Rick Slingerland

Rick Slingerland

People: Master of minatures designs model railroad worlds

NANAIMO – Rick Slingerland has been creating model railroads for nearly 40 years.

Rick Slingerland gently plucks a fallen figurine lying face down in the sand of his railroad island and  sits her on a beach log.

It’s all about the detail for this master of miniature, who can spend years casting characters and setting the stage for his railroad worlds.

The model train enthusiast has been practicing his hobby for 39 years and has won just about the same number of awards for his craft at train shows.

“They’ve stopped handing out awards because the same people keep winning them,” he said with a grin as he looked at a wood-paneled wall lined with plaques. “Wasn’t me.”

Slingerland can remember his first train. He might have been four or five years old, living in Ontario’s Niagara-on-the-Lake. It had a working engine but not enough strength to pull the engine behind it, he said.

After that, his love of trains was put on the slow track as life took over. As a teenager he worked as a cherry-picker on farms and as a cook at an army camp before joining the navy.

By the time he was 30, he enrolled in art school, something he’d always wanted to do. Trains became his niche market. He even took three cross-Canada trips by train, but it wasn’t until he went to England that he got all aboard the model train hobby.

They were in downtown London and saw a Fleischmann model railway exhibit in sections that put together, were probably bigger than his house, he said.

“I was blown away,” he said.

When he and his wife got back from his trip he started looking at where he could put a model railroad.

He’s since tackled a 16-year ‘desert’ scene project, now stacked in his garage, and is tackling a make-believe island with tiny Mallard ducks the size of a grain of rice, laser-cut ferns and a plantation. The train is wireless and the scene lights up with tiny micro LEDs, but it’s the kind of layout he’s preaching others use. It folds up and folds out in five minutes, an idea inspired by the crates of exhibits that come to the Nanaimo Museum, where he’s the exhibit curator.

People do layouts in their basements and can’t move them, and then they have a floor or have to move and what do they do with it? “They have to destroy it,” he said.

For Slingerland, the satisfaction comes when the glue dries.

“That it’s stuck for one thing, and just finding new ways to do things,” he said. “I like evolving this whole system of building a railroad.”

 

Just Posted

Nanaimo artist Dave Stevens is displaying paintings inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River at Nanaimo Harbourfront Library from now until the end of fall. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo writer and artist’s work goes up at Harbourfront library

Dave Stevens presents work inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River

The courthouse in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo man, already in jail, found guilty of sexual abuse of sons

Man previously sentenced for sexual interference involving girl in Nanaimo

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Stuffed toys, many with donations pinned to them, are piled in the Lions Pavilion at Maffeo Sutton Park at a vigil May 31 honouring the 215 Indigenous children whose remains were discovered outside a residential school in Kamloops. (News Bulletin file photo)
Thousands donated to child and family service agency following Nanaimo vigil

Toys and money donated to Kw’umut Lelum child and family services

A section of proposed Harbourfront Walkway between White Eagle Terrace and Battersea Road. (City of Nanaimo image)
Nanaimo’s proposed walkway extension project estimated at $25-30 million

City asking for feedback on concepts to connect Departure Bay Beach and ferry terminal

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 13 to 19

Flag Day, Garbage Man Day, International Panic Day all coming up this week

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Frank Phillips receives a visit from his wife Rena at Nanaimo Seniors Village on their 61st wedding anniversary, March 31, 2020. Social visits have been allowed since COVID-19 vaccination has been offered in all care homes. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)
B.C. prepares mandatory vaccination for senior care homes

180 more cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Friday, one more death

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Small town residents Reed and Dusty, played by drama students Niya Irving and Cole Simpson, contemplate what brought them to a condemned park and what is keeping them there in the Dover Bay Secondary School production of ‘Bethel Park Falls.’ (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
High school drama students present outdoor performance at Nanaimo’s Dover Bay

Production to be staged in school courtyard with in-person audience

Police in Nanaimo hope the public can help find Sarah Duguay so investigators can check on her well-being. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP trying to find woman who called police for help but hasn’t been located

Sarah Duguay, 40, not reported missing, but police want to check on her well-being

Beef to the pet owner who brought his puppy into the cold beer and wine store, where it promptly peed on another customer’s ankle.
Beefs & Bouquets, June 9

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

Most Read