Thank goodness that April has arrived. Our less than acceptable weather in February and March slowed down things quite a bit. Even our Open Meet in March suffered from less than ideal conditions. But NOW the snow has pretty much melted except for those huge piles of snow and dirt that was plowed into various parking lots or empty lots around town. Our next Lakes & Pines meeting is April 14th . It’s now time for our Spring round of train flea markets. Lakes & Pines member Greg Beckman has the Greater Upper Midwest Train Show & Sale scheduled for this coming Saturday, April 6th at the Century College West Campus, 3300 Century Avenue North in White Bear Lake from 9AM to 2PM. The college is just two blocks north of I-694 on Highway 120 (Century Avenue). L&P member Mike Helde should be there with his standard gauge trains to delight all the kids and the kid in us adults too. If you need a table, check in with Greg Beckman at 651-808-8556 for availability. Then just one week later on April 13th the Granite City Train Show will be held at the River’s Edge Convention Center, 10 – 4 th Avenue South in St Cloud, Minnesota from 9AM to 3PM. You can register to win a LIONEL train set or an FSM HO Structure Kit. There will also be operating model and toy train displays and a children’s railway play area. For table availability call 320-255-0033. Down in Davenport, Iowa on April 13th, the 8th Annual Davenport Model Railroad & Memorabilia Show will take place at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds, 2815 West Locust Street in Davenport, Iowa from 9:30AM to 4PM. There will be 300+ tables of new and used N-HO-S-O and G scale trains for sale. The Newport Model RR Club Train Flea Market will be on April 27th at the Woodbury High School, 2665 Woodlane Drive, Woodbury, Minnesota from 9AM to 2PM. For more information about this show call Mark at 651-207-7747. They offer six foot tables for $25 each. Here’s one more show you should be aware of at the beginning of May. The 43rd Northland Vintage Toy, Train, Advertising & Pop Culture Show will be at the Progress Center on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds on Sunday, May 5th from 9AM to 3PM. For additional information about space at this show, you can call 763-560-4290. I should also mention that the Twin City Model Railroad Museum’s flea market at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds will be May 11th. Call 651-647-9628 for information about tables. AGAIN WE ASK THE QUESTION, WHY DID THE CHICKEN CROSS THE ROAD? Donald Trump – We will build a big wall to keep illegal chickens from crossing the road. Nancy Pelosi – We will have to wait until the chicken crosses the road to see what it says. Hillary Clinton – What difference at this point does it make why the chicken crossed the road? Bill Clinton - I’m telling everyone the truth. I did not cross the road with that chicken. Al Gore - I invented the chicken! THE BACK PAGE THIS MONTH WILL BE A TALK ABOUT SCALE OR TINPLATE. What is the difference between “toy” trainers and “scale” trainers? 1. A scale trainer runs a train with 20 boxcars all lettered for the same railroad and each with a different number. A toy trainer runs a train with 20 different road name boxcars all numbered 6464. 2. A toy trainer carefully preserves the orange and blue box which the train came in. Unless he puts the car or engine back in the box, that box remains empty and is placed inside another box for safe keeping. If a scale trainer keeps the light blue Athearn box, he uses it as storage for paint jars or space couplers. 3. If a scale trainer has a catalog, he throws it away after the cover year has expired. A toy trainer keeps his catalogs for life, each one carefully preserved in a manila envelope. 4. A scale trainer kitbashes, repaints, and reletters every car and locomotive until they look exactly like the prototype. A toy trainer restores cars and engines until they look exactly like the day they were manufactured. 5. A toy trainer can operate and interchange every car and engine just as they come out of the box. A scale trainer buys trucks and couplers separately and adds them to rolling stock. Even if the car came with trucks and couplers, a scale trainer will remove them and install better ones. 6. A scale trainer thinks that his way of enjoying the hobby is better and more fun than anyone else’s. On the other hand, a toy trainer thinks that his way of enjoying the hobby is better and more fun than anyone else’s. Is it time for World War III? “Why Tinplate” by Robert Immergluck from the January 1988 issue of Model Railroader. This is for us kids, not the rivet counters. “In this age of sophisticated models and ever increasing detail, what could prompt a reasonable man to spend time on such a childish toy as a tinplate train? As an enthusiastic tinplater, I have often been asked this question by gentlemen of Scale, and here is my defense. It all began to come together when Fundimensions introduced their Mickey Mouse Express with Disney character boxcars. Suddenly, in a flash of insite, I realized that tinplate is Mickey Mouse! Now all of you scale fans are guffawing and saying “Of course tinplate is Mickey Mouse,” but let me explain about tinplate and Mickey Mouse anyway. To appreciate Mickey Mouse you have to understand the word ‘caricature’. Mickey is not a scale model of a mouse; he is a caricature of a mouse. All you have to do to see this is hold up a picture of Mickey next to a real mouse. You will see that Mickey’s eyes and ears are too big, his nose and tail are too short, his body and legs are the wrong shape, and just in general, his is a scale mouse fan’s complete disaster. Yet we don’t complain about these distortions: we enjoy them. We understand that Mickey and all the other Disney characters are caricatures. Well, a tinplate train is a caricature of a train. It isn’t a model any more than Mickey is a model mouse. Just as Mickey captures the essential characteristics of the prototype in the exaggerated form of a cartoon, a tinplate train captures the essence of a train, the magic of a railroad, in the exaggerated form of a toy. So we don’t notice that the cars are undersized, the flanges on the wheels are too big, or the man coming out of the watchman’s shanty was 10 feet tall because it is magic, it is a toy train. Our tinplate trains go slow, they go fast, they even do loops and dives. They are loaded and dumped, coupled and crashed, stepped on and tripped over, and through all of that use and abuse, it never misses a beat. Put that engine at the head of a string of cars and watch her go. The motor hums, the rods flash, the smoke puffs, and as she pulls out onto the main, a blast on the whistle says loud and clear, “The magic lives.” As the old lady clickety-clacks past, semaphores salute and crossing gates bow while watchmen rush from their shanties to see. Banjos wave and block signals wink at the shadowy passengers rush by. Oil wells bubble and beacons flash as a toy wonder springs to life. Cars full of culverts and coal, barrels and blocks, cattle and cans, horses and logs, are emptied and filled by a fantastic collection of whirring, buzzing, and ticking machines. Switchmen, baggagemen, newsboy, and dog, are all part of the mechanical cartoon railroad that begins in reality and ends in imagination. It’s the caricature world of tinplate created for children of all ages. “Why Tinplate?” Maybe because it’s so Mickey Mouse.” We will see you at Murzyn Hall on Sunday, April 14th. Roundhouse Rick Krenske happily reportingType your paragraph here.
Lakes and Pines Division - Train Collectors Association