Hindsight 20/20 – A Virtual Railway Prototype Modellers Meet

So, in a world where we do almost everything online now thanks to Covid-19 and various levels of lockdowns and isolating we are doing, three modellers decided to organize a virtual Railway Prototype Modellers (RPM) meet to bring modellers together/apart. Ted Culotta (Speedwich Media), Ryan Mendell (National Scale Car) and Hunter Hughson (The Niagara Branch) organized and hosted the event called “Hindsight 20/20” today via Zoom. I have had a weekly zoom call with fellow modellers in the Toronto area where we basically hang out at our workbenches, have a virtual drink, work on projects and chat. A virtual RPM is a totally different beast, this was an organized and structured event, with modellers from across North America (and I thought I heard at least one person say they were from the UK), presenting on prototype history/research, modelling techniques, and all kinds of things related to being better prototype modellers. With lockdowns and travel restrictions, in person RPM’s across North America have been cancelled, so this is a great way for modellers to still get together and learn from each other while we sadly stay safely apart.

Scenes from a Virtual RPM. The attendees panel and chat between presentations, and shots from a couple of the presentations.

The event had nine half hour long presentations between 12:00pm and 8:00pm, with 15 minute breaks in between presentations and a 45 minute dinner break. I noticed a high of 178 people showing as being connected, which for a first effort at a free event was incredible. Hopefully everyone else got as much out of it as I did. It sounds like they will run more events, there is a Groups.io site for the event, where they have posted information on the presentations from today, and where they will post information about future events when they are planned. It was a great opportunity, and I certainly learned a few things that will definitely help in my work in building the freight car fleet for my layout.

The #TwitterModelTrainShow

Another experiment in Social Distancing this weekend from the United Kingdom, after the London Festival of Model Engineering was cancelled, one of the organizers came up with the idea for a Model Train Show on Twitter, this would let people around the world share projects and ideas. Follow the link to the hashtag #TwitterModelTrainShow if you want to go down the rabbit hole, otherwise, my Tweets are linked here for anyone interested.

I saw a lot of great modelling, and a lot of people who love trains participating in this, and that’s a great thing that hopefully lifts up peoples spirits. The Toronto Railway Museum is doing its own Virtual Model Train Show next Saturday, on March 28, 2020, if you’re on Twitter and feel like taking part, I can assure you it will be appreciated.

One thing I hate about Train Shows…

Is the inevitable repair list after a weekend away travelling with models. As I’ve written about before, many of my models are of the Toronto Railway Museum, and get used for train shows (here, here, and here).

IMG_1782My HO Scale CNR 4803 looking a bit ragged after the show.

This year, my victim of show wear and tear was my model of Canadian National GP7 number 4803. This is a Bachmann Trains locomotive that I have extensively detailed to accurately reflect the real 4803. Unfortunately, as you can see, a chunk of the “Canadian National” bar down the side came off, as near as I can tell, it happened in my travel container, not from someone touching it at the show.

IMG_1783New decal and looking good as new again.

I have plenty of spare decals, so taking off the existing and applying a new one wasn’t a big deal, other than spending a couple of hours after shows repairing things is time I’m not spending working on new projects.

Over the years I’ve had decals come off, parts get broken off, and a lot of nuisance problems. I’ve never had the big one (knock on wood), but every time I do a show I seriously debate if I want to keep doing them and exposing the models to the rigours of travel and potential handling by the overeager kids that I am often out trying to attract to visit the museum! Its a catch 22, but I suspect I will keep doing the 2-3 shows a year I do, if only as for every damaged model or painful interaction with someone whose off on a tangent, there are all the great interactions with excited families who want to come to the museum after you’ve met them at a show.

Rapido Trains Dealer Event

As many who know me know, I am an active volunteer with the Toronto Railway Historical Association, the volunteer organization that has built and operates the Toronto Railway Museum in the former Canadian Pacific Railway John Street Roundhouse in Toronto. The museum is a dealer for Rapido Trains, the Canadian manufacturer of model trains. Shameless plug, if you want to support the museum and buy model trains, get in touch with the museum through the website and order your Rapido models from them!

6992789588_3d849b2d93_oThe Toronto Railway Museum store is inside the passenger waiting room of Don Station, if you’re downtown Toronto visiting the museum, it’s got all kinds of train themed gifts including a limited selection of Rapido products, but we can order anything they’ve announced for you!

Last week Rapido hosted their annual dealer event at their world headquarters in Markham. This is the third time I’ve attended on behalf of the museum. Its an interesting event for me as I am friends with some of the Rapido staff, and have gotten to know most of the employees at least a little bit over the years by virtue of that. As I don’t work at the museum store full time, I only help out with looking at models to sell, I don’t have as much invested as most of the other attendees at the event whose business is running model railroad stores. Retailers from stores across Canada were in attendance, along with suppliers like ESU who provides the DCC boards and sounds for Rapido. Its a chance to network, and catch up.

Jason Shron, President of Rapido Trains addressing the assembled dealers, and showing off this years Thomas Birthday Cake

Jason Shron, the founder and president of Rapido also had the company bus out for rides. Its always fun to be out in the Rapido bus, as you get strange looks from people at bus stops and inevitably someone who wonders why you aren’t opening the doors to pick them up as you go by!!

Rapido Bus ride with Jason Shron at the wheel.

Fortunately for me, this years announcements weren’t anything I need or want, but the core of what was announced will be awesome for N-scale modellers. Canadian FP9’s, VIA Rail F40’s & rebuilt F40’s, LRC Coaches, and The Canadian stainless steel cars in N-Scale. For anyone who has never seen Rapido’s products, these will be some of the best models out there when they arrive. Their only HO Scale announcement was more Canadian RDC models.

Rapido Engineering Samples from partially completed molds. VIA Rail Rebuilt F40, LRC Coaches and Park Cars in N-Scale.

As a disclaimer, Rapido’s offices aren’t a store, they aren’t open to the public in the sense that you can’t just show up and wander into the offices where future products are being designed, or the warehouse. If you show up unannounced, you’ll be able to sit in some comfy Ex-VIA Rail coach seats in their lobby, and talk with their wonderful receptionist, but you won’t be able to buy anything or see anything secret!

Who keeps a Tardis in their warehouse??? I mean really!!

Alco Family Photos

A Trio of Canadian Pacific Railway 7020’s!

Ain’t they quite the family? Three of the four Canadian Pacific Railway paint schemes that Alco S-2 Number 7020 wore in her life. The recently re-painted preserved 7020 in as-delivered 1944 Black with Tuscan boxes and yellow/gold lettering. The tuscan with yellow was introduced sometime in the late 1940’s/early 1950’s, and the Action Red Multimark was applied sometime after 1968 when it was introduced. All that is missing is 7020 in CPR Tuscan and Grey with script lettering (see here) that would have been worn from the early 1960’s until it was repainted after 1968. I’ve never seen a photograph of 7020 in the tuscan and grey  with block lettering that was applied between 1955 and 1960, though many S2’s received this version. Switchers didn’t get repainted a lot, so the fact that 7020 wore four paint schemes between 1944 and 1986 when she was retired is actually quite impressive!

All three 7020’s can be seen Sunday May 26th at the Toronto Railway Museum‘s Doors Open Toronto Open House from 10am-5pm. I’ll be there between 10 and 3 if anyone wants to talk modelling and you’re in the Toronto area.

The Worst Fear of Anyone who Exhibits Come to Life

This is a sad post, and something that is one of my greatest fears when I go to shows and display models on behalf of myself or the Toronto Railway Museum. Shows like Prototype Modellers Meets where stuff is out for a day and people from the show are always there are one thing, but bigger, full weekend shows where you might set up on Friday night or Saturday morning, and leave things set up for one or two nights trusting in the venue and the organizers security always makes me nervous.

Images of the damage done the night of May 17-18, courtesy Market Deeping Model Railway Club

Unfortunately, the worst struck the Market Deeping Model Railway Club in England on Friday night. After their venue closed following Friday setup, four youths are accused of breaking in, and demolishing everything setup for the show. Models and layouts that had taken decades to be constructed and in which people poured untold hours of time and effort into were kicked about and destroyed. In the two days since, people have started fundraising efforts to help the club and the attendees address the damages, and while its a laudable effort and one I support, it can also never replace what was taken.

More on the Market Deeping incident:

And, while I think there are more important things to fund raise for in the world, I am going to make a small donation to help those who had their hard work senselessly destroyed, if for no other reason as an act of paying it forward. I know having this happen to me would devastate me, and while money won’t fix things, hopefully knowing that others share their pain will help them move forward and not lose the love of our hobby that brought them to be there exhibiting in the first place. I also hope that this event doesn’t send a chill through my fellow modellers about going to shows and displaying our work. It helps to bring people into the hobby, and is a valuable way to meet people, share and learn skills, and enjoy the social side of the hobby.

For anyone interested, the Crowd Funding Link: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/market-deeping-mrc