Editorial Comment Model Show Thought for the day...


Traders, visitors, sponsors - who should foot the model show bill..?

It was particularly pleasing to see some of the country’s show organisers getting involved with the discussion, as well as a number of well-known traders.

Thanks to everyone that took the time to read my recent update and then comment on it, both on here as well as the social media platforms that I posted it to. 

For those that missed it, here is the link to that earlier discussion:

FAIR TRADE – Kit Box Update

As I mentioned in my essay, I hope that you have taken the time to read and digest the Sovereign Hobbies Blog update as well. Without that jump-off point, much of what I wrote a few days ago will seem as though it has no foundation, whereas Sovereign’s post gives it just that. Please, if you have not read it, click the following link and check it out in order to get a true insight into the life of a trader at many of the shows around the UK.

Here is the link:

Sovereign Hobbies Blog Update

It was certainly interesting to read the comments and see how both modellers and traders viewed what is a complex issue, but one that perhaps has to be addressed if the shows that we all enjoy are to remain on the calendar. It was particularly pleasing to see some of the country’s show organisers getting involved with the discussion too, as well as a number of well-known traders, both of whom have dogs in the fight and who are trying to balance out the needs of their shows, their businesses and the wishes of their customers and visitors. It’s a fine act of balance and one that is not particularly easy to carry out if the comments are anything to go by.

A couple of points may be worth covering here as well, not least because I may not have touched on them or made myself particularly clear. 

The first is the cost and rules demanded by the venues in which shows are held. There seemed to be a feeling that I was suggesting show organisers were demanding large fees from the traders in order to generate income for their clubs. This is not the case. I am well-aware as a member of Shropshire Scale Modellers Club who organise the Cosford show, how much venues need for you to hire their spaces, and the hoops that you must jump through in terms of rules and regulations once that venue is booked. So please, if you are an organiser, know that I am fully aware that those are the types of costs that you are trying to cover and you are not finding ways to increase club coffers.

The second is that there seems to be some focus on Scale Model World, whereas I never mentioned that or any other show on the calendar. My commentary was a broad sweep of opinions, covering shows in general and though I have views on that show, they were not part of my thoughts on this subject. I hope that that clears up any misunderstanding on the issue!

We will no doubt continue to debate the topic of traders fees, entrance fees and how the two are balanced out for some time to come and I look forward to hearing your views, comments on which you can add to this update. I believe that this is an important topic and that it needs to be debated and then some compromise reached for reasons set out in my earlier update. Time will tell if that happens and the changes that are needed, do indeed take place.

See you next time.


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Thanks a lot – I look forward to hearing from you!

I'm formerly the editor in charge of Military In Scale magazine and latterly, Model Airplane International. Editing duties to one side, I'm now a full-time modelmaker with Doolittle Media, working to supply modelling articles and material for a number of their group titles, including MAI and Tamiya Model Magazine International. I'm also an avid fan of Assassin's creed, Coventry City FC and when the mood takes me, a drummer of only passing skill. Here though, you'll find what I do best: build models and occassionally, write about them!


  1. Well said, Spencer….. From my own club’s experience here in the colonies, increased venue charges have scuppered some shows, which then had to move to less costly locations. Venue costs may well impact model shows in the future, as so many large shows are running into the higher fees needed to cover the basic location costs. This has been true for national shows here, and even our local and regional shows have had to move to get lower show costs.


  2. B@kunin

    I think that some folks maybe took your comments as an us and them or an either/or scenario but of course it’s not and neither should it be. All parties should benefit from the outcome, nobody should be losing out and such events should try to work towards this aspiration if things are to be sustainable. If that doesn’t happen then inevitably one, or more parties will be losing out and that’s where it goes wrong and we all ultimately lose out.


  3. Philip Jones

    Spencer – interesting debate. I can give a perspective from IPMS Ireland, whose show I have been involved in organising for over a decade now. It is much smaller than most of the UK shows. We usually have only 8-9 traders, and no external club stands. This latter is because we could not find a bigger venue at a price that we could afford – the only “club” tables are tables from our own regional branches. The fee that we charge the traders is less than the cost of hiring in the tables for them to put their sales upon, and the chairs for them to sit on, but I agree that, without traders, there wouldn’t be a show. We always ask their views as to how the show went, and what we could do better next time. I do hope that they all make a profit, even taking into account van hire, food and overnight hotel costs.

    Yes, we charge an entrance fee, but it is only €3 euros, except for members, who get in free. I think some of the comments about increasing that entry fee for non members is a good idea. We do not allow under the table sales, but we do organise a separate table where members (and only members) can sell their kits (we also, like Telford, call it a kitswop), and we charge a 5% fee on all sales. The proceeds of that fee goes towards the cost of the venue. We also charge for entries in the competition, at €3 per model entered – that, in reality, covers the costs of the medals and trophies, with very little left over. So the show usually makes a significant loss, of up to 50% of the overall costs, and it is the club dues that actually funds the venue, not the traders..

    The experience of others may differ.


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