As of September 9th, there are 46 different clinics on topics ranging from layout design, operations, scenery, prototype and many others.  Hands On clinics will run 2 hours or longer. Watch this page for clinic descriptions and updates. Our schedule is full. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



As of 9/9/2018 these are the confirmed clinics.

  • New clinic descriptions will be added as they become available
  • Clinics are listed alphabetically by the clinicians last name.
  • All clinics are subject to change.
  • All Times and Room assignments are subject to change.
  • While at the convention, check with the Company Store for updates.

2019 NMRA National Convention – Salt Lake City

By: Steve Moore

Steve and members of the committee will give a presentation on the activities and events at the NMRA National convention being held in Salt Lake City July 7 -13, 2019. If you have never attended a NMRA National Convention, this is one to consider.


Using a Cricut™ Cutter

By: Dave Arendas

This clinic will discuss how to use a Cricut™ cutter in scale modeling.  Examples produced by the Cricut™ will be shown and ideas for the use of the Cricut™ will be talked about. The Cricut™ can be used to produce signs, painting masks, mockups of structures, to whole structures being produced. This will be an introduction to a useful modeling tool.


FOS Yard Office #1 Hands On
By: Frank Baker

An experienced scratch builder of structures, Frank specializes in high end wooden kits and scratch built structures. His structures are award winning. He is currently working  on a scratch built structure for Lou Sassi , photographer for Model Railroader. The building for Lou will be in a future Model Railroader Magazine. His layout has over 175 scratch, kit and heavily modified building on it. Frank’s layout will in the 2019 Great Model Railroads coming out in October 2018.

This is a simple kit that allows the builder to learn some key techniques on construction, painting and weathering. One of the key factors in any structure is bracing. Bracing is critical for long term appearance of the structure. With the right glue and weight, walls and roofs will stay straight for many, many years. Utilizing inexpensive acrylic paints, you will learn how to create an “aged” look to your Paint job.  Learn how to apply pigments, A&I and powders. Create a structure that has weathered on base of the wall, sun exposure, weathered roofing and other features.

You will also learn how to apply billboards or signs on a building to give worn image appearance.

Tools required;

  • #11 x-acto razor blades and handle
  • Machinist square or equivalent
  • 2 pcs. 1/8” x 1/8” x 24” basswood
  • Standard foam sanding blocks 80 and 120 grit
  • Pounce wheel / HO scale
  • Elmer’s carpenter yellow wood glue
  • Paint brushes 1” flat tip and ¼ “ round
  • PanPastels – rust & grey
  • Acrylic paints for structure ( your choice)white and two colors
  • Wooden clothes pins
  • Wooden or plastic cutting mat
  • Other materials will be furnished by the clinician include: single edge razor blades, towels, acrylic paints, q tips, water cups , BandAids, etc….

This is an extra fare clinic.  Attendees need to purchase the clinic through the Extra Fare page of the Company Store.

Achievement Program Paperwork Workshop

by: Gary Butts, MMR

Description:  Bring your Achievement Program models (Motive Power, Rolling stock or Structures) along with photos of the models’ prototype, prototype practice or prototype inspiration, and any drawings or plans that were used or generated, to get help organizing the required AP paperwork prior to submitting you model for evaluation.  Going for your Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Author, or Volunteer Achievement Award?  Bring your track plans, schematic, articles, this workshop to get advice on how to prepare your application.  Sample Merit Award paperwork submissions will be available.  This clinic is not a lecture but informal individualized help with the paperwork side of the AP program.


Southern Pacific Official Cars

By: Jeff Cauthen

The period covered will be from 1869 through September 1996.  The cars covered will include the earliest wood cars, the heavyweight steel cars, and the last streamlined car.  Representative photos of the cars will be presented along with notes on modeling the cars.


Chalk It Up - Partial Hands On (No additional Fee)

By: Bob Chaparro

Chalk markings were used by railroad employees to communicate among themselves, typically in yards. These marks conveyed important information that other railroad employees needed to know in order to perform their work. Chalk markings could communicate a variety of instructions and freight car conditions, such as handling of a specific car, condition of equipment needing repair, routings and interchanges, track assignments, etc.

This clinic will discuss the uses of chalk markings and illustrate a variety of these with photos. The clinic will conclude with a "hands-on" session for those who wish to simulate chalk markings on a boxcar.

At the end of Bob's presentation there will be a brief "hands on" session to allow attendees to practice making chalk marks.

I will provide the special art pencils but participants will need to bring a dark boxcar body (HO scale and up) on which to practice. The boxcar body should already have a clear, dulling layer to provide a better surface for chalk marks.


Techniques for Developing RR Operations

By: David Doiron

Shows methods for adding ops to an existing RR and components that can be included on a new RR to enable Model RR operations. Illustrates the “Three Essentials” of Model RR operations. Discusses various goals and options that are possible in the process. Discusses matching the ops to developing skill levels.


Car Cards & Waybills

By: David Doiron

Describes how car forwarding is one of the “Three Essentials”. Talks about the pros and cons of various car forwarding systems. Describes the history of the development of conventional car cards & waybills. Step by step description of setting up a typical system for the first time.


Introduction to Timetable & Train Order Ops 

By: David Doiron

(The Steve King clinic that I have been given permission to present in his absence.)

Describes how moving traffic “over the road” is one of the “Three Essentials”. Talks about the pros and cons TTTO and why it has such appeal. Step by step discussion of the simplified basics to get started.


Creating RR Operations “Jobs”

By: David Doiron

Describes the different approaches to dividing up the work during an op session. Talks about the pros and cons of each. Describes the particular benefits of the “Jobs” method, especially for beginners. Discusses how to implement Jobs on a model RR.


San Diego Model Railroad Association 1945-Era Train Order Operations
By: John Fiscella

The San Diego Model Railroad’s exhibit in the Museum in Balboa Park models the San Diego & Arizona Eastern Railway. This exhibit is a point-to-point railroad between San Diego and El Centro, with over 50 freight customer opportunities. This clinic describes the operation based on the 1945 traffic of the SD&AE using track warrants and car cards, including dispatching; with scheduled, regular extra and special trains, along with emergencies. The operation can accomodate up to about 30 operators. 


Modeling Passenger Trains: the Consist Method and Research
By: John Fiscella

Accurate passenger train modeling demands that a prototypical consist be used for a particular train and era. This clinic will describe different types of consists, problems with representing accurate consists, and how to research consist data.


Cajon at War: Seven Days in May 1945.

By Stuart A. Forsyth

This clinic shares the fascinating results of analyzing Santa Fe Los Angeles Division First District (Cajon Pass) train sheets for May 1-7, 1945.  Learn about all the information that is on a train sheet; the FileMaker database that was built to analyze them; and what the train sheets reveal—including the numbers, lengths, tonnages and speeds of the trains operated, and the types, numbers and assignments of the engines used to haul them.  See a day in the life of an operator at Summit, as well as a steam locomotive assigned to helper
service.  Learn how Santa Fe and Union Pacific ran the railroad during the punishing-traffic days of World War II and the engines you need to model those operations.



By: 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.



By: 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.


Basic Airbrushing I

By: Ed Hall MMR

Ed will have a presentation about the airbrush and where it came from, discussion will include different types of airbrushes, taping techniques and different kinds of paint. This is an open discussion presentation.


Airbrushing II

By: Ed Hall MMR

Ed will discuss the basics covered in the AB-I clinic but will add additional details to each topic. This will be a hands-on clinic, each attendant will be using an airbrush to get hands-on knowledge on the use of the gun. Ed will also show how to clean a brush and show how to keep in useful for years to come.


Modeling Desert Scenery

By: Travis Handschug

Nothing says Sonoran Desert like saguaro cactus and ocotillos. I'll share my techniques for making both with simple materials. I will also cover bushes, yucca plants and prickly pear cactus. These techniques will work for most scales.



By: Chuck Hart

Chuck will discuss the development of Crew Train Packs used on the PCE. The Train Packs include all information for a crew to pick up a train, run from station to station, deliver and pick up cars and terminate at the end of the run. Also discussed will be Waybills, Car Cards, Empty Car Returns, Capturing Empty Cars, a twist on restaging and other operation details. Yard Operation and Crew Job Instructions will be briefly described. Chuck will show how the necessary forms were made using common Data Base Software.


Make Some Trees – Hands On

By: Jeff Hermann

Not long after graduating from the “Plywood Central RR”, most model railroaders decide that after adding a few buildings, developing some scenery is the next major step. This will of course, include adding trees. In most cases, lots of trees! No matter how big or small your layout is, it always seems like you never have enough trees. Buying commercially pre-made trees is one solution, but it can get expensive in a hurry. In this clinic I will explore several methods I use to make good looking (my opinion) generic conifer and deciduous trees.


Decaling Cars

By: Bob Kale

The basics of using decals for model railroaders.   (What I have learned in over 40 years of trying to get it right.) Bob will share many of his techniques that result in very realistic models.


Hands On Make and Take Clinic Using Pan Pastels

By: James Keena

In this hands-on clinic, participants will be able to make and take home their own box car that they have weathered themselves using Pan Pastels. Each person will receive a free box car for learning hands on methods of application. Various colors of Pan Pastels and applicators will be provide and available for use in the clinic. Several different ways and methods of application of the weathering powders will be demonstrated for you to try yourselves. If you always wanted to try this new method of weathering, here is your opportunity to try and test out the method at no out of pocket cost. Pan Pastels can be combined with other methods of weathering such as dry brushing, paint and alcohol washes as well as with other pigments that are available. Pan Pastels and application tools can be obtained at local hobbies shops, artist supply stores and from online retailers.


3D Printed Turnout Controls
By: Duncan McRee

3D printers have become quite common and we increasingly see them used for
modeling but they can also be used to make lots of other useful items for you layout.
In this clinic I will describe the making of a number of turnout machines using 3D printed
servo brackets. With 3D printing you can make lots of odd shapes and sizes for novel 
switch machines - such as ones that mount in the roadbed, in foam, on the tabletop and so forth.
A quick Sketch-up and 3D printing tutorial will be given.


Using An Arduino Hands-On -  Extra Fare

By:John R. Mick

This clinic will teach attendees how to use the Arduino and its Integrated Development Environment (IDE); how to provide control for dozens/hundreds of different uses for it in our hobby. The audience for this clinic should be all modelers interested in any kind of animation on their layout. The result will be the ability to develop their own systems containing lights, LEDs, motors, servos, displays, relays, solenoids, or whatever they come up with, to build all kinds of interesting additions to their layout.

The clinic will begin with about two-hours of lecture intermixed with running example experiments with the Arduino UNO and new custom-built experiments board. This will be followed by two hours of hands-on experimenting by the attendees to modify/write Arduino code. Attendees should leave with an understanding of the Arduino features, interfacing, and using the IDE to create software for their projects.

Attendees need only bring a laptop PC or MAC. Attendees will receive an Arduino UNO with USB cable, 5VDC power adapter, a new custom designed experiments board and wires for experiments using the UNO and experiments board. A DVD will be provided containing all the software needed for successful learning of the Arduino, interface connections and using the IDE to create the software.
Laptop Computer Requirements: Any laptop should work. To test yours, go to Click on Software. Download the Arduino IDE. Open it. If it comes up and runs – do the following. Look under file - Examples – basic - blink and try loading it. Then under sketch, click Verify/Compile. If it says, “Done compiling”, then your laptop is OK. Bring it to the clinic with the IDE loaded."

This is an extra fare clinic.  Attendees need to purchase the clinic through the Extra Fare page of the Company Store.


The AP Program

By: Bruce Petrarca MMR

Bruce will discuss the AP program and break down some of the and address the details associated with the program.  He will discuss the difference between contest judging and AP Evaluations. 


Finer than Fine Scale

By:  Jim Providenza

Join Jim as he relates his adventures over the last dozen years modeling the Maine 2 foot gauge Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes RR in his backyard. Jim decided to model the SR&RL in a combination of scale (1:20.3) and gauge (2 foot) using prototype wheel and track dimensions which has him kitbashing or scratchbuilding almost everything!


Realistic Operations

By:  Jim Providenza

What does it mean to operate your (model) railroad realistically?  Join Jim as he looks at the various aspects of running trains in a way that emulates the work of real railroaders.  We will look at how types of trains, various jobs and the era, locale and type of railroad modeled interact to create an “operating session”.


How to Load and Tie Down Non Prototypical Loads

By: Marion Rice and Fred Delevati

 We will show the type of tools needed, for loading bulkhead flat, 40' and 50" flats, boxcars ad gondolas.  There will be a slide show of the types of loads we do in both HO and N scale.   .   


Meet the Layouts Running OPS at the Convention

By: Dick Roberts MMR

This is a short introduction to each of the layouts that will be open for operating sessions.  It includes an introduction to the owner as well as details of the layout and how it is run; size, design, prototype/free-lance operations, operating scheme and control system are discussed.  Photos of each layout provide orientation to the layout space.


Detailing 1950s Garages

By: Gary Robinson

Garage, Gas Station, Filling Station or Service Station.  These local businesses looked very different and provided different services in the 1950s than their contemporary counterparts and every town had at least one.  If you're modeling late steam or transition era, this clinic will help you model these vital small businesses accurately.


Your Ageing Eyes

By: Doc Shaffer

As we get older, our eyes change.  We need glasses and magnification of our work.  Doc, who is a retired Opthalomologist will discuss causes of aging eyes.


Raspberry Pi's for Layout Control

By: James Smith

Learn how to build and use a cheap and easily obtained Raspberry Pi computer as a wi-fi access point, allowing control of your layout using Android or iOS smart devices like cell phones and tablets.


Creating Interesting Model Railroad Landscapes

By: Kevin Spady 

Follow Kevin as he shares tips and techniques for creating realistic model railroad landscapes using examples from his On30 Pudding River Lumber Company modular layout.  Presentation will cover landscape terrain, grasses, under story, trees, details and water installations.


Exploring On30 Modular Railroading

By: Kevin Spady

Kevin will  present examples of On30 modular railroading including concept development, modular construction, track design, simple electrical planning, and detailing the layout using examples from his On30 Pudding River Lumber Company and California South Coast Modular Group modules and Layout.


Radio Controlled Battery Powered Model Trains – Dead Rail

By: Pete Steinmetz

Interested in controlling your trains with Battery Power? Tired of wiring a layout? Tired of cleaning track? This clinic will review the various available Dead Rail Systems. We will talk about the advantages of the various systems.  We will also discuss Safe batteries and battery charging


Weathering With Pan Pastels and Other Media

By: Pete Steinmetz

Pan Pastels are an easy and forgiving way to weather cars. Used as a base with other media such as colored pencils, pigments, and washes will create very prototypical looking weathered cars.

Attendees will be shown step by step how to achieve their goals.


The Ghosts of Gasoline Alley

By: Richard Wehr

This clinic will explore the evolution of the American Gasoline Station from its start in the late 1880s up to today’s modern stations. We will examine station architectural periods and styles as well as pumps. The clinic will also cover research tools and resources which will allow a modeler to enhance a model railroad by selecting the right station style, pumps, and gasoline brand for the layout’s geographic area and time period. We will view new examples of prototype stations as well as a variety of kits and scratch-built models.


LCC Overview

By Dana Zimmerli

A non-technical description of Layout Command Control: What it is, Why it is different than DCC, How to use it, and What is available. Highlights the main advantages and unique capabilities of LCC. This clinic does not go into the details of the bits and requirements in the LCC standards, but provides the overall functionality of LCC.


LCC Demonstration

By Dana Zimmerli

Shows how to assemble and configure an LCC segment  of a layout. The segment requirements are defined, the specific equipment (LCC boards and accessories) are selected, and the construction of the segment is described. Using a demonstration layout, the LCC is configured and demonstrated.


Track  Cleaning on the Belmont Shore Railroad

By Dana Zimmerli

Based on the requirements of the Belmont Shore Railroad, The principles of track cleaning are detailed, and a survey of available track cleaning cars is presented. Experience with these cars led to a new car design, which is flexible and applicable to other situations. The final approach to the Belmont Shore Railroad will be described.


3D Printing Overview

By Dana Zimmerli

Describes what 2D printing I all about. What is a 3D printer and how it works is followed by a gallery of applications and possibilities. 3D printing is not just for the model railroader – applications for the whole family make this a presentation that may also be of ingest to the significant others at the convention. Included in this clinic will be a working 3D printer.


3D Printing

By Dana Zimmerli

From Idea to Finished Model – How to create the 3D model  and then prepare it for printing. Also discusses the care and feeding of a 3D printer.