EBT Post Office Pushcart

From Pete Clarke

It’s quiet right now in Robertsdale, PA. But the mail train will soon arrive. So the post office clerk has positioned the pushcart into the spot where the crew will offload mail from the combine. The clerk will then push the cart over to the Post Office building, and toss the mail through the window. Every time he does this  chore I’m sure he asks himself, “why could  they bother to lay this track, but not bother to put in a door!”

That’s the way it was on the EBT. That’s the way it is on Pete and Jane Clarke’s HOn3 EBT as well.

  • Thank you to Wade Woodcock for the 3-D printed “Old Post Office” kit. Frank Benenati assembled the structure.

SMD Business Meeting 13 February, via Zoom

Alex Polimeni, superintendent, NMRA South Mountain Division.

You’re all invited to our Division business meeting this Sunday, February 13th via Zoom. “Doors” open at 2 pm, with the business part of the meeting to begin no later than 2:30 pm. As always, you can find last month’s minutes HERE. Email me at southmountaindiv@gmail.com for the Zoom invite codes.

Currently, we do not have a clinic arranged for this weekend, but YOU can change that! Email me at southmountaindiv@gmail.com before the meeting begins and the floor will be yours.

In other news, the 2022 Mini-Con IS HAPPENING THIS APRIL! Pete Clarke has passed the torch to Grant Barry, who is looking for clinicians and volunteers. We’re proud to continue our partnership with Mainline Hobby Supply and return to our fire hall across from the store.  The final date and details pending, but I believe I speak for us all when I say, it will be good to be back.

If you missed it, Tom Fedor will be stepping down as our newsletter editor after this summer and we’re looking for a new editor. Think you can bring new ideas to the table for the 2022-2023 Wheel Reports? Then this job’s for you.

Furthermore, SMD is also looking for a Nominations Committee chair to solicit nominees for this May’s officer elections and aid in the election process. It’s not especially difficult or stressful at all, we just need someone to fill the role.

Thanks, and I’ll talk to you all soon,

Alex Polimeni, Superintendent

SMD Draft Meeting Minutes 16 January

Minutes submitted by Clerk Harvey Heyser

Draft Meeting Minutes – January 16, 2022

Division members met remotely on the internet using the Zoom platform.  15 or so were present.  Superintendent Alex Polimeni opened the zoom session prior to the published start time for logging in and sharing.  The SMD welcomed Gordy Robinson, MMR, NMRA President, who joined the meeting from Scapa Flow in the United Kingdom.  

The Superintendent called the business meeting to order at about 2:30 pm.  He thanked attendees for “braving the snow” and “coming out.”

22.1-1 Paymaster’s Report:  Paymaster Ray Price reported the SMD bank balance was $3,508.43.   The Superintendent has the invoice of $157.40 for the Zoom renewal and will forward it to the Paymaster.

22.1-2 Clerk’s Report (Meeting Minutes):  The attendees dispensed with the reading/summary of the minutes (previously distributed by email).  Don Florwick made the following motion (second by Ron Polimeni):

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

Old Business: 

(No items of old business were discussed.)

New Business:

22-1.3 Nominations Chair:  Superintendent Polimeni requested a volunteer for this position in preparation for the May elections.

22-1.4 Newsletter Editor:  Because of other responsibilities, Tom Fedor, current Editor, will retire after the 2022 Spring Wheel Report.  A replacement is needed.

22-1.5 In-Person Meetings:  The superintendent repeated his cautious attitude about holding in-person meetings at this time because of uncertainty about covid and the difficulty of getting hosts to volunteer (lots of people in crowded basement layout rooms). However, he did express interest in Bob Morningstar’s suggestion to hold the May meeting (on the 3rd Sunday) in a larger public venue such as the Greencastle PRR train station or the adjacent outside pavilions.  The Superintendent will contact Bob.

22-1.6 Meeting Reminders:  After discussion, the consensus of the members present was that an initial reminder 1 week before and a second 48 hours before are preferred.

22-1.7 2022 Mini-Con (discussed previously as item 21.9-6 – Future Mini-Con):  Former Chair Pete Clarke has turned over all written and digital preparation materials to new Chair Grant Berry.  He indicated his plan to proceed as in past years and to follow public health recommendations.  It was noted that both the upcoming Antietam and Ranson shows have been canceled.  Chair Berry resolved to proceed cautiously.  The following matters were discussed:

  • Chair Berry has established direct communication with Mainline Hobbies.  Their support will continue as will their reaching out to contacts and through advertising.  Photos and other SMD promotional material will be helpful.
  • Tentative Date:  Saturday, April 23, 2022 – Brian Wolfe has reserved the Fire Hall
  • Masks:  Being considered, although the Township does not appear to have any requirements.
  • Distancing and Table Spacing:  Given the importance of personal interaction during the informal clinics, the SMD may have to reduce the number of those clinics.  (2 rows of informal clinic tables and 1 row of make-and-take tables are being considered.)  It was suggested to find out how the Fire Company holds their events.  Chair Berry will prepare a rough sketch of a possible table layout.
  • Number of Attendees:  Attendance is likely to be self-limiting, but a 50% attrition can be expected.
  •    Food Vendor:  Finding a new vendor will be challenging given the fact that the SMD does not have a clear idea of how many will attend.  A food truck was suggested as was encouraging people to eat outside.  (Masking and eating do not mix.)  A map of nearby eating establishments was also suggested.
  • Clinics:  Chair Berry will contact past informal clinicians.  More tables may be required if the number of volunteers is great.  Alternating the clinic time slots as in the past may be a way to allow for extra clinics at a reduced number of tables.  The make-and-take clinics are in process.
  • SMD Feedback:  Chair Berry wants to hear members’ thoughts at the February meeting.

22-1.8 The East Broad Top will run every weekend starting in May with some weekday trips this summer.  The Friends of the EBT needs volunteers to staff their museum and gift shop when the railroad is operating. 

22-1.9 Hobby Hangout:  The next one [was] held on January 28.


The Superintendent accepted a motion to adjourn.  The next meeting will be held remotely by zoom on Sunday, February 13, 2022, at 2:00 p.m.  Members will be reminded by email.

Following the meeting: 

Gordy Robinson, MMR, NMRA President, as part of his attempt to visit multiple divisions at this time, spoke briefly.  He volunteered to give a remote clinic for the SMD.  He also reviewed some of the changes coming to the NMRA this spring: <https://conta.cc/3pQbZ6n>

  • The magazine will come in both print and digital formats.  This change will help to keep membership costs down, especially for foreign members.  (U.S. dues may be reduced from $82 to $68 for receiving the digital format only.)
  • The NMRA app will allow non-members to access some NMRA content in order to open lines of communication with the rest of the hobby.
  • The 2022 National Convention in St. Louis is proceeding.  President Robinson encouraged people to register now in order to get timely announcements.

WM Caboose Repaint

From Bob Morningstar

I model the waning years of the Western Maryland (WM) when the Chessie System colors were rapidly erasing any visages of the WM from the rails. The Western Maryland had 105 “Northeastern” style cabooses on the roster. A complete WM caboose roster is located at alphabetroute.com/wm/rosterpdfs/WMCabooseClass.pdf.

Lifelike produced a huge number of these caboose years ago. They are readily found at train shows and on eBay. I acquired a few of these in both the boxcar red “Speed Lettering” and “Circus Color” paint schemes, and need to bring the “Speed Lettering” cars forward, era-wise, into the 1980s.

Starting with a Proto 2000 Steel Center Cupola Caboose I used the following material to complete this project.

  • MicroScale Industries 87-700 Western Maryland Cabooses decals
  • Tru-Color TCP-33 Aluminum paint
  • Tru-Color TCP-305  Chessie Yellow
  • Badger ModelFlex – UP Harbor Mist gray – used as a primer, use whatever primer you like best

Note: For the Vermilion sash and door trim you could use Tru-Color TCP-307 Chessie Red-Orange. I used a bottle of the actual Chessie Vermilion that was given to me decades ago by a WM shop foreman. I have carefully kept it sealed all these years and it was still usable after being thinned for the brushwork.

Note: Tru-Color paints require acetone cleanup. You may want to substitute your favorite water-based acrylic-based paints as I find that Tru-Color is difficult to airbrush and cleanup.

Disassemble and paint-strip the caboose. 90% isopropyl alcohol in a glass jar works very well to strip paint. Let it soak overnight. Scrub with a toothbrush and let it soak another evening. After round two the paint will be gone. Wash in hot soapy water, rinse well, and let dry. All the parts stay in a project box until needed.

The first trip to the paint booth is for the primer. I use whatever gray I have on hand, shot through a Badger dual-action brush, and spray at about 15  psi.

Next, mask the body and shoot the aluminum paint for the roof. 3M #2098 UltraSharp Lines Multi-Surface painters tape is my favorite masking tape. Rarely will there be paint bled-through and the edge of this tape is razor-sharp.


After the roof color has been applied, mask the roof and shoot the yellow next.



Now the tedious part comes into play, painting the window and door sashes. I use MicroScale Industries Micro Mask and a 2/0 or 0-size brush to carefully apply the Micro Mask to the body around the window sash.  This is in lieu of using the 3M tape which is very time-consuming to cut and apply.

Using a 2/0 brush apply the vermilion color to the sashes and door frames. The key to a professional-looking finish is being comfortable while applying both the Micro Mask and vermilion paint. I work at a well-lit workbench, use an Opti-Visor with LED lighting, and a foam-based car cradle to hold my work.   I also rest my painting arm and elbow on a soft towel so that I don’t become uncomfortable and rush the work.

Another trip to the paint booth to shoot a gloss coat on the car,  I use MicroScale Micro Gloss and thin it slightly before airbrushing. I have also had success using Pledge Liquid Floor Gloss. Thin it with water and brush it on the areas where you will be applying decals.

I consider the best book written on WM cabooses to be “Western Maryland Cabooses” by Dwight Jones. Another valuable photographic resource for these cabooses from the Chessie era can be found at hebners.net/Caboose/bowm.html.

Using a prototype photo, cut the decal sheets to obtain what you need. I cut the decals as close to the artwork as possible using either a hobby knife with a fresh blade or manicure scissors. Apply the decals after letting them soak just long enough to slide off the backing paper. Position in place and let dry. After the decals are fixed in place apply your favorite decal setting solution, in my case that is slightly thinned Walthers SolvaSet. This wetting/softening solution is very aggressive and older decals may start dissolving or falling apart if you use it without thinning.

I model the early 1980’s so a Clean, Oil, Test, and Stencil (COTS) decal was applied. Notice there is no ACI label. The railroad industry gave up on the ACI car identification system in the late 1970s due to the unreliability of reading the labels and the cost involved in maintaining them.

The end platforms were hand-painted using the Tru-Color Chessie Yellow and the end rails were done in my vermilion color.

Again, images of the ends of the car are very useful as there seems to be a wide variation as to what safety appliances (handrails, step tread edges, and grab irons) got the vermilion color depending on who did the repaint.

One last trip to the paint booth for a shot of clear flat to hide the decal edges,  I use Badger ModelFlex 16-601 Clear Flat or if I want to go “old school” I’ll shoot Floquil Flat Finish. 

Finishing up the model included painting the wheel faces and backs with a muddy/grime color, I use a cheap acrylic paint from Hobby Lobby made by FolkArt called #940 “Coffee Bean”. It has just the right amount of brown and dark tints that makes for a convincing wheel finish. The Kadee couplers are lightly painted with the same color using care not to gum up the workings of the knuckle.

Weathering involves using light gray, black, and brown powders that I get by shaving art pastels. I shave the individual colors into an egg container compartment. This technique has worked very well and is inexpensive compared to buying weathering powders sold for model railroad applications.

After weathering, the car is complete and ready to get back on the rails. It takes me about 4 hours in total to do one of these way cars, spread over a week of evenings. I hope you enjoyed this how-to feature and picked up an idea or two.