With the Master Model Railroader Certificate almost within reach, it was time to turn to building rolling stock models to complete my required certificates.
Different types of cars have to be modeled with a total of eight. Four models must reach the minimum of 87.5 points. After having completed six certificates already I was now confident that I could also succeed with cars. I also had the different cars in mind that I wanted to build like a Flatcar, a Boxcar, a Reefer and perhaps a Tankcar.
The car I had in mind was not an ordinary Tankcar like the one everybody knows but a Helium Tankcar. At a swap meet I purchased an old Ambroid kit of exactly this car. This was a wooden craftsman kit with a handfull of stripwood and metal castings. I took the plan and purchased Evergreen styrene strips instead. If you ever tried to make wood look like metal you understand my reason for doing so..
I then built the car following the instructions using styrene basic shapes and a couple of commercial castings (ladders, brakewheel, couplers etc)
From the old decal sheet supplied in the kit I drew new decals on my computer and printed them out on plain decal paper.
I finished the car right on time for the 2011 NMRA convention in Sacramento, Ca. I was very excited about the score it would get. I invested so much time to build this car, so if it would not get the minimum score I didn't know what to do to succeed in this certificate.
After the judging was finished the car earned 90 points out of 125, a Merit Award and a Honorable Mention. I had convinced the National Judges of my skills and now I knew that I was on the right way.
Here's the detailed score:
Cars is probably one of the most challenging certificates because the models you have to build are not static like structures are. When installing the brake riggings, you must take care that the trucks swivel enough to negotiate turnouts and curves, It is nevertheless one of the most rewarding experiences that I've made. To see a piece of rolling stock emerge from a handfull of strips and bits and pieces.
I decided to scratchbuild all of the remaining cars, because the chances are bigger to reach the needed score.