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Old 11-01-2020, 10:11 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default CAM Sheraton Skyline..Nigel Milton Tompkins

For those that have been in this hobby a long time, back in the 80's thru the early 2,000's there was an incredible store CAM Collectors Aircraft Models located at the Sheraton Skyline Hotel on Bath Rd adjacent to LHR. I along with many other enthusiasts would travel from all over the world several times a year to shop there and walk out with dozens of the rarest diecast models even as measured by today's standards.

Started by Brian Tompkins and turned over to his flamboyant and ostentatious son Nigel, it was a comical experience to listen to his over the top rhetoric and total BS about how the demand for his products and services was out of control and they were filling hundreds of orders daily from their industrial sized warehouse which turned out to be a small closet with a desk behind the showroom. We would all laugh and just go along with his over the top ego just to pacify him.

Sadly, as business went south, Nigel slowly disappeared along with the many unpaid bills to suppliers too.

Fast forward to today and those that are located in the UK can relive those memories... Mr. Tompkins is Managing Director (Such a big title) of Hot Tub Haven...and just like the diecast airplane business, I'm sure they are filling
hundreds of orders daily from their industrial sized warehouse!
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Old 11-01-2020, 11:17 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: CAM Sheraton Skyline..Nigel Milton Tompkins

Interesting info. I’ve often wondered what became of him. If only CAM when under Nigel’s watch, had been more adaptive to the changing retail environment, and been more customer friendly than it was at the end. Nigel ‘dropped the commercial ball’ and that coupled with his poor customer service skills played a very big part in the demise of CAM. IMO, a move to smaller premises, allowing more competitive pricing and a better developed website for increased online trading may have saved the company, who knows. After all, thankfully ARD managed to adapt, and is still flourishing as a result, and deservedly so.

Neil.
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Old 11-02-2020, 06:38 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: CAM Sheraton Skyline..Nigel Milton Tompkins

Very familiar with Nigel and his Dad Brian ( who sadly passed) and Nigel have to admit was quite a character ( in a weird way). They were always very hospitable to me. It used to be my second home,before I used to go do so some aircraft watching ( not spotting I have to add!). I met many 'CAM shop assistants' that ventured onto greener and newer pastures (... cough cough..ARD) and liked every single one of them and how well they treated me!! Good memories and shocking to realise how far back in time that was!!!
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Old 11-02-2020, 09:47 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: CAM Sheraton Skyline..Nigel Milton Tompkins

At the request of Henry Tenby, I penned an article for his recent book which is a price guide for collectors of large scale ‘travel agent’ type models. See link for it below. If you’ve not seen it, it’s well worth getting a copy, and no, I’m not on commission😉

Neil.

https://www.henrytenby.com/
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Old 11-02-2020, 11:43 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: CAM Sheraton Skyline..Nigel Milton Tompkins

I met Nigel when he was involved in an aviation publishing business, the name of which I have forgotten. It published a monthly magazine, maybe more than one, and several annual tomes with airline fleetlists etc.
The establishment was located in Browells Lane, Feltham not far from where the Heathrow Aviation Collectors' Fair used to be held before it moved to the current racecourse location.

And for really old members like me, was Brian Tomkins involved with VHF Supplies on the Great West Road which specialised in airband VHF receivers and similar stuff?
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Old 11-02-2020, 08:01 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: CAM Sheraton Skyline..Nigel Milton Tompkins

Indeed he was. His showroom was located on Noble Corner on the Great West Road. Many years before that, he originally started his business from a spare room in his parents house which I believe was somewhere near Hounslow. He was one of the first (if not THE first) supplier of air band radios to aviation enthusiasts in the U.K. By the time the Noble Corner premises opened, he was also selling the postcards, rare plastic kits and books. The well known aviation author, and Soviet aircraft expert Colin Ballantine was also involved with the company for a time. I bought my first display model from Brian at the VHF Supplies premises back in 1975. His company was the first to make genuine large scale ‘travel agent type’ models available to the general public. I think that the publishing company you’re referring to was called Aviation Data Centre. The other guy in the company who coauthored with Nigel on many publications was called Ricky Dene Halliday, who I believe is still involved in publishing today.

Neil.
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Old 11-02-2020, 08:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: CAM Sheraton Skyline..Nigel Milton Tompkins

When living in Southall in the 80's up to 2000 I used to go to the CAM shop at the Sheraton a lot. The staff were always welcoming to me.
I did wonder what had happened to Nigel.
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Old 01-02-2021, 01:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: CAM Sheraton Skyline..Nigel Milton Tompkins

It was CAM that got me into collecting. They had a shop in the Elmsleigh Shopping Centre in Staines and one day I was passing and in the window they had a 1/500 airport layout. I was instantly hooked and went in and bought my first model, a Starjets BA 757. The rest as they say is history.
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Old 01-04-2021, 06:38 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: CAM Sheraton Skyline..Nigel Milton Tompkins

I remember that shop and I bought a couple of early InFlight 200 Boeing 737 models from there; still got one of them. Always ok with me when I was in the shop but then, I don’t stand for any BS from anyone.

I thought that I saw Nigel working at ARD one time when I visited there a few years ago, did he ever help out there or work there?
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Old 01-04-2021, 07:09 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: CAM Sheraton Skyline..Nigel Milton Tompkins

I know Mark at ARD used to work there.
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Old 01-04-2021, 10:08 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: CAM Sheraton Skyline..Nigel Milton Tompkins

Bob Cass who worked right up until the end, left for greener pastures and went on to start, upon their inception, as the production manager in China for Inflight Models.
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Old 01-04-2021, 01:29 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Thumbs up Re: CAM Sheraton Skyline..Nigel Milton Tompkins

Russell,

You had me rolling with that story.
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Old 01-07-2021, 05:53 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: CAM Sheraton Skyline..Nigel Milton Tompkins

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lufthansaboy View Post
I know Mark at ARD used to work there.
Ok, maybe that’s who I saw. I know that there was someone at ARD who I had seen before at the Sheraton outlet.
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Old 01-09-2021, 05:52 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: CAM Sheraton Skyline..Nigel Milton Tompkins

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Bob Cass who worked right up until the end, left for greener pastures and went on to start, upon their inception, as the production manager in China for Inflight Models.
One of the nicest guys I ever dealt with! I do miss Mr Cass and often wonder how he's doing. The other awesome guy, Trevor who sadly passed away will always be sorely missed! One of the diamonds of the ARD team!!
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Old 01-09-2021, 07:08 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: CAM Sheraton Skyline..Nigel Milton Tompkins

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One of the nicest guys I ever dealt with! I do miss Mr Cass and often wonder how he's doing. The other awesome guy, Trevor who sadly passed away will always be sorely missed! One of the diamonds of the ARD team!!
Yes, Trevor was a great guy. I echo your comments entirely.
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Old 01-09-2021, 08:32 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: CAM Sheraton Skyline..Nigel Milton Tompkins

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The other awesome guy, Trevor who sadly passed away will always be sorely missed! One of the diamonds of the ARD team!!
I agree, Trevor was a real gent. I’ll always remember my first visit to ARD.Within a few minutes of our arrival, he offered us a hot drink and a biscuit on finding out that our journey had been almost three hours long. Happy days.

Neil.
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Old 01-20-2021, 07:14 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: CAM Sheraton Skyline..Nigel Milton Tompkins

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Originally Posted by hkgdave View Post
I met Nigel when he was involved in an aviation publishing business, the name of which I have forgotten. It published a monthly magazine, maybe more than one, and several annual tomes with airline fleetlists etc.
The establishment was located in Browells Lane, Feltham not far from where the Heathrow Aviation Collectors' Fair used to be held before it moved to the current racecourse location.

And for really old members like me, was Brian Tomkins involved with VHF Supplies on the Great West Road which specialised in airband VHF receivers and similar stuff?
AVIATION DATA CENTRE my friend!! Been there too. Still have some of their publications

My first visit to VHF Supplies, Noble Corner, Great West Road, was in the late 1970s.
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Old 01-21-2021, 12:56 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: CAM Sheraton Skyline..Nigel Milton Tompkins

Ah, VHF Supplies. Ordered a KLM Viscount in diagonal stripes from them back in 1977. Still have it. Mostly hand painted.
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Old 01-21-2021, 01:38 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: CAM Sheraton Skyline..Nigel Milton Tompkins

Something semi related to Tompkins, I wonder who bought that beautiful TAP Aero Mini 747 on Ebay from Dan A. a month or so ago!? Only 100 of the TAP made years ago! Tompkins acquired the blanks from Metchick and did the 5 different 747's; BOAC, British Airways, Air India, Qantas, and the TAP. True collectibles!
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