Topics

Attending RPM meets


Andy Carlson
 

I have attended many RPM meets, and it takes more than a short-drive local event to encourage me to attend. After being royally spoiled by the many Naperville events I have attended, I earlier tried a Pacific Northwest and SF bay area RPMs, and the Western RPM meet (formerly a WP modeling event). I will not make any efforts to return to any of them.

Unlike Naperville (And thankfully Cocoa Beach) all of the other RPMs seem to attract modern modelers. I am not against modern modeling intrinsically, just like it in moderate doses. Martin's Naperville had by far a greater percentage of STMFC stuff than modern. After Joe took over the reins, I see the event morphing into something like all of the other RPMs--modern to the near-exclusion of steam-era stuff. While some may note that it is up to the modelers to bring stuff, but I see the emphasis/promotion of modern era representation to the point that I don't really expect to attend another Naperville.

Fortunately, as the Naperville meet declines, Cocoa Beach is on the ascendency and it reminds me of Naperville of a decade ago. I do feel that the great Naperville event was sort of an equivalent of a hostage takeover. With so many RPMs being so tilted towards more modern stuff, I can see that the folks driven away from Naperville are not being replaced on a one-on-one basis, hence the decline in attendance. I actually feel anger at what has happened to Naperville. I wish that Martin had selected another promoter to replace himself.
-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA
 


One of the great attractions of so many RPM now taking place is that more “locals” can attend one near them. It is no longer necessary to go to Naperville.
 
Doug Harding

 



Bill Welch
 

I have to say that is not my experience at all at Lisle, formerly Naperville in terms of seeing more modern topics and models. As Tony and I have noted Joe does not seem to be recruiting new people of any era. That does not mean there is mediocre content, it just means it is often the "usual suspects." Hence my plea for "P(l)aying it Forward. Frankly I miss the Freight Car Content of the olden days.

I am sorry people feel driven away but then again maybe some of them could contact Joe about doing a presentation and be part of the solution.

Bill Welch


Andy Carlson
 

Stuff does not happen in a vacuum: why is attendance down for consecutive years at Naperville? I, like many others, valued Naperville for the schmoozing of a great many fellow modelers, with attending featured clinics on an available time basis.

My last visit to Naperville I saw a clinic listing as "Santa Fe into Chicago". I thought this was worth attending. Imagine my dismay when the presenter was showing an in-cab ride from Central Illinois into Chicago, complete with the pictures and narration of each train encountered, IN 2004! There wasn't even a Santa Fe at that late date. Martin would have NEVER let that occur at one of his meets. Maybe I should have read the clinic listing which had not been as important years earlier.

People generally like to go where they are comfortable. I get less and less comfortable at each succeeding  Naperville event. I believe that Joe is cool with the idea that Martin's event is morphing into a modern RPM, and as stated earlier, there are TONS of modern RPM meets across the country, which is why for every single STMFC loss at Naperville, there is less than one (modern) replacment.

I don't believe that I have any special ability to read the future, but the current eroding lower turnout for Naperville was easily predicted 4-5 years ago.

I am grateful that the spirit of Martin (and Naperville) survives in Cocoa Beach. I just wish C.B. was more centrally located. I look forward to attending my 1st St Louis meet.

-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA


From: "fgexbill@... [STMFC]"
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Tuesday, August 11, 2015 6:21 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Attending RPM meets

 
I have to say that is not my experience at all at Lisle, formerly Naperville in terms of seeing more modern topics and models. As Tony and I have noted Joe does not seem to be recruiting new people of any era. That does not mean there is mediocre content, it just means it is often the "usual suspects." Hence my plea for "P(l)aying it Forward. Frankly I miss the Freight Car Content of the olden days.

I am sorry people feel driven away but then again maybe some of them could contact Joe about doing a presentation and be part of the solution.

Bill Welch



Dave Owens
 

Andy, et al:

I'm one of the guys who organizes the meet in Connecticut each spring. We do not intentionally focusing on modern modeling. We value all eras and would be very happy to present steam era clinics as well as modern.

If anyone has a steam-era clinic and would like to come to our meet in 2016, we'd love to have you. We thank our presenters by giving them free admission and an honorarium.

Our meet, as always, is scheduled for the weekend after Memorial Day, which in 2016 is June 3-4.

All the best,

Dave Owens


On Tue, Aug 11, 2015 at 10:18 PM, Andy Carlson midcentury@... [STMFC] <STMFC@...> wrote:


Stuff does not happen in a vacuum: why is attendance down for consecutive years at Naperville? I, like many others, valued Naperville for the schmoozing of a great many fellow modelers, with attending featured clinics on an available time basis.

My last visit to Naperville I saw a clinic listing as "Santa Fe into Chicago". I thought this was worth attending. Imagine my dismay when the presenter was showing an in-cab ride from Central Illinois into Chicago, complete with the pictures and narration of each train encountered, IN 2004! There wasn't even a Santa Fe at that late date. Martin would have NEVER let that occur at one of his meets. Maybe I should have read the clinic listing which had not been as important years earlier.

People generally like to go where they are comfortable. I get less and less comfortable at each succeeding  Naperville event. I believe that Joe is cool with the idea that Martin's event is morphing into a modern RPM, and as stated earlier, there are TONS of modern RPM meets across the country, which is why for every single STMFC loss at Naperville, there is less than one (modern) replacment.

I don't believe that I have any special ability to read the future, but the current eroding lower turnout for Naperville was easily predicted 4-5 years ago.

I am grateful that the spirit of Martin (and Naperville) survives in Cocoa Beach. I just wish C.B. was more centrally located. I look forward to attending my 1st St Louis meet.

-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA

From: "fgexbill@... [STMFC]" <STMFC@...>
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Tuesday, August 11, 2015 6:21 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Attending RPM meets

 
I have to say that is not my experience at all at Lisle, formerly Naperville in terms of seeing more modern topics and models. As Tony and I have noted Joe does not seem to be recruiting new people of any era. That does not mean there is mediocre content, it just means it is often the "usual suspects." Hence my plea for "P(l)aying it Forward. Frankly I miss the Freight Car Content of the olden days.

I am sorry people feel driven away but then again maybe some of them could contact Joe about doing a presentation and be part of the solution.

Bill Welch






Tom Madden
 

I can't imagine going to a meet and not presenting a clinic. In the give and take and Q&A of a clinic I usually learn more than I deliver. It also forces me to interact with people, which doesn't come naturally. Put me in a room full of strangers and I'll either have an anxiety attack or go off in a corner and mull projects and problems over in my mind. Drives my wife crazy.


This year I plan on being at Naperville/Lisle, mainly so I can spend a few days at the Newberry Library beforehand and then get together with (hopefully) Frank H., Pierre and Aaron, who can't make it to Cocoa Beach but with whom I'm involved in several projects. Like others, I sense the meet will eventually morph into more modern topics than I'm interested in, but that's Joe's thing. I first met him back in the 1980s when I was totally involved in Colorado narrow gauge and he was Mr. Intermodal. We had nothing in common, and (because of my reticence) nothing to talk about.


I was part of Martin's traveling circus of clinicians, presenting regularly at Naperville and at his two March meets in California (Monrovia and Pleasanton). In the course of that I met and came to know many of you. Great times. Joe has never contacted me about presenting, but I recently contacted him and asked if he'd be interested in my 'Designing for 3D Printing" clinic at N/L. He accepted with enthusiasm.


So we can't hold Joe completely responsible for the lack of steam/transition era presentations. If we all hold back our prophecies about the future of  Naperville/Lisle will be self-fulfilling.


See you there...


Tom Madden


Aley, Jeff A
 

It is VERY interesting to read the comments abou the various RPM meetings.

 

I would be very surprised if the leaders of other RPM meetings are not taking notes.  I know that I am.

 

Regards,

 

-Jeff Aley

Clinic Chairman

Prototype Rails [Cocoa Beach] 2016

 


Charles Hladik
 

    It seems to me that almost all RPM's and most other gatherings are going modern because we (steam era folks) as a group are falling by the roadside due to health issues and even death. I don't give a hoot about the modern stuff but it is bringing a new generation to the hobby. They can go trackside and see their desires. Not sure why we go trackside and watch trains, but we do. Then go home and model REAL trains.
 
Chuck Hladik
Rutland Railroad
Virginia Division
NMRA Lifer   
 

In a message dated 8/11/2015 11:40:00 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, STMFC@... writes:
 

It is VERY interesting to read the comments abou the various RPM meetings.

I would be very surprised if the leaders of other RPM meetings are not taking notes.  I know that I am.

Regards,

-Jeff Al

Clinic Chairman

Prototype Rails [Cocoa Beach] 2016


riverman_vt@...
 

I'll try to respond to your post and a couple of others here, Tom. I have met Joe a couple of times, am happy that several of his A-Line items are available for use and found him to be a helpful and interesting fellow but one who is focused on a period of railroading in which I have no personal interest. I'm sure many of us know other hobbyists whom we feel the same way about though we respect their imput and contributions to the hobby.
I have attended the Napierville RPM Meet only once and that was now close to twenty years ago. The comments so far are all from folks who seem to feel it has declined considerably since Martin's death. Perhaps it has but other than great camaraderie the thing I most remember about Napierville was a clinic by a well known presenter who had not had the forethought to check the slides for his presentation ahead of time. The result was that many of them first hit the screen either upside down or sideways. The subject was a railroad
topic I know fairly well but am always interested in learning more about. Unfortunately the presenter, whom I
really appreciate for his enthusiasm for the topic, did not know the topic that well. Thus, after offering three 
corrections to his comments within the first fifteen minutes of his clinic I slipped out the back as quietly as 
possible rather then sound off like a "Johnny Know-it-all" or having to sit there bored to tears. Tony K. and I
were speaking of the experience within the next five minutes and, he being far more experienced with RPM
clinics than I, advised me that such things occasionally happened there!

     It is good to read that some are now approaching the organizers of such meets and offering to present
clinics. That said, however, having run two regional NMRA meets and three Special Interest Group type meets
over the years I still personally feel it is up to those trying to organize such meets to make the effort to find and recruit the best clinic presenters that they can. Nor do I feel it is that difficult based on my own experience.
Most people I have asked to present a clinic were pleased to be recognized in such a way and I cannot ever remember having been turned down. When Dave Owens first began the Collinsville, CT RPM meet some
thirteen years ago he asked if I would be interested in doing something on milk cars and trains and I was happy to do so. It was through doing so that my wife and I first met Ben & Mary Brown as Ben, whom I am sorry to report passed away suddenly on 26 July, was also presenting a clinic on milk trains. It is a subject that fascinates many of us interested in railroading in the northeast and Ben and I shared many good experiences with it over the years, including presenting clinics at the first three meets that Dave Owens organized. Bouncing back and forth between Vermont & Virginia since 2008, and with a work schedule that often prevented attendance, it is only in the last three years that I have again become a regular attendee, and clinic presenter, at the Collinsville, CT meet. Though I have not been fortunate enough to attend any of Greg Martin's Shake & Take Clinics they have appealed to me as one of the best developments to emerge from the various RPM meets. Thus I approached Dave with great trepidation before the 2014 meet to see if he thought such a clinic would be worthwhile at Collinsville. This has been my "build it and they will come" approach, which is why I was so disgusted when the first Mid-Atlantic RPM meet was scheduled in a place with very limited access and a capacity of only 35 attendees. If one is going to organize such programs my feeling is that they need to have enough faith in their efforts to use a facility large enough so that no one has to be turned away. I guess I had that faith with the thought of a "Shake & Take" clinic for Collinsville and was gratified this
past May to see a model of a New Haven RPO begun at the clinic last year completed and on display this year. Next year I will attempt such a clinic for a freight car and perhaps another passenger car as well.

     Since we now seem to be entering a period in which some are interested in RPM meets focused as they have been on the transition era for the last twenty or so years, while others want to "move ahead" into more
modern times, I would ask why we cannot have both??? Let's keep the current RPM clinics and keep them 
as they are. Those who are interested in more modern, or even contemporary, railroading can organize their
own RPM meets and focus on whatever they wish just as some of us have done with things of special interest
to some of us such as our Milk Train Meets were conducted. I have an old friend first met in 1970 who calls
often and begins to update me on all the recent happenings in New England railroading. After listening
politely for twenty minutes or more I usually interrupt him to ask why he is telling me all this. He responds by exhorting that I have always been a New England oriented railfan and should be interested in all this afterwhich
I remind him that the only good railroading left is in one's railroad room or in their head! That, in a nutshell, is how I honestly view the current scene. Thus I hope we can keep the current RPM meets as they are other
than trying to reinvigorate those in need of it. Hopefully more of us can find more time and funds to attend
them and enjoy them while we can.

Just my thoughts on a cloudy, wet morning, Don Valentine


Clark Propst
 

I truly enjoy the CCB meet. But it cost me a lot of money to attend. I now need to build a new layout so my limited hobby money is going to be spent on that project. I will be pining come January for sure.
 
Jason Klocke was a last minute attendee at St L this year and put together a clinic on his layout Friday night. I offered to give up my time slot to him. There was a cancelation which allowed him to present too. We switched time slots because Jason had to fly home. I sat down near Jack Spencer and Jack asked what was going on? As it was my turn to show. I told him the Jason is to scenery what he is to freight car modeling.  Hope Jack enjoyed?
Clark Propst
Mason City Iowa
 
It is VERY interesting to read the comments abou the various RPM meetings.

I would be very surprised if the leaders of other RPM meetings are not taking notes. I know that I am.

Regards,

-Jeff Aley
Clinic Chairman
Prototype Rails [Cocoa Beach] 2016



Eric Hansmann
 

Indeed Jeff, list members involved with other RPM meets are taking notes and discussing things among themselves as events loom ahead. I’ve been working with the New Jersey bunch as things start coming together for the Garden State RPM meet this fall. It’s a new name, but the third year for this event in Scotch Plains. They picked up from the old Northeastern Fallen Flags RPM that was held twice in Bridgewater, NJ.

 

I updated the RPM-East main page just the other day with a calendar of upcoming RPM events and links to their web pages. Here’s that info. If the links aren’t on your email, then visit the RPM-East website.

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

 

Support these upcoming prototype modeler events!

Atlanta Railroads Prototype Modelers Meet in Kennesaw, GA – September 18 & 19
Mid-Atlantic RPM Meet in Fredericksburg, VA - September 25 & 26
Naperville RPM – October 22 – 24
Garden State RPM in Scotch Plains, NJ – November 14 & 15 
Prototype Rails in Cocoa Beach, FL - January 7 - 9, 2016 
Don't miss the RPM-Valley Forge event, March 18 - 20, 2016!

 

Speaking as one of the RPM-East team, we had a pretty good meet this past March. There were some hiccups, as there always are, but 170 people seemed to enjoy themselves. Several new folks are stepping up to help with the 2017 RPM-East as Dick Flock has stepped down from his leadership and we lost Larry Kline a year before the meet. He was great at lining up diverse speakers and topics. We look forward to the Valley Forge event in March and will have flyers there for the 2017 RPM-East.

 

Eric Hansmann

El Paso, TX

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...]
Sent: Tuesday, August 11, 2015 9:40 PM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: RE: [STMFC] Re: Attending RPM meets

 




It is VERY interesting to read the comments abou the various RPM meetings.

 

I would be very surprised if the leaders of other RPM meetings are not taking notes.  I know that I am.

 

Regards,

 

-Jeff Aley

Clinic Chairman

Prototype Rails [Cocoa Beach] 2016

 




Eric Hansmann
 

Chuck,

 

I think there is something else happening. These RPM events did begin with a predominantly steam/transition era focus, but the modern guys started attending and wanted to participate. Many felt a better fit with the RPM events than other events, so the RPM meet became more diverse with later era modeling and information.

 

And I don’t necessarily buy in to the adage that people like to model what they grew up with. I’m 54 and I model 1926, the REAL steam era. I’m in touch with about two dozen people in the 40-60 age range that are modeling an era they never saw. Many of us enjoy the industrial and rail landscape of our target eras, as well as the challenges. I live within sight of the UP transcon here in El Paso, as well as the busy junction with the EP&NE line to Tucumcari, Kansas City, and Chicago. I enjoy watching the trains roll by and checking out the varied motive power ownership, but I could not tell you what is GE or EMD. I rarely go trackside or take photos of the modern equipment. I’ve met other modelers who are as clueless as I am about the modern scene. But get comfortable if you are around us when we start talking about 36-foot, steel under frame box cars.

 

Striking a balance between eras, prototype detail, layout design ideas, weathering tips, and operating is the challenge for RPM organizers. It’s not easy walking on the cutting edge of the hobby.

 

Eric Hansmann

El Paso, TX

 

 

 


From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...]
Sent: Wednesday, August 12, 2015 4:48 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Attending RPM meets

 




    It seems to me that almost all RPM's and most other gatherings are going modern because we (steam era folks) as a group are falling by the roadside due to health issues and even death. I don't give a hoot about the modern stuff but it is bringing a new generation to the hobby. They can go trackside and see their desires. Not sure why we go trackside and watch trains, but we do. Then go home and model REAL trains.

 

Chuck Hladik

Rutland Railroad

Virginia Division

NMRA Lifer   

 

 


golden1014
 

I hope you don't think I'm picking on Chuck--not intended--but I would like to comment on the STMFC notion that RPMs are all going "modern" and that's not a good thing, or is a bad thing.  I've seen several comments on our list along those lines.

I'm a steam era modeler, period, dot.  But I would suggest that having a grand steam-era model presence is not necessarily what RPM meets are about. Aren't they about meeting people?  Aren't they about learning? Aren't they about displaying your good work and inspiring others to raise their standards?  

So who cares what people are modeling?  I get great ideas from looking at model ships and tanks, and beautifully painted figurines.  I get good ideas from looking at narrow gauge models, and N scale models, and even CP or CSX models--and maybe, just maybe from an occasional passenger car or two.  Anyway in my very humble opinion we should not lament about the lack of steam era freight car content but rather use the RPM format to be better modelers, and foster fellowship.  That's what Martin taught us at Naperville and that's a lesson we should never forget.  We should never forget the lesson, or the teacher.

I can't control what arrives at STL RPM for display.  Nor would I want to.  I see enough IC orange there to last me all year.  But remember we all learned a lot at Naperville when Jeff Eggert brought those modern gons with stressed sides--remember that?  That's what makes each RPM special.

John Golden
O'Fallon, IL


Tim O'Connor
 

Let me just add that although there is not much similarity between
a 36 foot truss-rod box car and a double stack car, the truth is that
a huge percentage of the knowledge involved in building a detailed model
of a prototype car applies to ALL eras. My interest is primarily in the
Southern Pacific Lines, but do I skip out on other subjects because they
are not about the SP? No, of course not. Steam era modelers can learn a
LOT from modern modelers, and vice versa. And does anyone regret seeing
Noel Holley's fantastic presentation on Milwaukee electric operations?

At Collinsville (CT) I went to Brian Banna's wonderful presentation on modeling
and, especially, painting and weathering his 1980's era Missouri Pacific diesels.
I learned a LOT from a master modeler, and I can apply most of what I learned to
my own freight car modeling. Likewise years ago at Naperville I always attended
Lloyd Keyser's clinics because even though he modeled the Milwaukee, he's a
fearless modeler -- heavily kitbashing a brass combine, or performing major
surgery on a Walthers reefer, or scratchbuilding a steam generator car -- Those
clinics have stuck with me, and I'm sure I learned something useful every time.

Tim O'Connor


Bill Welch
 

I agree with Tim. Modeling is modeling. The RPM events we are talking about are should be focused on MODELING which admittedly can provoke subject matter that is rather broad but as long as someone is talking about modeling I can learn something. I regret missing Brian Banna's clinic at Collinsville but I was involved in an hands-on weathering tutalege. thank you John for having the vision to include such an opportunity. Your creativity is exactly the kind of quality we need.

BillWelch


Andy Carlson
 

It doesn't take a large leap of logic to go from "focus on modeling" in a current RPM environment--how about letting doll house and military modelers in, we can all learn from them? After awhile, I suspect this kumbaya feeling of "inclusiveness" will be met with meets declining to the point of extinction.

We all wish to be comfortable, and the huge joy of meeting dozens, if not 100s, of like-minded fellow modelers has sustained Naperville well over the decades. What happens when fewer and fewer of these stirling once-a-year friends show up? Will you still attend?????

Cocoa Beach hasn't become the great event by being so inclusive--it is a sanctuary of those with comfortable, similar interests. I am fine with there being only one Must-Go-To event a year, I hope that I can find a least this one event in the near-future.

-Andy Carlson
Ojai Ca


From: "fgexbill@... [STMFC]"
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Wednesday, August 12, 2015 6:39 PM
Subject: RE: [STMFC] Re: Attending RPM meets

 
I agree with Tim. Modeling is modeling. The RPM events we are talking about are should be focused on MODELING which admittedly can provoke subject matter that is rather broad but as long as someone is talking about modeling I can learn something. I regret missing Brian Banna's clinic at Collinsville but I was involved in an hands-on weathering tutalege. thank you John for having the vision to include such an opportunity. Your creativity is exactly the kind of quality we need.

BillWelch



bflynnd1
 

I have to agree with John on this.  I have attended the Collinsville RPM since it started.  I have been to Naperville twice, and that was when Martin was running it.  I have not been back since, not because I don't want to go, just a conflict in schedules.   I have seen this meet grow, and I have to say that there were more models there this year then I have ever seen.  When I got there at a little after 9:00am on Friday, I had a hard time finding a spot to display mine. 
 
I am also a steam era, freight car modeler, and that's it.  I really have no interest in passenger cars at all.
 
With that said, I look at the models brought to Collinsville, and there is a good variety of all eras and scales covered.  By looking at the pictures John posted, you can see the wide variety, and the multiple talented people out there, no matter what era or scale they model.
 
Some of the modeling techniques that modelers use on modern cars can carryover to our timeframe, and some don't.  But If I can learn a few new ideas, meet some new modelers, and pick up some new parts/kits, then I consider it a great RPM. 
 
If you haven't been to the Collinsville RPM yet, I would urge you to try to make it next year ( I have no affiliation, except having a great time). 
Brian Flynn 
 

-----Original Message-----
From: golden1014@... [STMFC]
To: STMFC
Sent: Wed, Aug 12, 2015 5:46 pm
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Attending RPM meets



I hope you don't think I'm picking on Chuck--not intended--but I would like to comment on the STMFC notion that RPMs are all going "modern" and that's not a good thing, or is a bad thing.  I've seen several comments on our list along those lines.

I'm a steam era modeler, period, dot.  But I would suggest that having a grand steam-era model presence is not necessarily what RPM meets are about. Aren't they about meeting people?  Aren't they about learning? Aren't they about displaying your good work and inspiring others to raise their standards?  

So who cares what people are modeling?  I get great ideas from looking at model ships and tanks, and beautifully painted figurines.  I get good ideas from looking at narrow gauge models, and N scale models, and even CP or CSX models--and maybe, just maybe from an occasional passenger car or two.  Anyway in my very h umble opinion we should not lament about the lack of steam era freight car content but rather use the RPM format to be better modelers, and foster fellowship.  That's what Martin taught us at Naperville and that's a lesson we should never forget.  We should never forget the lesson, or the teacher.

I can't control what arrives at STL RPM for display.  Nor would I want to.  I see enough IC orange there to last me all year.  But remember we all learned a lot at Naperville when Jeff Eggert brought those modern gons with stressed sides--remember that?  That's what makes each RPM special.

John Golden
O'Fallon, IL



Andy Harman
 

The first time I ever went to Naperville, the model room was relatively small - and packed, and of course very geared to STMFC with emphases on Sunshine. I even heard some commentary that the whole thing was a "Sunshine Infomercial". But funny thing is, I started bringing my 1990s diesel models as did others... and nobody complained.

I managed to attend most of the Naperville meets from 1995 to 2010, and I don't think I ever brought a steam era freight car and managed to enjoy myself anyway.

I missed St. Louis for the second straight year due to the conflict with Summerail at CUT. The latter is 20 miles away rather than 400, but TBQH I'd much rather be at an RPM meet than an 8 hour slide show. The dealers at Summerail this year consisted of railroadiana and Lionel. The guy with the crates of shelf-worn Intermountain kits hasn't even been there the last two years. Next year SR is reportedly moving out of Cincinnati due to CUT being under some major renovations, and I will be in St. Louis next year.

I missed Marion in 2014 due to being incapacitated, and I use the term quite literally. I've been sick, sore, broke, bummed, and other things but April 2014 I learned the true meaning of "incapacitated". That led to burning all of my vacation and sick time and not making any other RPM meets in 2014, changing jobs at the end of the year, and having to skip Cocoa Beach after making the first 14 (2001-2014)... in hindsight I probably should have gone anyway.

I've done a clinic every one of those 14 years at Cocoa Beach. Probably half of them have been passenger car related, but I've also done diesel clinics, caboose clinics, and kind of a generic clinic on the use of etched parts. I've also done clinics at Marion, and at WPM in the past. I got one and only one invitation to do a clinic at Naperville. It happened the first time that the Cincinnati NMRA show got rescheduled away from its long standing weekend into a direct conflict with Naperville. Out of loyalty to the Cincinnati show, I didn't go to Naperville... and I wasn't asked again to do a clinic. Turns out that loyalty was misplaced. At the 2005 NMRA National in Cincinnati, local support for RPM was virtually nonexistent. Well, the support from elsewhere was also nonexistent and hence 05 was my last NMRA national.

As to the subject of having only one clinic going at a time... Since I rarely attend any clinics at all, it's kind of a moot point. But the St. Louis model room stays busy in my experience, maybe 30-40 people go to a clinic and the rest stay in the model room. Same with Marion, one clinic at a time. At Naperville and Cocoa with something like 6 clinic rooms going at once, the model room can become desolate at times. It doesn't really matter to me - although from the perspective of the meet organizer, it seems like it would be a lot easier to fill 6 or 8 linear clinic slots than to fill 56 clinic slots with 5 or 6 happening at the same time, determining how to work within schedules, and allow for reruns of the more popular clinics.

As to why I don't attend clinics.... I'd just rather be out in the model room. A few presenters I'll almost always try to see. But I'm a lousy classroom learner. I can sit still for about one hour, in any given day. I'm sure I've missed some great clinics, but it's nothing personal. I'm sometimes surprised at who attends my clinics... or doesn't.

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, I got the idea of having a national RPM "politburo", not so much to sanction events or create any over-arching rules and regulations as to who and what RPM is. I simply wanted to promote the concept. Promoting the concept was a good idea. The steering committee was a terrible idea. What has emerged in the way of regional and semi-national RPM meets is really better than anything I could have envisioned. Every meet is different and there are plenty of them now. Each with its own personality. I think it's great. There are some I no longer attend not so much because of personalities but because the focus shifted so far from modeling that I found myself alone in the model room like Mike Collins orbiting the moon in 1969. Some I just can't get to as easily as I used to... bopping out to California for a weekend isn't as attractive as it used to be, and now that I'm married it involves planning and paying for two, boarding the dogs, both of us getting time off work (even though we both work at the same place now).

I do miss the old Naperville meet. Martin Lofton was a manufacturer of high quality resin steam era freight car kits, and no doubt he started the meet to promote his livelihood. But he graciously allowed it to become much more, and permitting the diesel guys and the passenger car guys and modern guys space just enlarged the meet and made it THE RPM meet, while not hurting his business one bit. He had the vision. Mike Brock, John Golden, Dave Owens (I really would like to make it to the "other" Collinsvillle someday Dave, seriously) have all built on this concept and doing their own spin on it. Denis Blake started Marion as kind of an indie meet with less formality and it caught on right away. There are guys I can expect to see at all of these meets, and there are guys I'll see at only one of them, and they don't like the others. I think it's exactly what we need. We need variety, choices, personality... not homogeny. If you come to Marion expecting Naperville's 67 clinics, you'll be disappointed. It doesn't hurt to know people where you're going, and I've been around enough that I could probably go to an RPM meet anywhere in the continental US, some parts of Canada, and even in the U.K. and run into people I know.

There is a constant process of change... people get old, people retire, people die... products change, companies change hands. RPM's loose, non-organization is infinitely flexible. Anyone can start up an RPM meet - on their own, or as a team, with or without the NMRA insurance umbrella. It's kind of a free form, anything goes... kind of like a free society might do. I like it.

Hope to see many of you soon, somewhere. I would like to attend Lisle this year in the new venue, but haven't discussed it with Annette. I want to go to Cocoa Beach, but I don't know what the status of my work is going to be at the time. I don't believe the implementation project I'm working on will be at critical mass at the turn of the year, although there may be other things to consider. We typically drive down and turn CCB into a 10-11 day vacation. We may do that, or some abbreviated form.

And I plan to be in Marion next year, and St. Louis as well. And maybe that will be the year I make it to Collinsville back east as well.

As to California trips - I used to make them in conjunction with Winterail and WPM... both have changed venues and possibly timing. I still have friends in CA but many of them have scattered around. My best bet may be to try and make it to the BAPM meet next year and plan to stay a week, do the SF tourist stuff, and make sure to get some Boudin sourdough... whole lot cheaper than having it Fedexed!

Andy


Tony Thompson
 

Eric Hansmann wrote:

 
I think there is something else happening. These RPM events did begin with a predominantly steam/transition era focus, but the modern guys started attending and wanted to participate. 

      Actually, Eric, this is not historically true. The kernel of the RPM movement really WAS modern modelers, who in that day were often putting a lot of work into accurate prototype detailing of commercial diesel locomotive models, and who found themselves getting minimal points and sometimes even derogatory comments in NMRA contests in the 1980s, when NMRA contest rules were strongly oriented toward scratchbuilding and heroic amounts of work, while giving virtually no credit for prototype conformity. (This has since changed to some extent.) The result was RPM. Certainly the transition-era people jumped into it right away, but the real impetus in the beginning WAS with more modern modelers.

Tony Thompson             Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
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Andy Sperandeo
 

Tony Thompson wrote: ". . . the real impetus in the beginning WAS with more modern modelers."

I was there too – we are ALL getting that old! – at the NMRA conventions and the earliest Naperville and Cocoa Beach meets, and in my experience Tony is exactly right.

As a sidelight, it's been interesting to observe several talented modelers who have shifted modeling periods, both forward and back, over the years of RPM. Perhaps they were influenced by the work others were doing in different eras.

So long,

Andy