Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Bay Area Prototype Modelers 2017 meet

Once again, the annual June meeting called Bay Area Prototype Modelers (BAPM) has taken place, and it happened last Saturday, the 17th. The venue, for several years now, is a private school in Richmond, California and it serves very well for a meeting like this, attended by 150 to 175 people. There is a kitchen at one end of the multi-purpose room that we meet in, so that snacks and lunch are available too. This was the 14th such event in this series, and this year it included 17 vendors. The models displayed by attendees are naturally the centerpiece of a meeting like this, but vendors are an important added attraction, and this year had a good group of them.

     A highlight of every meeting is Elizabeth Allen’s diesel modeling. She always brings a number of completed locomotives, but to me the in-progress projects are in some ways more interesting. For one thing, you can recognize more easily the amount of work required for really accurate modeling of specific locomotives, and can also see her craftsmanship.

I know there are modelers who (mistakenly) believe that kitbashing diesel locomotives is not that big of a deal, but you only need to look at the Cannon doors neatly added to the long hood of this model in progress, to contradict that idea. Fit and location are simply perfect.
     I really liked the modern modeling of Jay Davis, who has added flamboyant graffiti to several models without exactly copying specific prototypes, I kind of admire the most artistic of these efforts in the prototype, so enjoyed seeing these models. Shown below are two examples of his work.

     One intriguing display was by Glen Guillot, whose flat car load is shown below. I watched a number of experienced modelers come up to it and wrinkle their brow in puzzlement for a moment, then smile in recognition. I had done the same, thinking “I know I have seen that somewhere before.”

It is of course the parts for an Imperial “scout walker,” from the Star Wars movie of the battle on the planet Hoth, fighting alongside the more familiar four-legged walkers. Here is a photo of one of the models used for filming. These machines were also featured in the film “Return of the Jedi.”

Upon discovering that the model parts happen to be pretty close to HO scale, Glen thought, “. . . why not?” I would have to say, “good one, Glen,” since viewers mostly didn’t recognize the parts immediately but did figure it out in short order. Another of those whimsy moments, I suppose.
     For myself, I brought a 15-car freight train with cars chosen from the models I illustrated in my two articles on “Signature Freight Cars” in Model Railroad Hobbyist, in the issues for April 2013 and March 2015 (you can read or download any issue of MRH at any time, for free, at their website, www.mrhmag.com ). I gave a clinic at this BAPM meeting on the same topic, so wanted to show some of relevant cars. Shown below is the head end of this display train, behind SP Consolidation 2763. (You can click on the image to enlarge it.)

     The lead car here is a Sunshine model of a C&NW rebuild of one of their numerous USRA box cars. Second is a member of the huge NYC fleet of “USRA design” steel box cars, of which over 17,000 were still in service in 1953, when I model; it is a Broadway Limited product. And third is one of the thousands of Santa Fe box cars rebuilt from classes BX-11, -12 and -13 with raised roofs. It’s a Westerfield kit. All three were in the clinic and the articles. This is just a sample of the 15-car train.
     I would say this was another successful year for BAPM, and I look forward to more of them in the future. Like any regional RPM gathering, it is a great opportunity for serious modelers to meet and greet and, maybe, enjoy some humor like the Star Wars flat car load.
Tony Thompson


  1. Hello Tony,

    Thank you for mentioning my Star Wars flatcar load in your blog! I do feel compelled to mention that the load is of an AT-ST, otherwise known as a Chicken Walker. The reference picture you provided is of an AT-AT.
    Ah well... while my load is not exactly prototypical, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    - Glen G.

    1. Glen refers to the original post, which I have now modified to reflect his comment. I appreciate the correction.
      Tony Thompson

    2. Hi Glen:
      Can you provide some information on the AT-ST model you used for this load? I have AT-STs in a couple of larger scales, but haven't seen one in HO. Would love to add one to my collection. Thanks in advance!

    3. Trevor, I apologize for the amazingly late response. The model is from 'Metal Earth'. It's a kit made from flat metal sheets, which I painted and weathered.

    4. No worries, Glen. And thanks for the information. Cheers!

  2. As far as graffiti is concerned, I too admire the well done work of the artists. Especially this work...