I modified an Athearn Santa Fe cupola caboose or waycar to stay with Santa Fe lingo. I installed brake gear, new ladders, window screens, marker lights etc and was very proud of the outcome, because I followed a construction article from Andy Sperandeo from Model Railroader Magazine
I submitted my model at the NMRA concention in Minneapolis/St. Paul in 1999.
Although the judges certified me a throughout good job, it nevertheless earned only 64 points out of 125.
This judgement made me aware of the fact that I probably had not the required knowledge yet to succeed in this certificate.
I then put cars on the backseat and continued with structures instead.
In the meantime I tried my hand on scratchbuilding a simple flatcar and entered for merit award judging in 2003 or 2004 at the British Region convention.
I probably did not do enough research and although it was almost completely scratchbuild except for the trucks and couplers it only earned 68 points.
That's when I laid cars completely aside for a couple of years and it would only be my last certifcate that I completed before MMR.
More on this in another post.