Pelicans and Presentations

As mentioned earlier, I’ll be attending the 2015 New England / Northeast Railroad Prototype Modelers Meet later this month. While many things happen at an RPM, these events thrive on two things: presentations and displays. I’ve been working on both.

I’ve taken locomotives and rolling stock on the road before but I’ve never been happy about my arrangements for secure transport. Since many people at this upcoming RPM have probably never encountered scale modelling in 1:64, I wanted to take a good cross section of things to display. I also wanted my displayed equipment to tie into my layout, so that meant – at a minimum – I would have to display a 1:64 version of the daily mixed train to Port Rowan:

 photo M233-CNR86-StWilliams_zps55169f21.jpg

My solution is not cheap – but definitely effective: I bought a Pelican case. These come in many sizes but I opted for the 1510 because it’s a rugged case that’s also carry-on compliant in case I ever decide to attend an RPM or other event that requires flying. The case was about $200, which sounds like a lot but it’s a fraction of the cost of the equipment that I’ll pack into it so I feel it’s justified. (This is not the answer for everyone: We all have different priorities in the hobby.)

I was pleased that I will be able to get two layers of equipment into the Pelican – in fact, the pluck-foam provided comes in two pieces, like a layer cake, which made it easy for me to create slots for equipment.

For the top layer, I created openings in the foam to accommodate long equipment. I can hold two passenger cars plus a locomotive here:

 photo Pelican-CarFerry-TopLevel_zpsojxohanc.jpg

I’ve separated the two levels with a thin layer of acoustic foam – the same stuff I used to line the layout’s equipment storage drawers. The bottom level has spaces for five cars. Four slots will accommodate cars up to 50 feet long. The lowermost slot is smaller because the case has indents here to accommodate its wheels. But it can hold a caboose or hopper car:

 photo Pelican-CarFerry-BottomLevel_zpsdstwjcug.jpg

With secure transport figured out, I will be able to display eight models at the NERPM. And I’m ready for other meets or gatherings, too!

This week, I also put the finishing touches on a slide deck for a clinic about being a prototype modeller in 1:64. I was late to register for the NERPM (entirely my fault), and at this time the clinic schedule is fully booked. But the organizers asked if I could bring along a presentation in case they have a last-minute cancellation. What’s more, I now have a presentation in the can, ready for other conventions, so the effort hasn’t been wasted.

 photo WhenIm1to64-SlideDeck_zpshat9lj8f.jpg

As the title slide suggests, I’ve drafted a clinic about the opportunities and challenges of modelling a specific prototype in 1:64 – using my layout as an example. I’ll cover why I ended up in S scale, why I picked the Port Rowan branch and things to research and ponder to determine whether S is a viable scale in which to work. I’ll also explain why I write this blog and now consider it as essential to building a layout as having a good supply of ties and rail. And I’ll wrap up with a quick tour of the line – because everybody likes pretty pictures.

All of this information is available in the 1000+ postings on this blog, for those who care to sift through it. But I’ve added some fresh photos – including several of earlier layouts in other scales and gauges. And, of course, I’ve boiled down the story to what I hope is an entertaining and informative 45 minutes.

I’m looking forward to giving this presentation – if not at this month’s NERPM, then at future conventions and prototype meets. Hmm… time to check the events calendar, I think…

12 thoughts on “Pelicans and Presentations

  1. Pelican cases are often available on Craig’s List at lower prices, but they may well be comparatively rough cosmetically.

    But it’s nice to know that if you had to parachute into the conference, your equipment would be fine!

      • On a more serious note, I’m sure some readers are questioning my sanity for spending $200 on a box with foam in it.

        That is, however, a fraction of the cost of the models it will carry. When one is buying brass locomotives or mixed media kits, it doesn’t take many models to become a serious investment – especially in a minority scale like 1:64. Then there’s the enhancements – like the compensated trucks on the passenger cars.

        Then one must look beyond the price I paid for the models:

        Even if I wanted another 2-6-0 or CNR combine, it would be almost impossible to get one. They were made in small batches, and those who have them tend to keep them.

        The “cost” also does not include factors such as the time and effort required to repair a damaged model (or to build a replacement).

        It doesn’t factor in the “opportunity cost” – the time required to rebuild a damaged model that I would rather spend building something new.

        And it doesn’t account for the psychological effects of opening a transport box and discovering that something into which I put so much time has been destroyed.

        Add together those factors, and $200 seems like a real bargain for a case that I know will do the job and keep my locomotives and rolling stock damage free!

  2. Hi Trevor;

    If they paid attention, they will be at least aware of S, as I display a few models at this meet almost every year. We should try to display near each other! See you there.


    • That’s great to know Pieter – I won’t have much explaining to do then. It’ll be good to hang about for a couple of days with a fellow prototype modeller working in 1:64, too…

  3. Dear Trevor,

    Ah, the old Pelican case. Has saved my model RR and Professional life more times than I care to admit. (Oh, the stories…).

    Spending $$$ on serious transportation cases for precious models and show layouts is _NEVER_ a waste!!!
    (Ask any touring muso or Broadcast Professional!)

    Happy Modelling,
    Aim to keep the models safe,
    Prof Klyzlr

  4. I would like to be there when it goes through the xray machine at the airport :). Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic that should be discussed more. We all have equipment that needs to be safely stored and transported.

    • Dear Bruce,

      Have done. The appearance of a “serious” case tends to make TSA recognize “you know what you’re doing”. A courteous demeanor when their X-ray machine couldn’t see thru a box of ceramic mugs and small bags of pewter figure/animal castings (presents for modellers/hosts) and a stack of NG logging reference books in 2003 at LAX helped immensely…

      Happy Modelling,
      Aim to Improve,
      Prof Klyzlr

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