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On Sunday, 17th June the MAFVA Nationals 2007 were held at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford in the UK. The show is held in conjunction with the Military Vehicle show and the Military Book Fair, and as such offers an almost unique opportunity for modellers to not only attend a modelling show of National standard, but also examine the real thing amongst the hundreds of real vehicles brought along by their owners for us to see.

If you’ve not been to this show before, or indeed haven’t visited the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, then you really should put it in your diary for Jun next year, as it’s one of the best shows of the year...there’s just so much to do there. I could easily have spent several days, although the MAFVA Nationals themselves only take place on the Sunday.

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I set out on a cold, wet morning....well actually it wasn’t that wet, unlike the previous day in which we’d suffered torrential downpours, so I threw a coat in the car just in case! The weather actually turned out to be beautiful, if anything a little to hot!

The MAFVA event itself is held in a large marquee alongside the huge modern domed building that holds the American Air Museum collection, which is just one of the other attractions at the Museum, holding exhibits commemorating the 30,000 American Airmen that lost their lives flying from UK bases during WWII. Inside you can find a B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator, B-25 Mitchell, P-47 Thunderbolt, and other aircraft from the Cold War era such as a B-52 Stratofortress, SR-71 Blackbird and F-4 Phantom, with many suspended from the ceiling as if in flight.

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I arrived early, to find preparations in full swing with traders setting out their stands, and privately-owned military vehicles arriving and parking up in specially designated areas to the side of the marquee. Pictures 1 to 5 show the traders arriving and setting up, although many has set up the night before.

many first-time visitors to the show cannot believe that there is just so much to see at Duxford. In addition to the American Air Museum, there are many other things to see such as the Airspace exhibition, covering an area of 3 acres, the Battle of Britain Exhibition, the Normandy Experience, the Forgotten War Exhibition, the British Aircraft Collection, the Naval Collection, and the Land Warfare Hall....more on this later!

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At 10 am, the MAFVA Nationals were opened to the public, and the marquee quickly filled with visitors all eager to pick up bargains or just browse the massive collection of modelling related products on sale. The vendors stands were mainly around the edges of the marquee, with club stands filling up the central space. Vendors present included Friendship Models, Little Cars, Accurate Armour, Great North Roads, Millicast, SB Models, Lou Stener, Cammett’s Ltd., and many others.

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Strange as it may seem, although there is obviously a far greater range of wares available through the internet than can ever be taken to shows by traders, there’s something to be said for actually holding the goods in your hand, and you quite often come across things that you hadn’t thought about buying. Then there are all the ‘staples’ you can stock up on such as brass rod, cement, filler etc.

Whilst looking around the vendor tables Robin Carpenter from Cammett’s Ltd., showed me the barrel from his ‘Dora’. He’d brought it along to show those who hadn’t seen this thing first hand the sheer size of it, and I’m still glad I never bought one, because I’m even more convinced now that I wouldn’t have anywhere to put it! You can see the breech assembly in picture 17.

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The club stands in the centre of the marquee held a good selection of models for display, including not just armour but a wide variety of genres, although obviously the majority were armour! Cubs attending included various MAFVA branches from around the country, but also ASVC Wombourne (pic 26), IPMS Barnet (pic 27), Brampton scale Model club (pic 28), Chiltern Scale Model Club(pic 30), Clacton IPMS(pic 31), Mid-Cambs Modellers(pic 33), Miniature Armour Group Glasgow (pics 34 & 35), Shepway Military Modelling Club, and of course any others I may have forgotten, to which I send my apologies!

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At one end of the marquee, near the MAFVA admin stand, there was a large area set aside for contest entries. With 25 classes, most of which were well-represented, the standard was extremely high, and you can see some of the entries in pictures 40 to 51.

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Not having time to go around the entire Museum, I decided this year to pay attention to the Land Warfare Hall, a spectacular exhibition of armour in a large purpose-built hall. As you enter the hall you find yourself on a long mezzanine, with many example of armour below on both sides, and beneath. Most of this being in perfect, un-restored condition. Magnificent! There is just so much to look at here, but some of the really special vehicles you can see for example is Monty’s Staffcar that he used from El-Alamein to the river Sangro in Italy, which the troops used to call ‘Old Faithful’ – (pic 69), the Valentine Mk.III – (pic 81), the Abbot SP gun – (pic 94), and the 105mm Nebelwerfer – (pic 101). Too many to mention, however, if you see one in the pics and don’t know what it is, please ask me in the forums!

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All too soon the day was beginning to draw to a close and it was time for the prize-giving ceremony. This was naturally enough, at the end of the show, and was introduced by Paul Middleton the MAFVA liaison officer. Every winner, including 2nd and 3rd places received great prizes of kits and aftermarket items! Before the prize-giving began, Paul introduced the widow and family of the late John Baumann, and introduced a new annual trophy to be awarded each year in his memory to the model judged to have been of most interest to John, considering his special interest. This year it went to Keith Ingrey for his Bussing Nag FlaK 18. All the 1st place winners can be seen in pictures 108 to 127. Best of show was awarded to Mark Hazzard for his IDF M2 Halftrack (pic 39 & pic 127), Unfortunately a full list of winners is beyond my typing stamina, but the names of all the first place winners are as follows: Keith Ingrey, Richard Hone, John Ham, Dave Blomley, Don Spence, Keith Riches, Colin Rosenwould, Dave Grummitt, Mark Hazzard, Mark Gilbert, Nigel Norfolk, Chris Cooper-D, Daniel Wells, Len Swaisland, and Geoff Woods.