27 November 1998


At the recent Shepton

Mallet model swapmeet,

battered examples of model

Fordson Majors were

commanding serious money.

So too, were hand made

examples of Nuffield

Universals and MF35s.

Geoff Ashcroft took a look

around the stands

IF you are looking for that special item to add to – or start – a farm model collection, then it is probably to be found at one of the frequently held tractor/farm model swapmeets at the Royal Bath & West showground, Shepton Mallet, Somerset.

And if what you are looking for is not there, then chances are someone there will know where you can get it.

Pembroke-based model specialist Brian Norman buys, sells and even makes models. For him, the journey to Shepton Mallet was one not to be missed.

"I have been in the model business for about eight years, and before that I was collecting for about 10 years," explains Brian.

Alongside his usual offerings of boxed Britains models and secondhand tractors and implements, are what can only be described as unique, hand crafted examples of early farm tractors measuring no more than about 10cm in length.

&#42 Perfect detail

Perfect in detail and colour, these models include machines such as the Nuffield Universal, TE20 and David Brown Cropmaster. And Brians latest creation – the eighth in his model building series – is a replica of the Massey Ferguson 35.

"I only ever build models which are not offered by anyone else and then I only produce 999 of each to ensure these models remain highly desirable," he says. "And each one carries its own serial number."

Each model issued takes him about a year to produce – from getting the tractor manufacturers approval to selling models at shows. And when it is realised Brian suffers from arthritis, his achievements as a model maker are even more rewarding.

Graham and Michelle Miller trade as G & M Farm Models of Royston, Herts, and offer perhaps the most comprehensive range of farm models, with about 3000 on their stock list. It is a business venture which was born out of obsession by Graham who has been collecting farm models since childhood. It is now a full-time operation supplying models by mail order.

"We spend a lot of time in the US and Holland trying to source new and different types of model tractors and equipment, not only for our own collections but to add to our stock," says Michelle.

But it is not just scale model tractors and implements which are catching the eye of the avid collector – miniature farm buildings are on the increase too.

&#42 Range of buildings

Turleigh Crafts & Models, based in Wincanton, Somerset, has recently added a range of buildings at 1:32 scale, with olive green cladding over grey block-effect walling. Among the buildings on offer are a silage clamp, herringbone milking parlour, beef unit, cubicle shed and farm workshop. Extras include round and square bales, a diesel tank, lengths of post and rail fencing and stone walling.

Elsewhere at the event, models of all types and scales changed hands at prices ranging from a few £ to several hundred £; boxed, mint condition examples command the highest prices.

And if a particular model is not available, many model enthusiasts will convert and rebuild certain tractors just to get that missing machine into their collections.

The next model swapmeet to be held at the Royal Bath & West showground takes place on Sunday, Dec 6, from 10.30am.

*Inquiries: (01373-452857).