July 13, 2009 | 3 Comments »

My visit to the Hartford NMRA show last Saturday was to meet in person the people and business i have dealt with since this blog was created. Sure, there were layouts on display but i had seen most of them as they rotated over the various area train shows.

I met Chris Cordes from the Trainz on the Road team. This was the first time i met a fellow Trainzer. We talked Trainz, exchanged likes and dislikes of the Trainz series. Al Barton had also come but we seemed to have missed each other. Trainz World Builder is a great and stable release. Most of the problems of the earlier releases have been fixed.

I finally got a chance to meet Ryan from the Model Railcast show. He was there with his podcast team-mates, Ted and Craig. (Thanks Ryan for the MRCS tshirt!) They have a great and informative railroad podcast (iTunes link).

Joe Fugate from Model-Trains-Video and Model Railroad Hobbyist magazine was there too. If you haven’t read it yet, try out his free PDF railroad magazine. Issue No.3 has been released.

Dave from Model Builder had also come. He showed some of the structures he had made and mentioned that they are working on the version 2 of Model builder.

I felt a little strange getting a picture taken and an autograph from Matt Brown of Extreme Trains. And yes, I did ask him if he was this hyper in real life as in the DVD. He seemed to give the impression that almost everyone has asked him that. I had purchased the Extreme Trains DVD last week and will be posting a review soon.

Click on the picture for the Hartford show gallery:

March 2, 2009 | Comments Off on Rail-a-Rama Train Show

The Rail-a-Rama organized by the Mystic Valley Railway Society was held in Mansfield, Ma yesterday. Even though it was snowing lightly, a steady stream of people were coming in.

The show layout was badly arranged. After you paid the $5 entrance fee, you went to an area which had the vendors and a couple of layouts. After i exited the place, i found there were more layouts and vendors in the corridors “outside” the paid area.

The usual model store and second hand vendors were there. Bakatronics were selling optical fibers, LED’s and electronic modules that allowed LED’s to simulate campfire, Emergency vehicle flashing, arc welding and others that you will find plenty of use for.

There were only 2 HO layouts and a few Lionel ones. If there was a prize, the layout by the Southeastern mass Train Enthusiast ans Modular Modelers (STEAMM) would win hands down. Scenery and structures were sparse but very highly detailed. For trees they had used natural dried weeds on which they sprinkled scenic flock and powder. The effect was great. For pictures of this and others click below for the show gallery:

January 26, 2009 | Comments Off on Railroad Hobby Show – January 2009

Even though it was bitter cold and windy on Saturday, 24th, the annual Railroad Hobby Show held at Eastern States Exposition Fairgrounds was packed.

Most of the familiar and my favorite layouts were there. Central New York Modelers, Valley HO Trak railroad, European Train enthusiasts were all there with their layouts.

This time around, i decided to spend more time, looking at the various vendors at the show. Most time was spent at the Bar Mills and Scenic Express booths.

Bar Mills, had brought almost all their kits. They were placed in dioramas and was a treat to watch at the level of detail. Most pictures in the show gallery are from their kits. They had also brought along their store display models housed in a plexiglas display but it was dusty and had cobwebs. They looked good but when i saw the pictures, i could see the dust and cobweb “details”. They make basic kits that are great (less than $25) for anyone starting out building wood kits.

I knew Scenic Express made good scenic materials but looking at their dioramas made from their leaf flake foliage and Silflor details just proved that even though slightly expensive (if you want to cover a large expanse) it will breathe life to any scene.

I purchased some Bragdon weathering powders (soot, brown, light rust, dark rust). The vendor told me that you just need to brush it on using a stiff brush or toothbrush. I was not happy with my dry-brush and chalk weathering method so decided to give this a try.

Click on the picture for the show gallery:

January 21, 2009 | Comments Off on Train Show Alert

The annual Railroad Hobby Show will be held at Eastern States Exposition Fairgrounds (The Big E) in West Springfield Massachusetts, this weekend. There are four types of clinics this year. As before the exhibitors list is huge. Come prepared to spend almost a day here.

Ticket Prices are $10.00 for adults and children 15 and under are FREE. The parking at the grounds are $5.00. Tickets will be sold on the grounds starting one hour before the show opens. There was a huge line last year for the tickets so do come early.

Show timings:
Saturday January 24, 2009 – 9:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday January 25, 2009 – 10:00am – 5:00pm

December 8, 2008 | Comments Off on Model Train Show December 08

The HUB Division’s Annual Train Expo took place this weekend in Marlborough, MA. There were quite a number of layouts. HO scale was quite well represented here by 6 layouts. The Bristol S Gauge were running a “Grinch Special” which had a Grinch riding a coal tender pulling hoppers and flat cars filled with Hersey’s kisses, M&M’s, candy canes. It sure attracted all the kids like bees to honey!

I went on a Saturday, Ticket prices were $7. I might be wrong but did notice that it was not very crowded. I don’t know if people are cutting back or saving for the big one next month.

I met Scotty Mason at the show. He was showing his excellent modules and selling his DVD’s. Apart from this structure that caught my eye, i noticed the almost realistic trees that he had on his module. He told me that it was Peppergrass. You get them at craft stores like Michael’s or you could buy in bulk (cheaper) from his site. His site describes the method to create realistic trees. I used to think Scenic Express made great trees but these peppergrass trees were equally great.

Though i am into HO, I enjoyed looking at the bigger scales like ON30, S and O. The N scale is getting small for me. Getting old perhaps?

Click on the picture for the show gallery:

Here is a small clip of the layouts.

November 24, 2008 | Comments Off on Greenberg Train Show November 08

This Sunday I went to the Greenberg Train Show that took place at Wilmington, MA. The Greenberg shows usually do a fall/winter and a spring show every year.

The admission tickets were $7 and despite being a bitter cold day many had turned up. I was only able to spend time with a few layouts. The New England LEGO Users Group to me is not a “model railroad” but more of a toy railroad. But, i seemed to be drawn to it every time. Maybe it the scale of the buildings or perhaps the fun details in every inch of the layout, i found myself trying to take it all in.

The other layout i spent all my time in was a HO scale called Better Late that Never. They had a few modules that were detailed exceptionally and other modules were work-in-progress. I found the unfinished modules appropriate in a train show as it gives me and others a good sense of “how-to’s”. Sort of a learning tool. This layout was sponsored by My Dad’s Trains, a model railroad shop based in Wrentham, MA which is a few towns over from mine. The members meet in the basement of My Dad’s Trains every Thursday night. They currently have 4 members and were looking for more. Since i am no where near to my own layout, this will give me a good opportunity to learn and interact with other modelers.

I also came across a flyer from the Mass Bay Railroad Enthusiasts. They are organizing a “Steam in the Snow” event in North Conway, NH on January 3rd. The star would be their 0-6-0 #7470 which was built by the Grand Trunk Railroad in 1921. Lerro Productions will also be holding a night photo shoot on the 3rd and 4th of January. More information about this event is on their website.

Click on the picture for the still gallery:

Here is a small clip of the show.

November 2, 2008 | Comments Off on Brockton Train Show

Now that the cold weather has started to come in, Model railroad shows have started to appear. Today, i went to the 17th Annual Brockton Train show.

The admission tickets were $4 but they were giving a $1 discount for giving them your email. Since it was not a national level show, there were very few layouts. The Cape Cod Model Railroad club was there with their huge HO layout. I liked their Ocean Spray and cranberry bog industry and the aggregate industry. Their boxcars were nicely weathered and they told me they use the chalk and dullcote spray method.

The surprise find was a small N scale layout by Ed Moran. He most the most sweet, enthusiastic, elderly model railroader i have ever come across. Visitors were referring to him as the “cereal box” modeler. He used cereal boxes and printed paper for his structures, girder bridges, road crossing. He created telegraph poles using toothpicks and even had scratch build a ball signal using cassette tape wheels.

Click on the picture for the still gallery:

He was giving great scenery tips to onlookers. Creating trees by twisting wires obtained at Home Depot, bushes using the poly foam at Christmas tree shops. He had used a lot of everyday objects for his modeling. If you wanted to know how he made something on the layout, he gladly told you, in detail and where he got the parts. At some shows, when i asked some questions, i only get 3 to 4 word responses. It was pity though that he did not have a website to showcase his layouts and tips.

Here is a small clip of the show, including Ed’s impromptu clinic.

July 30, 2008 | Comments Off on National Train Show: Anaheim

The 2008 National Train Show was held at Anaheim (site down? try Google Cache) on July 18th-20th.

Some Highlights
Model Railroader has a preliminary and a final report listing the new products that came out.

Model Railroad Hobbyist has a bunch of product videos including Microsoft Train Simulator 2 first public showing.

Some of the better photos from the event i found were Mike’s and Harry K. Wong. Both have a ton of pictures from the show to satisfy all who could not be there.

Orange Country Register’s video of the show sums it all nicely.

April 10, 2008 | Comments Off on NMRA Hub Division Spring Training Event

NMRA Hub Division is having a Spring Training Event this Saturday April 12, 2008 – 10am to 4pm at the Sheraton Milford Hotel, 11 Beaver Street, Milford Massachusetts. [Map]

Some interesting classes will be:

  • Weathering Freight Cars by Scott Mason
  • Digital Photography by Michael Tylick
  • Kitbashing – the art of creative destruction by Dick Johannes
  • Making Trees by Gerald Abegg

Check out the full schedule of the various classes on their site.

March 31, 2008 | Comments Off on Greenberg Train Show Spring 2008

The Greenberg Train Show was held on March 29 & 30, 2008 in Wilmington, MA. The layouts on display were the same as in their fall show. My favourite from last time, the European Train Enthusiasts were there. Layouts from NMRA HUB Division and Northeast NTrak were there among the others.

I visited some of the layouts that i missed last time. The Lego Users Group had a very impressive layout. Every nook and crany was filled with interesting details.

I also met Cam Sargent of Concord who was sitting at his desk, drawing his railroad art using only 3 pencils. He said it takes him, 40-50 hours to complete one drawing. Copies of his prints were for reasonably priced from 16$ to $21.

Click on the picture for the still gallery:

Here is a clip from the show:

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