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

Denny Anspach <danspach@...>

There was so much to like, and even more to savour from this year's Meet, that I am unable to truly line up specific favorites. However, the overall best feature of this gathering of prototype railroad modelers is the relaxed intensely sociable good natured and relaxed culture promoted by Mike Brock et al, i.e. - "Leave your ego at the door!". Cameraderie trumped all else, and cameraderie with some of the very finest railroad modelers in the country to boot.

The pleasant hours spent just sitting around talking with friends, old and new, are my best memories. That Mike makes the big display/ ballroom available for such socializing during the entire meet actively promotes these activities. So much of whatever success that I have currently in Prototype Modeling can be traced right back to such personal networking.

My second best memories were the fine meals a shifting group of disreputable usual-suspect Steam Era Freight Car listers shared at Florida Seafoods most evenings. On good authority, I have been informed that this good (that is- GREAT) food institution was planning to ration the amount of shrimp being served, should this raffish mob had actually shown up one more night.

Three of the more unsung heroes of this fine meeting are Jeff Aley, Marty Megregian and Armand Premo.

Jeff managed the Clinics with quick and silent efficiency. He works throughout the year to both recruit Clinicians and then manage the schedule, and finally installs/operates/fixes the audiovisual equipment. "The trains departed and arrived on time".

Marty handled the displays and the vendors with immense good humor and enthusiasm (Marty has a busy dental office with an operating O scale railroad, and two Indian motorcycles on display- a person with obviously well grounded Reality Testing).

Armand, a seriously-displaced northern Vermonter, handled the registration- an oft thankless, but absolutely essential task.

Mike Brock? Well........., ah-h-h, h-mm <foolish grin>.

If I am correct, Prototype Rails 2010 will be this fine meet's tenth anniversary. I have attended them all, and I already look forward to greeting once again so many old friends, and countless new friends this next January.


Denny S. Anspach MD

rockroll50401 <cepropst@...>

I can't say that I can fully appreciate the efforts to put on such an
I can say I understand the time and thought it takes to put on a
presentation and I enjoyed those I attended. Bill Darnaby's had to
rank right up there at the top. Good subject matter and excellently
Biggest problem I had this year was the weather. It was perfect. I'm
afraid I spent time walking on the beach instead of attending clinics
in all time slots.

I do have a problem with the "Shake and Take" clinic. Greg Martin
along with Jim Singer, John Greedy and Doc Denny (and maybe others)
spend a great deal of time and their own money to put out a fine
unique kit. They allow for 25-30 participants, yet each year only to
have just a hand full of completed models brought back each year for
display. I would be discouraged with the meager results, but to those
guys's credit they are very upbeat and are busy planning next year's
I wasn't thinking, as usual, and just sat my Pennsy 50'er down with
Denny's without a name tag. So, the worst of the two was mine.

How 'bout IM's new 70T flat car? I asked what the prototype was and
was told it's coming in 4 road names! Their war emergency box cars
were a real surprise.
How many guys were able to pass Ted's display without picking up one
of those TN&O SS 40' DD box cars?

Clark Propst

Bruce Smith

On Jan 12, 2009, at 11:56 AM, rockroll50401 wrote:
How 'bout IM's new 70T flat car? I asked what the prototype was and
was told it's coming in 4 road names! Their war emergency box cars
were a real surprise.
The test shots of both new cars look nice. The laser cut wood decks on the 70t AAR flat were sweet, sitting down between the bolsters as they ought to. They have cast part of the car in metal to make it a little heavier, and easier to run empty or with light loads... mine will be getting some medium tanks! The 4 roads listed on the IM web page are New Haven, Erie, ATSF and B&O, but the prototype list is quite a bit longer, so I wonder when/if those will be run as well and of course, there is the potential of undec kits...

We noted in looking over the war emergency box cars that they had 3 different styles with road specific details including roofs and doors. Working from memory they included CNW, ATSF, NKP and ?

They also had the painted and lettered GN plywood box car on hand.


Bruce F. Smith
Auburn, AL

"Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield."
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Jared Harper <harper-brown@...>

It was a great meet. I am sorry now that I didn't attend Mont
Switzer's toola and tips clinic. Wish I could have attended the frt.
car distribution clinic and the "I wish" session that met at the same

There were fewer vendors this year. I think we need to work on
getting more folks who make the products we want to this meet.

Jared Harper
Athens, GA