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Tight Lines


The concept of the 'swapmeet' has very different connotations, depending in which countries they are being held. In the UK, they are almost entirely composed of dealers and traders, with a smattering of collectors trying to move on some of their surplus engines. In the States, the 'Collecto' is much more about displaying collections along with rare and exotic motors that most are unlikely to have seen and certainly not own. A similar situation existed in Europe with large model Expos being organised that showcased and displayed all aspects of modelling. For all sorts of reasons, they had died out in Europe until last year when an Expo was held in Switzerland, the annual swapmeet in Bern and this February an 'International Swapmeet' in Germany, the first since the heady days of the International Modelbaus in Dortmund and those that Holger Menrad used to organise in Aachen.

Although there was some trading at both these events, they were more about showing collections and rarities to other enthusiasts, as well as promoting modelling activities. To this end at the Swiss Expo the Swiss Model Car Club put on a large display with members holding seminars and doing presentations to the visitors, explaining the sport whilst showing off the cars in order to attract more people to tethered car racing. The FEMA President, Michael Schmutz has made it quite clear that the sport must promote itself at every level in order to thrive.

The Swapmeet near Stuttgart provided another opportunity to further the cause of tethered car racing with the SMCC again having a huge stand that continued the work, but also had a considerable amount of commercial items available. Michael Schmutz, Philipp Meier and Otto Stroebel were on hand all the time to provide information and display their combined enthusiasm for tethered car racing. This concept was adopted with an equally imposing presence by the RGS and HMC clubs and members. Horst Denneler had a large display of cars, old and new, with many of his products, as well as a selection of items for sale. For most, the star item was the indoor, table top, tethered car track. Yes, real indoor IC tethered cars. The track has been in existence for a while but not seen recently. Thomas and Manu Finn had it in operation for much of the day with tiny, Cox powered cars running round so fast that the cameras had difficulty keeping up with them.

As well as the tethered cars and exotic engines on show, there was an entire collection of racing motorcycles, all with a backdrop of vintage and modern diving gear, the stock in trade of the company that loaned the building. This type of event is so unlike the British standard swapmeet that the possibility of holding a similar Expo at Buckminster in 2025 is currently being investigated.

Michael Schmutz posted nearly 80 photos from the event, whilst Christoph Zaugg was sending photos in real time, so thanks to Michael and Christoph, here is a selection from what was termed the 'First International Swapmeet'.

Foyer Tethered cars and spares   Meteor repro. Original Speedwell Case of delights
The 'ultimate' 10cc motor Multi cylinder exotica SMCC display. Ooh, those boxes
Philipp Meier explains Horst Denneler HMC dispaly Turned round 3.5cc Class 3 motors
World's fastest Movo Just because they could Tasty DOHC V8 What's this?
Display cases of rarities A DOHC V8 from Rolf Luther Standard Movo
Thomas and Manu Finn with  mini track Cars from Horst and Wolfgang Bakelite cars
Finn 5cc and Runkehl LORU Paul Otto Stroebel Latest 'Passione' Picco 10s
Old and new cars from SMCC Vintage twinshaft FEMA President Michael Schmutz

Benefits of exhibitions for public relations work
Philipp Meier

At the beginning of 2023, I heard that a large modelling exhibition was planned in my village. As I am a member of the local aviation group, I asked whether it would be possible to showcase our hobby. The aim of this exhibition was to present all branches of modelling, land, air and water. The professionalism of the organization (promotion, sponsoring etc.) resulted in an exhibition of the highest quality of exhibits.

On Friday evening before the exhibition was opened, there was a vernissage at which the president of Breitenbach, sponsors and other representatives of the modelling clubs were present. At this opening Lauri Malila was honoured for his title as world champion in F1A free flight and me for the title as vice European champion. We are both members of the MG Breitenbach and were delighted to have our achievements recognized by the club. Daniela and Michael Schmutz were also honoured for their titles as representatives of Switzerland at an international competition.

Michael and I spent 2 days at the show with only a few minutes for a break to eat and drink. At the end of the weekend we had received only positive feedback from the organizer and visitors. The cars on show, from vintage cars to the current record-breaking vehicles, were certainly profitable.

We have had the same setting at the International Model Engine Swap Meet in February 2024, which was basically presented to a special audience. Our model friends from the RGS and the HMC supported us at this meeting. Always with the intention of promoting our hobby. Due to the positive feedback from exhibitors and visitors, a follow-up meeting is already being planned for next year. I can highly recommend this meeting, the exhibits shown, the exchange of information and the concentrated knowledge were extraordinary.

In summary of the two events, without the visual support of a video sequence it was difficult for interested visitors to get excited about our hobby. A moving image/content is an eye catcher, if there is sound it is even better. It's also positive if you can put a vehicle in someone's hands = look and feel experience. Also engines and accessories such as a 10ccm cable for the look and feel.

At the end of the day, however, you shouldn't expect that a new member signs up immediately. However, together with the new media content on Youtube, Facebook or live streaming, it will help many people to have a first point of contact with our hobby.

Everything begins with an initial effort. The question "what is the outcome of such an effort?" should not be the first question asked. Otherwise, each of us can buy a shovel and bury our hobby. Most important is the follow up on people who have shown interest in our sport, whether online or on an exhibition. Links to our website or your local website and contact details of someone who can help to do the first steps into our sport, have to be provided and a personal invitation to the next race will go a long way. 

In retrospect of the two above-mentioned events and numerous other activities, like giving presentations about our sport in other model engineering societies, it can be summarized that it is worth every effort. Not only could we promote our sport, the people you meet with their expertise like for example surface treatment, 3D metal printing, etc can also benefit you finding more speed.