Yes, we have clinics and are fortunate to have many of the clinicians from the 2020 "Van Nuys Local" Convention agree to give their clinics aboard the Orange Blossom Special. If you had “to die for” the 2020 clinic, you may find it in our Orange Blossom clinic line up. 

We list the clinics in alphabetical order of the clinicians. The first listing is just the titles, go farther down in the list to see the description of each clinic.





The Cricut Maker - poor man’s laser and more

Clinician: David Arendes

In this clinic, David will cover the “Cricut Design Space” and how to use its model railroad applications.  He will also demonstrate how to design and cut a simple structure with the “Cricut Maker” Other uses for the “Cricut Maker” will also be explored.


Modeling Virginia and Truckee with ideas on Layout Design Elements

Clinician: David Arendes

A Powerpoint presentation to provide ideas on modeling the Virginia and Truckee Railroad. This will include a bit of the V&T history with suggestions on scenes to include.  This will include discussion of traffic flows during the glory days of the Comstock.




Scratch Building Structures

Clinician: Frank Baker

Learn to build structures from scratch using photos, dimensional drawings, paintings, or your imagination. The clinic includes sketching of ideas, making a layout drawing of a structure.  Learn the importance of a white model. AIso:

  • Learn about the dynamics of materials including warping and bracing.
  • How to build a white model.
  • Documentation of the structure built.
  • Painting and weathering.
  • Historical references.
  • Keep a log on your build.

References include several scratch-built structures on my layout including East End Market, Chester Station, Ironia Station, and Elwell’s Bar. The presentation will include the use of white models and finished models, sketches, and documentation.



NMRA Achievement Program Basics & Workshop

Clinicians: Garry Butts, & James Keena

This extended clinic will cover the NMRA Achievement Program from Basics through Advanced. A presentation covering Contest Judging and AP Evaluation methods and techniques will follow for those interested in becoming an evaluator or those wanting to learn more about the evaluation processes. Understanding the process will help you improve your modeling AP score. The last part of the clinic will be open for questions and answers and have one on one discussions about the AP paperwork, categories, and requirements. 



Arduino for Special Effects

Clinician: Mack Carnighan

This clinic will cover the basic function of the Arduino control board and how to design the programming to control lighting, motors, relays, and servos. The algorithms to control lights will be examined and how to create a timed sequence to control effects. The method for controlling the board from exterior inputs will also be covered.



Chalk Markings

Clinician: Robert Chaparro

A presentation on how railroad employees communicated using chalk marks on freight cars to convey important information that other railroad employees needed to know in order to perform their work. This was typical during the steam and diesel transition eras.



Citrus Industry Operations

Clinician: Robert Chaparro

This presentation covers railroad perishable operations with an emphasis on the Southern California citrus industry, including refrigerator car preparation, loading, in-transit servicing, routing, and delivery. We also will touch on packing houses, how a perishable train is assembled, support facilities, mechanical vs. ice bunker cars, what is done with returning refrigerator cars and railroad traffic and operations which support citrus traffic. The presentation will focus on the years 1910 to 1973.



Freight Car Tune-Up Tips

Clinician: Robert Chaparro

The purpose of this presentation is to help you enjoy operating your trains through tips for making your freight cars operate more reliably. Topics to be covered include tools, techniques and materials, plus standards, wheels, trucks, couplers, suspension, weights, center of gravity, and testing.



Open Car Loads

Clinician: Robert Chaparro

A look at loads that modelers can duplicate with an emphasis on non-specialized flat cars and gondolas in the steam and transition eras. Prototype practices are explored through photos and diagrams.



Pacific Electric's Freight Operations in the San Fernando Valley

Clinician: David Coscia

The San Fernando Valley Line of Pacific Electric Railway was served by electric freight motors from 1911 to 1952, and the San Fernando "freight island" by internal combustion locomotives from 1945 to 1963. Photographs and information will be provided about operations which provided general freight service, but also provided specialized service to sugar beet dumps and agricultural packing houses.



Pacific Electric’s Passenger Operations in the San Fernando Valley

Clinician: David Coscia

PE's San Fernando Valley Line operated passenger service from 1911 to 1952. Service was provided using street cars and motor coaches to the communities of North Hollywood, Van Nuys, Reseda, Canoga Park, and Woodland Hills, and to the City of San Fernando. Photos and information will be provided about construction of the lines, operations, and their demise.



Burbank Branch of Southern Pacific

Clinician: David Coscia

Southern Pacific's Burbank Branch served the southern and western portions of the San Fernando Valley. From 1893 until the late 1930s, the branch primarily served agricultural interests with box cars and refrigerator cars. From the 1940s until its demise in the 1990s, the branch had many industries that required box cars, flat cars, and even tank cars. Photos and information will be provided about operations using both steam locomotives, diesel locomotives, and passenger service provided by McKeen cars



Enhancing Operations Via Special Actions & Instructions

Clinician: Al Daumann

This clinic describes the development and use of Special Actions & Instructions (SA&Is) to enhance operations by creating additional moves / steps during the ops session that normally would be made between sessions or not at all. The SA&Is discussed in this clinic include passenger ops (passenger tickets & bags of mail), freight ops (empty moves, livestock, reefers & LCL), and steam loco ops (Water & Fuel Service). The clinic uses examples and samples from the author's bedroom-sized Burney, Redding & Western home layout, showing how to increase guest operator interest and challenges even on a small layout.



Lessons Learned in Creating My first Merit Award Structure

Clinician: Morrie Fleishman

The objective of participating in the NMRA Achievement Program, for me, is to cause me to learn new skills and make my modeling better while having fun.  This clinic details the steps taken and lessons learned in creating my first structure that earned a Merit Award In the Structures Category.


Morrie Fleishman has been a Model Railroader for many years and his current HO layout is his 7th, and his G Gauge layout is his first in that size. Morrie is the current newsletter editor for the Cajon Division and splits the editorship for the Orange County Garden Railway Society. He is an active member of the Orange County Module Railroaders is the Registrar for Orange Blossom Special. He is pursuing an MMR and has already obtained the Volunteer and Author certificates. He is retired from Southern California Edison and is also busy teaching the joys of Model Railroading to his two grandsons who like Thomas wooden trains and running both his layouts. 



1940’s Model Railroading In San Diego

Clinician: Don Fowler MMR

Travel back in time about 80 years to visit one of San Diego’s first HO model railroad clubs; “THE PACIFIC & SOUTHWESTERN”.  A set of photos were recently discovered that reveal early scenery techniques, locomotives, and rolling stock on a large club layout.  You’ll be surprised to learn what has changed and what has remained the same.



Keep ‘em Rolling

Clinician: Don Fowler MMR

When you think about all of the physical forces and dynamics involved in keeping rolling stock running smoothly without uncoupling or derailments, it’s a miracle that we can run a train around a loop of track without incident.  While presented by an N scaler, the principles and tips provided apply to every scale.



Basic Airbrushing

Clinician: Ed Hall

Ed will talk about what airbrush is best for you, paint to use, what tape is best and how to mask.



Detailing and Painting a Southern Pacific AC4400CW

Clinician: Ed Hall

This clinic is how to paint and detail the last locomotive purchased by the Southern Pacific



Basic Scenery Techniques

Clinician: Carl Heimberger

This clinic will discuss basic landforms and geology, how to apply soil, ground covers, shrubs, trees, and other landscape elements.



Install flawless track

Clinician: Carl Heimberger

If your train derails going around a curve or through a turnout, this is a must-attend clinic. The clinic will discuss the basics of flawless track work. Topics to be covered include preparation of the base material, roadbed, installing track and turnouts, how and where to use easement and horizontal curves, and why you should care.  Also discussed will be tools you can buy or build yourself to assist you in creating flawless track work. Just remember every car has 8 wheels with flanges just looking for a place to derail, and trains on the ground take all the fun out of model railroading.


Modular Railroading - Concepts, Applications & Lessons Learned!

Clinician: Richard Hock

The idea of modular railroading and modular layouts is nothing new.  Much has been said and written over the years.  Modular clubs have come and gone and evolved.  Re-entry into the hobby took the form of a HO scale module club some fifteen years ago.  Since then and two clubs later… this clinic summaries some of those writings, concepts, shared practices, and the application of those experiences and perceptions into the construction of a layout idea. 



Modeling Adobe and Stucco Structures 

Clinician: Nick Lisica

In this clinic, we will discuss simple and effective methods to model adobe and stucco buildings. We will begin by discussing the history of the prototypes and where to find them, then discuss how to use common household materials to recreate these buildings in miniature. Finally, these tips and tricks will be demonstrated to illustrate how simple it is to create realistic results.



An Experiment in Backdrop Painting

Clinician: Bob Mitchell

During this clinic you will learn the essentials of painting sky backdrops, adding realistic clouds, distant mountains, rolling hills.  Bob began giving this clinic because his layout was going to require 135 feet of painted backdrop. He had never painted anything until two days prior to giving this clinic for the first time in San Diego a number of years ago…Hence, it was an Experiment that even surprised him. Since then he has learned and developed new techniques.  After this clinic, you will no longer have an excuse for putting off painting that eye-opening backdrop for your “Railroad Empire”, no matter how small or large. There will be a practice session after the clinic for those who wish to remain and practice what they learn. Do not forget to bring your own brushes if you plan on staying behind. Bob will provide the required paint and palettes.



Layout Without a Plan: Changes as You Go Along

Clinician: Bruce Morden

What happens if you build a layout and then want to make changes? Add signals, change track arrangements, add more lighting, add animation, and more? The argument for building small and experimenting before you build your life layout.



Layout Planning for Ops

Clinician: Joel Morse

Do you have a layout or are you in the process of building a layout? Even if you do not think you will ever do Operations on your layout, this clinic will provide you with some considerations so you can make your layout look and run more prototypically. Joel has been operating his 150 sf N Scale layout with crews of 6-9, for the past 8 years, and he will share the mistakes and successes of his experience with you.  This clinic is designed to provide you with an understanding and appreciation for what you may need to do to get your layout from where it is today, to your first operating session.


Layout Planning for Ops

Clinician: Joel Morse

Do you have a layout or are you in the process of building a layout? Even if you do not think you will ever do Operations on your layout, this clinic will provide you with some considerations so you can make your layout look and run more prototypically. Joel has been operating his 150 sf N Scale layout with crews of 6-9, for the past 8 years, and he will share the mistakes and successes of his experience with you.  This clinic is designed to provide you with an understanding and appreciation for what you may need to do to get your layout from where it is today, to your first operating session.



Coast-Gemco Yard Operations

Clinician: Mike Osborne

NOTE: Due to the travel time to the GEMCO Yard this clinic will not be given in the hotel as planned. It will only be given on the tour bus at GEMCO Yard which departs the hotel at 9:00 am. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

Mike is currently a UP/SP conductor with 41 years of experience and works the Coast-Gemco Yard in Van Nuys.  His clinic will cover yard operations and work required to classify and build trains for various industries and destinations.  This should be valuable information to any modeler with a railroad, whether you run Ops or not.  Tips from this clinic will allow you to run a more prototypical yard.



Raspberry PIs for Wireless DCC Control

Clinician: Jim Smith

This clinic will cover how to acquire and setup an inexpensive Raspberry Pi computer to act as a secure wireless link between iOS/Android smart devices and most DCC controllers.



Creating Interesting Model R/R Landscapes

Clinician: Kevin Spady

Are you finding it challenging to get beyond laying track?  Are you stuck trying to figure out how to make your layout as realistic as possible?  This clinic is an On30 exploration of tips and tricks to develop realistic looking landscapes on your model railroad.  Land formations, soil conditions, water, and plants and ground covers are all covered in this clinic by Kevin Spady. 



On30 Modular Railroading:  The Pudding River Lumber Co.

Clinician: Kevin Spady

An exploration of modular railroading in On30.  Kevin Spady began developing modules when he became interested in the California South Coast On30 Modular Group in 2012.  He has built several detailed modules that have been presented in the On30 Annual magazine.  This clinic is an exploration of what it means to build in modular format and covers several “how to” tips for developing detailed modular scenes.



Module Design and Construction

Clinician: Steve Stallings

This clinic will focus on the construction and scenic finishing of a module for a modular railroad club.  It includes scale details for a trestle, road, creek, cliffs, barbed wire fencing, ground cover and scenic details, most of which are scratch built.  It will cover techniques, materials and tools to create a scene that fits into the rolling hills and live oak trees that cover many parts of Southern California.  The clinic will take you through the entire process from start to finish.  These techniques can be applied to any model railroad in any scale.



Exploring T-Trak Layout Possibilities

Clinician: Paul Stoner

T-Trak modular railroading is rapidly becoming a popular form of modular model railroading here in North America and in many other countries around the world. Requiring minimal commitments of time, money, and space, the concept is expanding from its N-scale roots into HO, Z, and other scales.  T-Trak displays are becoming popular at an increasing number of model railroad events, some of them quite elaborate. Using a few basic module types, modelers can create model railroad layouts for home or public display ranging from a simple oval to a complex arrangement. Once a layout plan has been established, it can be easily and quickly assembled with trains running in a matter of minutes, Examples of various T-Trak layouts from recent public events around the country will be presented.



Ron’s way to do water

Clinician: Ron Varnell

During the lock down this past year, I was able to explore building things I had never tried.  One think that scared me was water.  I started exploring methods to make water look real.  I would like to share a few techniques that I have learned.  I will have step by step examples of my work to share and a power point presentation to hand out.  My pier in water made a splash at the Cajon Division meet in April this year.



3D Printing Primer

Clinician: Moira Wilkie

You keep hearing the buzz about 3d printing but don’t know what it is all about this is the clinic for you.

We will discuss what 3D printing is, the different types of printers available, and what you can create with them.

By clinic’s end you should have a fundamental understating of 3D printing and know if it is something you will want to add to your model railroading toolkit.



Budd's RDC's and Western Pacific's Zephyrette Service

Clinician: Mark Williams

We take a look at the design and development of the Budd Corporation's Rail Diesel Cars, the various models produced, and Western Pacific's use of RDCs in their Salt Lake City - Oakland Zephyrette service from 1950 to 1960.  WP was the first railroad to order the new Budd RDCs, and the WP route was the longest distance that RDCs were used in regular passenger service.  We finish off with a virtual ride from Salt Lake to Oakland on the Zephyrette.

 Updated 08-26-2021