SMD on Facebook

From Tom Fedor

Join the SMD on Facebook at Members like Steve Johnson of Frederick, MD [Johnson’s modeling is our fall newsletter cover art -ed.] and Jay Beckham of Berkeley, WV, (via posts from Wilbur Snyder) regularly share their amazing modeling with us. You can share too. Join the SMD Facebook community to share your modeling, ask questions, contribute rail-related news and announcements, post calls for operating sessions, and list your for-sale items (personal ads only, no business use). While the site is unmoderated, it is monitored, and membership to the group must be approved by Division administrators.

Meeting Postponed – NEW Date: Sunday, 16 Jan. 2:00 PM

Alex Polimeni, superintendent 

Hey everyone,

I hope the holidays treated you well, and you’re navigating this latest variant of COVID-19 in good health! I’m writing to let you know that I’d marked the 16th, not the 9th, as the second Sunday in January (and the fact that 14, not 16, is 2×7 is not lost on me…)

To allow folks more of a head’s up than last month, and given the precedent of meeting on the 3rd Sunday in May every year anyway, our January meeting will be POSTPONED until Sunday, January 16, at 2 PM via Zoom. I’ll be sending another reminder Thursday evening with the meeting info and agenda. Until then, please take a moment to catch up on last month’s minutes, dutifully compiled by our ineffable clerk Harvey Heyser.

If you can, please clear your afternoon this coming Sunday.  2022 is already shaping to be a big year for SMD, and it would be great to workshop what’s to come with as many of you as possible!

Best regards,

Alex Polimeni


SMD Draft Meeting Minutes 12 December

Minutes submitted by Clerk Harvey Heyser

Draft Meeting Minutes – December 12, 2021

Division members met remotely on the internet using the Zoom platform. 18 or so were present.  Superintendent Alex Polimeni opened the zoom session prior to the published start time for logging in and sharing. 

During the lead-up to the meeting, the following was shared:

  • Pete and Jane Clarke have scheduled another operating session on their HOn3 EBT.
  • The Four County MRR Society has an HO modular layout with 6 scale miles of track on display at the Westminster Mall.

The Superintendent called the business meeting to order at about 2:30 pm.

21.12-1 Paymaster’s Report:  Paymaster Ray Price reported that as of November 30, 2021, the SMD bank balance was $3,508.43, reflecting the memorial donation to Breast Cancer Awareness of Cumberland County. The Superintendent will forward invoices for the Zoom renewal to the Paymaster.

21.12-2 Clerk’s Report (Meeting Minutes): The attendees dispensed with the reading/summary of the minutes (previously distributed by e-mail). Ron Polimeni made the following motion (second by John Madden):

Motion: That the draft Minutes for the November 2021 meeting be approved as submitted.  The motion passed unanimously.

Old Business: 

21-11.4 Holiday Cards: Andrew Roberts reported that the paperless card option was not preferred; so, actual cards will be sent.

21-11.6 Spring 2022 SMD Meetings: The Superintendent expressed cautious optimism about in-person meetings in the spring, but the January 2022 meeting will still be held remotely by zoom. He will confer with the officers and Advisory Committee.

21-11.8 Jerry Skeim’s Layout and Models: Bob Johnson, John Madden, and Ron Polimeni were thanked for dismantling Jerry’s layout. The layout featured some very nice carpentry and used exterior grade birch plywood “lumber” extensively. A considerable amount of lumber was saved. Elizabeth Boisvert was grateful since she needs the space to live in so she can be close to her mother. 

New Business:

21-12.-3 Achievement Program Progress: Coordinator Jane Clarke announced that, at the recent MER Convention, John Pursell had 3 models judged for the structures and cars certificates.


The Superintendent accepted a motion to adjourn. The next meeting will be held remotely by zoom on Sunday, January 9, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. Members will be reminded by e-mail.

Loads In, Empties Out

From Rich Randall

I have a double-sided backdrop on my layout where there will eventually be a “Loads In – Empties Out” function. The St. Maries side has a plywood mill, currently in place, which will receive empty bulkhead flatcars and produce loaded cars. The door will be a rollup type.

On the other side of the backdrop, Marengo, there will be a plant of some kind that receives loaded bulkhead flatcars and produces empty cars. I was looking for a quick way to put a building in place on the Marengo side. I was constrained by existing trackage.

Rummaging through my stuff, I came across a Broadway Limited Cannery kit. I had three of these at one time since they are very flexible. The kit has material to build a factory with corrugated sides and roof, using plenty of heavy styrene sheets, factory windows, and aluminum corrugated siding strips.

So I devised a way to place the building on an angle so that a single car could be placed inside.


It took quite a bit of trial and error to create a design that would clear the cars adequately. I used miscellaneous plastic pieces to strengthen the styrene joints.

The conventional swing doors are made of wood and will be operated by some kind of screw mechanism attached to the tops of each door. This will be a subject of a future exercise.

I weathered the structure, but maybe too much.

What’s on Your Workbench?

From Ron Polimeni

As I’ve mentioned here in the past, not having a model railroad of my own doesn’t preclude participating and having fun with model railroading. Thanx to the friends I’ve made through my participation in the NMRA and SMD in particular, I’m having more fun with model railroading than ever before.

Of the many facets of this hobby that I enjoy, one is the resurrecting of old models. “Flea Market Finds” if you will. This old 1880’s Mantua combine could have been had for perhaps 50 cents, if it wasn’t in the freebie box. It had a missing truck and the truss rods, made of steel wire for some reason, were badly rusted. The model probably dates to the 1950s and was intended to accompany Mantua’s “General ” 4-4-0 locomotive kit. I recall purchasing one of those kits at Polk’s Hobbies in Manhattan in the early ’70s for $15. Does anyone remember Polk’s? They later produced their own line of hobby goods under the Aristo-Craft name (if memory serves). The store itself offered five floors of hobby goods. Each floor was devoted to a particular specialty (plastic models, model railroading, R/C, etc).

Prototype railroads often repurposed old rolling stock so I decided to do the same with this old combine. As it is now, the car is ready for detailing. The rusty truss rods have been removed, the cupola is in place, the windows beneath plugged and the grab irons are slowly being installed.   Much tedious drilling ahead.

Also on my bench are this pair of International KB-6 box trucks. Nothing says the 1950s like vintage trucks and these old Internationals are classics. I have no idea who manufactured these models save that they were made in China. No idea where I purchased them either.   They’re nice period trucks except for the paint/graphics. I decided to strip one and see what I could do to make it more period correct. The paint appeared to be fairly thick and hard.  I removed the tires and plastic wheels before using ‘Strypeeze‘ on the metal body.

Unbeknownst to me, the headlights and the roof of the cargo box are also plastic. While the box roof may be salvageable, the headlights simply dissolved.

I was able to recreate the headlights using a 1/8″ styrene rod. Filing a cone shape on the end of the rod and cutting it off created the headlight buckets.

The stands were fashioned from styrene scraps. I’d hoped to have the truck painted for this issue of the WR but that will have to wait till I can arrange a visit to Mainline Hobby for suitable colors.