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 southmountaindivision.wordpress.com.

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.

Mini-Con 2019 Wrap-up

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From Pete Clarke

I’d like to thank the following individuals:

Ron Polimeni, John Madden, Bill Wilson, Jerry Skeim, Jeff Adams, Dotti Caldwell, Don Florwick, Bob Morningstar, Dave Thalman, Jane Clarke, Jeff Grove, Mark Schreier, Larry Nyce, Michael Groves , Grant Berry, Bob VanZant, David Sweeney, Frank Benenati, Kurt Thompson, Ken Montero , Bill Reynolds, Jack Fritz, Gary Nastase, Jay Beckham, Harvey Heyser,  Ken Kime, Andrew Dodge, Andy Arnold, Bob Johnson, Bob Law, Brian Greenawalt , Ira Silverman, Rueben Moss, Paul Eberhat, Frank Schaller, Wade Woodcock,  Charlie Wootten, Dave Dietz, Richard Benjamin, Ray Price, Herb Biegel, Brian & Bonnie Wolfe.

And if you worked during the Mini and I missed you in this list, I apologize, and still thank you.

The 2019 event was a success. Attendance was 232; a new record! The Raffle produced a net profit of $220.00 and the White Elephant table produced a net profit of $133.00. I received reimbursement of $28.28 for coffee and donuts.

I’ve spoken with Brian Wolfe, of Mainline Hobby Supply, and he also felt the event was a success.  He’s willing to support it again. I’m willing to do it again. Join me at the September meeting and let me know you’ll be willing to participate again.

Pete Clarke

Mini-Con UPDATE

Updates include:
1. Informal clinic presentation by Andy Arnold – Build a diode matrix.
2. White Elephant Table added.
3. Coolers – We will need a few for beverages.
4. Please consider supporting this event. Review the “You can still help” section and let me (Pete) know what you will do to assist.

Submitted by Pete Clarke

Plans for this year’s Mini-Con have come together nicely. Brian and Bonnie Wolfe of Mainline Hobby Supply have rented the hall, advertised the event, supplied some of the make and take kits, and so much more. Be sure to stop by the shop and thank them. Oh, and buy something while you are there.

The scout troop will offer lunch. 

Ray Price, Herb Biegel, Don Florwick, and Grant Berry will greet attendees at the welcome desk.

Informal clinics:  9:00 to 10:00, and again from 11:00 to 12:00

  • Jane Clarke – Making backdrops
  • Dave Thalman – Rolling stock tuning/weathering
  • Don Florwick – Casting stone portals/walls
  • Dotti Caldwell – Modeling buildings
  • Jerry Skeim – Structures
  • Ron Polimeni – Budget model railroading
  • John Madden – DCC++
  • Bill Wilson – JMRI DecoderPro (9:00); then JMRI OperationsPro (11:00)
  • Jeff Adams – Diesel loco tune-up/lighting
  • Bob Morningstar – Soldering Techniques

Informal clinics:  10:00 to 11:00, and again from 12:00 to 1:00

  • Bill Reynolds – Using Hunterline stains
  • Jack Fritz – Building old Central Valley kits
  • Gary Nastase – Rebuilding turnouts for DCC
  • Jay Beckham – On site 3D printing
  • Harvey Heyser – Layout design
  • Dave Moltrup – Steel mill product transportation
  • Bob Law – Using dry transfers
  • Andrew Dodge – Building a car float
  • Bob Johnson – Track laying 101
  • Andy Arnold – Build a diode matrix

Make and take clinics:  Begin at 10:00.

Like last year, each of these will have two sign up sheets. One will be for those 18 and younger.  The other for 19 and older. Clinics will be filled first by those from the ‘younger’ list, then filled out by those on the ‘older’ list.  Within those categories it will be first come first served.

Modular layouts:

  • George Sarra will bring another version of his On30 Dead Rail Layout.
  • More to come…

Clubs and Societies:

For sale:

  • Carolina Craftsman Kits – Jeff Grove.
  • Foggy Mountain Models – Mark Schreier
  • Nyce Collectables – Railroadiania – Larry Nyce
  • Dwarvin Enterprises – Lighting without Wiring  – Michael Groves
  • SMD members Grant Berry, Bob VanZant, and David Sweeney will have things for sale.
  • White Elephant Table
    1. Bring RR-related items you’d like to sell.
    2. Include a list of the items with the price you’ll sell it for.
    3. A SMD member will man the table and  make the sale for you.
    4. Unsold items not claimed by the end of the event will be thrown away.
    5. No charges or fees, but consider a donation to the SMD if you use this service.

Raffle:

SMD has purchased a $150 gift certificate from Mainline Hobby Supply to be raffled off for $10 per chance. Odds of winning depend on how many are sold. Please note that this certificate can be used to pay for anything offered by the Mainline. Purchase tickets through the morning and the drawing will be at 1:00.

Door prizes (awarded at 1:00):

  • $50 gift certificate – HobbyTown USA – Frederick, from Richard Benjamin.
  • HOn3 loco, from Andrew Dodge.
  • Classic Miniatures kit, from Bob Johnson.

Formal clinics:

  • At 1:05 the Mid-Eastern Region will give a short talk about the coming Fall Convention – The Liberty Bell Special 2019.
  • At about 1:15 Jeff Grove of Carolina Craftsman Kits will speak on “Laser Technology in Modeling.”
  • At 2:00 Ira Silverman will give a talk on his book “The Canadian, the Last of the Great Streamliners.”
  • At 3:00 Alex Polimeni will give a talk on “Model railroading as game design.”

You can still help…

  • Extension cords – We will need several; and surge protectors (that add extra plugs).
  • Coolers – We will need a few for beverages.
  • Volunteer – Help manage the white elephant table.
  • For the make and take clinic’s we’ll need all the following. Put your name on it and you’ll get it back at the end.  We really do need these, you can’t make a kit without tools.
    • Exacto knife
    • Flat file
    • Sprue nippers
    • Straight edge/ruler for cutting/measuring
    • Sandpaper
    • Squares
    • Super glue
    • Cutting pads
    • Toothpicks
    • Elmer’s glue (for wood kit)
    • Plastic cement (for styrene kit)
    • Clamps for gluing corners
    • Paint (craft acrylics)
    • Paint brushes
    • Thinner (not if only acrylics)

Did you notice that the formal clinics are by a model manufacturer, an author, a young guy?

Did you notice that you’ll have the chance to watch something be printed on a 3-D printer?

Did you notice that you have a chance to win a $150 gift certificate for Mainline Hobby Supply and a free $50 gift certificate from HobbyTown USA?

Don’t let the tried and true format fool you, this event gets better each year. It’s going to be a great day. The only way it could be better is if you are there!

RPM-East 2019 Announced

Photo and model by Eric Hansmann

Make plans to attend RPM-East!

It is time to make your RPM-East plans and rekindle your modeling efforts after a long, cold winter! Two months remain until this prototype modeler gathering in suburban Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There will be plenty of action March 22 & 23.

  • Two days of prototype and model presentations
  • Large display room to share your modeling efforts and learn new techniques
  • Variety of vendors selling goods for prototype modeling
  • Thursday evening operating sessions on local model railroads
  • Informal Saturday buffet
  • Sunday model railroad layouts to visit

Early bird registration is only $35 (until March 1), with an additional banquet cost of $29.

There is a special hotel room rate of $95 per night.

Registration forms, hotel information and more can be found at the RPM-East website:

http://www.hansmanns.org/rpm_east/index.htm

RPM-East is sponsored by Division 2, MCR-NMRA.

The following modelers and historians are committed for our meet.

John Albert, Keith Albright, David Bott, Brian Carlson, Ted Culotta, Larry DeYoung, Jim Elster, John Greene, Bill Hanley, Eric Hansmann, Ron Hoess, Bernard Kempinski, Dennis Lippert, Rick Mahaney, Bob Meier, Bill Neale, David Owens, Jim Panza, Dave Ramos, Ramon Rhodes, Greg Smith, Robert Sprague, Steve Stewart, Mont Switzer, John Teichmoeller, David Wilson, and Kaylee Zheng.

Presentation titles will be posted soon to the RPM-East website. A tentative presentation schedule will be posted to the website in February.

Set your schedule and register now for RPM-East!