Early in my railway modelling life, I was fortunate to be encouraged to join the Ottawa Valley Associated Railroaders (OVAR). Monthly through the long frigid Ottawa winters, this club met for dinner in the Nepean Sportsplex, right next to my high school. They’re still going strong after 56 years.
As well as a speaker, OVAR also has a monthly display of models – each month a different theme. When I was a member, Brian “Boomer” Woodrow (Please correct me if that was not his name) would guide us through a presentation of the models, which we could then inspect over coffee before the dinner speaker.
Now, monthly is much too frequent for a sluggish modeller like me to display something every time. However, when I did participate, I found that I enjoyed the camaraderie of the display and got a kick from the validation that comes from someone even feigning the slightest interest in my esoteric work. For turd polishers like me, displays offer a further benefit: the fixed deadlines encourage me to declare projects finished.
Since my OVAR years, it has been natural for me to participate in displays at every convention I attend, whether it is a judged contest at an NMRA meet, or a less formal RPM display. While I naturally enjoy seeing others’ models, whether they are a shaken box or an exquisite scratchbuild, I frankly get far more out of displaying my own models.
Next weekend is the Railway Modellers’ Meet, and like OVAR, we have a guided presentation of the models. You should bring something, even if it’s old, even if it’s not finished, even if it was meant to be a box car but turned out to be a banana instead. I promise you will get more from the meet if you participate.