NRG 2018 Annual Conference in Las Vegas

Thank you to all attendees, watch for our conference report and details on the 2019 NRG conference!

The NRG annual conference will take place October 25 – 27, 2018 in the Palace Station Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV (phone: 702-367-2411). The hotel is just off the Strip and has free airport shuttle service on a set schedule with free shuttle service to and from the Strip.

IMPORTANT: you must call 702.367.2411 for the NRG 2018 room rate! Ask for the special rate code PCINRG1 for the NAUTICAL RESEARCH GUILD CONFERENCE! DO NOT CALL 1-800-634-3101 FOR RESERVATIONS or you will not receive a discount!
Download Conference Registration FormDownload Model Registration Form

Hotel Information

Room rates, including the $15.86 Las Vegas Resort fee, are $65.85 (+ tax) for Tuesday through Thursday nights and $125.85 (+ tax) for Friday and Saturday nights. All rooms are equipped with high speed internet access with a daily newspaper and admission to the exercise facility. Last date to get the special conference room rates is September 25, 2018.

Dining Options

  • The hotel has five restaurants as well as a Starbucks. The Feast Buffet is one of the best buffets in Las Vegas with breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7:00am to 9:00pm with $9.99 breakfast, $11.99 lunch, and $16.99 dinner prices ($3 to $7 less for Boarding Pass members).
  • The Grand Café is open with breakfast and lunch around the clock. Breakfast prices vary from $6.99 to $13.99, lunch from $6.99 to $10.99, and dinner from $8.99 to $17.99. For seafood lovers, the Oyster Bar is open 24/7 with any seafood on the menu.
  • Fine dining is available at the Charcoal Room, open from 5:00pm until 10:00pm Sunday – Thursday and 11:00pm on Friday and Saturday.
  • Little Tony’s offers a variety of Italian and American pizza styles, including Italian, American, Sicilian, New York, traditional Chicago, cracker-thin, and gluten-free. Additionally, Little Tony’s offers a wide selection of pastas, calzones, stromboli, antipasti, and salads with authentic Italian ingredients and organically-grown produce. Open from 4:00pm to 10:00pm Monday to Thursday, 4:00pm to 11:00pm on Friday, and 11:00am to 11:00pm Saturday.

Las Vegas Activities

Las Vegas is a virtual playground and cultural center that can provide you and your family an entertaining and fulfilling vacation while attending the NRG Conference. Check out our guide to some of the activities available during your visit!

Conference Events – Updated

Thursday Tour

The Thursday Tour is a trip to the Hoover Dam and a lunch cruise on Lake Mead on a sternwheel boat. The guided tour of the Hoover Dam includes the entire inner workings of the Dam, not just the exterior. The cruise, with lunch and beverage provided, provides a water side close up view of the Dam. There is also a cash bar on the boat for those wishing to have an adult beverage.

Informal gatherings on Thursday and Friday evenings with a cash bar will be an opportunity to gather and see old friends, make new friends and can serve as a meeting place for those going to dinner together.


The speaker line-up for our 2018 conference is almost finalized with an interesting group committed. As of press time almost all speakers are on board. Some names you will certainly recognize as being outstanding and respected members of the Guild or very well known in their areas of expertise.

  • Ken Foran will talk about soldering brass
  • Tony Devroude will talk about carving figureheads
  • Dr. Al Ross of BlueJacket will speak about kit development
  • Kurt Van Dahm will speak about model size table saw use and safety
  • Steve Wheeler will talk about some unique Colorado River boats and their construction
  • Doug Tolbert will discuss researching the HMS Buckingham
  • Chris Dostal, Assistant Professor at the Texas A&M Nautical Archaeology Program, will speak about nautical archaeological excavations and the use of 3D rendering of the artifacts
  • Justin Parkoff, an Institute of Nautical Archaeology Associate and Ph.D. graduate from Texas A&M University will discuss walking beam engines and their influence on the eastern river steamboats

Daily Schedules – Updated

Friday: Morning Technical Sessions

  • Ken Foran – Soldering Brass
  • Steve Wheeler – Lapstrake Hull Construction
  • Kurt Van Dahm – Table Saw Use and Safety

Friday: Lunch

We will have a 90 minute lunch period on Friday and Saturday. We encourage attendees to visit the vendors and the model room!

Lunch on both Friday and Saturday will be sandwich and salad buffets where you can select your own sandwich and salads. This has been a very popular type of lunch for our members at past conferences.

Friday: Afternoon Round Tables

  • Ken Foran will answer questions about his soldering techniques from his morning presentation. See his work close-up and get additional tips.
  • Tony Devroude will demonstrate some of the techniques he will feature in his Saturday talk on carving ship decorations. Tony is an expert carver and his work must be seen up close to be truly appreciated.
  • Kurt Van Dahm will explain the jigs and safety features from his morning talk. Kurt will also answer questions about table saw techniques and safety tips.
  • Pam Weiss, an expert machinist from Sherline Products, will show Sherline equipment and answer questions about Sherline products and machining techniques. Pam’s round tables were wildly popular at the San Diego Conference and she is back by popular demand.
  • Steve Wheeler will show his method of simulating tufted upholstery that has been featured in some of his award-winning models. If you ever make an open boat and need to show realistic upholstery this is a presentation to see!
  • Nic Damuck from BlueJacket will show how to make realistic sails using Silkspan. This was a very popular round table at the Mystic conference, so we brought Nic back by popular demand.

Friday: Late Afternoon Annual Membership Meeting

The Annual Membership Meeting will occur after the Round Tables.

Saturday: General Sessions

  • Tony Devroude – Carving Figureheads
  • Al Ross – Kit Development
  • Chris Dostal – Nautical Archaeological Excavations – 3D Imaging
  • Justin Parkoff – Walking Beam Engines and Their Influence on the Eastern River Steamboats
  • Doug Tolbert – Researching 74 Gun Class Buckingham

Saturday: Lunch

We will have a 90-minute lunch period on Friday and Saturday. We encourage attendees to visit the vendors and the model room!

Lunch on both Friday and Saturday will be sandwich and salad buffets where you can select your own sandwich and salads. This has been a very popular type of lunch for our members at past conferences.

Saturday: Banquet with Speakers and Awards

After dinner speaker will be NRG member and artist, Peter Rindlisbacher. His talk will cover his use of ship models to help create his paintings.

Banquet meal choices are:

  • Sautéed Chicken Breast – Herb Roasted Marinade
  • Orange Roughy with Fresh Tropical Salsa
  • Traditional 6 oz. Filet of Beef

All dinners include rolls and butter, salad, vegetable, potato, coffee, hot and iced teas and desert.

If you have special dietary restrictions please let us know when you register so your needs can be accommodated. Special dietary needs can’t be accommodated if we are not notified at least a week before the event – due to the hotel’s requirements.


At press time there are two vendors confirmed. BlueJacket Shipcrafters and Train Troll will be attending and displaying their materials. The NRG will also have a sales table.

Model Display

Please bring a model; we will have a lot of space for model display. The model registration form is available by clicking here.

NEW: Swap Meet

The NRG is pleased to offer conference attendees a garage sale / swap meet. We will provide a table to conference attendees in the Model Display and Vendor room to sell tools and model-related items. Only conference attendees may sell, and you must reserve a table by contacting the office before October 1 either by phone (585.968.8111) or email.

Table space is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Sales hours are when the vendor room is open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. All items must be removed from the room Saturday before the banquet dinner, no exceptions!