Division Meeting Recap
July 10, 2016We started the meeting in style with a presentation by Parker Lamb, who shared with us a history of Central Texas railroading in pictures.
After Parker's fantastic presentation, we were very happy to recognize Jerry Wilson, who has earned the title of Master Model Railroader, only the 577th so recognized by the NMRA in its history. Jerry gave a brief talk about what he did to earn his MMR, and to encourage others to give it a try -- or finish up the little bits they have left. Congratulations to Jerry!
Next up was show-and-tell.
Not to be outdone by Jack's 1' x 1' layout from the last meeting, Joel Davidson brought a display layout that started as a coffee table Christmas layout. It uses DCC with two cabs, and he used leftover items from around the house in its construction. Look for the wildlife in the pond, and the other life in the trees!
Jerry Wilson brought a new Jailer Wagon he's building from wood. Very nice! (Jerry: Now that you're an MMR, we're going to expect only awesome work from you! Fair warning!)
David Nicastro shared with the group an easy way to distribute and shape ballast. He uses a cake decorating bag and tip to distribute the ballast, and then uses a trim painting pad to shape the ballast. He finds the bag holds a lot of ballast (so fewer trips to refill) and if you pick the right tip it comes out at just the right rate. On top of that, the painting pad does a great job of getting the ballast between the ties evenly with very little left over on top of the ties or against the rails. He brought a little mock up in a box to let people try it hands-on.
John Ames continues to search for better track cleaning tools. You'll remember from our March 2015 meeting that he was trying different materials. More research shows that his gondola (with weight) and a ceramic disc made from tile, along with 91% Isopropyl alcohol (the kind you can pick up at Walgreens) works very well. However, he had problems getting the alcohol on the tile. He tried several things but ended up with a small tube with a basswood dowel in it. He uses notches and paper towel to guide the drops of alcohol around the tile to the bottom.
After reading about it online, he also is adding a very small amount of graphite to the rail. He found some very hard pencil lead (HB for example - without binders, which are not conductive) works well.
Then we moved on to Questions In Search of Answers.
- Does anyone have experience using Anyrail 6? Terry Nathan said he has used it and found it an easy to use with good track libraries and structures. He said the free version is limited to a number of track segments per drawing, so if you have a larger layout you'll need to paid version.
- Not really a question, but Steve Blackson recently visited Entertrainment Junction in southern Ohio. He was really impressed by their indoor G-Scale layout - the World's Largest! If you're in the area he really recommends you check it out.
Don't forget the Temple Train Show is September 17 and 18. We should be there with an NMRA table.
Also don't forget the Cen-Tex Division NMRA Meet which will be the weekend of October 22. Check out the Meet page for more details.
Finally, Steve Blackson is the new Nominations Chair for the Lone Star Region. He wants to remind everyone that our next election is coming up at the end of the year. While it won't include our Division Director or At Large Directors for us, it will include President and Treasurer. If you or someone you know would like to run for either position (and there is not an incumbent running for either one), please let Steve know!
We ended with our usual Deal or Duds drawing, sponsored by the great folks at King's Hobby in Austin.
After the meeting, we toured Gerald Burgess' G-scale and David Shannon's HO/HOn3 scale layouts in Cedar Park and Leander (see below).
Our next regular meeting is planned for September 10, 2016. Hope to see you there!