37th National Narrow Gauge Convention in Denver 2017 – Recap
Let me first explain I have been to one NMRA National Convention and two National Narrow Gauge Conventions in the past – over 11 years ago since the last one. I am still amazed that there is no formal organization that “runs” anything for the NNGC. Just a group of people who bid to have it in their area. This year there was 1,960 in attendance (includes attendees, spouses, vendors and others.) Incredibly, 9 people have attended all 37! I met people (some I already knew) who came from Australia, Japan and Germany. From what I could tell, there were 7 from Utah. Three entered the contest and we got 5 awards! Not bad from our small little group!
All of the “tours” were self-guided. That meant you either used mass transport, your own or rental car or found a ride. I rented a car and put on 550 miles going to 22 layouts. On one day I had a passenger who called me because I put my name on the ride board. I made a new friend from Kansas City and had good time. The modules at the hotel and the layouts I visited were all very well done! The contest room models were incredible – I wanted to vote for every one of them! I also was able to visit the Colorado Model Railroad Museum in Greeley. It was recently insured for 2 million dollars!
I was able to attend a number of clinics as well. I am at the stage where I need to do scenery and I learned (or was reminded) of several things that will help me. I also attended a hands-on clinic with a material I have not used before: Balsa-Foam. At first I was just going to observe but I am glad I joined in. It gave me a chance to see if I want to explore using the material more and I do! Seen below is my sample piece. It is easy to carve and has no memory like other foams. I carved different “styles” trying to achieve numerous effects. It takes colors well but there is a certain trick to doing it well. I like how each of the five techniques turned out and I already have a project in mind for it.
It was a great event, I learned some new things and spread the word about the NMRA National Convention in Salt Lake City in 2019. It was a very positive experience and successful time! I am including this recap as my article for the AP Column because the entire event is what the AP Program is all about. Sharing our experiences and talents helps us all become better modelers. I met old friends, some I had never met in person, and became friends with new people. The AP is not a destination but a journey. Learning new things and helping each other we can enjoy the journey together!