The 20th gathering of the annual of the Railroad Prototype Modelers just concluded in Cocoa Beach, Florida.  Each year modelers and historians gather to show off their latest work and share information via numerous clinics and informal discussions.  There is much to learned and see at these meetings.

The coverage is courtesy of several photographers who covered aspects of the event.  The pictures were gathered off of Facebook and emails.

Tony Thompson posted the above picture of the vendor sales area.  While most the hobby items are for HO, there were several photo sellers like Bob’s Photos to lightened your wallet.  Ross Dando reported that he did some serious buying at the event. Our intreped reporter, Ross Dando, managed to take a picture of his own models including his Twin Star Cars flatcar. He sold out of kits at the event.

Ross was all over Jim Zwernemann’s fantastic display of his Proto48 models.  As you can see, Jim built a display rack to better show the models on the low tables.

As you can see, Jim loves cabooses and has built some incredible cars over the years.  The most recent is the Penn Central transfer caboose.   We have posted most of these models on the blog in the past.  You can do a search on Jim’s name to see more of his work.

Jim built this Rock Island caboose using a San Juan Model Company boxcar kit as a starting point.

The Proto48 community was well represented with gentlemen pictured below.   Front to the back they are:

James Lincoln, Ross Dando, Harz Sondericker in purple, Jim Zwernemann and Jon Cagle in the back.

Dave Hussey shot this picture of Ross, Jim and Jon.  It is titled the “Three Musketeers”.

Check out the Railroad Prototype Modeler event calendar website.   You will see that there are events scheduled around the country.   I recommend you attend an event.






MEETING: March Meet 2018

The annual gathering of O scale modelers just happened in Lombard, IL. The meet was well attended and attendees were spending money and enjoying the fellowship.

I always thought that this gathering is the defacto benchmark for scale O shows. Mike Hill and his wife have maintained a high quality show with many sellers, dealers and few manufactures to boot.

Bill McConnell’s O Scale Turnouts exhibited his line of switches. Bill offers assembled turnouts in standard O gauge and Proto48. His show display is 1/4″ finescale and features a super fine GP-9 the reflects the art of Lee Turner with a very realistic weathering treatment. The model is battery powered and radio control. Bill provided me this description of the GP-9

  1. Kelly Reagan’s Finescale 360 frame with Atlas GP9 fuel tank and speaker.
  2. The motor mount is conduit hanger used in the electrical industry. It is called Hanger Lok. A lot cleaner than the RC variant.
  3. Maxon 25mm motor.
  4. P&D brass trucks with scale wheels.
  5. Paint work by Lee Turner.

Shows like this offer a great opportunity for O scale modelers to find parts, kits and completed models. As we all know, there are fewer hobby stores let alone ones that stock 1/48 scale models. A number of my friends restock their parts cache at shows. I have done this for years.

The other value for shows is social. Meeting new friends and renewing friendships is a great value in this hobby. We are a minority scale and rarely encounter a place full of modelers in our scale.

The above group is seems to be enjoying fellowship and a good meal. From left to right: Norm Buckhart, Rod Miller, Dick Harley, Frank Peacock and Jim Wolf.

So the group was larger on the second night of dining. This time Bruce Blalock, Mike O’Connell, Charlie Morrill, Lee Turner and a few others that I don’t recognize. Looks like some good grub at Brio.

A frowning Mike O’Connell standing next to Dan Pantera in his expansive shop. For those who don’t know Dan, he is a custom builder of passenger equipment in O scale. Looks like a few Nickel Plate Road passenger cars are being prepared for a client.

Our smiling group seems to be enjoying the opportunity check out a great model builder’s shop.

The show holds a model contest. I read that there were only 20 models entered. Jim Zwernemann entered a scratchbuilt war emergency boxcar. The prototype for this car is the Alton Road (later GM&O). The model won first place in the freight car category. Jim has won this event a number of times.

I think that I am going to try to attend this show next year. It has been a long time since I attended the event when it was held at the Sheraton in Rolling Meadows.

Thanks for stopping by.


MEETINGS: Collinsville RPM Meeting

Railroad Prototype Meetings (RPM) have become a major part of the hobby’s communication process.   Modelers and historians get together in many parts of the country.  The Naperville (IL) meeting has been the major event in the RPM calendar.  The St.Louis (Collinsville, IL) meet is emerging as one of the major gatherings.  It has been run by John Golden for a number of years with major help from a group in the St. Louis area John is now living in Germany as a result of a new job assignment in his post-military job. John continues to champion the gathering from afar.

O scale and P48 are not major components in these meetings but the value of the event is the many clinics, vendors and fellow modelers.  I have attended the Chicago area meeting and enjoyed the heck out of it.  I will probably go again but maybe try the St. Louis meet.

As in past years, Norm Buckhart attended as a vendor (Protocraft).   HO folks seem to be fascinated with P48 and concept of larger scale modeling.  Jim Canter brought his large portable P48 demonstration layout with the help of friends from the Indianapolis area.  It is an excellent vehicle to introduce the scale to modelers.  Norm took a photos of the meeting and Jim’s layout to share with us.

This what the commercial selling floor looked like at St. Louis.  Several photo sellers, a bunch of historical societies and lots of largely HO suppliers present.

Norm Buckhart and Jim Canter pose with Jim’s layout.

This view shows the simple support system for the portable.

In case you didn’t know, Jim loves the Nickle Plate Road.

It sounds like a good meeting to consider in the coming year.


MEETINGS: O Scale West 2017

Regional O Scale meetings are very popular and do allow the opportunity to buy and sell model supplies, see operating layouts and new products from suppliers.  The meets draw people from a wide geographical area and interests.  O Scale West has been going on for a very long time under the leadership of Rod Miller.  This show is one of the very few I can easily visit.  It has been held in Santa Clara, CA in the shadow of Levi Stadium ( SF Forty-Niners football).  The meet had been in late January or early February but the new football stadium and explosive growth in Silicon Valley have created a challenge to maintain low hotel rates and use of the Santa Clara Convention Center that adjoins the Hyatt hotel.  For now, the meet is been held on the Memorial Day weekend.  For those who haven’t been in this part of Cali, the airport is very close to the hotel and light rail runs by the Convention Center.

On the Way

Prior to the meet, a group of friends got together and did a few railroad related trips.   Several friends took advantage of their location and rode the Napa Valley Wine Train.  It is an interesting trip that rambles through the beautiful Napa Valley.  Miles and miles of vineyards and wineries to delight your eye and pallet.  The ride is a gourmet experience with wonderful entrees, wine and deserts.

The next stop on the pre-meet tour was a ride north to Ukiah for some local BBQ and a tour of P-B-L facilities west of town.  The facilities are compact and somewhat remote in the hills with a view of the Pacific Ocean from the lofty heights of 2600 feet above sea level.

From left to right is Frank Peacock (railway historian), Jim Zwernemann ( expert modeler), Bruce Blalock ( Katy historian, modeler and artist), Bill Peter (P-B-L) Norm Buckhart ( Protocraft), Jimmy Booth ( Glacier Park Models and P-B-L), Mike O’Connell (Chooch Enterprise Owner) and Dick Harley ( UP modeler and historian).  The visit was enjoyable and informative.  P-B-L is Sn3.  It was a pioneer and created a loyal following in the hobby that has grown to a legion of strong following.   The facilities supports a wide range of production capabilities.  Model production is largely done with resin and injection modeling plastics.

The injection molding machine shown above produces much of the P-B-L and Glacier Park Models.   Dies are made using CNC mills from brass plates.   The designs are created using 3D software.   It is a process that has become standard for much of the hobby.  The image shown below is of the brass dies used to make the parts for kits.

P-B-L has a room that hold their convention displays featured Sn3 models.  They are exquisite displays.  The displays remind one that Bill Peter and Jimmy Booth are superb modelers.

Returning to Protocraft’s home base in Sonoma was a smooth trip for most except for Frank and Bruce stuck in the last row of Norm’s SUV.

At the Show

The show opened on at 9am on Friday.   A couple of newcomers in P48 attended the meet.  Ross Dando and Shawn Branstetter came down from Idaho to meet other modelers.  They are both accomplished modelers and now working in our scale.  Ross

brought down a modified Protocraft AAR steel boxcar to show and participate in the favorite model contest.   He is a Rock Island fan and did his car with Protocraft Rock Island decals.

The favorite contest had some nice models.  Joel Kirk brought his Sacramento Northern GE 44-ton diesel, Bill Yancey entered a CP Rail wood chip gondola and Jim Zwernemann brought his Milwaukee Road stock car.  I believe that Joel and Jim took first prizes in their categories.

Well, I hope you found this posting interesting.   Why not try going to a regional O scale meet in the future.  I have found that the real benefit is the opportunity of meeting and socializing with fellow modelers.