Mid- Eastern Region NMRA 2018 Convention


A message from Martin McGuirk:

On behalf of the 2018 MER Convention Clinic Committee, we sincerely appreciate everyone who has volunteered to present a clinic at our Crossroads of the MER Convention. All indications are that we will have an excellent variety of very interesting and informative clinics.

Below you will find a (very much still draft) clinic schedule.

I'm building the clinic schedule based on numerous factors - specific requests from a few clinicians assigned other convention responsibilities, distribution of several repeat presentations, a few day-job limitations, topic similarities, travel plans, and sequencing needs of a few clinics.

Understand there will always be unplanned events and October is a long way away but it's much easier to switch days/time  slots around now rather than trying to do so during the convention!

Each clinic room will be equipped with a laptop and a digital projector (some hard-won advice – if you're planninng to bring your own laptop I strongly suggest you bring an HDMI or whatever adapter you need to get from the computer to the projector!)

We're not planning to set up overhead (Vu Graph) or 35mm slide projectors in the rooms, but if you need one of these projector please let me know and we'll have a projector available.

With many thanks!



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Track 1 Wilson Room Track 2 Truman Room Track 3 Monroe Room
Thursday  7:00 pm — 8:00 pm
Clinician Clinic Title Clinician Clinic Title Clinician Clinic Title
Fred Willis
Crystal River Railroad
MER Board Meeting

Thursday 8:30 pm — 9:30 pm
Brian Sheron
Expanding the Long Island RR
MER Board Meeting

Friday   8:00 am — 9:00 am
Clinician Clinic Title Clinician Clinic Title Clinician Clinic Title
Kurt Thompson
AP Dispatcher Paperwork
Brian Sheron Modeling Urban Scenes
Clint Hyde Editors Workshop
Friday  9:30 am — 10:30 am
Bob Weinheimer Evolution of an Operating Scheme Brian Sheron Backdrops
Clint Hyde Editors Workshop (cont'd)
Friday  11:00 am — 12:00 am
Eric Dervinis
Planning a Model Railroad for Prototype Operations — Some Unconventional Thinking

 Friday  1:00 pm — 2:00 pm
Paul Dolkos Modeling Track in the Streets

Jay Beckham Molding and Casting in Hydrocal and Resin (hands on)
Friday  2:30 pm — 3:30 pm
Lance Mindheim Model Railroading as Art

Jay Beckham Molding and Casting in Hydrocal and Resin (hands on)
Friday  4:00 pm — 5:00 pm
Andrew Dodge Scratchbuilding a Brass Locomotive Mat Thompson Tank car roster for the Oregon Coast RR  Martin Brechbeil Judging
Friday  7:00 pm — 8:00 pm
Andrew Dodge Recreating a Prototype Railroad Mat Thompson Earning AP Merit Awards for Cars and Structures

Friday  8:30 pm — 9:30 pm
Lou Sassi Vehicle/Rolling Stock

Friday  10:00 pm — 11:00 pm

Bill Mosteller HO Knuckle couplers

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Saturday   8:00 am — 9:00 am

Mat Chibbaro Small Layouts and Space Saving Ideas

Saturday  9:30 am — 10:30 am
Lou Sassi Scenery Fred Scheer Working with a Professional Layout Designer Neal Anderson
Speed Ballasting Track
Saturday  11:00 am — 12:00 am
Bob Sprague TBD

John Drye Weathering
 Saturday  1:00 pm — 2:00 pm
Terry Terrance Introduction to Micro-Controllers Andrew Dodge One Modeler's Approach to Building a Layout Jay Beckham Introduction to CMRI
Saturday  2:30 pm — 3:30 pm
Bernie Kempinski High-tech approach to a 19th Century Railroad Marshall Abrams Insurance for Model Railroaders Neal Anderson Lighting Your Layout Room
Saturday  4:00 pm — 5:00 pm

Marshall Abrams Estate Planning

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Sunday   8:00 am — 9:00 am
Clinician 1 Clinic 1 Clinician 2 Clinic 2 Clinician 3 Clinic 3
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Abrams, MarshallPotomac Division occasionally receive queries about disposing of a layout that belonged to a modeler who passed away. The request typically comes from a survivor or executor who doesn’t know much about our hobby and who has many other things on his or her mind at the time. I searched for comprehensive advice to provide and couldn’t find any. Collected information that led to a report and this Estate Planning clinic. Similarly, a question about whether homeowners' insurance would cover a model railroad led to a a report and this Insurance clinic. Clinics: Estate Planning for Model Railroaders, Insurance for Your Model Railroad
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Chibbaro, MatMat Chibbaro has been a model railroader and woodworker for several decades. He combined both skills to author both editions of Kalmbach's Model Railroading in Small Spaces. In addition to the layout in this classroom, Mat will present a power point filled with photos of his many small layouts and space-saving ideas. Clinic: Model Railroading in Small Spaces
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Dodge, AndrewAndrew became interested in model railroading in 1949-59 and build his first layout in 1958. He has modeled in N, HO, Hon3, On3, O Ptoto48, and Live Steam. Prototype modeling and recreating the Colorado Midland as it operated in 1897 is his current interest, which required building everything from scratch. Clinics: One Modeler's Approach to Building a Layout, Recreating a Prototype Railroad, Scratchbuilding a Brass Locomotive.
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Dolkos, PaulPaul is a long time model railroader currently building a layout featuring four different neighborhoods in Baltimore, one of which features tracks in the street and is served by the B&O. Street trackage has always been fascinating to both model railroaders and railfans, probably because there are only about a hundred such installations remaining in the U.S. making them unique. Clinic: Modeling Track in the Streets
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Weinheimer, BobBob started to build a model railroad with operations in mind in the early 1980s. The layout has followed me through two moves and a continual growth. This clinic describes how he dealt with various changes in order to keep things operating smoothly. A key message is that change should be seen as an opportunity, not a troublesome problem. Clinic: Evolution of an Operating Scheme
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Willis, FredFred is a long-time scratch build modeler and amateur historian who finds the history, details and impact of early railroads fascinating. The Crystal River Railroad is an obscure railroad but it traversed very difficult terrain, supported small isolated towns and created many interesting modeling features.Clinic: The Crystal River Railroad
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Clinic Descriptions

The Crystal River Railroad—Fred Willis—The clinic will describe the history, terrain, towns and equipment of this obscure and forgotten Colorado railroad. It will describe how this coal-marble- stock hauling railroad contains man interesting modeling features. 
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Earning AP Merit Awards for Cars and Structures—Mat Thompson
The key to earning Achievement Program Merit Awards for cars and structures is to understand how judging is done. This clinic will review the forms judges use and show examples of models and the points they did (or did not) receive in the process. 
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Estate Planning for Model Railroaders
—Marshall Abrams—This clinic is addressed to model railroaders who are uninterested or unable to continue and want to dispose of their model railroad assets. It also applies to the estate executor who doesn’t know much about our hobby and who has many other things on his or her mind at the time. Topics include: priorities, inventory & value, high value items, written instructions, planning for layout disposition, selling, scenarios, fees, scenarios, references, professional services, and using eBay. A report will be available.
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Evolution of an Operating Scheme—Bob WeinheimerThis clinic describes the operations on my layout and how it has grown and changed over 35 years. The layout has moved twice, providing opportunities for growth and the enhancement of its operational characteristics. The availability of rolling stock and the inability to pass up good deals has led to a large car fleet, which in turn has led to its own challenges. All of these changes have led to the layout as it runs today.
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HO Scale Knuckle Couplers—Bill Mosteller—Explains how to choose the right coupler for a piece of equipment, and how to install in properly.  While the workshop focuses on the Kadee line, it also covers other manufacturers' offerings.
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High Tech Approach to a 19th Century Railroad—Bernie Kempinski—How do you model an ancient steam railroad when little commercial product is available? This talk will describe how  I used some of the latest technology and techniques to build my 19th Century Civil War O scale railroad. I’ll cover laser cutting, photo etching, 3D printing, spin casting, battery powere Locos and a microprocessor controlled How do you model an ancient steam railroad when little commercial product is available? This talk will describe how  I used some of the latest technology and techniques to build my 19th Century Civil War O scale railroad. I’ll cover laser cutting, photo etching, 3D printing, spin casting, battery powere Locos and a microprocessor controlled telegraph system.
Insurance for Your Model Railroad
Marshall AbramsMost model railroaders never think about insurance. This clinic will help you to determine whether your homeowners’ insurance sufficiently covers your model railroad. A decision will require some data gathering and decisions on your part: These questions will be addressed: ■ What coverage does your homeowners' policy provide? ■ What are all the components (e.g., motive power, rolling stock, structures, scenery, benchwork, scenery, structures, wiring, track, power and control electronics), of the railroad worth? ■  What is your subjective assessment of the risk?  ■  Are you going to include repair labor in the insurance? Custom builders are expensive and unlikely to be willing to do repair work on site.
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Model Railroading As Art—Lance Mindheim—In addition to the enjoyment we get from building and operating our layouts, they can also provide tremendous satisfaction from the simple act of viewing them, much as you would a painting in your den. This clinic shares some ideas to enhance that experience. Topics covered include: scene composition, color treatment, layout to backdrop transitions, 'meaningful' details, and photography.
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Model Railroading in Small SpacesMat Chibbaro, author of both editions of Kalmbach's “Model Railroading in Small Spaces”, will present a power point filled with photos of his many small layouts. Space-saving ideas to be presented include sectional, modular, shelf, fold-up, roll-away, dual use, interchangeable inserts, and layouts in furniture.  If you have told yourself you have inadequate space for a layout, this clinic will convince you otherwise. Mat will have one of his layouts in operation at the clinic and will be available for book signing.
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Modeling Track in the Streets—Paul Dolkos— Most prototype track we see is on its own private right-of-way. But sometimes we spot rails running down a street and trains compete with cars, trucks and pedestrians as they pass. Many of these for industry access but some are mainline segments. Street trackage has always intrigued me so it was a “must have” feature on my Baltimore Harbor District layout I’m building. I will present how I built my street trackage and how it is operated.
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Molding and Casting in Resin and Plaster (HANDS ON)Jay    BeckhamThis clinic will cover the basics of producing one part rubber (RTV) molds from scratch built or other masters. It will also cover making castings from the molds using two-part resin and plaster.  Participants will be furnished a master and rubber to make a mold. They will take their mold with them and can remove the master the next day. The master will be a Scale item useful to most model railroaders. They will also be supplied with a cured mold of a different Scale item and will make one or two castings using two-part resin supplied. I will, however, demo making a plaster casting. Time permitting, a demo of two-part mold making will be presented.
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One Modeler's Approach to Building a Layout—Andrew Dodge—Layout building requires a wide range of skills and approaches to problems. The lcinic will explore concepts, designs, prototype or freelance, the layout as art, planning, materials, environmental issues, and operations. Sharing information is critical to the hobby, and we will be looking at lessons learned during the past 65 years.
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Planning a Model Railroad for Prototype Operations — Some Unconventional ThinkingEric DervinisMuch of 2016 I spent thinking about and designing a model railroad, with serious operations in mind. My mid-1950’s Lackawanna Bloomsburg Branch has been under construction since February 2017, and much has been accomplished including all of the benchwork. The goal is some test op sessions in later part of this year. Be warned, that I have decided against some of the ‘established’ norms for design.
Recreating a Prototype Railroad—Andrew Dodge—This clinic will be a wide ranging look at the selection process of what can and will hold the modeler's interest. Additional issues will include the concept and theme of the prospective railroad and design issues associated with time, space, and abilities. Also, we will look at the related topic of operational questions related to how the prototype performed its work and how that might be translated into a model setting. 
Scratchbuilding a Brass Locomotive—Andrew Dodge—The clinic will review the mental "can do" attitude required before starting on such an adventure. One of the major focuses will be on the tools needed and types of materials best suited to fabrication of a brass engine. Design and building steps will be examined in full detail with lots of photos showing the design and building steps for such a fun project.
Tank cars for the 1957 Oregon Coast—Mat Thompson—Tank cars can add color and interest to your railroad but determining appropriate cars is a challenge. Questions to consider include when was the car was built? What does the car carry? Who uses that product? Would the product come from your modeled area, come to your modeled area, or pass through the area? Which companies owning or leasing tank cars would serve your area? Is the car paint scheme correct for your railroad’s time period? What loading and unloading facilities are needed? Mat Thompson will explain how he answered these questions and others to build the tank car roster for his Oregon Coast Railroad set in 1957.