Prototype Rails-2009

gary laakso

I want to thank Mike Brock and Jeff Aley for all their hard work that made the meeting a success plus all the other volunteers. Jeff went to each room to make sure the software and connection spirits were placated (as opposed to placarded which was covered only in the Richard Hendrickson seminar on General American Tank cars!). Jeff and I attended few sessions together so I can cover a few more seminars.
First off, the handouts were great and Andy Sperandeo blessed all his attendees by including a web address sheet for 18 vendors. He also should be created with suggesting that we don't need to follow the directions for resin kits (okay, not the order of doing things!).
If you like tips on doing your kits better and faster, Monty Switzer's seminar is the one to attend and, yes, i have Sharpie markers on my list. He also mentioned which vendor to use to get those dangling chains for the brake gear. The flat car deck weathering was one section that i did pay attention to as there are 4 on the work bench.....Speaking of flatcars and ESPEE, Tony Thompson provided a clear, lucid and fast paced look at flatcar evolution on the ESPEE and why the single frame Bettendorf frame flat car had problems!
Ted Culotta besides tempting us with more wonderful resin kits, (oh the Pere Marquette was too tempting to resist, yeah the Hutchinson ends did it) provided a great rundown of tank cars in HO and some comments on their construction and where there are gaps in the lineup.
Southern Car and Foundry had two versions of their new Standard Tank car resin kit. My temptation resistance was was only tempered by having lunch at Wendys or Taco Bell....I do like the kits!
Scot Mason gave a very thorough seminar on building kit construction and we got to see a George Sellios kit box opened, something i am told only a 30 people had ever seen before! I was surprised how few the tools he recommended and the sample painted walls, both wood and brick/masonary that he passed around reminded me of how grandad maintained things.
There were a number of really well assembled dioramas and building kits in the main hall to inspire you along with the locomotives and freight cars and Bruce Smith's vast PRR fleet with a 16 inch battleship gun barrel to keep NYC fans away!
Well, the rumors are true, Denny Anspach has gone midwest on us with 2 Milwaukee road 50 foot boxcars (welded and ribbed) and a Rocket Express Rock Island 50 foot outside braced boxcar. Since the cars had the new PSC casing for holding the brake hose ( I had to ask Martin Lofton what the casting was, yeah i am that bad), they were worth a good look.
Lance Mindheim had a thought provoking seminar on layout design that gave me a few ideas (yeah, i know that can be dangerous).
I greatly enjoyed the gathering and again my thanks to all concerned. Rumor has it Mike Brock's jail keys are getting very rusty....
My plans are too finish the 4 Great Northern 1937 boxcars on the workbench now that the 14 tank cars have been painted along with the GN hoppers and NP clarkcars ). The tip for the day is NOT to sneeze when you are placing the last W&R decals on earth on the end of the last clark car.........surprisingly decals to not adhere to cat fur...

gary laakso
south of Mike Brock

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