Master Model Railroader

"An NMRA member qualifies as a Master Model Railroader when he or she has obtained at least seven of the eleven Achievement Certificates provided that he or she has earned at least one Achievement Certificate in each of the four areas of the Regulations. Earning the title of Master Model Railroader is the ultimate goal for many participants in the Achievement Program."

Monday, September 16, 2013

Master Builder - Scenery (Requirements)


The intent of this category is for you to demonstrate "the prototypical rendering of scenic effects from the ground up." The type of scenery that you choose to model is entirely up to you. An urban landscape involves just as much scenery (if not more) as a mountain or desert landscape.

To Qualify for the Master Builder - Scenery Certificate:

1.      Construct a completed section of a model railroad of at least sixty square feet in O scale, or forty-five square feet in S scale, or thirty-two square feet in HO scale, or eighteen square feet in N scale or other scales in proportional relationship to HO scale. This completed section must contain the necessary scenic elements of Terrain, Structures, Background, Lighting, and Realism/Conformity as combined to achieve a realistic effect using applicable NMRA standards. in that particular model railroad scene. The intent of this category is the prototypical rendering of the scenic elements from the ground up.
The definitions of the various elements (which may be combined to comprise the setting for the model railroad) shall be:
1.      Terrain (35 pts)
The ground and all natural features such as rocks, water, trees, hills and depressions, as well as man made features such as railroad roadbed, cuts, fills, drainage ditches, embankments, streets and roads, etc.
2.      Structures (20 pts)
Structures are considered from the standpoint of prototypical suitability, placement, and appearance as scenic effects - NOT as to construction (which is covered under Master Builder - Structures). This includes bridges, trestles, and culverts, buildings and all other types of structures (towers, power lines, signs, fences, retaining walls, etc.), track and right-of-way features such as turnout controls, signaling structures, crossing gates and shanties, turntables and other service structures, etc.
3.      Background (25 pts)
Treatment of the wall, backdrop, and/or ceiling to realistically depict depth, distance, horizon, and sky.
4.      Lighting (20 pts)
Illumination effects from three aspects:
      • a) railroad cars, signals, etc.
      • b) buildings, streets, and roads, etc.
      • c) overall lighting effects - day and/or night.
An entirely daylight scene is acceptable. This lighting information must be included in the material prepared for Section 4 below.
5.      Realism / Conformity (25 pts)
In the other four judging areas, the judges evaluate what you were trying to do - what you remembered to include in your scene. In this one, they evaluate how well you did what you were trying to do.
Your entire layout does not have to be completed to be judged - just enough to meet the minimum space requirements given above. However, the areas which are not to be judged should be blocked off (visually) from those that are.
2.      Prepare a set of photographs (video tape presentation is acceptable) and a written description clearly describing the intended setting of the model railroad and the scenic details including towns or cities in the area being judged.
3.      Prepare a description of the materials and methods of construction used in creating various features of Terrain, Background, and Lighting.
4.      Attach one copy of materials in Sections 2 & 3 to the Statement of Qualification (SOQ) for use by the judges in determining the effectiveness of the craftsmanship displayed by the member requesting certification.
5.      Earn a Merit Award of at least 87.5 points on the section of layout being judged.
6.      Submit a completed Statement of Qualifications (SOQ) including the attachments for Sections 2 & 3 and the signed merit judging forms and/or copies of the Merit Award certificates from Section 5. 


Unfortunately I had no permanent home layout when I assembled the material for this certificate. 
Instead I had built a number of Fremo Modules and exhibition layouts of various sizes over the years. 
So after talking to my AP chair he agreed that I send him pictures and descriptions of as many modules
and layouts to fulfill the requirements.

So here it goes:

Alice Street Terminal (Exhibition layout)

Scenic elements included half relief background buildings and scenes

Casco Junction (3 Fremo Modules)

On the modules I had removable backdrops to mount on either side, depending on the setup

 That's the junction module. The backdrop was added on the computer.(just to show overall scene)

Farmington (2 Fremo modules)

I mainly used Walthers backdrops glued to foamcore boards

Grafton Station (4 Fremo modules)

This station is basically John Allen's timesaver. I've built it following an article in Model
Railroader Magazine called "One of my towns is a timesaver".

Higgins Boats (Micro Layout)

No Name Plastiks (Fremo Module)

Otowi Station (2 On3 modules)

The modules feature handlaid track

Timpas (Shadow Box layout)

The layout features a Santa Fe station scene and the box is connected to an oval track to run trains
through the box .

I received this award at the British Region Convention in October 2010

Lessons learned:

It is certainly easier to fill the requirements for this certificate if you build a permanent layout with all the
features on one layout. I'm glad I could piece it together like this but its certainly not the best way to do.

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