Die cast models for young and old

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Words and pictures by Mark Davey

A Star Trek collector denied he is a Trekkie despite owning about 200 models of vessels from the classic show.

As the American science fiction series celebrates its golden anniversary, Raymond McCallum, 35, was at Campbeltown’s die cast model show in the Masonic hall last Sunday with his son Luke aged six.

Mr McCallum said: ‘I am a collector of starships but not a Trekkie because my memory is not good enough.’

Numbers were low at the show’s start but by mid-afternoon the hall was full with youngsters, their parents and grandparents avidly inspecting models.

Fuelled by hot bacon rolls, deep ‘fly cemeteries’ and plenty of tea and coffee there was a buzz in the cafe area of the show, usually held in March.

Former train spotter Bill Staley, 56, originally from Surrey, showed about 60 models from his collection of American railway rolling stock spanning the years 1945 to 1982.

It was hard to believe his collection is small plastic models as Mr Staley, who works in technical servies for the NHS in Lochgilphead, expounded details of the horse power and configurations of different locomotive engines.

Mr Staley said: ‘To me there is a really interesting story in this period of railway history.

‘It was a great era of diesel electric engines in the USA. Many of the original engines from 1945 were first designed for landing craft in the second world war.

‘I worked in Gateshead in the 1990s and one day a friend said there’s a model exhibition – I went along and started collecting immediately.

‘I was made redundant from that job in Gateshead but offered a £1,000 bonus and my redundancy if I would move to Croydon.

‘I knew something else would turn up and it was not long before I took a job in Lochgilphead and moved to Ardrishaig.’

On some stands it seemed to be the dad who was exhibiting rather than their children.

The youngsters were supervised closely whenever they touched a ‘toy’ which had a perfect paint-job and was only to be handled with reverence.

Murray McCallum, 12, helped his dad Archie with a display of at least 50 tractors.

Archie, has driven 30 years for McFadyens and is currently on timber transport. He said his love of tractor models stemmed from his earlier farm work.

Mr Staley added: ‘My wife is a keen knitter and often when we visit a town she will head to a wool shop and I will try to find the model shop.

‘In Argyll and Bute, Max Models, in Helensburgh, used to fit the bill well but the proprietor has passed away.’

Luke Raymond McCallum holds Spocks Jellyfish ship from a 2009 film and a Xindi Insectoid vessel from the TV show Star Trek. 25_c24diecast06_Luke_Raymond_McCallum_6

Bill Staley holds a model tanker from an American firm named Staley. 25_c24diecast05_Bill_Staley

In the foreground is a General Motors/END V16 diesel engine which had pistons which opposed each other and was the workhouse of the American rail system. A train probably powered by the motor whizzes past in the background. 25_c24diecast04_railway

Murray McCallum holds his favourite tractor. 25_c24diecast01_Murray_McCallum_12

Cousins, Matthew and Bryan McKerral, seemed shy about posing for a picture with a model and are seen here deep in conversation. They dusted the trucks with a paint brush. Their granny, Rolline McKerral, was very pleased with the photo.  25_c24diecast02_Matthew_Bryan_McKerral

Fishing smack model Nostaw owned by Stephen Kelly, is a replica of his dad Jim’s boat. 25_c24diecast03_Nostaw

Lily King, 7, sold raffle tickets and collected the £3 entrance money. 25_c24diecast07_Lily_King_7