Sunday, July 2, 2017

The St. Louis RPM meet

A week ago I attended the St. Louis meet of Railroad Prototype Modelers (RPM) for the first time, though this was the 11th meeting in a series. The meet itself actually was held in Collinsville, Illinois, about 15 highway miles east of the Mississippi, but certainly in the St. Louis area. The local convention center is modern and quite nice, and there are several hotels within a short walk, including the convention Doubletree Hotel. This meet was conceived by John Golden and he still acts as the prime mover, but he has an extensive local committee, headed by Lonnie Bathurst, Dan Kohlberg and Dave Roeder,  to do a great deal of the work. It all ran very smoothly, and with attendance topping 550, was certainly a fine success.
     The part of the convention center allocated to our meet was quite large, and contained about 210 conventional hotel-type 8-foot tables. Of these, 56 were dedicated to displays of models brought by attendees, as is traditional at RPM, and the tables were largely filled by the Saturday. There were also 48 tables allocated to dealers of various kinds, both regional hobby sellers (Ted Schnepf’s Rails Unlimited was there) and also national names such as Tangent, Athearn, Cannon, and Plano, along with about 25 tables for photo sellers, including Bob’s Photo, always worth a visit.
     Further, there were 13 historical societies with displays, a remarkable turnout and of considerable interest, as most displayed their publications, specially decorated models, and other wares likely unfamiliar to anyone outside those societies. And last but not least, there were three or four (depending on how you count) modular layouts up and running. Here’s a view of the hall, looking across some of the model displays toward the dealers and historical societies.

     I always enjoy seeing models in progress, as one can see very clearly what the modeler was in the process of doing. This example from Brian Flynn of O'Fallon, Missouri, of a Yarmouth Models kit in progress for a Santa Fe Bx-50 car, shows the nice underframe work. You can click to enlarge.

Another example, including a little humor, is from well-known modeler Clark Propst, explaining that his basement expects to receive a donation of a small part or two from each kit he builds, so he has to replace those tributes with commercial parts. The model, he says, is “naked and afraid,” explained in his caption. Model shown is the NP box car.

     Another nice display touch that I liked was the inclusion of a waybill for each freight car displayed. This was a group of cars from Rick Mink, here a DT&I automobile car used to ship an airplane, with its waybill right in front.

Some may recall that I described such a waybill for the same shipment, as yet another way to use automobile cars on the layout, a couple of years ago in a blog post (it can be found at; ). Thanks for noticing, Rick!
     Sometimes weathering and finishing are really well handled in these displays. This Canadian Pacific covered hopper, by Frank Jordan of Minneapolis, is an example I admired.

     Of course, there were two clinic tracks running the entire two days of the meeting. I gave one, and among the most interesting ones I attended was Jared Harper’s talk on selecting freight cars for his layout.

     Some interesting new products (or at least, new to me) were exhibited. I have already mentioned  in a previous post, the very nice new Tangent tank cars (you can see that post at ). Description of others I will defer to a future post or posts. It was a really interesting and rewarding meeting, well organized and well run, and certainly well worth the visit.
Tony Thompson

1 comment:

  1. Tony, Always enjoy seeing the RPM photos and fantastic modeling. I don't get the opportunity to see such things down the bottom of Australian in Tasmania.

    I think since i began following blogs and seeing the wealth of information shared about car types, loads and prototypical information mo modelling has change dramatically.