News from National

National Election Results

From John Stevens, 2021 Election Administrator

President Gordy Robinson

Vice President Rick Coble

At-Large North American Director Chris Palermo

Eastern District Director John Doehring

Pacific District Director Rob Peterson

By-Laws Amendment Passed.

All Officers-Elect will assume their duties on Friday July 2, 2021 for a three year term.

I would like to thank all the members who make our elections possible. We have Nominating Committees and Ballot Committees in the European Region, the British Region, the Pacific District, NMRA Canada, and a National Committee in the United States. Together, all of those committees were able to assemble a great slate of candidates.

I would also like to thank all the candidates who volunteered to step forward and run for a National Office. The nine candidates were willing to give up many hours to serve the members of the NMRA. It is easy to sit around and complain about how things are being run, but it takes a special level of commitment to be a candidate for one of these positions.  I wish them the best of luck in their new positions.

Lastly, I would like to thank those who voted, and took the opportunity to determine who will be responsible for setting our national policies and leading this organization into the future.


From Christopher J. Palermo, Publicist – 2021 convention

NMRA 2021 Rails By The Bay, NMRA’s 2021 national online virtual convention on July 6-10, 2021, has several exciting announcements.

Click HERE for the latest.

Chris reports the following developments in planning this convention.

Jack Burgess MMR will present a clinic titled Photoshop Elements as a Modeling Tool. Join Jack for a detailed review of the Photoshop Elements software and learn insider tips about how to use it to plan and build models.

Clinic schedule updated. Clinics and layout videos will be offered daily, July 6-10, at 9:00am, 10:00, and 11:00. A break will be observed from 12 noon to 2:00pm, but layout tours will be available to view on your own. Afternoon clinics will be offered at 2:00pm, 3:00, and 4:00, followed by a dinner break at 5:00. Evening clinics will be at 7:00 and 8:00, and breakout rooms will remain open at 9:00 for socialization. Clinics nominally run 35-45 minutes.

Call for volunteers. The convention continues to need more volunteers to serve as: Clinic Track Moderators, Clinic Goes On Moderators, Information Desk Operators, Information Desk Operator Assistants and Breakout Room Moderators, as described below. These are low-tech positions and will include training so that you have the information you need.

Clinic Track Moderators – moderate the chat window (keep the chat on topic, promote discussion on the topic, encourage questions for clinician), share needed links with attendees, and encourage attendees to visit the breakout rooms. Sign up HERE

Clinic Goes On Moderator – moderate the meeting (keep the chat on topic, promote discussion on the topic, encourage questions for clinician, ensure all attendees get to ask questions), share needed links with attendees, notify attendees when next clinics are starting and encourage attendees to visit the breakout rooms. Sign up HERE.

Information Desk Operator – Share important information on screen, help direct attendees to breakout rooms and answer questions as attendees enter the Great Hall. Sign up HERE.

Information Desk Operator Assistant – assist the Information Desk Operator. Sign up HERE

Breakout Room Moderator – Circulate among the breakout rooms assisting attendees. Promote discussion among attendees, introduce people in breakout rooms, be welcoming, helpful and promote social interaction among attendees. Sign up HERE.


Notice of Annual Meeting

From Rick Coble, NMRA Secretary

The National Model Railroad Association, Inc. will hold its 2021 Annual General Meeting Sunday, August 15, 2021 at 3 PM EDT.

Due to the cancellation of the 2021 National Convention, the meeting will be held virtually through the video conferencing platform GoToMeeting. Registration is required to use GoToMeeting. Registration opens July 8, 2021 and closes August 1, 2021.To register, contact the Vice President Administration at VPresident@nmra.org

You may send questions to the President prior to the meeting. Questions may be on any aspect of the NMRA. Questions sent prior to the 2020 meeting touched on many topics, including standards, the Achievement Program, and conventions. Questions and answers to your questions will be posted on the NMRA website no later than August 13, 2021. Meeting minutes will be posted no later than Sunday, August 22, 2021.

Questions to the President should be submitted in advance to the Secretary, beginning July 8, 2021 and no later than August 1, 2021 at secy@nmra.org .


Partnership Program

 

The companies listed below give discounts to NMRA members when orders are placed using a special discount code. You can find descriptions of these companies and their products, links to their websites, and the discount codes on our Partnership Page at  nmra.org/partnerships . Remember you need to be logged into our site as a member to see the codes! Go to nmra.org/user/register to register your name on the website.

Our newest partners are listed in RED.

Bear Creek Model Railroad

CatzPaw Innovations

Clever Models LLC

CMR Products

Daylight Sales

Deepwoods Software

Deluxe Materials

Digikeijs

East Coast Circuits

Gatorfoam

Great Decals

Green Frog Productions

HobbyWorx Tools and Supplies

Hot Wire Foam Factory

K.I.S.S. Method

LaBelle Woodworking

LARC Products

Logic Rail Technologies

MAC Rail

Micro-Mark

Mine Mount Models

Miniprints

MinuteMan Scale Models

Model Railroad Benchwork

Model Train Catalogue

Modelers Decals and Paint

Motrak Models

MRC (Model Rectifier Corp)

Nick and Nora Designs

NScaleWorks

Old West Scenery

Ram Track

RR-CirKits

Rusty Stumps

Scale Model Plans

Scalecoat Paint

Scenery Solutions

Showcase Miniatures

Team Track Models

The N Scale Architect

The Old Depot Gallery

Tichy Train Group

Touch of the Brush

Train Installations

Train Show, Inc.

Trainmasters TV/MRH Store

TSG Multimedia

UGEARS

Unreal Details (Magic Water)

USA Airbrush Supply

WiFi Model Railroad

SMD “Hobby Hangout” Summary

An Informal SMD Get-Together by Zoom

Summary prepared by Clerk, Harvey Heyser – 2-27-21

Normally, the SMD would not publish “minutes” for a gathering when no business was discussed, but given the fact that the get-together was the first remote informal event the Division has held, the following is a brief summary of some of what was shared during that event (for SMD members information and to encourage future participation).  15 or so attended.

Superintendent Jerry Skeim served as moderator.  [He had his hands full.]  Alex Polimeni acted as Zoom Master.

John Madden described his adventures with an 0-6-0 that he just could not get to run.  It turns out that he had removed the DCC chip for some reason.  (He could not remember why.)  Once he reinstalled the chip, the loco ran beautifully.

Bob Geldmacher told everyone about using 3-D printers at the Westminster Library (available for free) to aid in constructing parts for an On30 mine he’s working on.

Bob also described his efforts to bend tubing in order to make light fixtures (using a jig he made) and his hunt for LEDs with wires small enough to fit into the tiny brass tubing.  Bob Johnson suggested another approach – filling the tubing with sand before bending – and using the tubing itself as one of the wires.

Dave Thalman showed a live video from his phone of his continuing progress turning one of his helixes into a scenicked mountain.  Dave has had much success using “ground goop” in his scenery efforts.  Once mixed, it remains usable for a long time.

Bob Johnson notified everyone that his basement renovations are complete enough for him to [deviously] begin plotting ways to make his operating schedule more challenging.  He also has been reworking some brass articulateds with new NWSL high-low gearboxes to improve running qualities and to quiet them down. 

Rich Randall displayed photos of the Central Locomotive Works SD-40 kit (now almost 50 years old) he has been working on.  One of the things he wants to change is the drive train, which seems (from the photos) incredibly kinked with the trucks turned even slightly.

Ron Polimeni asked what people are doing for paints now that Floquil is no longer available.  

  • He indicated his dislike for the semi-gloss finish of Modelers Decals and Paint’s products.  
  • Bob Johnson said he continues to use his inventory of Floquil.  
  • Others pointed out that they have had success with Scalecoat by using only Scalecoat thinner (the kind specific for each of the 2 kinds of paint Scalecoat makes).
  • Ron reported he has had no luck with Tru-Color, which goes on glossy.  Tru-Color thinner contains a substantial percentage of MEK and, therefore, should be used with plenty of ventilation and other extra precautions for using hazardous materials.
  • Bob Morningstar pointed out the need for constant airbrush tip cleaning (with a q-tip) during spray sessions with water-based paints, which (in his experience) do not adhere as well as Floquil but have otherwise performed well.
  • Tru-Color paints go on glossy.

Ron then displayed some of the diesels he has been painting.  He showed how a chrome marker works for the stainless steel grilles.  (The marker is made by Molotov and is available from Blick Art Supplies.)

Pete and Jane Clarke showed slides from this year’s EBT Winter Spectacular.  [Pete looked quite forlorn in a shot down from the caboose cupola.]

Jane showed the 3-D printed model of the freight house she’s been working on for Robertsdale as well as shots of the component parts, which were quite complex in form (and quite expensive).

Pete showed the trestle he has installed at Pucky’s Coal in Orbisonia immediately adjacent to the (always crowded) operator’s aisle.  Those in attendance immediately started taking bets on how long it would be before an elbow (or gut) would knock the hoppers onto the floor.  [Most guesses were under a minute.]  On a more constructive note, Pete showed his first efforts making a dirt road (to Pucky’s).  

Frank Benenatti talked about the model of Ewing’s Mill he constructed for Mt. Union on Pete and Jane’s layout.  He used a balsa wood mock-up that he cut and reworked at the layout to get the model sized to fit the actual location (an amazing process according to Jane).  The final model was then constructed of more conventional materials and included a very nice embossed paper “stone” foundation as well as custom ink-jet printed decals based on the prototype.

Bob Morningstar displayed several equipment projects:

  1. A Walthers (agricultural) combine model “mounted” on a flatcar with attendant parts not yet installed and with all required blocking, tie-downs, etc. (as the prototype would be shipped):  the load was held in place by micro-magnets.
  2. An old Akane brass USRA light Mikado re-motored and reworked to represent a B&O prototype:  Bob reported that the change that most significantly improved running was adding a torque arm to the drive.

Bob also reported he has found a very fine-tipped marker for adding “chalk” marks to freight cars.  Bob Johnson indicated he has used Prismacolor pencils for the same task.

Frank Benenatti has been trying to sell his layout.  He thought he had a buyer who unfortunately had to back out when the renovation of the proposed location (basement) turned out to be too costly.  Frank is still willing to sell his structures if anyone is interested.  Frank is thinking of building a display of Robertsdale for the FEBT museum – something different.

Frank also reported feeling lonely running trains by himself during the pandemic.  Consequently, he turned up the volume on the sound chips.  That helped a bit.  [It certainly made up for all the bad jokes normally heard during sessions.]

Alex Polimeni asked operations hosts what challenges they foresaw in returning to op sessions after the pandemic.

  • The most obvious answer was cleaning track!
  • Bob Johnson said he will need to work on switches and their machines.  He plans to free-up the switches by wiggling them with his fingers and then throwing them multiple times to make sure they are working properly.
  • Pete and Jane Clarke reported unwanted rodent visitors causing damage to the foliage and leaving debris on the tracks.

Alex has been painting figures (for war-gaming unfortunately) during the pandemic.  He is planning to present to the SMD an up-dated clinic on the water-based Citadel paint system.  [Even at his tender age,] he finds reading glasses quite helpful to relieve eye strain when painting.

Andy Arnold has been developing a computer inventory program.  Given his professional experience with programming, he was surprised that most of the effort so far has involved “making the screen look better.”

Brian Greenawalt has been building some of the craftsman structure kits he has acquired over the years.

Following the discussion (reports, tips, questions, slides, and videos, etc.), the consensus of those who participated was that the Division should do another Zoom get-together.  Superintendent Skeim will schedule a date in the coming month.

Mount Clare Junction Update

THE 2021 NMRA MID-EASTERN REGION MODEL RAILROAD CONVENTION

The first monthly Mount Clare Junction newsletter has been released. Visit mtclarejct.com for more details and to sign up for future announcements.

The Mount Clare Junction team is interested in hearing from you. Click here to send us a message and let us know what you want to see and learn during the event.

Stay safe. Wear a mask. Socially distance.

Together we can be together in 2021.

[Post adapted from the MtClareJct.com newsletter. -ed]

CANCELED – Mini Convention 2020

The SMD has CANCELED the 2020 Mini Con because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The 18 April event will not be rescheduled this calendar year. Subscribe to this blog for future details on the 2021 Mini Con. [-Ed.]

by Pete Clark

What:  Mainline Hobby Supply presents: The SMD Spring Mini Convention.

When:  Saturday, April 18, 2020. Doors open to the public from 9:00 am. to 4:00 pm.  Doors open for set up at 7:00 AM (vendors, modular layouts, clinicians ONLY).

Where:  Blue Ridge Mountain Fire Co., located at 13063 Monterey Lane, Blue Ridge Summit, PA 17214. This venue is directly across the road from Mainline Hobby. Attendees can park, free, to the north side of the fire hall nearest the convention entrance.

For a good time, be part of the Mini-Con!

Join your fellow SMD members in a day of great fun and fellowship. And, oh by the way, spread the joy of model railroading. Saturday April 18 2020, with the support of Mainline Hobby Supply, we will again host the very popular Mini-convention. New members might not know and old members might have forgotten, our format for the event, so allow me a quick review.

Informal clinics; morning: Hopefully 10 folks (You!) will volunteer to give one from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM and repeat it again from 11:00 AM to 12:00 noon. Not a formal presentation, just talk about a model railroading topic that’s of interest to you. Bring what you need to have as examples or visual aids. But remember, no projectors, no loudspeakers. It’s just you, talking to the attendees as they walk past your table. The guests are free to stay and talk with you for as long as they like, or move on when they choose. So, don’t think of it as a speech, don’t think of it as public speaking. It’s just you, talking to another interested model railroader, and maybe another will join in.

Note that officially you have an hour break from 10:00 to 11:00 AM. That’s to allow you to get a snack, visit the restroom, look around to see what other clinics are happening.

Then, hopefully, we get 10 other members to give 10 other clinics from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM and again from 12:00 noon to 1:00 PM.

We want 20 informal clinics (two groups of 10), so there’s plenty of room for you.

Join in with SMD members and friends like:

  • Dennis Blank, Jr. (Lighting SD40-2’s with LED’s)
  • Bob Johnson (Rolling stock tune up for reliable operations)
  • Jerry Skeim (Structures & modeling water)
  • Andrew Dodge (Building a retirement model railroad)
  • Ken Kime (How to make molds and castings for making hopper cars.)
  • Don Florwick (TBD)
  • Bill  Reynolds (TBD)
  • Gary Nastase (Roadbed and ballasting)
  • Bob Geldmacher (Making pine trees)
  • Bob Morningstar (Make your own current keeper)
  • John Madden (DCC++)
  • Dave Thalman (Weathering & loading coal hoppers)
  • Ron Polimeni (Budget model railroading)
  • Harvey Heyser (Layout design)
  • Lee Rainey (TBD)
  • Jane Clarke (TBD)
  • John Glaab (Working on brass locomotives)
  • John King (Modify Kadee couplers to be more user friendly)
  • Dotti Polimeni (Painting Downtown Deco hydrocal kits)
  • Frank Benenati, Dave Sweeney and Tom Fedor (MARRS modules).

I can hear you saying, “Come on Pete. Look at that list. You must not need me.”  Wrong. We have space for you. More important, Like Uncle Sam says, “I want you!” And the members and guests who will come to the Mini want to see you and learn about the topic that interests you. Many on my list would be happy to give their spot to you, the new guy or gal. We have room for you. Can I make that any clearer?

I can hear you saying, “But I don’t know what to do.”  You may recall me writing this in the past, or saying it at a monthly meeting. “Just bring a model and work on it.”  I really mean it. No-one seems to believe it, but it’s been done and it’s very popular.

Make and take clinics: At 10:00 AM we will also have two “Make and take” clinics. Jeff Grove of Carolina Craftsman Kits will again donate a group of (small, easy) craftsman kits and Mainline will again donate (small, easy) styrene (plastic) DPM – 36000 – modular learning kit. Just like last year we’ll encourage young people by giving them priority on the make & take sign up lists. Also, another way you can help is by bringing tools to loan for these clinics. X-Acto knives, glue, and, well, look for a list of items once our build leaders (Brian Greenawalt, David Sweeney, and Tom Fedor) have had time to think about it.

Modular layouts: We hope to have a modular layout or two set up and running during the morning as well. I’m having better luck this year, and have gotten “probably” from two (Steve Sherrill and Wayne Betty). But we still can use more. So please contact me (Pete Clarke) if you are aware of a modular group and have contact information for that group. Email me at ebtmx5@aol.com or call 301- 253-4913.

Speaking of layouts, Brian Wolfe of Mainline Hobby Supply will have his layout open to tour during the Mini-Con.

Clubs and Societies: This would be a great opportunity to promote your club or historical society! So far, none have signed up. Please contact me to reserve your table at ebtmx5@aol.com or call 301- 253-4913.

For sale: There will be some vendors there with model railroad stuff for sale. Carolina Craftsman Kits, Dwarvin Enterprises (Fiber optic system of lights) and Bob Van Zant (HO locomotives and misc. stuff) have all signed up and we are waiting to hear back from more. And of course, you can, and should, carefully walk across the street to Mainline Hobby Supply. Tell them thanks for supporting this event by making a purchase, and while you are talking to them, say “Thanks for sponsoring the Mini” out loud.

Raffle: Again this year we will purchase a $150 gift certificate from Mainline and sell raffle tickets ($10 each) through the morning. Also, HobbyTown USA – Frederick (Richard Benjamin) has donated a $50 gift certificate that we will give as a door prize. Both of these will happen at 1:00 PM.

Formal clinics: Also, at 1:00 PM we convert from informal to formal clinics. We hope to have a speaker from the Mid-Eastern Region (MER) tell us of the plans for the MER’s annual fall convention. Alex Polimeni will speak on Model railroading as game design, and noted historian and author Lee Rainey will speak on “Shortline Operating Patterns: What to Consider in Designing a Schedule.”

Food: We will have food and beverages on site. This will also be handled by SMD members.

The Mini-Con is almost here. We still need you to make it happen. Please contact me and offer to help. Mostly we need folks to give informal clinics. Everyone who’s done one of these clinics has had a great time. If you have questions, I’d be happy to talk with you about it. There are other things you can do, we’ll need extension cords, tools for the make & take clinics, help at the registration desk, morning set up and afternoon clean up. Just can’t do any of those? Attend, and then tell others about it.

Follow the SMD blog for Mini-Con updates at smdnmra.org.

Convention Report

 

SMDMINI
Bob Morningstar

By Bob Morningstar, MER Director

The 2019 Mid-Eastern Region “Liberty Bell” convention was held October 10-13 at the Valley Forge Crowne Plaza in King of Prussia, PA. I attended all 4 days and was really pleased with the experience. The hotel and hotel staff were excellent, the Convention committee did a great job of venue selection and negotiating a very reasonable room rate. The Convention Committee chair reported that there were 236 registered attendees.

The arrival and badging process was painless and took all of 2 minutes on Thursday. The “White Elephant” sale was well stocked with goodies to buy. I took up 15 items to sell, came home with only 5 items and I was $62 to the good when I checked out on Sunday morning.

Thursday night was the quarterly MER board meeting, items of significance included:

  • The MER newsletter editor has stepped down and the region is looking for a new editor, any takers?  Tom?
  • There was a discussion of having a full audit of the regions financials The expense is prohibitive and the board is working toward getting a financial review completed which serves the purpose of an audit but can be done by volunteers versus paying for a CPA. Not to worry as it appears we are in good financial shape and the MER treasurer is very conscientious.
  • The executive committee chairperson provided an update on the convention attendance and there was discussion about the competing RPM events taking away both presenters and clinicians from the NMRA conventions.

Friday morning there was a regional editor’s breakfast, for those involved in producing the divisional reports and the region report. Part of my duties as a director will be to oversee the production of the eLocal, so the opportunity to hear the various editors describe their processes and challenges was informative and useful. There was a interesting discussion about copyright and the importance that the editors ensure that any content (including photos and diagrams) be produced by the author or if from someone else that there is a written paper trail of permission to use. The main takeaway was that all the editors could use more content from the membership. Producing content for our Wheel Report provides an opportunity to share your modeling activities and is another avenue to learn from others. One division actually produces paper copies of the newsletter and places them in area hobby shops to increase the awareness of their division and the NMRA.   Perhaps something for us to consider?

The clinics were well done, the audio visual equipment worked, and the Philly division staff excelled in ensuring that someone on the convention staff was at each clinic to introduce each speaker, assist with the computer and projector, and present a certificate to the presenter at the end of the clinic (This was a great idea and I hope future convention planners do the same.).

My contest entry this year was the Western Maryland Cement Hopper clean out facility that was located on my layout. It took 2 hours to gently remove it from the layout and place it on a piece of homasote for display purposes. I entered it in the online display category and earned 3rd place with 79 points. I intend on taking the judges comments and revising the model for a later submission, hopefully to get to the 87 points necessary for a merit award.  Close but not close enough. The judges comments were encouraging and fair. A bit more attention to detail is what it needs.

I admit I am a clinic junkie and attended them from 8 AM until well into the evening (getting my monies worth). There were some very interesting clinics on 3D printing, another hobby of mine, and a fascinating clinic on poultry cars and poultry transport in the late 19th and early 20th century. Who knew that live chickens traveled by rail?  I didn’t.

Saturday was spent in clinics from morning until dinner, except for an informal meeting with a couple Master Model Railroaders and David Chance, MER AP manager.

They answered many of my questions and encouraged me to pursue the MMR.

I did not attend the banquet as I had plans to meet with old classmates from college that evening. The last day, Sunday, wrapped up with clinics in the morning and the annual MER business meeting. Twenty five or so members attended and yours truly was installed as a new Director at the very end.  

Overall it was worth my investment. I enjoyed a few days of total immersion in the hobby that I love. The new friends I made were priceless.   Next year’s convention is in Charlotte, NC. I have already marked off for it at work and encourage all to attend.