March 28, 2008 | Comments Off on Guide to Attending Train Shows

I just started attending train shows since i started this blog. After every show, i always missed or forgot something. So i decided to list my tips here, for attending train shows.

Usually they have the shows over the weekend. Try to get there early on the first day to beat the crowds. Or if it is just the pictures of layouts you are after, getting there 2 or 3 hours before close on the last day will also help in avoiding the crowds.

Carry a backpack to store all the flyers, items you might buy there and your camera/camcorder. Do wear comfy shoes. The Amherst show held this year was spread out over 3 buildings and my feet hurt by the end of it. Carry some snacks and water. A true rail fan cannot waste time on food 😉

Taking Pictures:

  • To get good pictures, a nice camera with zoom and image stabilization would be great. Ideally, a tripod will be nice but with the crowds mingling about, it will be a pain to setup and use.
  • When the doors open, visit all the layouts quickly and see which you like. Then come back to your favorites ones and click away. Also, i have noticed that in the first few hours, the operators seem to be relaxed and free to talk with you.
  • Take pics of the club layout names as it will be easy to remember whose layout it is, if you want to write about it later.
  • Just before leaving, review your pictures and see if some of them need to be retaken.

Picture Tips:

  • Most generic model train show pictures are top down. Break the mold. Try going for eye-level shots if the layouts have not put a plexiglass on the sides. Real life rules for picture-taking also apply here.
  • If you can get close to the models, switch your camera to the Macro mode.
  • Set your camera to Automatic White Balance.
  • Please do not use flash. Most pictures get washed out.
  • If your camera has a timer, use it. Since you will not be using flash, the picture will be prone to camera shake. Even clicking the shutter might shake the camera. Use the timer, and hold steady. Since a tripod is cumbersome at a train show, maybe you can try the $1 tripod.

Taking Movie Clips:
Some cameras can take decent movie clips. If yours doesn’t and you don’t have or don’t want to bring your camcorder, you could go for a Flip Camcorder. I have been thinking about it but waiting for a sale. Movie clips would be hard without a tripod but try taking steady clips every 10-15 seconds. You can edit and stitch them later using Movie maker or any other software.

Some merchants don’t take Credit/Debit cards. Carry some cash. Also its very easy to get carried away and wanting to buy a lot of stuff. Having cash stops you from over spending.

Have a generic list of what you might buy. It will keep you in focus. If you see some new product but want to research it a bit, take a picture of the dealers name. I used to write their names or take their business card but often i lost them.

February 21, 2008 | Comments Off on Craftsman Structure Show 2008

The 2008 Craftsman Structure Show will he held this year on November 13-15th at the Holiday Inn, Mansfield MA. I know its too early but they are offering a three day pass for $90. Here are some of the clincis that are scheduled. Please check the site for the entire list and dates.

1. Painting Little People with Dave Revelia
2. Painting and Weathering Detail Castings with Brett Gallant
3. Painting and Weathering Wood Walls with Bob Mitchell
4. How to Turn Your Hobby Into a Business with Scott Mason
5. Building Water with Dave Frary
6. Alternative Building Methods and Materials with Bob Mitchell
7. Quick Interiors with Michael Tylick
8. Structure Building Techniques with Brian Nolan
9. Model Railroad Photography with Lou Sassi

All of these persons are experts in their fields and their names might be familiar. I sure could learn some scratchbuiilding tips from the pros.

January 28, 2008 | Comments Off on Amherst Train Show 2008

The Ahmerst Railway Society’s annual Train Show was held on January 26-27th in Springfield,MA. This show was huge. There were 4 buildings full of layouts and vendors. My feet hurt by the end of it, from walking all around.

There were the usual model suppliers and vendors but a few new ones caught my attention. Billboards and animated signs from Miller Engineering would be a great addition to any layout. These were very thin and run on 4.5V. You could put it on top of or against your structures.

LARC Railroad Graphics were selling backdrop photos on a CD. You just print it out and glue it. I liked this method given my lack of painting skills.

There were many layouts. If there was a prize, i would give it to the HO layout from Central New York Modellers. Most of the pictures in the gallery and the video clip are theirs. The foliage was plentiful. The structures were highly detailed and some even had interiors. They had the most DPI ie, details-per-sq. inch. You could see the hard work and time they must have devoted to their layout. I also noticed that they used a lot of tricks to create perspective. Cutouts of small structures were place strategically on distant hills for depth.

From Connecticut, Mohegan Pequot Model Railroad Club HO layout was also detailed and had clever use of foliage and clumps of grass/bushes. Their site has an instructive How TO sections that has a number of great articles.

The layout by the Pepperell Model Club was also good.

Here is a clip from the show. I used my digital camera’s movie mode. I should have used a higher resolution. Oh! well.

Click on the picture for the still gallery:

January 23, 2008 | Comments Off on Train Show Alert

The Amherst Train show is this weekend at the Eastern States Exposition in Springfield. The list of exhibitors is huge and i wonder if i will be able to see it all. The show clincs seem to be worth attending. They open the ticket counter an hour early, ie 8 am, which means i will have to leave real early. Lookout for pictures from the show in a later post.

December 3, 2007 | Comments Off on HUB Division’s Annual Train Expo

The HUB Division’s Annual Train Expo took place this weekend in Marlborough, MA. I was pleasantly surprised to find a HO layout of the European Train Enthusiasts of New England. Just what i had wanted! They were a Marklin outfit and found out they are accepting members. Once a month you meet other members who share your interests. It sounds like fun and I might give it a try.

The Cape Cod Layout had a great selection of US boxcars, some of which were realistically weathered.

The Amherst Belt Lines layout had enlarged digital photographs of the protptypical location and used it as backdrops. The effect was stunning.

In all there were 4 HO, 1 S gauge and 1 O gauge layouts. Marklin seemed to be well represented as there were a few vendors selling marklin starter sets, digital control modules. Vendors and visitors all seem to be talking about the “Big One” coming next month… the Springfield Train show.

Click on the picture for the gallery:

November 23, 2007 | Comments Off on Greenberg Train Show

Last weekend, i attended the Greenberg Train Show in Wilmington,MA. The layouts that interested me were the NMRA Hub Division – 32’x40′ HO scale layout, Northeast N-TRAK – 24’x33′ N scale layout.

I liked the NMRA layout. It was very detailed and you could the see hard work gone into each corner of the layout. While some visitors were asking questions about weathering and prototypical operations, others esp. little ones, were awed by the length of the trains some of the operators were running.

Click on the picture for the gallery::

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