November Meet Recap

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Our Division’s November meet once again returned to the Brandywine Town Center located north of Wilmington DE. Joining our meet this time as our invited guests were scouts and their leaders from Troop 52 in West Bradford, Chester County, Pennsylvania and Troop 75 from nearby Christiana, Delaware.

One of the prime missions of the NMRA is assisting with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA)’s program and especially supporting their Railroading Merit Badge.

The MER’s Scouting Liaison, Don Jennings, drove all the way from his home in Cary, North Carolina to give a talk on the Merit Badge Program and to challenge division members to become merit badge counselors. Incidentally, Delaware has had an active program in the southern portion of the state for quite some time. Paul Buckley brought an exhibit the First State Club uses for their Railroad Merit Badge program (see the article in the December, 2014, Vol. 14, No 6 issue of The Dispatcher).

The general goal of this meet’s clinics was to furnish the scouts with a basic understanding of certain facets of model railroading, while also providing valuable material for existing modelers.

Our first clinician was division member Mike Baker of Nick & Nora Designs in Newark, Delaware with his clinic titled “Painting 101: Locomotives and Rolling Stock.” Mike’s PowerPoint presentation focused on his airbrushing techniques from preparation to finish, as well as examples of his work. He also discussed the the latest types of available paints now that Testor’s Floquil line of paints is no longer being manufactured. Examples of his fine work were on display in the table area.

November is also National Model Railroad Month and in keeping with that spirit, member Fred Monsimer brought and set up (with a little help from Editor Earl Paine) an entire HO modular layout! Fred is part of the Royersford Modular Model Railroaders Club (RMMR) which had its roots in the now defunct Lansdale Model Railroad Club and the Oaks Model Railroad Club. The club constructs modules that can be arranged and aligned to provide a variety of interesting layouts. In this instance, Fred included curved sections that created a closed loop layout. It was powered by a DCC system and contained industries and switching as well as mainline running. This demonstration served as a wonderful example to the scouts and visitors alike of how easily a model railroad can be constructed, wired, and operated. Perhaps just as amazing was how Fred managed to fit the entire layout in his vehicle. Photos of that and the other meet highlights can be found in the December issue of The Dispatcher.

Fred then presented his actual clinic on building a modular layout that included some of his own techniques as well as the differences among the popular systems of constructing modular layouts that include “Free-Mo,” the NMRA standards, and the variations that the RMMR uses. Further information about the RMMR club can be found at their website at http://www.royersfordmodular.org/.

Rounding out the morning was our 50/50 raffle won by new member Phil Krugler, and the distribution of door prizes. After the formalities, the scouts (and other attendees) were invited to explore and operate the modular layout.

In addition to the 30 plus loyal members, there were over 7 NMRA visitors with at least another 28 scouts and their leaders for a lively group. Many of our visitors come from nearby divisions and, of course, any member of the NMRA is welcome to join us. The scouts of Troops 52 and 75 left with model railroad magazines, lists of open houses, trial memberships, and plenty of new ideas. And if any of our website visitors are interested in becoming merit badge counselors for this or any other area of interest, they are invited to contact Don Jennings via email at donj1044@aol.com.

The afternoon layout tours were held courtesy of the annual November Model Railroad Open House event, with three in particular located in nearby Wilmington and Hockessin.
The theme of this meet was Superintendent Joe Bergmaier’s idea and he deserves credit for his leadership in furthering one of the NMRA’s missions–that of introducing and spreading the hobby of model railroading to future modelers through involvement with groups like the Boy Scouts. Initially the logistical feasibility was questioned, but it actually worked out very well, and scouts, members, and guests all enjoyed themselves.

Thanks to all of the clinicians, presenters, and especially Don Jennings for helping to make this Saturday morning event both enjoyable and informative. We thank the troop leaders, parents, and the scouts for their visit with us. A grateful thanks to “our man in Wilmington,” MER Local Editor Earl Hackett for once again arranging and making the Brandywine Community Center available to the division, and to Clinics Director John Seibert without whose tireless efforts our meets would amount to little more than a continental breakfast. We further thank Don Jennings for returning our yellow MER layout lawn signs to the folks at the region. And, of course, thanks to all of the division members who attended. We hope you had fun.

Our next division event will be a joint meet with the Jersey Division at the Haddon Township High School on January 9, 2016. More information is available in the December issue of The Dispatcher as well as in the event section on the website. See you next time!

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