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Thread: Swap-a-rama @ 2018 NSE National Convention, Salt Lake City

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    Default Swap-a-rama @ 2018 NSE National Convention, Salt Lake City

    Like other NSE conventions, there was quite the queue of people waiting in line for the swap-a-rama well before the doors opened.

    Folks waiting for the swap-a-rama doors to open.

    Considered one of the best in the nation, this swap-a-rama offers collectors and runners new and used items from manufacturers, vendors and individuals. Almost all the items for offer were n-scale, with a smattering of some z-scale items.

    Ronn from Harlem, GA likes this swap-a-rama because he gets a "chance to see new stuff and hear about new announcements."

    Lowell Smith NSE special run, a concept car tailored to Salt Lake City.

    Fellow attendees also in the swap-a-rama line were all abuzz about the Lowell Smith NSE special run/concept car: a flatcar with a golden spike. This car was tailored to Salt Lake City, which is near Promontory (where the Union Pacific RR and Central Pacific RR were united in May 1869 creating America's first transcontinental RR).


    While in line, someone from the NSE booth came out and gave us a preview of the Atlas special run 2-car set, the Salt Lake City Brewing Company boxcars commissioned by the NSE. These were one of many items created specifically for the show.

    Atlas special run 2-car set, The Salt Lake City Brewing Company boxcars commissioned by the NSE.

    Once the doors did open, many folks, including Gary from Burley, ID, made a bee-line (along with his great grandson) to Lowell’s booth. WiFi was a bit wonky so the wait in line took a while. That just meant more time to shoot the breeze about n-scale and ask about yesterday’s Room Sales.

    Randy from Moorpark, CA (in line at Lowell’s booth) said this about the previous day’s Room Sales.

    Randy from Moorpark, CA and George Michaels, TroveStar N Scale Database

    “You can find very popular stuff to buy at better prices.” He was pleased with some of the flat cars he purchased from Charlie Hopkins who customizes car loads.

    Hopkins customized car load: ever wonder how damaged cars get transported to be repaired?

    Ken from Dallas, TX also got what he wanted (Charlie Hopkins cars) at the Room Sales and enjoys coming to the NSE conventions to “catch up with Lowell Smith and see the manufacturers.”

    Later on in the afternoon, I ran into Ronn who happily showed off his swap-a-rama find, an older Kato North Pole and Southern model.

    A happy swap-a-rama customer

    Individual Sellers
    David from Castle Rock, CO had a table and was trying to “thin the herd” and sell a MicroTrains 12-car beer reefer series. In previous years, he did Room Sales to sell his stock but this year decided to get a table.

    MicroTrains 12-car beer reefer series

    David’s table was right next to that of Doug Hickman, who had lots of inventory and had just completed a 100+ car transaction as I walked up. His son, Ryan explained that collectors, runners and re-sellers like the show because they can find special runs and older models with limited production numbers and deep-discounted items.

    Early MicroTrains Blue Label release

    He showed me a coveted blue label item (MicroTrains early release where the jewel box print was blue vs the current black) with clip-on trucks (a unique feature that appeals to collectors).

    MicroTrains Appreciation Car

    Doug Hickman also offered the MicroTrains 2018 NSE Convention Appreciation car (an illustrated flatcar with golden spike) given out to die-hard Convention volunteers.

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