A Visit to John Paganoni’s Central Vermont By
So what did
you miss by not attending John Paganoni’s HO scale Central Vermont open
house in Manassas? For one thing, you missed John’s multiple examples
of scratch-built structures and rolling stock that populate this
wonderful spare-bedroom sized layout. Perhaps most importantly, you
missed the encouragement that you would have taken away from seeing
John’s efforts. John’s layout demonstrates that one need not fill up an
entire basement to enjoy this hobby. Indeed, John’s layout fills a
modest spare bedroom on the second floor of his home made available as
his children have grown. You too can use a spare bedroom to build your
dream layout if you follow in John’s footsteps. Like
many folks, John models the place and time of his childhood. In John’s
case it was Montville, Connecticut. What made the most impression on
me? It can be boiled down to two things – John’s scratch-built New
London wooden roundhouse (which is illuminated) and his scratch-built
fleet of Central Vermont cabooses. John’s six-stall roundhouse reflects
its appearance in the 1950s. I also enjoyed the waterfront scenes John
had in progress. John also has an extensively re-worked Central Vermont
P-1-a class 0-8-0 road number 507 as she looked in 1951. John’s model
earned 112 points out of 125 possible points at our Potomac Division
2015 Mini-Con. We all knew John was a talented modeler who has
frequently shared his modeling talents with our Potomac Division. This,
however, was his first open house. That John’s layout is not completely
landscaped can be ascribed to time spent on his other hobby which is
making highly sought-after mandolins. As
the layout tour coordinator, I would like to stress several takeaways
from our visit. 1.
Your layout need not be complete to host an open house – John’s was not. 2.
Your layout need not have scratch built structures but a smaller layout
gives its owner more time for such endeavors. 3.
His visitors appreciated the comradery that we all enjoyed. 4.
Even though many visitors came just before the 4 PM “cutoff”, all felt
welcome to stay beyond 4PM to chat and, to enjoy Superintendent Brian
Sharon’s banjo playing (John and Brian are both musicians in addition
to their day jobs – though both are retired). 5.
Even if you are retired, you can still host an open house (as layout
tour coordinator, I sometimes hear from folks that they cannot host an
open house because they are retired and just can’t seem to organize
themselves in this phase of their life). 6.
We all enjoyed the snacks John’s wife baked for us and the other
refreshments provided us – Nancy did not let any health challenges stop
her from being a terrific hostess. 7.
A spare bedroom can make for a great layout room. 8.
John improves his modeling skills by working on small dioramas (which
were on display) – so can you! 9.
John did a great job of pointing out the many scratch-built structures
on his layout. 10.
John shared with me that the deadline of his open house impelled him to
make quite a bit of progress on his layout. 11.
John had some trepidation about hosting an open house but when the day
of his open house rolled along, he had something he was proud of, that
ran, had sound, had some illumination, and that he was proud to
describe to visitors. 12.
Visitors appreciated the handout that John had prepared that explained
the prototype that he was modeling. I
believe some of John’s scenes are worthy of the cover of any fine model
railroading magazine – I believe Matt Thompson is working on getting
some photos of John’s layout published. If
you get an opportunity to visit John’s layout during a convention or in
a few years when he is once again on the layout tour, don’t miss it. Thank