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2007 NMRA National Convention


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#1 ajwtcb

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Posted 28 July 2007 - 09:06 PM

Since Detroit, MI is hosting this weekend's NMRA National Convention, I thought it would be nice if one of the forum's Michigan residents posted a few shots and a bit of a summary of the show for everyone.

I caught an article in the Detroit Free Press or I probably would not have even known it was hosted here this year. After chewing it over, I decided to make the 30 minute drive to downtown Detroit earlier today. Well, more like 40 minutes since I forgot that M-10 was closed south of I-75 for repavement, and had to make a bit of a horseshoe on the area freeways to get down to the Cobo Center. Well, we do have a saying here in Michigan - We have two seasons: winter, and road construction. For anyone not familiar with Detroit, the Cobo is where the North American International Auto Show is held annually in January. It sits in the heart of downtown, right next to the Joe Louis Arena and the Detroit River.

I spent the first few hours just going around and checking out the various exhibits. Nearly all of the major model railroading manufacturers were represented, including several train art, photo, and book dealers. There were several of the major hobby stores represented as well - didn't check out very many of them since I wasn't really in the market for any new trains right now. I also took a little extra time and chatted with the friendly folks from PI Engineering. I'm very pleased to say that I was told we could expect 100% Rail Driver compatability with the new Microsoft Simulator when it's released. While that doesn't come as a major surprise, I was certainly very reassured to hear that news. Two other simulator companies were present - representatives were present from Auran demonstrating Trainz 2006 and Trainz Classic. And, Abacus publishing was also there showing off their latest product, although they did rather down play their existing MSTS products.

Just before 1 PM, I completed the rounds of the exhibits, packed away my plethora of handouts, pamphlets, and catalogs, and pulled out my 20D. Time to soak in some trains! And trains there were - nearly every scale was represented with a layout (after S scale, I don't think there was actually any operating modular layouts). Even the "Lego" scale was represented, with several impressive displays themed around Detroit and Chicago. There were two very large modular layouts that were actually multiple clubs combined into one large layout. One of these was N scale, and another was HO scale. Both were very nicely done layouts, and I think they adequately demonstrated the wisdom of building in a modular system. It's a certain way to assembly a large impressive layout.

Also worth mentioning was a very common theme I noticed among all the layouts. Many of them utilized the latest developments in portable DVD players to model drive-in theatres. None of those photos came out very well, but it's not too far of a stretch to picture what I'm talking about.

Let's get on to the photos shall we? This is only a sampling of what I took - I have uploaded several more to my photo gallery, and you're welcome to check them out if you're interested.

HO Scale Modular Layout
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The following two are from the same N Scale Modular layout
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Lego Replica of the Fisher Building
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I-94 and the Uniroyal Tire
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From a smaller HO Scale Modular layout that was awarded Best In Show - Modular Layouts. It was packed full of humorous little scenes like this (if you have a slightly "off" sense of humor)
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From the Cobo Center roof parking lot - can't hardly name any of the buildings, but that's the skyline looking somewhat north of due east, towards Ford Field and Comerica Park (I know, you can't see those stadiums for the stupid buildings in the way)
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And, finally, the Renaissance Center looking over the roof of the Cobo Arena.
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Overall, I think it was a very worthwhile trip. Certainly worth the reasonably priced admission ($10) although the parking fee ($10) was a tad outrageous, but I suppose the security and convenience of the roof top lot was certainly enough to justify the cost. Also, having the people mover literally rumbling overhead every fifteen minutes or so seemed to add to the atmosphere. Certainly worth checking out if it comes to your area.

#2 SeanK97

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Posted 28 July 2007 - 09:17 PM

Wonderful pictures Andy I am sorry that we had a funeral Memorial to go to or I would have joined you for the excursion. Thanks for posting the link to your shots. I didn't realize you had taken a few photos from the Amtrak platform in Jackson, when was that? I live less than 20 minutes from there and drive by it daily.

#3 squeaky_d

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Posted 28 July 2007 - 09:23 PM

Hi, about a year and a half ago I joined the Denver Area N scale Club here in Denver CO. www.denvernscale.org is our website, which is currently under major reconstruction. August of last year, I had the opportunity to participate in the National N scale Convention. My god that was a blast. I will post some pics of some very cool modules shortly. I might just have to pull out some pics of the Club layout. Unfortunatly since taking the pics of the Club layout we moved out of the location due to conditions out of our control. Its funny that you mentioned the NMRA show, a fellow club member of mine, traveled from here to attend the show.

N scale rocks...

Thanks
Dave

#4 ajwtcb

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Posted 28 July 2007 - 09:41 PM

QUOTE(SeanK97 @ Jul 28 2007, 11:58 PM) View Post

Wonderful pictures Andy I am sorry that we had a funeral Memorial to go to or I would have joined you for the excursion. Thanks for posting the link to your shots. I didn't realize you had taken a few photos from the Amtrak platform in Jackson, when was that? I live less than 20 minutes from there and drive by it daily.

Certainly understandable, Sean. It's certainly something I hope to do again in the future, hopefully with the opportunity to spend some money at the show. One exhibitor in particular had some very nice herald mirrors / light boxes here that I would have loved to pick up.

The photos from Jackson were taken the Sunday I finished up the three day ice hockey referee seminar last summer in Lansing. I went down that way just to check things out - my timing was pretty good (or Amtrak's was lousy, however you want to look at it - lol) to catch both an east and west bound Wolverine.

QUOTE(squeaky_d @ Jul 29 2007, 12:04 AM) View Post

Hi, about a year and a half ago I joined the Denver Area N scale Club here in Denver CO. www.denvernscale.org is our website, which is currently under major reconstruction. ... Its funny that you mentioned the NMRA show, a fellow club member of mine, traveled from here to attend the show.

Yea, part of my reason for going was maybe to get the motivation to put together a small N-scale "coffee table" layout for my apartment. Nothing major - just something to work on and show off a little bit for company. They did have a very nice looking set of Coaster Z-Scale cars and F-59 PHI engines at the show (not to mention the Surfliner and California dual level sets) - I might just change my mind and try that for this project before I get too invested into the N scale stuff (already have the Athearn Coaster set and some Kato track).