Seminars or Workshops?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by MasonJar, Feb 27, 2003.

  1. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I guess you could consider this informal market research.

    Is anyone interested in seminars or workshops on a variety of topics? Scratch building to assembling kits, weathering, detailing, wiring, scenery, etc?

    I am thinking of approaching my local club to propose this - there are a lot of guys with so much information in their heads that would be invaluable to beginners like me. I also find that I learn best by example, rather than trial and error.

    What do you think? If you had the chance to attend a workshop, what would you like to see / work on? How long (time) should it be? Would you pay? etc. The more detail the better.

    I guess the flip side is just to get a bunch of people together and work on stuff, but I was thinking more about learning something specific during these sessions.

    Thanks for your input...!

  2. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    I think it would be a great idea; the train shows I've gone to that had seminars/workshops as part of the show, I always thought that was the best part.

    However, my LHS tried to do some similar type stuff a year or so ago, and kept on delaying them cause he never got enuf interest.
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    That's too bad, since you would think that the LHS is the ideal place to run this. I know my wife's favourite quilting shop runs classes (for a fee) for which they have a materials list (for a fee) and a related book (for a ... you get the idea). In her own words they "make out like bandits" with all the extras they sell at each class.

    I would think that maybe the LHS might be involved with the club workshop as a sponsor or at least a source for materials.

    An additional question -- what sort of projects are suitable to this format (or the format you will suggest - weekend, evening, one afternoon only, etc...)?

    Thanks again.

  4. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    Quite a long time ago (1970) I was a member of a local model RR club. At that time the techniques of hardshell scenery-making and zip-texturing were quite new. So I ran a seminar about landscaping 'the American way' - six evenings in all. At this time one third of the layout was finished trackwise, but there was no scenery around yet. So the objective was to build up the basic landscape for this section a a team project. About a third of the club members attended the seminar, the others continued with tracklaying and wiring other sections of the club layout.

    It was a success. All the participants got their own hands-on experiences and so lost their fear for making scenery. Also the club's layout was advanced quite a bit, and working together hand in hand worked wonders for the friendship in the club.

    This seminar led to another one, where one of our super-scratchbuilders taught us ham-fisted types the elementary techniques of building models with brass. And after that, one of the club's electronic wizards ran classes about signalling.

    Most of the material was payed by the club. At the end of this Spring we had one third of the layout scenicked, a working signal system installed, and three elaborate signal gantries in brass for the main line!

    You see, it can be done. But unfortunately it didn't last long. After the summer pause nobody offered another course - somehow the enthusiasm simply had fizzled out. I still don't know why... :(

    But surely it's worth a try - and a few of the friendships I won this Spring are still alive today (although I quit model railroading for a long time in between). :)

  5. Sir_Prize

    Sir_Prize Member

    My club last year started such a thing.
    I was the ... sucker... er... happy to volunteer
    to head it up. Besides I knew nothing of this
    hobby, so I knew the guy in charge would be
    motivated to get things going. ;)
    What we do is (attempt to) schedule a member
    each month to share something in the hobby
    he/she is known to be could at. We have it the
    week after the Members Business meeting (2nd
    Thursday), which is the 3rd Thursday. Some
    months we have a second class on the fourth
    week, if that month has four.
    Its nice because the members get better
    socialized, we learn a way to do something, and
    the instructor gets some self confidence. :D :D

    This week we have a Non-scale specific class
    on Loco maintence. Next month is a class on
    Masonary Style Bridges.

    It also allows as a way to draw new members. ;)
  6. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Thanks, and keep it coming...

    Thanks for the info everyone!

    Please add your information here if you can!

    The club I belong to does not own a layout, although it is affiliated (not exactly sure how) with HOTrak, the Ottawa modular club. They get together every once in a while, and between them all, can set up about 300 feet of double main line in the form of 4' modules.

    But I digress.

  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Does your region of the NMRA have meets? (ours is moribund, but hosting the convention!) They usually have talks/demos/clinics or whatever. There will also be a lot at the convention in July, and there are a number of clinics where you get to make something -- a kit or whatever that can be completed in 4 hours.
    You can approach it two ways -- find a member or outsider who is competent at some task and get him (or her) to demonstarte
    or get the club to pick a topic and find/delegate someone to demonstrate it.
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I belong to a modular club here in Southern California. Our business meetings used to be boring, then we started trying to have something special every month following the meeting. Because we meet in a local public library meeting room we need to leave by 9:00p.m. We have 2-3 modeling contest per year of various types. In December we have a Christmas party at a local pizza restaraunt, the other months we get various members to volunteer to teach clinics. Some of our club members have had models featured in M. R. or R.M.C., others who haven't been featured in magazines are awesome modelers, and their techniques are well worth the time to listen and watch. Sometimes the seminar will be on solving electrical problems. One member has a web site where he shows how to tune up an Athearn locomotive with a 5 wire hard wire system, every year or two we ask him to give his demonstration for the benefit of new members who haven't seen it before. He usually looks for someone to volunteer an Athearn locomotive, and he proceeds to do the 5 wire tune up for them. Since we started doing this, our meetings move along very well because everyone wants to dispense with the business and get to the clinics. We even had one of Burlington Northern Santa Fe's railroad police come to one of our meetings to talk about safety in railfanning.
  9. Dave Flinn

    Dave Flinn Member

    Seminars or Workshops

    I will be following this thread with interest for ideas. My local club MAY have the possibility of setting up a modular layout in an unused room. We are discussing just this very idea of holding regular workshops or clinics. At this point, it's all in the thinking; but, if the plan goes through, we will need all the ideas we can get for actual meetings. Keep 'em coming, folks.
  10. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    In my opinion the best part of NMRA conventions --- regional and national --- is the clinics. In fact without the clinics, I'd find no reason to attend a convention. I've come away from just about every clinic I've attended feeling I'd learned something of value.

    I think clinics would be the best thing any club could do too.

  11. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    You should have no problem getting people to talk to you. Model Railroaders love to tell you what they know. (Point: make sure they do know.)
    We had the DCC expert from the LHS come to our club and give a talk on DCC; he was quite honest about when he thought it should or shouldn't be used. One of our members is a missionary for figure painting by painting it black and then doing only the highlights. Another member showed casting in rubber moulds and managed to slit his wrist with a screwdriver.
    There are probably other clubs in your area with members who are experts.

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