Sunday, September 12, 2010


Continuing,...    Day Two of the Steel Mill Modeler's Meet.   Day Two is usually my favorite of this event and I will say this year was no different.   The day is basically all Seminars.  This year's seminar topics were a really balanced variety, and all were well done and interesting, excepting for the first one, mine, which I can't speak for as to the well done part.  It seemed well received, all though when I offered to do a seminar way back in the spring I had envisioned getting more of a few of my structures done in time to photograph for this.   The next morning seminar was by Bill Wolf on his Tidewater Steel layout.   Bill has a very well thought out (a general theme among the layout visits the next day) layout with a sizable portion dedicated to a steel mill.  Bill is using Sparrows Point as his basis - Bill worked there at one time, as did his father. Bill also knows quite a bit on rolling mills - as I work on my rolling mills I will no doubt be contacting Bill with questions. 

   After a lunch on our own at the local Applebees we settled in for the three afternoon seminars.  The first seminar was by Dave Alley on his S-Scale Modular Steel Mill.  Dave brought his in-progress three section module to the show and it was set up in the corner of the display room.  Dave likes to use a lot of non-model railroad material for his modeling.  His uptakes are standard copper fittings and his buildings are laun plywood.  It was interesting learning of his different building techniques and uses of non-traditional materials.  I do have to take him to task on something he kept repeating in his talk - "you have to be a little crazy"   I hope he was just referring to himself or maybe modeling in S-scale, as in general I find my fellow Steel Mill Modelers far from crazy.  Quite the opposite, most of the guys I meet in the this sub-set of the hobby seam to be pretty sane, salt-of-the-earth types, the kind of guys you would want to be in a trench with when the shit hits the fan.    The remaining two afternoon talks both focused on the Steel Mill Modeler's favorite pin-up, the Hulett.    Although I am not modeling any of these on my layout I am still very interested in these machines.   And the reason for not modeling them is just lack of space - not the bs tidal issue that keeps getting brought up - the Lehigh Valley operated a Hullet in Jersey City without problems from the tides, as did the New York Department of Sanitation.     The first presenter, Mr. Slugg, built four of these kits, so he was able to give a nice talk on construction issues.  His four Hulletts were on display at the meet, quite impressive all in a row.    The second Hullett expert, Bill Day, actually took the Walther's basic kit and animated it with ten or so motors.  Again, this model was on display too.  Mr. Day's seminar demystified how he made this plastic kit work - something I truly appreciate as some folks don't like giving away their secrets.  

We took a dinner break - Jimmy and me had seen a sign down the road at a dinner advertising the "Worlds Best Fried Chicken" - well it wasn't and on top of that the service was slow and the place a bit dirty.    Returning to the seminar room we had the pleasure of an (always good) Mike Rabbit talk, this one on soaking pits.  I thought I knew a bit about the topic as I had just started to model these pits on my layout, however, as Sgt Shultz said, "I know nothing".  I learned a lot that will help me in my modeling.  Mike also build a beautiful cross section model of a soaking pit building to use as a visual aid and for display.    Mike's talk was followed by something a bit different - "Techniques for Research", by Rachel Ban Tonkin.  Mrs. Tonkin is an archivist/librarian married to steel mill modeler, Joe Tonkin.  Her presentation focused on a number of research techniques that a modeler could use in their quest for photos, drawings, or other resources.   She did a very good job of explaining how items end up in archives and how to find these items using the internet - she also explained a bit about how dealing with these various institutions differ and why and how.     Besides the seminars, the display room is basically open all day and usually we take our ten minute breaks between talks by walking down there and looking around.   We also find ourselves gradually buying things from the vendors there - it's kind of like walking around a store for three days.  By the end of the show we usually have both (my son and myself) used up the budgets we set for ourselves, right to the last penny.    One of the photos is of my acquisitions from this meet - A Blooming Mill and two Bessemer Kits from Chuck Pravik,  a few gondolas from Peachcreek and other vendors, and a handful of little odds and ends.   Jimmy purchased two locomotives from Peachcreek - a 0-6-0 and a GP-7.     Part 4 will be posted soon with the layout tours and Sunday presentations.

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