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Beltring 2002 - An Aussie view.
Campbell is a re-enactor and collector who went to England specifically to see Beltring 2002.
It was a quick trip over, basically for Beltring and due to flights etc with a week of touring around. I must say that if I go next year I'll sort out the flight situation better. I think I've covered most of the museums that I wanted to.
Getting the basics out of the way I thought the War and Peace show was as good as 2000. In particular the battle re-enactment, which I thought they had at least planned a lot better than last time. It started with a convoy of German vehicles, kettenkrads, kubels, schimwagons etc coming up from the back of the field, followed by some M'-8's recon style. The Germans fight back and brew up the yanks.
Greyhound and Panzer IV.
Stuart beats a hasty retreat and then they come back with Easy Eight Sherman and blow hell out of the Germans.
Stuart and Greyhound.
Sherman and Germans.
As for the arena events I thought they were a little on the lean side and I must admit that must have either (a) missed them or (b) didn't hear any announced on the PA system. Early in the week there were some pregnant pauses when vehicles DIDN'T show up which I thought was unnecessary. Or you could be walking around the stalls and hear something going on and by the time you walked over it was either finnished of gone. Not sure if thats the way to go with displays etc.
There was a very nice Chieftan and crew that were going around most days that were very professional in their operating of it and very well turned out.
There was a parade for the 50th anniv of the Champ and the Ferret, which appeared well attended. Not being into them I didn't take any 35mm shots.
MV wise what impressed me was a restored and running M24 Chaffee, the FAMO ( as always this is a mighty vehicle, but I didn't see it running around the arena) and the 250 Neu and 251D half-tracks. Wow. Same bloke who owns these last two is restoring a Jagpanther from a ex MOD range wreck. Big job that .....
Some odd dimples on a Greyhound mantlet.
A dummy (rubber) .30 cal on a genuine tripod.
Of course there was the standard array of hoons running up and down the lanes of displays in anything from a landrover to a kid on a motorscooter. I did see a kid running around with a bloody good replica pistol that made me stop and think for a split second was it real though ........
Public toilets were a disgrace and bordering on a health issue. Truly awful and that was by about Thursday. I sought " other means" by later in the week.
Its a bloody big area to cover on foot and I was truly buggered at the end of each day to walk back to where you were in 2000.
WW2 display wise I thought the Re enactment group near the entrance was the best. They had a Canadian Sherman ( I think Rex Cadmans) that was obviously just off the MOD range and the display was as if it had " brewed up " complete with smoke etc. Very well done.
Tacky display would go to the WW2 Waffen SS bloke who had a HUGE German shepherd on a leash and he was dressed as a WW2 SS Military policemen. Sure I like WW2 German stuff but is this the image that should be going out to Joe Public ?. I mean most people associate that with " Schindlers List". I cringed when I saw it.
I picked up some great stuff for my 1/2 ton Dodge ( early marble relfectors, et ) and my CMP ( Brilliant blackout lights for the mudguards, I think copies but bloody excellent).
As far as the flights were concerned, the JAL flight was $1800 which I thought was a good price. It was 7 hrs to Osaka, overnight at a airport hotel then 11 hours to the UK. On the way back there was no overnight but about 6 hrs in the terminal. Managed to get some sleep on an airport lounge while dad stood guard. If I did it again I'd opt for the overnighter. Mainly to break up the flight. I'm 6 ft 4 ins and I can confirm that JAP seats don't really suit me. I asked for an exit row seat which helped on the way over but the way back I had to sit on a standard seat........ouch
As to coming back, well we got to Heathrow at 10am for a 6pm flight (allowing enough time for traffic and security checks) and I'm glad we did. It was pure chaos. There has got to be a better way to do this!
I estimate 45 mins - 1 hr to shuffle thru bag security and even then I got picked up on my camera bag and he x-rayed INDIVIDUALLY 20 rolls of 35mm film...............
Brisbane airport on the way over picked me on my boots and I had to take them off and they x-rayed the boots separately. They were the only airport to do this so I think it was just for effect.
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