Maritime Prototype Modellers Meet was perfect

I don’t have any photos to share from the meet. To be honest, I was so completely swept up in simply enjoying the thing that I never thought to attempt to take any pictures. I’m sorry.

Thankfully, some other folks were kind enough to take some photos during the day and they’ve been posting them to the MPMM’s Facebook page:

You don’t need to belong to Facebook to see the page or to view photos posted there. If you have a minute, check it out.

In addition to the Facebook page Ric Hamilton together a web page loaded with photos of individual models on display at the meet:

I’ve long been a fan of this style of meet though, until last weekend, I only knew it conceptually. Having now attended one, I’m sold on it. The focus was so squarely on the modeller and the relaxed atmosphere seemed to provide time to talk about individual models and ideas. We often remark about the great people that seem so attracted to this hobby and I feel like we gathered together some of the finest and put them in this room. More than just talk about modelmaking, we filled the day with great clinics. I hosted two and attended them all. Each time, regardless of which side of the audience I was on, I felt like I learned something and left with a desire to learn more, make more, and share more.

I think that final thought is what I was looking for in the meet and the MPMM delivered it by the boxcar. Thanks to Will’s clinic on just that, I now have a better idea of exactly which kind of boxcar I could use to carry all that inspiration.



  1. I just have one question – what makes it a “prototype” modelers meet? Don’t all railway modelers model the prototype in some way? Is it a measure of the accuracy you strive for?

    1. Great question Steve. It’s one Krista asked me too. I hadn’t thought about it myself until she asked.

      As I understand these meets grew from the contest rooms of the more typical model train shows and those companies that specialize in the production of replica models. In recent years we’ve seen so much growth in the field of those modellers focussed on models of specific prototypes and these meets provide a platform to showcase that work.

      It’s not the accuracy that I’m striving for but the maker attitude that I find so attractive. It’s an audience of those keen to share their experiences in fabricating these models and a conversation, about making model trains, that I so enjoyed.

      Also, a chance to be a part of that intersection where a model of a favourite prototype was inspired by something real that maybe me and the modeller saw. Tim Hayman’s model of a former NJ Transit diesel that I watched working in AMT commuter service would be a superb example of that shared interest and something that in a traditional show we might not have shared in.



      1. I think you’re right, it’s the maker attitude – to take a model and improve upon it to better match the prototype. I agree that most people are inspired to do so based on their real-life experience with the prototype, like the ex NJ Transit diesel you mentioned. I know Taylor Main is inspired by the Gaspe line and the locos that used to frequent it.

        It also seems to be locomotive / rolling stock focused rather than scenery or operations focused. There’s a place for the latter – I’m definitely operations focused – but for prototype modelers it’s the stuff that moves that seems to hold the interest.

      2. More great points Steve. Thank you again for sharing them. Sorry to have not replied sooner.

        I think that there’s a role for model railways based on specific prototypes where they are a vehicle to trigger associations with real railroad memories and in a certain special group who then compliment that association further with a curiousity about trying to recreate, in miniature, what they saw.

        I really enjoy reading “why” each of us pursues this hobby and seeing models like these, in a place like the MPMM was, provides a chance for me to say things like “Hey, I really like AMT operations and I remember seeing that GP shoving a West Island train into LuLa a couple of years ago” and the model’s builder to reply with “Yeah, I always thought they were cool and…” Spread across each table were models that were very personal expressions of interest and it was great to be offered the opportunity to be there to hear those stories of inspiration, of interest, and of memory.

        Each of us sees something different when we go trackside and I’ll never tire of comparing my vision to your’s.



      3. What’s great is the different ways that we can use model railways to explore that association with that real trains moment.

        Where the meet provided so many chances to meet people who revisit those memories in model form I’m equally fascinated with those that have built large home layouts or participate in clubs where operations are a part of the game. Every layout I’ve ever built myself has been small and focussed on “one engine in steam” type operations so I think it’s just so darned cool to operate on something larger where I’m playing the role of a larger operations system – where my train interacts with others.

        Thankfully this great hobby provides room for each and each group and their interests compliments the others. Further, thankfully we have so many so keen to share with those of us ready to experience it ourselves.

        Thanks again (sorry for the multiply replies)


  2. Hi Chris:

    I’m glad you were finally able to attend an RPM to experience one, first-hand. I too love the combination of high-quality modelling and good conversations, in a relaxed venue.

    I also find it refreshing that – unlike many other events I attend – the people at RPM meets are definitely accomplished hobbyists, but they all seem to leave their egos at the door.

    When people complain that Ready-To-Run is killing the hobby, or that the hobby is greying, I wonder if they know anything about the RPM movement. The established ones are getting bigger… there are new ones every years it seems… and I see many younger-yet-talented modellers putting their work on display.

    Thanks for the links to the photo galleries: I always enjoy seeing the models on display at these meets, especially from those I wasn’t able to attend in person.


    – Trevor (Port Rowan in 1:64)

    1. Wow Trevor, your thoughts sound like you were there with us. Talk about summing it all up perfectly. Thank you.

      It was so terrific to meet modellers whom I only knew online and to see models that I had only seen in the same places. You wouldn’t think the Maritimes could be so vast that we wouldn’t run into each other but it seemed we did and it was great to close some of those gaps.

      In particular I wanted to agree with two comments you made:

      Those egos were completely not present. What arrived were modellers that could not have been more humble or more enthusiastic. On more than one occasion a conversation about a model became one about what worked and what might work better next time. In all, it was fuel to feed new work and I’m so grateful for it all.

      The other point is with regard to age. If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone quip about the aging of the hobby or the future I could single-handedly fuel that future and would. At forty I was probably among the older generation at the meet and some of the finest work was from modellers like Taylor Main, who is much younger. This meet was not only a font of inspiration for everyone (I hope) but hard evidence that there is a bright future and we just need to get out of its way.



  3. At conventional trains shows, most questions about a particular piece of rolling stock on an operating layout are answered with…”Oh, that’s Joe’s car” and Joe is never around. So, to have the modeller accessible and answerable is great. Also, there is no freelance or even proto-freelance going on. Humble and enthusiastic? Sounds like great attributes to be surrounded by. Even from Ontario, I could feel the vibe and also enjoyed viewing the photos. Thanks to the organizers and photographers! Great job, Chris!

    1. Hi Eric

      I hadn’t thought of it in those terms yet reading your thoughts I remembered similar occasions at shows I’ve attended. I don’t know how we’d bridge that gap at a public show but like how what we did provide a place for that conversation to happen.

      Thanks for the comments here and on the Facebook page. Charting into these waters it’s great to hear and read such positive feedback.


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