Monday, June 17, 2024

Bay Area Prototype Modelers, 2024

Once again, as June rolls around, we arrive at the annual Bay Area Prototype Modelers (BAPM) meet, held at the traditional location in Richmond, California. Outside the meeting room, arrivals were greeted by the traditional banner with the BAPM logo:

Like all RPM (Railroad Prototype Modelers) meets, it’s a major feature that you get to meet and greet lots of fellow modelers of a mostly serious hobby attitude. And a special treat is to browse the room full of tables that are loaded with models, and not only to appreciate the model work but also to meet the modelers. 

I’ll mention a few highlights. One young modeler whose work I liked was Colin Minekheim. One of his models was a fine reproduction of a prototype photo in my book, “Box Cars,” Volume 4 in the series, Southern Pacific Freight Cars (revised edition, Signature Press, 2014). That Dick Kuelbs photo is found on page 303. The car shown there is a former “Overnight” car, returned to freight service and renumbered with a boxcar red patch. His model very nicely reproduces that photo, even with the same car number.

He also displayed a neat job of modeling one of the four Alco Century 628 demonstrators that SP purchased and simply “patched” with road name and number, right over Alco’s gold and black demonstrator paint scheme, and put in service. Obviously it’s been hard at work!

Another nice job of a process I always admire, reproducing graffiti on prototype cars, was done by Scott Kelley-Clement. Here is the prototype photo he was guided by:

And here is the model he created, using a Rapido HO model of a Pacific Car & Foundry SP Class B-100-40, and hand-painting the graffiti:

Also of interest to me was a really nice job of showing age in a galvanized roof, a model by Tom Bacarella. My photo, below, barely does justice to how good this looked.

As I always do, I brought a complete HO scale train, headed by a Class C-9 Consolidation and trailed by an SP steel caboose. A number of the cars were the same ones I had shown in 2022 (for which, see this post: ), so I will only show the newer ones. 

I included a well-used PFE reefer, something I model in moderation but do include in my fleet of PFE cars. The foreground description explains it.

Another car in the train was a recent tank car project, which I reported in a blog post earlier this year (my full description concludes at this link: ). Again, the description is in the foreground.'

In closing, I’ll mention again the very real camaraderie of these meetings, along with the pleasure of seeing completed and in-progress models. It’s not only fun, you can learn a few things too.

Tony Thompson


  1. I'd love to see the steel caboose you included and an overall picture of the train if you have one to add.

    1. The caboose was shown in Part 2 of my 2022 BAPM report (here's the address: ).
      A single photo showing a 12- or 14 -car train makes them all look really small. I have occasionally shown such photos, but have always felt that they showed little. You could see what you think, if you browse earlier BAPM reports, by using "BAPM" as the search term in the search box at the top of any of my posts.
      Tony Thompson