Western Picture Gallery
Sadly I don't have the room in my house to display much of my Playmobil, but thanks to the kindness of the Headmaster of Woodsetton School (near Dudley), I participated in my first Playmobil Exhibition. With a 5m x3m stage, I was able to display most of my Western collection!
Why Western? This is one of my favourite themes (and the one I played with as a child). With all the issues over the years there's a great variety of stuff, and I thought the electric train would add a lot of interest to the display. It was also originally going to be the them for the sequel to "The Green Man", and the plot is partly developed: still needs a lot more work. In terms of the display...
I wanted to create a display that used all the elements of my collection, including buildings going back to the 1970's to the latest cavalry and native american figures from the 2012 theme. This meant having a town, a mine, a station and railway, an Indian village, a ranch, forts and an excuse for a Confederate wagon train. The display therefore designed itself, as there are not that many different ways you can combine all these elements (as I've seen in pictures of other layouts since!). The starting point was a vision of a stagecoach crossing a large, empty desert. A sense of space was important. I also wanted a Monument Valley type mountain (like on the box artwork of the 'Colorado Springs' station) as a centerpiece in one corner. Both turned out smaller than I imagined, despite the amount of space I had, partly due to a lack of cardboard, and partly through not being able to try all the elements together until the day...
It's 1861, the start of the American Civil War. A Confederate wagon train heads towards Colorado Springs, and the Union soldiers are busily loading the gold from the local mine onto a train carriage. Some of the confederates are trading arms with the natives by the mountain spring, whilst guarded convicts break up the gold ore mined from under the mountain.
Meanwhile, in town new recruits to the Union Army parade through the town and past the Mayor and other important dignitaries, with the band playing and the crowd waving Union flags. There's also a lot of activity around the station as people arrive for the next train. A fight breaks out in the saloon, and there's a gunfight going on just outside.
In the large Union fort, rows of cavalry begin to troop out, and one of the gold transport wagons is attacked by a band of native warriors.
Woodsetton School Playmobil Exhibitions!
It was through the Playmobil Collector's Club - an official club run by Playmobil for it's older enthusiasts, that the seed was shown, like minded enthusiasts found, and three of us - Phil the headmaster, Town Klicky and myself displayed a whole host of layouts, small and large in the perfect setting of a school. About 40 families visited - primarily from the school, and from these small beginnings we hope to create an Annual Event: the next one will be at the end of the 2015 Spring Half-term, and more exhibitors have already signed up!
You can keep up-to-date with news about the next Exhibition, and see pictures from the 2014 one on our Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/PlaymobilWoodsetton and at the Playmobil Collector's Club.