A journal following the history, design, construction and operation of Bernard Kempinski's O Scale model railroad depicting the U. S. Military Railroad (USMRR) Aquia-Falmouth line in 1863, and other model railroad projects.
©Bernard Kempinski All text and images, except as noted, on this blog are copyrighted by the author and may not be used without permission.

September 16, 2014

MARPM After Action Report

Last weekend I attended the Middle Atlantic Railroad Prototype Meet in Falmouth, VA. Yes, that is the same Falmouth that is on my layout. This is an after action report from my participation at the show, not a full recounting of everything that happened. Overall it was a very good event. As the event grows it is likely to get even better with more clinics and models on display.

The event took place over Friday and Saturday at the Wingate Hotel in Falmouth. It was a nice hotel. The rooms were nice, clean and up to date. They had a pool and exercise room. The meeting areas were spacious. The main lecture hall had excellent acoustics for the speakers, though it was hard for speakers to hear the audience's questions (at least I had a hard time). The hotel provided coffee and water all weekend, a nice touch.

About 100-120 folks attended the event. Except for a slight overlap, it was definitely a different group than one sees at most local NMRA events. The average age was probably lower than at an NMRA event, but not by much.  Nonetheless, it is good to see younger people getting involved in the hobby.  I met a lot of new people as well as old friends. A group of vendors set up shop including the ACL Historical Society.  The vendors seemed happy with the meet, but took down their stuff late Saturday afternoon, earlier than planned. Possibly because the show wound down quickly on Saturday afternoon.

The clinics I saw were very good. I enjoyed them all, especially Ramon's talk,  "Military Trains You Never Heard Of." Marty in his clinic, tried to blame me for "making him build a double deck railroad." Hmmm, that was not my memory of the sequence of events.  I presented my clinic entitled, "The Model Railroad Goes to War."  My talk got a late start as I went to dinner with a large group Friday night and it took forever to get out. Thus, I ran out of time at the end and could not finish  the talk. I will do the talk again next weekend at the James River Division meet. Hopefully I will get through it then.

I brought my Ft Hood diorama to display. It  seemed to get a positive reaction. The diorama is very easy to move around even if it doesn't fit in the Alkem HSRV (High Speed Railfan Vehicle.)  I also had some of my Alkem Scale Models stuff on display, but I was not acting as a vendor. I had the pilot models of the new DODX Flat cars on hand and took reservations for them. They should be ready soon.

There were a lots good models on display, but I forgot to get any pictures. Fortunately, Shannon Crabtree posted a bunch here. Some of the RPM guys bring a very military modeler mindset to the hobby. By this I mean they strive for exact replication of detail on their models. This is a good thing IMHO. I like going to these shows to see the hobby envelope being pushed.  If a person can achieve this level of detail, and make a operating layout, then more power to them!

The RPM also showcases a subset of modelers that specialize in realistic weathering. They achieve good results, especially considering they frequently use ordinary RTR out-of-the-box kits as starting points.

On Sunday, after sinking a 76-foot putt for a birdie, I had a mini-open house for the Meet attendees. About 20 people stopped by to see the layout and eat some of AW's brownies. The layout ran great even though  I didn't clean the track before hand. Battery power, baby! Gerry helped by running trains while I chatted  with the visitors.

I am looking forward to next year's meet. Hopefully, more of my layout, especially the harbor area, will be complete by then.
Some of the visitors- John, Marco, Warren, Kim, Jeff, Ashley, Tom, and a smiling Gerry!


  1. Loved the Ft. Hood diorama Bernie. Wish I could have heard your talk on Friday night. Sounds like the golf game is doing well. That's a long putt!

  2. It was the sole bright spot of the morning. I had two other long shots at birds, but 3-putted both of them.

  3. Thank you for all your help & support! We will make sure we give you all the time you need for your clinic next year, if you're interested!

  4. It takes time and practice to tune a talk. I need to work on this one to get it down to an hour. The late start did not help, but I will get it sorted out.

  5. do you have a link to a pre-order form for the tank flats?

    1. Seth,
      Thanks for the interest. I am not taking orders just yet. The final etches are due on 25 September. Once I have them and do a test build to verify all is OK, I will start taking orders on my website www.alkemscalemodels.com

      The prices are tentatively set at $39.99 for one kit, 3 for $99.99. Each flat car kit includes decals and a full set of chain tie downs. The chains tie downs will be available separately at $14.99. The decals will also be available separately at $5.99. The kit does not include trucks or couplers.

  6. I really enjoyed looking at your layout and Dioramas. Thanks.