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December 2011 Meet Report and Contest Recap

December 2011 Meet Report

We had many beautiful models displayed again for all of us to enjoy.  We had our usual model contests, photo contest, and fun was had by all.  Thank you to *all* the participants who entered and put on such a good show for the rest of us;  we hope you enjoyed our deep admiration and appreciation for your sharing your beautiful work with us.

A special thanks this quarter to Keith Wandry and Steve Wesolowski, who are apprenticing on Coast Division web-mastering.  Great job, guys :-).

Click on the links below to see the:
Model Contest
Show and Tell  
Switching Contest
Photo Contest
Volunteers and People

Click here to see the upcoming Coast Division Model Contest and Photo Contest categories for future meets
You can click on any of the thumbnails below, to see a larger photo of the absolutely beautiful models presented at the December 2011 Meet.

Model Contest

Our December 2011 Model Contest had superb models models, 
congratulations to our winners, and to all of our participants in the Popular Vote Model Contest for December 2011:

Category 1st Place 
2nd Place 3rd Place (tie)
Favorite Model


"Skinner's Row"

from a Fine Scale Miniatures kit

by:  Earl Girbovan






Old-Time Pennsylvania RR Inspection Car

by:  Al Kuhn

UP Turbine #57 with Richfield fuel car

by:  Jere Ingram

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We had a plethora of excellent participants competing in the December 2011 Model Contest. 
The other worthy contestants were:

Barry Chinn's scratchbuilt turnouts:

Pat LaTorre's disconnect log car in O scale:


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Frank Markovich's trestle:


Steve Wesolowski's 
"I lost my DCC virginity in Z scale" GP35:


Thank you to all who participated - we love seeing your wonderful models.

In the end, NMRA contests are not solely about winning. They include the enjoyment of participating, of sharing your Pride and Joy models and photos, and of Making Something YOU Want to Make. More satisfaction comes from sharing your enjoyment and inspiration with the rest of us, thereby, hopefully, re-inspiring yourself.  We all love to see your Pride and Joys and enjoy encouraging you to make more. For all these reasons,  You Always Win just by participating.  
Thank You to *all*, you put on a great show and inspired the rest of us.   We hope you enjoyed our admiration of your work.  

So for March 11, 2012, bring an entry and participate!  Bring something to share, and enter for the Fun of it in the Coast Division Model Contest.  Click here to see the upcoming Model Contest categories.  :-)

Model Contest and Show and Tell Chair: John Sing
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Show and Tell  at December 2011 Coast Division Meet

At the December 2011 Meet, we had a superb Show and Tell display.

Thank you to all who brought a model for us to enjoy! 

The displays included:

Mike Coen's  beautiful Sacramento Northern GP7, custom-painted and detailed:   


Jim Eckman's "Dollar Models" - take a standard model and really make something of it:


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Frank Markovich's stunning structures, all of which received Achievement Awards:



Bob Wirthlin's scratchbuilt Thomas The Tank Engine for his daughter's doll set!

Thx, all, for sharing and inspiring us, and for your participation.  

Participate by bringing a model is simply for the fun and joy of it all!   Come on out in March 2011 and share with us something that you would like to share with us, to share the beauty you've seen in it- we look forward to it!   We love to see what you're up to! We want to share and enjoy your modeling fun !

Coast Division Model Contest and Show and Tell Chair: John Sing

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We had our Clinics and Model Railroad Roundtable as we do at every Coast Division meet.   This time, we were fortunate to have:

1)   Operations, Plain and Simple

Presented by:  Seth Neumann

An initiation into the wonderous world of operations, with a view to the simple.

  Seth provides a Ops counselling after his clinic to delighted participants.

Seth Neumann is a National Director one of the National Directors of the Operations Special Interest Group (OPSIG).  Seth gave a superb clinic on Operations, the wonders, joys, and challenges, for us all.  See more about operations at the OPSIG web site.  See how exciting Operations can be by visiting the BayRails web site.  Every other year, Operations enthusiasts from all over the USA come to the Coast Division's area for an Operations fiesta. This year, the major league ProRails operations event will be in the San Francisco Bay Area as well.

Thank you, Seth, for presenting!

2)  Constructing Resin Kits

Presented by: Dave Connery

Dave gave a fantastic clinic on resin kit construction, sharing his closely held secrets and techniques with an enthusuastic membership!
A near riot broke out when a rumour was started that there were free donuts involved!


Dave Connery is one of the San Francisco Bay Area's accomplished modelers and is well known nationally.  He models both the Sierra Railway and the Virginia and Truckee in various eras. The Sierra portion is modeled in 1929, and the Virginia and Truckee is modeled in the later years of operation, around the late 40's. Dave is very knowledgeable about both railroads, has done presentations on them at the V&T symposium, the Sierra Railway seminar, and the NMRA convention.  You can see a nine minute YouTube of Dave's layout here.   Thank you, Dave, for presenting!

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  And of course, our ever popular Model Railroad Roundtable, moderated by Jerry Littlefield

Got an idea for a clinic?   Want to see what's coming up?   Contact the Coast Division Clinics chair:    John Marshall

Thanks again to all who participated, and we look forward to seeing you at Model Contest and Show and Tell in upcoming Meets.  Bring something that you would like share - a model(s), display about your current project, a work in progress, it's up to you, as any category is always welcome for Show and Tell.   We love to see what you're up to!

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Results of the December 2011 Switching Contest :  

Here are our December 2011 Allen Fenton Switching Contest results.

Winners in the Brakeperson category (5 car problem)!

First Place Second Place Third Place
  Eugene Bricahcek, 5:50

 Jim Smyrak, 7:15 


Our winners in the Senior Brakeperson category (6 car problem)!

First Place Second Place Third Place
   Tom Crawford, 5:18
  Steve Wesolowski, 5:25   
  Alan Havens, 6:15 

A special thanks to our Coast Division Switching Contest Chair:  Steve Peters, who keeps the Allen Fenton Timesaver
switching puzzle running smoothly and staffs the TimeSaver for us.   Thx, Steve! 

Here's a picture of Steve: 

Feel Free to stop and say a special Thank You to our Coast Division Switching Contest Chair:  Steve Peters, who has kept the Allen Fenton Timesaver switching puzzle running smoothly between and at our meets for a couple years now.  During those years, Steve has also staffed the TimeSaver for Coast Division at Train Shows, where Steve has shown a real talent for 'luring' First Timers into/under the TimeSaver's spell.  

News!   Steve is moving back to Colorado later this year, so Coast Division is looking for someone to take over for Steve as Timesaver Switching Contest Chair. Please Stop and Ask Steve if you have any questions and interest in volunteering when Steve leaves. One Big Benefit is taking the Allen Fenton Timesaver home between Public Appearances, where You can enjoy & improve by playing it whenever you want!  :-)

Thank You, Steve Peters, for all the TimeSaver fun you've shared with us! We hope your job brings you back often to enjoy the Allen Fenton Timesaver again after you move.

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Thanks to all who participated, it's a blast.    Remember... it's not about winning, it's about you and your switching.  You have to give it a try :-).

What is the Timesaver ?  (click below to find out!)

It is a fun, devilish little switching puzzle devised by the late, great model railroader, John Allen

Click on  these links above to learn more about the Timesaver, about John Allen, or his world famous HO Gorre & Daphetid model railroad, which inspired an entire generation of model railroaders worldwide.   John Allen lived in Monterey, California, and was a long time member of the Coast Division until his passing in 1973.

Allen Fenton was a long time member of Coast Division AND Operator on John Allen's Gorre & Daphetid RR who also served as Coast's Switching Contest Chair and Custodian until Allen Fenton involuntarily "retired" in 2002. ( I like to think Allen Fenton has since resumed playing the Switching Contest with John Allen again. -- Steve Wesolowski)

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Results of the December 2011 Photo Contest :    (Congratulations to all who participated!)

The theme was:  "Favorite Photo".

There were many artistic, noteworthy, and creative entries, and every one is worthy of award and mention.   Thank you to all who brought your photo to share, we all love seeing your work.  

Click on any of the thumbnails below to see a larger copy of the Photo Contest Entry.   By Popular Vote, the Photo Contest winners were:

First Place Second Place
Third Place

"UP 844 on Altamont Pass July 2010"
by Eugene Brichacek

  "Santa Fe Dash 9s" 
by John Sing

"SP Classic Profile" 
by Patrick LaTorres

We had a superb palette of Photo Contest entries, all of them interesting, artistic, and just excellent.  Click on a thumbnail below to see all of our other beautiful Photo Contest entries: 


Once again, our Favorite Photo's Least Voted for entry was Steve W's Favorite Photo Entry, "Tie Dyed Brake Working Man in Sparks Yard".   (tongue-in-cheek :-)  Steve Wesolowski)
Thank you to *all* who participated.  We hope you enjoyed a few minutes of fame and the ongoing admiration, of your fellow NMRA modelers and guests. 
Bring a photo to the next Meet's Photo Contest!

Click here to see the upcoming categories.  
Here's a picture of Coast Division Photo Contest Chair:  Keith Wandry:  

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Upcoming Model Contest categories:

Coast Division Model Contest categories are rotated annually according to the following schedule (i.e. we always have the same categories as shown below, every March, June, September and December).   The categories for the upcoming Coast Division Model Contest Meets are:

March 2012:    Caboose, Freight Car, Maintenance of Way

June 2012:                Structure, Display/Diorama, Self-Propelled Cars & Traction

September 2012:      Steam Locomotive, Diesel & Other Locomotives, Passenger Car

December 2012:      "Favorite Model"  (open to any category)

Results are determined by Popular Vote.  Arrive and enter early to get more votes!

  NMRA Judging is available at the Coast Division Meet to any Model Contest participant for:

- Achievement Program Merit Points
- Regional/National Contest entry preparation 'dry-run' and friendly expert advice     
- Or, just to see how you would have done (smile!)

Please contact the current Coast Division Model Contest Chair, John Sing,  or the current Achievement Program chair Kermit Paul, if you would to have your model judged at the upcoming meet.

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Upcoming Photo Contest categories:

March 2012:                  Railroad Structures

June 2012:                     Diesel Locomotives            

September 2012:            Cabooses       

December 2012:             Steam Locomotives         

All photos should be matted (inexpensive, resusable mattes can be had at most art supply stores) and should be between 5x7 and 11x14 in size. Hope to see your work there!

Results are determined by Popular Vote. Bring your photos early to get the early votes.

Photo Contest Chair:
Keith Wandry  

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Volunteers and People
One of the great things about our Meets is sharing information and kibitzing about all things related to trains.   It's the People that make our hobby as much fun as it is.

One of the favorite Coast Division Meet activities is treasure hunting at the Auction tables.  You will find some of the most unusual and hard to find items at our quartery Coast Division auction:

   Plenty of items for the Armchair Railroader!          Auction Gold!

Our thanks to our many Coast Division volunteers, clinicians, and and our attendees.  We could not do any of this without each and every one of you.   Thank you all!

Our PCR Presidente, Pat LaTorres, who also runs the Coast Division Auction Cards checkin/checkout:

Our Achievement Program Judges, here we see our Coast Division AP Chair Kermit Paul, MMR, and Bob Wirthlin, MMR, judging Frank Markovich's structures:

Seth Neumann, one of the National Directors of OPSIG, doing a Layout Design consultation for one of our attendees:

Charlie Getz introduced a very special visit to our Meeting by Frank Liu, representing the Model Railroad Association (HRMA) of China:

The NMRA has announced an agreement of cooperation between itself and the Model Railroad Association (HRMA) of China, a community of over 100,000 railfans and model railroaders in China. The HRMA, a relatively young organization, having grown up in the past 10 years, is interested in learning how the NMRA is organized, and will promote NMRA standards in China. Members of both organizations will be able to enjoy the many benefits of each. A press release and story will appear shortly in NMRA Magazine.  This is exciting!!

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Our Meeting Room at the Boy Scouts of America HQ:

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Steve Wesolowski, our Publicity Chair (and sometime backup for Model Contest) recently summed it up well for all of us Volunteers:  

    "So many people Volunteer (they Donate Themselves) during and between our meetings to make
Coast Division's Quarterly Meetings Real Train FUN! 
    When I remember, I like to say "Thanks for the Train Fun today!" to other Volunteers
at Coast Division Meets. I also try to ask if they want or need a break.
    Every Volunteer helps Coast Meets be Successful Train Fun Gatherings.
     It takes quite a few Volunteers for so much Train Fun.
Every Volunteer makes our 'job' of Enjoying More Train Fun easier!"

Thank you, Steve, well said.  :-)

You can see all our current volunteers on the Coast Division Call Board by clicking here.

Invite a new friend to come to the next Meet, and see what we're all about!

See all of you at the Coast Division Meet in March 2012.  

See you there!

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Last updated: March 12, 2012
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