calendar. The show is much more akin to it’s pre-Covid levels and feels like it had good attendance on the Saturday – let’s just see what IPMS say overall for the event I suppose!
I want to shout out to Models for Heroes who I, somehow, missed at the show. Please make sure to support them – either via donations or the shop. If you can’t afford that (and untestable given the world at the moment) then just share them on your socials! Click the image below!
SMW2022 was a great experience. I hope 2023 will be bigger, better, and a brighter future for the hobby as a whole. Bring 12 months to go – set your timers folks!