New Zealand Association of Model Railway Clubs Inc


All Aboard 2024 Convention

2024 National Convention
All Aboard 2024!

Friday 26 April to Sunday 28 April 2024


The 2024 National Convention for the New Zealand Association of Model Railway Clubs Inc will be held from Friday April 26 through to Sunday April 28, 2024, at the Corban Estate Arts Centre, located in Henderson, West Auckland. This is the weekend immediately after Anzac Day, which in 2024 is on a Thursday.

The Venue
The Corban Estate Arts Centre is in the heart of West Auckland in Henderson, on the historic grounds of the former Corban Estate Winery.

Corbans Estate Arts Centre

The address is Corban Estate Arts Centre, 2 Mount Lebabnon Lane, Henderson, Auckland. Google Map Reference: https://maps.app.goo.gl/7yqrvDTUwMsajK9JA

For more information about the Convention venue, please see their website

About The Convention
The Convention is being hosted by the Western Districts and City of Sails Model Railway Clubs and is intended for modellers of all prototypes.

The Convention will incorporate layout tours, clinics, SIG meetings, a convention dinner and the NZAMRC model competition (see next column), as well as a separate modelling challenge, sponsored by the NMRA. The main activities are from 1pm on the Friday with Layout Tours scheduled for the Saturday and Sunday afternoon. The Convention venue will be open from early Friday until late Sunday.

The Convention Organising Committee, headed by Mike Hill, President of both the Western Districts Model Railway Club Inc and City of Sails Model Railway Club, looks forward to meeting you at the Convention.

The AGM's of both the New Zealand Model Railway Guild Inc and the New Zealand Association of Model Railway Clubs Inc will be held at the Convention on the Friday evening.
Click Here to Register

Registration for the Convention is now open. You can register online by clicking on the button below, or scanning the QR code.
Click Here to Register

Alternatively, you can download a PDF version of the Registration form here. This can be filled in offline and emailed. Please note that registration using the online form is preferred.

The full registration fee is $100 per person if paid by 31 March, 2024 and $120 thereafter. There is an additional cost of $55 for the Convention banquet and $20 for the partners programme. Payment instructions are included in the registration form.

Payment can be made directly to the NZAMRC Convention Bank Account 02-0688-0138584-20 (BNZ). Please put your first name and surname into details etc and phone number in as reference.

If you wish to request a trade table, conduct a SIG, present a clinic or have your layout included in the Layout Tours, this can be indicated via the registration form.

Our agenda includes a series of 10 clinics, each lasting 45 minutes including questions.

Our clinics cover a broad spectrum of topics within the model railway hobby, and we are particularly excited to introduce subjects that have not been featured at previous NZAMRC conventions. In addition, we aim to spotlight the modern innovations within the hobby, catering to a wide range of interests and expertise levels.

Highlighted below are a few of the clinics we are looking forward to:

  • MOTAT PROTOTYPE Restoration by Graham Anderson: Graham Anderson invites you to clinic where he will go over the details for the details of the process of restoring locomotives or carriages. This will then be followed up by a the opportunity to go to MOTAT on one of the tours and see first hand the work that was done on the topics discussed in the clinic.

  • Building steam locomotives by Lawrence Boul: In this session, we'll delve into the assembly of models like Wa217 (from etches) and We377 (scratchbuilt), with a focus on the 1:64 scale New Zealand Railways (NZR). The principles I'll share, however, have broad applicability across various scales and projects. The aim is to shed light on some of the complexities involved in model building, offering strategies I've developed over time to tackle challenging aspects and even introducing new challenges to stretch our skills further.

  • Arduino: DCC++ EX with Low Cost DCC Boosters by Gary Snow: Gary Snow invites you to explore the innovative intersection of technology and model railroading. This insightful piece demystifies how the accessible and affordable Arduino platform can transform your model railway into a digitally controlled masterpiece. Gary's approach offers a budget-friendly gateway into the sophisticated world of Digital Command Control (DCC), enabling enthusiasts to enhance their setups with advanced functionalities without breaking the bank. Embrace the future of model railroading with Gary's expert guidance, and discover how Arduino can elevate your railway experience to new heights of interactivity and precision.

  • Understanding Free-mo by James Kelso: James Kelso's clinic on Free-mo, a revolutionary approach to model railroading that combines the flexibility of modular layouts with the coherence and detail of permanent or sectional layouts. In this clinic, we delve into the essence of Free-mo, exploring its operations, versatility, and how enthusiasts can leverage its modularity for enhanced railroading experiences.

  • Preparing and Assembling 3D Prints by Lewis Holden: Lewis Holden offers a deep dive into the cutting-edge world of 3D printing in his latest feature. This guide provides model railway enthusiasts with invaluable insights into the meticulous process of preparing and assembling 3D printed components, a revolutionary approach to model building. Whether you're a seasoned modeler or new to the 3D printing scene, Lewis's expert advice will equip you with the knowledge and techniques needed to seamlessly integrate 3D printed elements into your layouts, enhancing realism and detail with this innovative technology.

  • Railway Work Equipment in Operations by Joshua Hill: Joshua Hill offers an in-depth look at the critical yet often overlooked aspects of railway work equipment. This clinic will unveil the operational roles and significance of these tools in the rail industry, providing insights on how to incorporate them into your model layouts for increased realism and functionality. Join Joshua as he guides you through the complexities of railway work equipment, enriching your modeling experience with practical knowledge and innovative techniques to bring your miniature worlds to life.

  • Loksound Decoder Clinic by Peter Ross: Peter Ross will offer an in-depth session on the intricacies of Loksound decoders. This clinic is designed to equip attendees with essential knowledge about sound decoders, which play a pivotal role in augmenting the realism and operational dynamics of model railways. Peter's expertise will guide participants through the benefits and technicalities of integrating Loksound decoders into their layouts, ensuring an immersive and authentic railroading experience.

  • Operating Small Layouts or Making Car Cards and Waybills by Robert Douglas: Whether you're interested in the operational logistics of small layouts or the detailed process of creating car cards and waybills, this clinic offers practical advice and techniques.

Special Interest Groups and AGM's
There will be time available for Special Interest Groups (SIG's) and AGM's. Please contact the organising committee or make notes on your registration form and we will get in touch.

Location: Corbans Theatrette

  • New Zealand Model Railway Guild AGM: Friday 26 April, 6.30pm

  • New Zealand Association of Model Railway Clubs AGM: Friday 26 April, 7.30pm

  • Division 5, National Model Railroad Association: Friday 26 April, 8.30pm

Layout Tours
We have organised a comprehensive programme of layout tours. Amongst the layouts we have currently organised include:
  • The Southern Pacific joint line subdivision - This subdivision features a double-deck HO scale layout, incorporating a single-track mainline complemented by two return loops. The layout operates on DCC (Digitrax) technology and has been operational for three years.

  • The Grande Southern Railroad - Embark on a journey through the Rockies. This 5m x 6m N scale layout, powered by DCC, captures the essence of the Rocky Mountain landscapes traversed by the D&RGW and SP. The layout boasts a sprawling main line complemented by two short lines, operated by the BN/SF and UP, offering a diverse and scenic railroading experience.

  • The Western Springs Railway - MOTAT Prototype tour. Explore the workshops that shelter three functioning large steam locomotives: F-180 'Meg Merrillies', L507, and Y542, amidst an extensive array of trains and railway vehicles. The tour also features a variety of carriages and intriguing items. Enjoy jigger rides during your visit. Note: This tour is exclusively available on the Saturday of the Convention.

  • Great Northern Minot Subdivision (Circa 1956) - Steve's layout is a multiple deck, around the walls, shelf style layout with a helix to connect the levels. Built for Car Card operations. Point to Point design allows you to follow your train with staging at each end. Return loops for re-staging trains and continuous running. Plus branch line off the main with its own helix to lowest level. Track work is 95% complete. 148m of Mainline from staging to staging. (8 HO scale miles.) Small amount of Ballast & scenery completed.

  • NZR (9mil) - Trevor's 9 mil layout is one of a small number of non-modular 9 mil layouts in New Zealand. The layout takes up most of a purpose-built 16m x 7m shed and models iconic New Zealand scenes. About two years ago, Trevor, with help from other well known NZR modellers, added a detailed model of the Opua Wharf as it was. The addition of the wharf means the maximum number of visitors to the layout at a time is 12.

  • Garden Railway - Michael's layout has been featured on TV and is one of New Zealand's best known garden layouts. The layout permits battery-powered and live steam locomotives. Michael has added a lot of scenery since the layout was last on a tour (in 2018). Different types of locomotive will be running during the layout tours.

  • Marklin Layout - Barry's layout is a large HO Marklin layout that models European scenes. It has been nine years since the layout was on a layout tour and it has been greatly enhanced since then. The enhancements include automated train control and the use of the Faller Car System to control the movement of vehicles on the layout's roads.

  • Waitakere & Western Railway HO - Western Districts Model Railway Club Inc. The Western Districts Model Railway Club animates its HO/OO scale trains with a sophisticated control system that fuses custom DCC-EX, JMRI, and LocNet technologies alongside tailored boosters. This clever setup, marked by its adept use of modern technology, elevates the club's layout. In recent years, significant enhancements to both the elaborate wiring and the scenic realism have transformed the display into a more engaging and lifelike miniature world.

    Conceived in 1974 by a group of model railway enthusiasts united by their passion and a vision for communal resource sharing, the club has grown into a vibrant community that stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of model railroading. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the Western Districts Model Railway Club not only commemorates a half-century of innovation and fellowship but also continues to inspire creativity and enthusiasm in the art of model railroading, solidifying its legacy as a cornerstone of the hobby for future enthusiasts.

  • Waitakere & Western Railway N Scale - Western Districts Model Railway Club Inc. Discover the intricate beauty and technical prowess of the Waitakere & Western Railway's N Scale layout, a marvel of model railroading that seamlessly blends tradition and innovation. This peninsula-style layout offers the best of both worlds, accommodating both DC and DCC operations for an unparalleled railroading experience. Immerse yourself in the scenery that stretches across this extensive layout. Whether you're a seasoned model railroader or a curious newcomer, the Waitakere & Western Railway's N Scale layout invites you to explore the fascinating interplay of technology and artistry that defines this captivating hobby.

  • Freelance American Layout HO - Auckland Central Model Railway Club inc. The Auckland Central Model Railway Club Inc has been in existence since 1991 in several locations, until 2004 when we secured the club rooms we now enjoy in Mt. Wellington. We cover all facets of model railways with HO, OO and N scale layouts at the club rooms and club members doing a lot of other scales in their own homes. Our modelers come from a variety of modeling backgrounds and bring all levels and skills to the Club.

  • Sheffield OO Layout - Auckland Central Model Railway Club inc.

For images of some of the layouts, please see Newsletters #4 and #5 - downloadable here and here

There will also be the North Shore Model Railway Club's portable NZR layout on site at the convention. As well as other displays, trade stands and some manufacturers.

Please be aware that all layout tours are subject to modification. Circumstances beyond our control may necessitate changes to the schedule or the content of the tours.

Flatcar Load Challenge
NMRA Australasian Division The Flatcar Load Challenge (FLC) is a modelling competition run by the local organising committee. The FLC is independent of the NZAMRC model competition and will be run under a different set of rules (the rules are given below). The Australasian Region of the National Model Railroaders Association is sponsoring the trophies for first, second and third place. The judging is by popular vote.

The FLC requires the modeler to make a load for a flatcar. We expect most modelers will take one of their flatcars and make the load. A modeler could make the flatcar as well as the load but there are no points for the flatcar - the load only will be judged.

There are no restrictions on the load except that it must be made from at least two parts. There is an almost limitless choice for loads. Possible loads include a small steam locomotive, a large diesel engine or turbine, large pipes, a small submarine or a bathyscaphe, wheel sets for freight cars, large blocks of marble, a boat, a large run or tanks, a small spacecraft, large tanks, large spools of cable, circuit equipment, covered vintage cars, lumber, and the hero in a movie chasing a villain.

  • Each entry for the challenge consists of a flatcar with a load. The flatcar must be operational but will not be judged. The load only will be judged.
  • The judging will be by popular vote.
  • An entry can be in any scale from T to 7/8inch.
  • A modeller can submit more than one entry.
  • A modeller can submit an entry on behalf of another modeller.
  • No documentation is to be supplied with the model.
  • The load on a flatcar must be made from more than one part. These parts need not be scratch built.

Partner Programme
The Partners' Program is being coordinated by Elizabeth Mead. Elizabeth has created the possible list of activities given below. The list is intended to cater for a wide range of interests. Elizabeth has first-hand experience of most of these activities and will be available to answer questions about them. Partners will choose on the day which activity or activities they wish to participate in. The choice could well depend on the weather. Partners can split into groups and each group goes on different activities. Some activities will incur a cost.

  • Ferry to Devonport - From the city take a ferry to Auckland's North Shore and the suburb of Devonport. From Devonport, walk past the Navy Museum and up North Head, or Maungauika, one of Auckland's volcanoes.
  • Walking Tour - A walking tour is a way to discover Auckland, pay what you feel the tour is worth at the finish.
  • Film effects workshop - Weta Workshop is a film effects workshop, see how film effects are designed, built and brought to life.
  • Hauraki Gulf Marine Park - The Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari offers tours of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.
  • Maritime Museum - The New Zealand Maritime Museum is a place where Aotearoa's stories of people and the sea are preserved.
  • Sky Tower - View the Auckland skyline from the Sky Tower.
  • Museum - Auckland War Memorial Museum tells the story of Aotearoa.
  • Auckland Art Gallery - Explore Auckland Art Gallery viewing New Zealand historic, modern and contemporary art.
  • Auckland Zoo - Auckland Zoo is home to at least 130 different species of animals.
  • Waiheke Island - Take a 40 min ferry ride to explore Waiheke Island and vineyards.

Venue Parking and Public Transport
Two car parks on the Corban Estate will be available for attendees to park their cars. Between them, the two carparks have 65 parking spots. We anticipate about 15 of these spots will be used by other visitors to the Corban Estate, leaving 50 spots for convention attendees.There is a paid carpark with a daily tariff of $4 on Great North Road near the southeast corner of the Corban Estate. There is a walking path under a railway bridge from the carpark to the Estate. The walk will take several minutes. To reduce the chance of missing out on a space, we recommend attendees who arrive by car carpool where reasonable.

The Corban Estate can be reached in two ways using public transportation and some walking. One way is to take a train to either Henderson or Sturges Road Train station and walk to the estate from the station. The Estate is almost midway between the two stations and the walk will be 950m to 1.1 km. The exact distance will depend on which station and walking route you use. The other way is to take the 120 or 143 bus from Henderson and get off the bus at 22 Swanson Road (stop 5434), and then walk 400 meters in a generally southeast direction to the main entrance.

Accommodation in Auckland varies considerably. The Convention Organising Committee will leave it to individual attendees to make their own accommodation and travel arrangements. Whilst there is some accommodation near the venue in Henderson, there is a greater choice east of Henderson and many larger hotels situated in the central Auckland area.

Key Contacts
Key contacts for the Convention are:

Convenor: Mike Hill
Email: mike@hill.net.nz
Phone: 021 758 222

Treasurer: James Kelso
Email: jameskelso250@gmail.com
Phone: 021 116 3259

Convention Newsletters
Download our Convention Newsletters:

Newsletter #2: 14 January 2024
Newsletter #3: 2 February 2024
Newsletter #4: 18 February 2024
Newsletter - Deadlines: 22 February 2024
Newsletter #5: 22 March 2024
Newsletter #6: 2 April 2024
Newsletter #7: 7 April 2024


Convention Deadlines

Here is a summary of all the convention deadlines we are aware of at this stage. All dates are in 2024.

March 31: The last day for the early bird convention registration fee of $100. People who register after this date will need to pay the full fee of $120.

April 12: The deadline for submitting online entry forms (and if possible supplementary information) for the NZAMRC model competition. Online entry forms submitted after April 12 will incur a late fee of $10, this only applies to the forms and is to give the judges time to absorb the information. Peter Ross, chair of the NZAMRC contest committee, states: 'My strong advice to anyone concerned about the fee, is get the form in by April 12. This is only the form, work can still continue on the entry(s) and even the supporting information, although of course it would be better to have that early as well.'

As stated above, this deadline is for the NZAMRC model competition only. There is no online entry form or early deadline for the Flatcar Load Challenge.

The competition entry deadline has been extended until April 19th.

April 21: The last day for convention registration.

April 26, 1pm: The deadline for receiving the models for the NZAMRC model competition at the convention.

April 26, 9pm: The deadline for receiving the models for the Flatcar Load Challenge at the convention.

NZAMRC Modelling Competition

Who in their heart of hearts does not want to make the best models they can - the best locomotive, carriage, wagon, scene or whatever? But we're human and sometimes wanting is not enough, we need a focus, a deadline, and something bigger than ourselves to make the extra effort seem worth it. Entering the model competitions can provide that incentive - even more so with all the effort that has gone into preparations this time.

Download Competition Guidelines Guidelines for Entrants
The Committee has produced a brochure which sets out the guidelines for those wishing to enter the Association Competition. This guideline brochure can be downloaded from the button below and sets out the competition sections and categories, as well as an explanation of the judging criteria and the prizes and recognition on offer.

Download Competition Guidelines

Online Entry Form
Entry to the competition is via an online form. The entry form can be accessed by clicking on the button below:

Click Here for Online Competition Entry Form

The next best thing to being a mind reader - a quality that's very rare even among judges - is information gathered from the entry form. Like most online forms, you just scroll down, mostly ticking boxes, and it doesn't actually take long. No apologies, but there's something else too. Please try to include up to a couple of pages of supplementary information like prototype photos, plans or notes. You can upload these in any common format like jpg, pdf, tif, png, etc, or just bring paper copies along with your entry.

Download Competition Rules Download Competition Awards

Download Competition Judging Guidelines
Like To Be A Judge?
This is also our first call for people to be judges. While not an easy task this is something of a privilege and a chance to really get close to a whole spectrum of the country's best models - and it should be possible to do most if not all of it without missing other programmed activities.

Download Competition Judging Guidelines

Latest Newsletter
Download our latest newsletter (February 2024) below:

Download Latest Competition Newsletter

Peter Ross (petrosnz15@gmail.com),
Chair NZAMRC Competition Committee

The following information has also been supplied by Peter Ross, Chair of NZAMRC's Competition Committee for the 2024 Convention.

An important aspect for at least some convention goers is the model competitions, so the good news for 2024 is that some important improvements are in the pipeline. The Association and the Competition Committee have listened and we are at present engaged in a review of the rules, the trophies and the judging. We hasten to add that this is evolution not revolution. Not radical, just fine tuning.

Main changes to the rules are in the entry sections, which as well as the Scratch building and Kit Building/Modified Ready-to-Run sections, are expected to have a new section for Computer Assisted Modelling. An enhanced Finish Only section for models that may only have had finishing work such as painting, decaling, weathering, etc., is also on the cards.

On the trophies front, we're working on an enlarged list of possible awards, 'possible' being the operative word at this stage. We're looking at keeping the Best in Show and Best Skill awards along with an enlarged list of some 35 potential special awards.

Gone will be the likes of '1:64 scale NZ Locomotive' and in their place nine awards per section particular to NZ, US, UK and European modelling, plus one for prototypes from 'the rest of the world'. As one example, the Best American model award would have no other restriction, so the way would be clear for a layout module rather than a locomotive, abridge rather than a boxcar, and so on.

Will this mean an interminable presentation ceremony? We've run the results from two previous conventions, one with a field of 79 entries and one with 31 entries. In both cases there would only have been 13 special awards. Like I said, most of the 'possible' awards will be just that.

On the judging front we see a need for clearer guidelines, possibility a video, and a pre-judging briefing.

We have the reviewed the Competition rules and awards and these are available for download below.

Download Competition Rules Download Competition Awards

Peter Ross, Chair, 2024 Convention Competition Committee

Note: Please be aware that there will also be a modelling challenge sponsored by the Australasian Region of the National Model Railroaders Association (NMRA) and organised by the Convention Organising Committee. Please note that this competition is quite separate to the Association Competition. The format of this modelling challenge is a 'A flatcar modelling challenge' See the information elsewhere on this page.