Toronto Railway Prototype Modelers Meet

April 10, 2016

“It was 4 feet too long and the ribs were a little off”, is not something that you’d ever hear me say, so I was a little wary when I decided to attend the 2016 Toronto Railway Prototype Modelers Meet at Humber College on Saturday.


Here was I, a beginner/intermediate (at best) modeler, going to an event that attracted the very best of the best prototype modelers, the guys who had been the the hobby for years and years perfecting their skills and honing their craft. Was I crazy?

A very big part of the day is the “bring and brag” component, where modelers display models and answer questions about their techniques. We were each encouraged to bring a model and I wondered if I was worthy – should I bring something?

I decided that I couldn’t very well show up without something in hand, so I’d give it a try. I brought three things; a Russell Snow Plow that I am trying to replicate from my CFL post, an HO scale headless horseman that my then 7 year old son asked me to build for him, and a scratchbuilt dumpster that I saw behind my son’s school. To my amazement my stuff was very well received!


The day also included three excellent clinics:

John Chipperfield discussed how he built the CPR West Toronto station and express building in HO scale. As I am planning on scratchbuilding most of my structures, I found his discussion of how he approached the build especially interesting.

Trevor Marshall extolled the virtues of S Scale and  discussed the opportunities and challenges of modelling a specific prototype in 1:64 in his clinic entitled When I’m 1:64. He also talked about why he writes a blog about his layout and why he considers it as essential to building a layout as having a good supply of ties and rail.

And finally, Sean Steele (pictured above) showed the use and effects of using commercially available chipping fluid to mimic severe paint flaking and damage in his talk: Chipping Fluid for Weathering. I am off today to get a cheap bottle of pump hairspray to give the technique a try. Thanks Sean!


In addition to all the great info and inspirational models, the best part of the day for me was meeting some really great (and talented) people. I was especially happy to bump into Chris van der Heide who has commented on this blog in the past and who blogs on his excellent Algoma Central in HO Scale. Chris has put together a fantastic step-by-step article on how to construct the custom flatcar lumber loads pictured above.  In addition, Chris has made available over 60 printable templates on his blog for different lumber wraps. My goal is to make one of Chris’ lumber loads and bring it to next year’s meet.

It was also great to see ‘Muskoka’ Steve Juranics, Trevor Marshall, Steve Hoshel, and to meet Barry Silverthorn, the Executive Producer of Which brings me to my last observation; it was incredibly inspiring to me that all of these fantastic craftsmen are so generous with their time and so willing to share their tips and techniques with other modelers. I felt like I came away with a ton of new ideas and ideas that I’d like to try.

A very excellent day with a great group of guys and a day that will now be on my list of not-to-be-missed model railroad events. 


  1. Trevor

    Hi Benard:
    It was great to see you at the meet – I’m glad you enjoyed it.
    It was great to see a number of people at this meet who were making their first appearance at an RPM. RPMs tend to be very welcoming – because even the best modeller had a “first time at an RPM experience”. Everybody realizes how hard it is to bring out a model and put it on display before such a talented group – and I always love how the accomplished modellers approach these meets with intent to help others achieve what they’ve mastered. I always learn stuff from them.
    Based on conversations with other first-time RPM attendees, they are keen to go to more.
    And a shout-out to Brian Gauer and Richard McQuade who did a great job organizing the meet, stick-handling the clinicians, and keeping an eye on the display room while the rest of us had fun.
    – Trevor (Port Rowan in 1:64)

  2. Chris van der Heide

    It was nice to meet you there Bernard, and thanks for the shout-out!

    Looks like I even made it into the background on your lead photo. 😉


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