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Meeting a few legends in model railroading

Thomas Klimoski and Tim Garland meet Pelle Soeborg at the ScaleTrains.com event.

On Thursday, May 30th the folks at ScaleTrains.com hosted a get together at their Benton, Tennessee headquarters in advance of the NMRA Southeast Region Convention in Chattanooga, TN. The event consisted of a tour of their facility, a BBQ lunch and then a private rail excursion trip on the Hiwassee River Rail Adventures train operated by the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. The event was sold out months in advance and they had over 250 people attend the event. Several notable model railroaders attended the event and they were glad to meet and greet everyone.

One of the most recognizable legends in model railroading is Pelle Soeborg. Pelle has been a big influence on my modeling and an inspiration with his very realistic looking layouts. He has written numerous books and articles and I have read them all several times. Pelle has a talent for modeling so realistically that is hard to comprehend. Every time I see his work or one of his layouts it inspires me to up my game and work harder to improve my skills.

My good friend Tim Garland, who models the Seaboard Central, also attended the event and we both were eager to meet Pelle. Although Pelle was busy meeting other model railroaders and doing interviews at the event, he was gracious to meet both of us and talk for a while when he had a break. Pelle was very friendly and he talked to us like we had known him for years. It is not very often that you get to meet someone that has influenced and motivated you to the extent that Pelle has and we both appreciate him taking the time to talk to us and take a couple of photos.

Another notable legend in model railroading that attended the event was Cody Grivno. Cody is most known for hosting Cody’s Office monthly video on Model Railroader Magazine’s website. He has an easy relaxed style on camera and demonstrates numerous modeling techniques on the show. One of the things that makes Cody stand out in the hobby is that he is not afraid to show or talk about when things go wrong on a project. He is an accomplished modeler and was recently promoted to Group Technical Editor at Model Railroader Magazine.

After lunch Tim and I went to meet Cody. He was happy to take a couple of photos with us and talk about model railroading. Cody was as nice in person as he appears on camera. We were both pleased that Cody took the time to meet with us.

The host of a Modelers Life pod cast, Lionel Strang, was also at the event. While I talked to Lionel for my interview on his podcast a few months ago I had not met him in person. Lionel is a great guy and has a sense of humor that is hard to beat. He is a legend in the hobby for years and written numerous columns for Model Railroader. Lionel’s podcast was voted the top audio podcast last year and he has done a fantastic job of promoting the hobby to those online. It was great to meet him personally and “hang out” for a while. We had a few minutes to record a brief interview that may air on a future broadcast of A Modelers Life.

The legends in the hobby like Pelle, Cody, and Lionel demonstrate that you can be both a great modeler and a nice guy. One of the most important parts of the hobby for me is meeting other model railroaders. While you can be a “lone wolf” modeler, I find it much more satisfying to talk to and meet other modelers. I have met some great people on-line through my website and YouTube channel, people that I never would have met if it had not been for them reaching out to contact me or comment on a video. These new friends have provided much needed information, pointed me in the right direction on a project, or just been very helpful in numerous other ways. I am always glad to help others when they ask for information or help on a project. The friendships and comradery are as important to me as the model railroads we build. I would much prefer to be known as a good friend than a great model railroader.

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