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Models to Die for

Brian Kavanagh is behind the Die-Cast and Model Show at the West County Hotel on Sunday. Photograph by John KellyTHE third annual Clare Die-Cast and Model Show takes place this weekend at The West County Hotel, showcasing miniature scenes, collectables, model aircraft, trucks, railway sets and dolls houses from around the country.

The expo, organised by Clare man Brian Kavanagh, takes place on Sunday from 10.30am to 5.30pm, with 15 trade stalls and 45 dioramas/displays.


Last year’s show had 900 visitors over the course of the day and this year it is expected that even more people will attend the event.

The show originated from Brian Kavanagh’s own interest in die-cast trucks and cranes. “I began collecting four years ago. Kavanagh Crane Hire from Wexford had their truck commissioned and made as a model. My name is Kavanagh and I’m a crane driver so I bought it because of that. It just mushroomed from there. I have over 100 items, which are all limited edition pieces. I’d have stuff where there would be only 120 to 130 of them in the world, so they are rare. I saw a niche for a show like this and said I’d try it three years ago.

“There are a lot of collectors out there and people want to show off their displays. Last year, between adults and kids, we had up on 900 through the door. It was a good turn-out. I don’t think people realise what it is. Some people think it is just a collection of matchbox toys,” he said.

This year’s show is definitely about much more than matchbox toys as Brian reveals there will be a moving model army tank coming from Wexford, high grade model airplanes made by the Limerick/Shannon branch of the International Plastic Modellers Society, railway sets and farm dioramas. There is even rally scenes on display this year.

“We have all bases covered when it comes to collections…There are lads from Wexford coming that have an army tank which is 1/5 scale so it is very big and it’s again something they have built themselves over time. It has engine sounds, it stops and moves, there are two remote control men in the tank as well. It does everything. They own a model shop and they are collectors and they bought in the bits and built it themselves,” he said.

“I also have a group of lads who will be bringing 1/14 scale remote control lorries. There are eight to ten of these lads coming along. I’ll have part of my own collection, some trucks and cranes. The Midland Railway Club are coming from Abbeyleix in County Laois and they are bringing down railway trains. There’s a man from Lisdoonvarna coming with lorries. He has handmade trucks based on the SPA transport in Ennis and has made everything from the first truck they had to the modern day ones. There’s another person from Ennis bringing model airplanes which are very unique Vietnam war planes. Another man from Roscrea, who works on a potato farm, will be bringing a scaled down miniature of the farm, which is at the top end.

Myself and a friend have built another display of a port scene featuring a boat offloading and transporting wind turbines.

“It’s very good, it’s a good day out and people enjoy it. There is another man from Clare who has a huge rally display across a countryside,” he added.

There will be plenty for children too and there will be an opportunity for them to learn about modelling using Play-Doh.

“Hobby-wise if people are thinking of getting into it, there are great ideas to get out of it. It gets you thinking about things you can do. It gets children out of the television and X-Box. A lot of times you get things from hardware shops. It’s really about using your mind and saying I can make that from wood, or that from felt. There were things I was buying for cranes and I was getting it in a fishing tackle shop. You’re making roads with blackboard paint and getting the roll-on tip ex to put the lines down the middle,” he said.

For more information contact Brian on clarediecastandmodelshow@gmail.com or follow the Facebook page.

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