Susan and I attended the Collinsville Illinois RPM Meet last weekend. This was my second year for this particular meet and it’s one I recommend. The meet organizers do a great job of keeping things on time and running smoothly. The Gateway Center is a breeze to get to from the interstate and it has plenty of parking. There are also numerous hotels and eateries for every budget nearby.

The single exhibit hall held both model and vendor displays and when I wasn’t stretching my legs looking the displays over, Susan and I kept busy selling copies of Detailing Track. 

In addition to the models, the heart of an RPM meet centers on the clinics and presentations by some of the hobby’s brightest thinkers. I attended only one clinic by James McNab called Endless Horizons. James models the Iowa Interstate’s Grimes Industrial Track in HO, using shelves as narrow as eight inches wide in places. His scenery utilizes photo backdrops in very engaging and convincing ways to extend the depth of his scenes. He also uses trees along the right-of-way as screening and view blocks, which is something I rarely see a modeler do, or do well.

A nicely weathered Atlas O boxcar by Mike Morrison of Palmer Alaska

A nicely weathered Atlas O boxcar by Mike Morrison of Palmer Alaska

These events are primarily populated by HO and N models, at least the ones I’ve attended. There were only three quarter-inch scale boxcars and a small assortment of the usual funky On30 whatever-they’re-supposed to be critters. The majority consisted of HO or N models of contemporary or late transition era vintage. This is a younger crowd who aren’t as interested in steam era modeling, which I found refreshing. I’m a modern era modeler at heart too. Along with the boxcars, this HO SD40-2 by Brian Banna (one of two he had on display) caught my eye also. Brian is well known in the HO and N communities for his diesel modeling. He’s been kind enough to share information for a project of mine, which is how we know each other. His website is a treasure trove of useful information. I put a link to it at the end of this post.Collinsville_002Collinsville_001

In addition to the models, I was able to see familiar faces and catch up on their recent activities. That’s always fun. If you’ve never attended an RPM Meet, I encourage you to at least give one a try. There are plenty to choose from in most parts of the country throughout the year. And, if you want to drive a photographer absolutely insane, be certain to display your models on a black tablecloth. Just saying.


Brian Banna has a new site under development. Here’s a link to his original website:
And here is the new one: