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2023 NASG Convention Summary

The "Susquehannock" Convention

Named after one of the PRR's less-well-known passenger trains, the 2023 NASG Convention was held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania from July 25th through July 29th, 2023. A total of 165 registrations were received, with over 200 people attending the event. The Convention was brought to you by the Lehigh Valley S Gaugers.

About the Photos

All photos shown on this page are copyrighted by their photographer (properly credited), and all are used by permission. They can all be clicked upon, or tapped on mobile devices, to view the full-size version for your enjoyment. A big "Thank you" to the photographers, listed below in alphabetical order, who took the time to photograph portions of the Convention, and allowed us to share these on this page.

  • Mike Andrzejewski
  • Jamie Bothwell
  • Bill Lane
  • Stephen Law
  • Bob Leverknight
  • Jeff Madden
  • Michael McConnell

Venue

The event was held at the Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey, in Harrisburg, PA.


The first step at any NASG Convention is to stop by the Registration table. Dave Heine, in the red shirt on the right, was the event's Treasurer.
photo © Michael McConnell
 

Convention Car

Unfortunately, due to the short notice in getting this year's Convention up and running, there wasn't enough time to make arrangements with a manufacturer to produce the 2023 NASG Convention Car.

 

The Vendor Hall

The Vendor Hall is, of course, one of the big attractions for the NASG Conventions. Both manufacturers, retailers, and individuals offer their wares for sale. You'll never know what you'll find. Vendors in attendance were as follows (in alphabetical order):

Robert Berridge

Michael Berus

David Blum (Pikesville Models)

David Brown

Christopher Costello (JL Innovative Design

Chris Elliott

Matt Gaudynski (Des Plaines Hobbies & ScaleTrains)

Gaylord Gill

David Gove

John Henning

Dennis Hultay

Jack Kirby

Richard Krieg

Jeffrey Madden

Albert Mahr

Jim Marski (Depot G Hobbies)

Roy Meissner

Robert Merson

Bill Morris (NEPrototypes)

Larry Morton (Tomalco Track)

Daniel Navarre

Doug Peck (Port Lines Hobby Supplies)

Paul Raham

John Royal (Royal Train Equipment)

Ben Trousdale (Benn Central Shops)

Jeffrey Wilson (formerly of Hoquat Hobbies)

Major Announcements

  • Matt Gaudynski, representing ScaleTrains, revealed the extended-vision cabooses for their S-Helper Service brand, as the next S-scale model that the company will produce. He received the pre-production models shown on the table just a couple of days before the Convention.
  • A big surprise was Larry Morton, owner of Tomalco Track, having a "going-out-of-business" sale, selling all items in his inventory at a discounted price. This caused quite a stir as many of us are customers of Tomalco Track, but Larry assured us that he was, at the time, considering several offers he has received for the business. He assured us that the company will continue under the leadership of a new owner.

photo © Stephen Law

Jay Mellon's Vendor Report

Jay Mellon volunteers to document and then report all that he was able to learn from the various vendors that come to each year's Convention. Due to space constraints in the NASG's Dispatch, his report is made available on this page. While thorough, Jay apologizes for any vendors or information he may have missed.

Des Plaines Hobbies
Matt Gaudynski was there to represent DPH, as well as ScaleTrains ("S Helper Service" product line). He had a large selection of S Scale America rolling stock, decals, and brass parts (from River Raisin) available. He provided the most recent release dates for new production of ScaleTrains' models: hoppers (Sep 2023), rebuilt steel boxcars (Nov 2023). ScaleTrains will soon release an announcement for the production of the extended vision caboose in multiple road names. Production of Fox Valley Models flex track/turnouts continues to take a "backseat" to larger orders from other manufacturers (presumably HO). He is hoping for production by late 2023 or early 2024, but could not provide a definite time line.

Great Decals
Bill Mosteller was there to promote his decal line. He has new decals for the Carolina & Northwestern and Luddington & Northern roads. Decals for VGN gondolas and Monon boxcar models are running low.

JL Innovative Design
Chris Costello had an extensive selection of 1/64th gas pumps and barrels available in multiple company names (except Gulf). They can produce any model they have done in HO- for S-scale, if enough demand is present.

Jeff Madden
He had his usual selection of S-scale vehicles (cars, trucks) available, as well as estate sale items.

Roy Meissner
He was selling off items from his personal collection. And, he had containers for sale from a former project.

NASG Company Store
Manager Chris Crnich had shirts, hats, tumbler glasses, and mugs for sale. You could also order the 2023 NASG SLAX 'Bee Hive' tank car from American Models.

NASG Librarian
Dale Minard was there to provide information regarding the model railroad resources available to NASG members. The library has complete collections of currently published magazines, as well as out-of-publication magazines. This last group includes such classics as S Gauge Herald, S Gaugian and 3/16 'S'cale Railroading magazines. Plus, many have been digitized, so copies of articles can be sent via the Internet. Much thanks to Dale for his efforts on our behalves.

Dan Navarre
He had some SP and C&O steam engine and REA car display models left over from River Raisin production (now closed) for sale. He also had some items from his personal collection for sale. River Raisin brass parts have been transferred to Des Plaines Hobbies.

Pikesville Models
Dave Blum was there with a large selection of traditional AF (Gilbert) models, as well as more recent products.

NE Prototypes
Bill Morris had his large selection of decals available, as well as a selection of upgraded Kinsman reefer kits.

Port Lines Hobbies
Doug Peck had multiple Motrak structure kits available, as well as many estate sale items.

The Railroad Crossing
Richard Krieg had examples of his 1/64th scale structure models. He produces custom-built models from customer orders.

Railroad History
Editor Dan Cupper was there to promote the magazine.

Royal Detail Parts
He had his large selection of detail parts available, plus a large selection of recently produced AF rolling stock.

Tomalco Track
Larry Morton provides S-scale flextrack and turnouts in code 100, 83, and 70 sizes. This was his final Convention attendance as a dealer, as he announced the impending sale of the company.

Jeff Wilson
He was selling off items from his personal collection.

There was a very large selection of Gilbert AF items available, courtesy of Robert "Frankie" Merson and Dave Blum.

The Pittsburgh S group (Jim Whipple) had their well-done switching layout there for attendees to check out and conduct operations activities.

Willy Monaghan had an operating trolley diorama on display.

There were numerous individuals present selling off items from their personal collections. S modelers who decided not to attend the Convention missed an opportunity to visit the only all-S-scale "hobby store" that is only open two days per year!

Some More Vendor Hall Photos

What an incredible momentous occasion captured by this photo! The founders of S-Helper Service, Michael Ferraro (left) and Don Thompson, standing next to the table showing the current in-production models by ScaleTrains' "S-Helper Service" brand name. MTH Electric Trains bought S-Helper Service when it had to close. When MTH decided to close, ScaleTrains bought the S-scale product line, and decided to use the "S-Helper Service" brand name, in honor of Don and Michael's historical efforts. Fox Valley Models' owner, Matt Gaudynski, moved over to ScaleTrains, and he is the one who brought the ScaleTrains' S-scale pre-production models to the Convention.


photo © Michael McConnell

photo © Michael McConnell

The NASG being represented at the NASG Convention. From left to right, Dale Minard (NASG Librarian, invisible), Norman Bos (NASG Annual Car Program), and Chris Crnich (NASG Company Store Manager)
photo © Bill Lane

Larry Morton of Tomalco Track
photo © Bill Lane

Bill Morris of NEPrototypes
photo © Bill Lane

Dan & Annette Navarre selling what inventory remains of River Raisin Models
photo © Bill Lane

Fergus was one of the youngest sellers.
photo © Stephen Law

Jack Kirby selling a lot of A.C. Gilbert engines and more.
photo © Stephen Law

Doug Peck of Port Lines Hobbies.
photo © Michael McConnell

Dave Blum of Pikesville Models.
photo © Bill Lane

Jeff Wilson, of the former Hoquat Hobbies, selling the remaining inventory he still had available.
photo © Michael McConnell

Matt Gaundynski, representing both Des Plaines Hobbies and ScaleTrains
photo © Bill Lane

Robert Berridge
photo © Bill Lane

John Henning performing some repair work, while NASG Executive Vice-President Lou Templeton looks on
photo © Bill Lane

David Brown
photo © Bill Lane

Ben Trousdale of Benn Central Shops (3D-printed hopper; see Clinics)
photo © Bill Lane

Three of S-scale's great men, (left-to-right) Michael Ferraro, Don Thompson (both former S-Helper Service), and Dan Navarre (former River Raisin Models)
photo © Bill Lane

Annette and Dan Navarre, owners of the former River Raisin Models
photo © Jeff Madden

One of the photographers who contributed so much to making this summary page possible, Bob Leverknight, making his rounds in the vendor hall.
photo © Stephen Law

What's Jamie holding? The world's longest S-scale passenger car body? Tom Lennon provided the answer: "Jamie is holding a complete Enhorning kit for the GM Train of Tomorrow. Probably the only one ever produced." Tom said that there used to be about three pallets of these body "gutters" at Merle Rice's Model RR Warehouse business. These were supposed to become stream-lined, corrugated passenger cars based on the ATSF-style cars.
photo © Bill Lane

Set up in the vendor hall was the beautiful layout of the Pittsburgh S Gaugers club. The layout was set up as an L-shaped switching layout.


photo © Bill Lane

photo © Michael McConnell

photo © Michael McConnell

photo © Michael McConnell

photo © Michael McConnell

photo © Bill Lane

Ben Trousdale testing his 3D-printed hopper cars on the layout
photo © Bill Lane

NASG President Jim Whipple (left) and Randy Bosscher; photo © Jeff Madden
 

Horseshoe Curve Tour

Wednesday, July 26

The attendees of this tour got to spend a few hours at the world-famous Horseshoe Curve watching any trains that Norfolk Southern sends past. After that, they went to downtown Altoona to tour the Railroaders Memorial Museum.


photo © Bob Leverknight

photo © Bob Leverknight

photo © Bill Lane

photo © Bill Lane

photo © Bill Lane

photo © Bill Lane

photo © Bill Lane

photo © Bill Lane

photo © Bill Lane

photo © Bill Lane

photo © Bill Lane

photo © Bill Lane

photo © Bill Lane
 

Gettysburg Tour

Wednesday, July 26

This tour (with all of the road closures) visited this famous landmark. The tour stopped at the new Adams County Historical Society's "Beyond the Battle Museum", and then made stops at important sites around the Gettysburg National Military Park. There were 19 Conventioneers who partook in this tour, with bus captain Jeff English (second from the right in the photo) and tour guide Stephen Law (right in the photo).


Preparing for departure. Stephen Law (right) dressed in proper period costume (wool outfit in the heat of summer!).
copyright © Jamie Bothwell

Our uniformed tour guide, Commander Stephen Law. Stephen is the Commander of Camp 112, Gettysburg, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.
photo © Stephen Law

Inside the Beyond the Battle museum.
photo © Stephen Law

The virtual experience of battle. You are inside of a house, while the battle rages on outside. The floor shakes, the windows shatter, and the bullet holes appear in the walls. Simulated, of course, but it feels real!
photo © Stephen Law
 

East Broad Top (EBT) Tour

Thursday, July 27

This tour took the attendees to the 3-foot gauge East Broad Top Railroad, for both a ride and a tour of the railroad shops. The shops are much as they were when the railroad ceased commercial operations in the late 1950s.


photo © Bob Leverknight

photo © Bob Leverknight

photo © Bob Leverknight

photo © Jeff Madden

photo © Jeff Madden

photo © Jeff Madden

photo © Bill Lane

photo © Bill Lane

photo © Bill Lane

photo © Bill Lane

photo © Bob Leverknight
 

NASG General Membership Meeting

Saturday, July 29

Since the NASG, Inc. is a corporation, it is required to have an annual membership meeting. At this meeting the NASG Board of Trustees (BOT) reports any decisions made while they themselves had their annual private BOT meeting, pass on any other news, and open the floor up for any member discussions, questions, and issues. If a vote is taken during this meeting, it becomes part of the official NASG records.


Pictured at the table are, from left to right, Darby Marriott (Eastern Vice-President), Andy Malette (Secretary), Jim Whipple (President), Lou Templeton (Executive Vice-President), and Michael Ferraro (Treasurer)
photo © Bob Leverknight
 

Banquet

Saturday, July 29

The banquet kicks off the last evening's activities with a delicious first-rate meal. Members get to know each other and visit with friends during the meal.


photo © Stephen Law

photo © Bob Leverknight

photo © Bob Leverknight

George Connell and Stephen Law, both members of the Baltimore Area American Flyer Club, enjoying a beverage at the banquet.
photo © Stephen Law

photo © Bill Lane

Andy Malette is keeping the Vulcan division of the NASG alive.
photo © Bill Lane

As is Jamie Bothwell.
photo © Bill Lane
 

NASG Awards

Saturday, July 29

The NASG offers awards for outstanding service in which members have participated, helping the NASG and S-scale grow, during the previous fiscal year. You can see all of the details about these awards by visiting this page. A beaming Dick Kramer (left) receives the prestigious Bernie Thomas Memorial Award from President Jim Whipple. Dick, as Membership Secretary, works tirelessly in the background maintaining our membership records and handling all of the membership-related issues.


photo © Bob Leverknight

Simon Parent (left), owner of Miniatures from the North, receives the Sandersfeld Manufacturing Award from NASG President Jim Whipple.
photo © Bill Lane

Dale Minard (left) receives the Trustee's Award from NASG President Jim Whipple.
photo © Bill Lane

William Monaghan receives his model contest winner certificate from Jamie Bothwell.
photo © Bob Leverknight

Fergus Monaghan receives his model contest winner certificate from Jamie Bothwell.
photo © Bob Leverknight

Buff Buffington receives his Master Craftsman Structures certificate from Jamie Bothwell.
photo © Bob Leverknight

Doug Kann receives his model contest winner certificate from Jamie Bothwell.
photo © Bill Lane

Stephen Vaughan receives his model contest winner certificate from Jamie Bothwell.
photo © Bill Lane

Lloyd Lipperts receives his model contest winner certificate from Jamie Bothwell.
photo © Bill Lane

Norman Bos receives his model contest winner certificate from Jamie Bothwell.
photo © Bill Lane

Chris Elliott receives his model contest winner certificate from Jamie Bothwell.
photo © Bill Lane

Scott Lister receives his model contest winner certificate from Jamie Bothwell.
photo © Bill Lane

Gaylord Gill receives his model contest winner certificate from Jamie Bothwell.
photo © Bill Lane

Simon Parent receives his model contest winner certificate from Jamie Bothwell.
photo © Bill Lane

Willy Monaghan receives his model contest winner certificate from Jamie Bothwell.
photo © Bill Lane
 

Auction

Saturday, July 29

Members are encouraged to bring items to the NASG auction, which takes place immediately after all of the formalities of the last evening of the Convention have completed. Jamie Bothwell looks serious in the photo below, but you have to experience this event at least once; he is hilarious. Ten percent of the proceeds of the auctions provide additional revenue for the NASG, but it is really the entertainment value that makes it all worth while.


photo © Bob Leverknight

At the end of the banquet, Conventioneers are gathering at the auction tables in the back, taking a look at which items they may want to bid on.
photo © Michael McConnell

Members look through the items up for auction to see which ones they are going to bid on.
photo © Bob Leverknight

"I wonder if this church building is going to fit on my layout?"
photo © Bob Leverknight

The official keepers-of-records of the auction
photo © Bill Lane

Jamie, as auctioneer, taking a bit on the S-Helper Service car being offered for sale
photo © Bill Lane

Don't think that only $5 items are offered for bids; this is some serious dough here!
photo © Bill Lane
 

Clinics

Please note that lighting is not ideal for photographing an ongoing clinic, so please excuse the grainy or dark photos. The bluish hue of the projector screen was due to the photography conditions, and was not there in-person.

DCC Wiring, How I Do It

Dave Heine

Friday, July 28

Dave discussed how he wired his model railroad for DCC. His expertise is from lessons learned from having three DCC-controlled, basement-sized layouts.

The Trains of Harrisburg

Jamie Bothwell

Friday, July 28

The Trains of Harrisburg was a thorough analysis of passenger operations through the Pennsylvania Capitol. There are five major rail lines going in and out of town, and Jamie presented the historic consists and train schedules for all of them.


photo © Stephen Law

3D-printed Hopper Car

Ben Trousdale

Friday, July 28

Ben showed how he scaled up an HO-scale covered hopper and 3D-printed it in S, a process that took many hours of experimentation. Ben had a table in the vendor hall showing the final models he had printed.


photo © Stephen Law

How to Build in Brass

Andy Malette

Friday, July 28

Andy talked about building models out of brass. During the presentation, Andy passed around an example of a boiler soldered to the cab. After the presentation, people asked questions, and others shared their experiences in working with brass.


photo © Stephen Law

Hosting an NASG Convention

John Ciarleglio

Friday, July 28

You, too, can do this.

Laser-cut Structures

Jamie Bothwell

Friday, July 28

Jamie introduced the track-side house laser-cut kit that he developed, and described how he went about doing that. The overhead camera system obscuring Jamie allowed audience members to see what he was showing on the model.


photo © Stephen Law

Expert Wildlife Photography

Dan Navarre

Friday, July 28

Dan Navarre has traveled the world photographing wildlife, and he shared the results of his travels.

Module Models

R. James Whipple

Friday, July 28

The growth of modular layouts has produced a need for module models with their own set of constraints: not too expensive in case they are stolen, lost, or destroyed; not too time-consuming to build for the same reason; and above all, sturdy enough to withstand the constant packing and unpacking at train shows, meets, club meetings, and conventions. The same issue comes into play with club layouts, where one has to consider the least careful person around who might handle the model. Jim covered this and the entrusting to others of our precious models.


photo © Stephen Law

Watercolor Landscape Painting

Jamie Bothwell

Friday, July 28

Hands-on watercolor painting for beginners.

1900 - The Beginning of Modern Railroading

Willy Monaghan

Friday, July 28

This clinic was about the changes that shaped modern railroading that coincided with the turn of the century. Couplers, brakes, car construction, vestibules, train length, brakemen, passenger stations, maintenance facilities, lighting, fuel, locomotive design, railroad fatalities, were substantially different in the 20th century. And the remnants of the 19th century that persisted became picturesque antiques treasured by railfans, museums, and model railroaders.

How To Repair Flyer

Roger Gerhart

Friday, July 28

Roger presented a clinic about how to repair Flyer, and why you should do it.

The History of River Raisin Models

Dan Navarre

Saturday, July 29

River Raisin Models was the premier brass importer of S-scale equipment. Their accomplishments include structures, rolling stock, diesels, and steam, all done to a high degree of accuracy and craftsmanship. Dan gave a thorough review of all the models they produced.


photo © Stephen Law

My Journey With American Flyer, a Personal History

Jeff English

Saturday, July 29

Jeff shared his personal journey from being one of three boys sharing post-war Flyer with their dad. Jeff was lucky to have lots of photos taken of him with his trains in his early years. Vintage catalogues were used to carry us along on his journey to the present, including his stint in HO-scale with the famed RPI Model Railroad Club.


photo © Stephen Law

Tools I Use for Building Structures

Buff Buffington

Saturday, July 29

Buff shared an in-depth review of the tools he uses to build structures.

 

Model Contests & Displays


"1980s House Under Construction"
Model by Scott Lister
Winner: Craftsman Diorama
Winner: The Frank Titman Best-of-show Award
photo © Bob Leverknight; edited by Brooks Stover per request of the webmaster, to remove all of the background clutter of the model contest room.

Engines


"Florida East Coast Passenger Train" (American Models E8 and A.C. Gilbert Passengers as base models)
Model by Lloyd Lippert.
Winner: Hi Rail Passenger
photo © Michael McConnell

"4-6-6-4" (body is scratchbuilt; A.C. Gilbert base model)
Model by Roger Gerhart
Winner: Hi-rail Steam
photo © Bob Leverknight

"Ulster & Delaware R.R. 4-4-0 #2" (scratchbuilt)
Model by Simon Parent.
Winner: Steam Locomotive Scratch Built
photo © Michael McConnell

"Ulster & Delaware R.R. Rail Truck"
Model by Fergus Monaghan
Winner: Amateur Diesel & Electric
photo © Michael McConnell

"Strasburg Railroad 0-6-0 #31" (A.C. Gilbert 0-8-0 #342 base model)
Model by Doug Kann.
Winner: American Flyer Imagineering
photo © Michael McConnell

"Kingston Consolidated R.R. Trolley #1" (Pennsylvania Heritage Models base model; full interior detailing)
Model by Willy Monaghan.
Winner: Trolly / Interurban
photo © Michael McConnell

Cars


"PRR Box Car" (Mainline Models incomplete kit base model)
Model by William Monaghan
Winner: Amateur Freight Cars
photo © Michael McConnell

"PRR F22 (right), F23 (left), and F25 (background) Flat Cars" (3D-printed)
Model by Keith Thompson
photo © Michael McConnell

"G&NR 40' Box Car" (Perma Bilt Jersey Central base model kit)
Model by Scott Lister
Winner: Craftsman Freight Car
photo © Michael McConnell

"Reading BMr/Bmp Baggage Mail Car"
Model by Hugh Sinn
Winner: Amateur Passenger Cars
photo © Michael McConnell

"PRR War Emergency Cabin Car Nx23" (scratchbuilt master from styrene, then cast in resin; see model in background)
Model by Keith Thompson
Winner: Freight Scratch Built
photo © Bob Leverknight

"D&H Patch-out of Former Reading Caboose" (Overland Models D&RGW base model)
Model by Stephen Vaughan, Jr.
photo © Michael McConnell

"Lehigh Valley Caboose painted in Snow Bird Scheme" (Overland Models base model)
Model by Stephen Vaughan, Jr.
photo © Michael McConnell

Structures


"One-story Single-family Home"
Model by Scott Lister
photo © Bob Leverknight

"Randy's Auto Repair"
Model by Stephen Vaughan, Jr.
Winner: Amateur Structures
photo © Michael McConnell

"Two-story Factory"
Model by Chris Elliott
Winner: Craftsman Structures
photo © Bob Leverknight

"Abandoned Building"
Model by Norman Bos
photo © Michael McConnell

"Bobuscz Bobbin Works"
Model by Buff Buffington
Winner: Master Craftsman Structures
photo © Michael McConnell

"Buffalo Fire Station" (parts from HO-scale kit; removable roof revealed detailed interior of second floor)
Model by Gaylord Gill
photo © Michael McConnell

"'J' Tower Protecting a Crossing between the Cumberland Valley RR and the Northern Central RR"
Model by Doug Kann
photo © Bob Leverknight

The "Greeleys" Contest

The Jamie Bothwell-sponsored "Greeley" contest winner this year was Mike Andrzejewski. Mike states "The main building and roof were assembled from parts provided in the kit, but some of the other parts were scratchbuilt." The kit that Mike is referring to is a laser-cut kit that Jamie designed, developed, and created as part of last year's NASG Convention.


photo © Mike Andrzejewski

photo © Mike Andrzejewski

See You Next Year!

For the first time in NASG history, we will gather in the same place in 2024. Note the creative use of the announcement board.


photo © Bill Lane
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