Monday, June 19, 2023

NERPM 2023

I had a great time this past weekend at the 21st(?!) annual New England/Northeast Prototype Modelers Meet. But wow - what a busy weekend it was!

I met my buddies Pete and Pieter for breakfast at Cracker Barrel early Friday morning, and then got to the 'meet in time for the second clinic at 10:30. But as I was setting up, I was surprised by none other than Lionel Strang, who'd driven all the way from Canadia to attend. And the goober never even let on he was coming, despite talking with him on Thursday.

In addition to him and Jim Lincoln (on my right), I was able to see and catch up a bit with a lot of folks. The clinics are typically why you attend a ProtoMeet, but it's the people that make it memorable. It's like a family reunion where you get to catch up on all the goings-on since the last time you got together.

Great to catch up with Tom Jacobs and Bill Chapin who I hadn't seen since the big Springfield show in January.

John Doehring, who's become a fast friend ever since we met at TomStock last summer.

Jim Dufour, who needs no introduction to readers of this blog (or anyone who models the B&M), and Todd Hermann, which was a special treat since he came all the way up from Virginia to attend the 'meet. Like Jim, he and I have a common approach to modeling and his Catasauqua branch layout is one of my favorite layouts.

Bill Schneider, who also needs to introduction to folks here, as well as Marty McGuirk, whose modeling of "The October Scene" in New England is a great inspiration to my own scenery building.

Marty again and Stic Harris, who I've only had the pleasure of hanging out with a couple of times (starting way back in 2018?) but thanks to the wonders of the internet, we're able to keep in touch from time to time - and it was great to see him all the way up from Virginia this weekend!

I was literally on my way out when I was able to take this grab shot of Eric Hansmann, who was such a huge help when I was building and painting my first resin boxcars. Lionel made it in there again too, as well as Ramon Rhodes, who I finally got to meet for the first time this weekend.

Other than the people and, of course, the great clinics (click here to see the lineup from this year), there are the model displays! I always seem to forget to take pictures, so be sure to watch this space or go to FB for photos from this year.

In fact, I didn't even take pictures of my own display(!) Thankfully, it looks like Dave Owens (who heads up the meet) did . . . Thanks so much Dave!

I decided this year not to bring my old warhorse freight cars & cabooses which I've displayed the past bunch of meets. But I did bring the NH diesels I've detailed - and a B&M newcomer...

For more on the RS-2, be sure to click here. The S-2 can be found here.

The RS-1 modeling thread can be found here. I really need to gin up some courage to actually (and finally!) weather these models!

This got weathered though - as a "practice" since it's "just" B&M(!) Click here for more photos, details and the build thread.

To provide it a worthy display - at least something better than just setting it on the table - I made up this scenicked display track, finishing it up the night before the show(!) It was pretty easy to do and a great practice for "speed scenery" which anyone who's read this blog knows is a foreign concept to me. It even spins(!) so folks can see the model from all sides without having to handle it. I plan to do a post later on how I built it.

Also the night before(!) I finally got around to painting the lanterns I got a few months back from my friend Bernard Hellen at Miniprints. I highly recommend them & think they may be the only true scale Adlake lanterns available.

As if the people and the clinics weren't enough, there are always great layout tours during an RPM  weekend. Unfortunately, if you're hosting, you don't get to see the other layouts. But if you're hosting, you DO get to see more great friends - and meet new ones! And as in past years, the Valley Line was on the tour. Despite being the "southern outlier," a lot of folks made the trip down to the end of the Connecticut River to see the layout - and to sign my Guest Book(!) which has become one of the coolest keepsakes of these weekends. I had visitors from 11 different states!

And given that a few friends were coming from WAY out of state and don't often get a chance to operate the Valley Line, I put together a quick op session for after the open house . . .

One of my regular crew, Pieter, was on-hand to help out and pilot first-timer Kevin on the flagship Valley Local. Unfortunately, they suffered the only locomotive failure of the evening when steamer #359 inexplicably decided to quit. Fortunately, diesel #0510 was sent to bail them out.

While not from out-of-state, Mark and David got some first-time experience on the layout - shown here operating the Airline Local with steamer #343 which, fortunately, performed like a champ.

MikeS & MikeR were on PDX-2 with the 0669, working the south end of the Valley Line. MikeS and Kevin came from Chicagoland, and MikeR was up from South Carolina.

It looks like they had fun!

Between our anniversary getaway to the Cape last weekend, and then NERPM this weekend, it's been a fun-filled but exhausting week-and-a-half (has that been all it's been??) since the end of my busy time at work, so I'm actually looking forward to a more relaxed pace - and to leveraging all of this great inspiration to get to some modeling and make some more progress on the layout!

Here's hoping you'll stay tuned and be sure to chime in when you can!

Monday, June 12, 2023

He's Alive! (general post-session update - recent goings-on and upcoming plans)

Last long night of session
(pics by me, unless indicated otherwise)

Pic from CTMirror

After more late nights than I care to remember or recount (except to say, that's 10:45Pm on the clock above - and we got out about 2am the next morning), the 2023 legislative session is finally done as of midnight June 7th and I can turn my focus to fun things. MUCH MORE fun things...

Though this isn't one of them . . .

Got this the last Friday of session - 12 yards of mulch, delivered. That's the recommended amount for the square footage we wanted to do. It ended up being about 7 yards too much(!) If you need some mulch, let me know and I'll hook you up. I moved it all to the backyard for storage...

THIS is more what I had in mind . . .

On recommendation of my good buddy JimD, and totally sight-unseen, I ordered all 3 volumes of "Iron Roads of the Monadnock Region" which arrived just in time for end-of-session. Not only will they be a fine and welcome addition to my collection of New England railroad books, but the set was a wonderful gift to myself to celebrate getting through another tough year at work.

But the BIGGEST celebration is hinted at by the book I took off the shelf to read over this past weekend...

Pic from Amazon

Deb and I made plans early on to take advantage of the fact that our anniversary this year fell on the Saturday after session and we got ourselves over to Cape Cod for a long weekend of R&R and celebrating 28(?!) years married (It'll be 32 yrs together this October. Where does the time fly off to??)

And one of the MANY MANY reasons it's been such a long, wonderful time is that I can do this while away on an anniversary trip...Here are some scenes from Hyannis yard the morning of June 9...

Every successful marriage has its level of compromise - and I'll admit to the fact that all those photos took me less than 20-30 minutes to take ;^)

But wait! There's more . . . Here are some pics of the railroad station in Chatham, MA - along with a NYC caboose. The Chatham Branch of the New Haven RR lasted only 50 years (1887-1937), but the beautiful, and distinctive, station remains and hosts a really nice museum of railroading in the area. Unfortunately, it doesn't open until tomorrow(!)

Now that we're back from the Cape, I can focus on the upcoming New England/Northeast Railroad Prototype Modeler's Meet being held this coming weekend!! Ugh! It really snuck up on me this year, but I'm so glad that the new schedule that Dave Owens and his awesome team have worked out allow me to attend even in "long-session" years (we don't get out until early June in the odd-numbered years). I just hope with the upcoming change of venue that he's able to keep the same schedule!

And - BONUS! - this year I'll be able to give my presentation on "Modeling the Valley Local." Though I'm sure many of you have already seen it at some point, I haven't given this clinic at the NERPM since 2016. So there are a LOT of updates and new photos to share! Even those that saw it when I gave it at the NER convention last fall will find a few new things added.

But, honestly, if you'd rather attend Bill Badger's clinic on converting a BLI light 2-8-2 into a Rutland mikado, I wouldn't blame you. Frankly, I'm bummed my clinic is the same time as his (9am Saturday) since I was looking forward to seeing it.

No worries though - as always Dave & Co. have come up with a HUGE list of wonderful clinics and presentations for the weekend. Click here for the full list.

Besides all this wonderfulness, RPMs are really, first and foremost, about sharing our modeling efforts - no matter what level of skill or finish. I'm debating whether to bring my old warhorses along yet another year (some NH freight cars and a few Alcos), but I'll definitely be bringing the 1109 to show - if only to prove it's real!

And as if that all isn't enough to look forward to, the Valley Line will be part of the Sunday layout tours this year. While a full list and details won't be available except to attendees this weekend, I don't mind jumping on some coattails to let you know that I'm only 20 minutes south of Bill Schneider's NYO&W layout #justsayin :^)

So an awful lot of goodness coming up! I can't believe it's only been since Wednesday that I finished my busy time at work - but I've got to get a move on if I'm going to be ready for all that's next! Which reminds me - I have a powerpoint to review . . .

In the meantime, here's hoping I see you sometime this weekend. Please be sure to say "Howdy!" if our paths cross. And here's to a New Day (of hobby time) Dawning!

Chatham Sunrise, June 11, 2023