Finding nothing to buy other than a Gn15 sized point lever and some old coach bogies, I headed away from the show to find the Sheffield branch of the Antics chain. I had last visited this store when it was owned by TAG Models of Doncaster (now part of Modelzone) and I was curious to see what had changed. Looking around the store I was struck by a couple of thoughts. Firstly, the price of die cast buses has exceeded anything I have seen before, one of the reasons I stopped bus modelling (apart from a slight loss in interest) was that prices of die casts were rising out of my means, I was literally priced out of the market! I have had a feeling for several years that any interest or involvement I still have in 4mm scale model railways is likely to now head the same way...
My second thought was actually just how lucky in some ways I am to be a 7mm scale narrow gauge modeller. Almost nothing is handed to you on a plate, which is not only good for my pockets, but generates an air of resourcefulness and creativity in using what you can find at shows, and on occasion in model shops. And yes, I did find something of use in the Sheffield branch of Antics. They were selling 1/50th scale Preiser unpainted figures for 75p each. "Too small!" you might cry - but the seated figures aren't far off the same manufacturers 1/43rd scale examples, and of course there is also the blatant fact that there are smaller people out there, if nothing else they will pass for teenagers.
Now I don't think this is a general Antics initiative as I bought something similar on my last visit. The Preiser 1/50th set is rather a mixed bag so getting these figures this way is fairly cost effective. They will be added to the figures stockpile for a future project, or may even be used within my older stock to increase passenger numbers.
Oh, and I haven't forgotten the next part of "The ones that got away..." I'm just executing a rather cunning plan... ;-)