See you at The Austin Eagle!

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I’m putting the finishing touches on the presentations I’ll be delivering at The Austin Eagle – the NMRA Lone Star Region’s 2018 convention being held June 13-17 in Austin, Texas. If you’re in the area and want to attend, click on the banner, above, to head straight to the convention website.

I’ll be delivering two presentations…

For the Saturday night banquet, I’ll be offering up some thoughts about where the hobby is going, where we’ll find the next generation of serious hobbyists, and what we can do to foster them.

For many of us, the hobby is more than a way to kill time. It’s a lifelong journey of friendships and learning. We love this hobby ‐ and many of us wonder how we can encourage more people to join us as railway modeling enthusiasts. In particular, we wonder how we’re going to reach younger people. Based on my experience in my professional life as a corporate speech writer, I’ve garnered some insights into the demographic known as The Millennials. I’m going to share some thoughts on how we connect with a cohort that has never known a world in which the Internet did not exist, and who many dismiss ‐ wrongly ‐ as being “more interested in playing games on their phones than in building things”. I’ll also offer some suggestions about how we make our hobby relevant to more people ‐ especially these Millennials ‐ at a time when few people encounter real trains on a daily basis.

Since I’m making the trip for the banquet anyway, I’ve also offered to speak about my layout – but recognizing that an S scale Canadian-themed branch line will be of little interest to many at a regional convention in Texas, I’m using my layout as a jumping off point to talk about working in a minority scale.

In my clinic, I’ll share the opportunities and challenges of modeling a specific prototype in a minority scale. I’ll cover how I ended up in a less popular scale and how that influenced my decision when choosing a prototype. I’ll offer suggestions for others to research and ponder to determine whether a niche scale is a viable one in which to work. Anybody who has ever considered switching scales or who is interested in working in a second scale can benefit from this clinic.

I’ve never been to Texas. I’m looking forward to visiting Austin and putting some faces to some names at the convention: maybe yours will be one of them!

10 thoughts on “See you at The Austin Eagle!

      • Hi Gene:
        Jim’s layout was a bit of a haul east of Austin – about 40 miles or so – but absolutely worth the trip. Wow!
        Thanks for the reminder. I might have missed it otherwise.
        As a bonus, there’s a very nice HO scale layout a few minutes away from Jim, too, built by Steve Nelson.
        I will write up both of these layouts when I get a chance. It’s been busy around here since I got back…

    • I had a great time, Riley – thanks so much for the invite!
      I’ll be writing up my experiences as I find the time. There’s a lot to report, so it’s going to take several posts…

  1. Trevor:

    When you have a chance after you get back from the convention, I would like to talk to you about your first presentation.


    ~ John Gibson

  2. As for game playing, operating a model railroad as much as possible like real rail roads is the ultimate game to play. The unexpected pops up regardless of what we do, so problem solving is exceptional.

    • Great to meet you, Pete! What a lot of fun. I think I’m still recovering.
      And congrats on the awards. Your work is beautiful.

  3. Para 4 is so truthy. Many people do things simply to kill time, even and especially in this crazy hobby. We, those more deeply involved, participate to express ourselves, sometimes artistically (scenery, structures, weathering), sometimes intellectually (my exploration of reefer operations and implementing it in my operating scheme).

    Don’t want to disparage those with simpler goals, but the best in our hobby can often compete with some very fine artists. Amazing and delightful, it is.

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