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."

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Master Builder - Motive Power (One down, two more to go)

On Saturday, October 29, 2016 my On30 rail car met the judges at the NMRA British Region Convention in Meriden near Birmingham.

I was part of the judging team but I did not judge my own model. My team judged the steam locomotives and cabooses.

I was very proud when after the math was done, my score was 111 out of 125 points. In the categories "Detail" and "Conformity" I scored the maximum available points of 20 respectively 25. Also in "Scratchbuilding" I scored 14 of the 15 possible points, which confirms my thinking of doing things from scratch rather than modifying a kit.

I probably have the required scratchbuilt model in Motive Power, although, I think, I'll do the remaining two from scratch as well. It's more fun to create something from basic shapes.

Here is the judging form with the scores and the comments from the judges.

Master Builder - Motive Power (Written documentation sample)

The following pages are a sample of my written descriptions. I also add copies of the articles and additional photographs if available. This time I included photos of the different building steps, to show the judges how I put the model together or how I constructed special items. Sometimes pictures tell more than a thousand words.

I know that many members hate all this paperwork, but being a judge myself, I know how frustrating it is when you are looking over a model and you can only score what you see. Most of the time there was more work done than is actually visible.

As a positive side effect, a detailed description may also serve as the base for an article, if you're working on your Author Certificate as well.

Master Builder - Motive Power (On30 Rail Truck)

After having eight certificates checked off and Master Model Railroader status achieved, I realized that the remaining three would be not so far out of reach. I found that my skills were refined enough to dare the Motive Power Certificate.

Like with some of my models for the Cars Certificate, I browsed through the pages of my magazines to find something that inspired me to build. A little critter caught my eye in an issue of the Narrow Gauge Gazette. It is actually a M.A.C. Model 4-41 Rail Car which was build by Motor Appliance Corporation, the name under which Skagit Steel & iron Works in Sedro Wolley, Washington marketed these gasoline powered rail cars. Not to be confused with the Mack trucks, rail buses and locomotives built in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

The deck of the rail car was basically a powered flatcar with a cab and an engine hood on top. Because I did not have any spare parts or gears to build the power chassis from scratch, I decided to look for a powered chassis which could be substituted. The motor, gears and wheels are parts that are exempt from scratchbuilding, so I found that the HO powered rail bus from Bachman would fit the bill.

I left an opening in the deck to allow it to sit deeper on the chassis. The underframe with the sills, coupler and stake pockets finished, I turned to the cab and hood.

I formed the radiator from three layers of plain styrene with a rectagular cut-out for the brass mesh, representing the radiator grill. I curved a piece of .015" styrene in boiling water to avoid breaking it.

Then I applied louvers from quarter round styrene strip and trim using 1x2 strips. The radiator and sander caps are scrap pieces of styrene tube and .015" sheet.

The cab was build from four pieces of plain styren with cut-outs for the doors and windows. The water tank is also basically a rectangular box from plain styrene sheet.

I made the roof removable to see the interior.

The water pump is basicalle the front part of an HO tractor model with blower castings and piping from Auhagen.

I added some more details to the underbody. A Grandt Line brake cylinder with rod, brake pads on all four wheels, sander piping to all four wheels, an exhaust side pipe, gasoline tank and tool box

The water tank received several layers of Rustall and burnt umber to recreate heave rust.

The cab, deck and roof underwent also a heavy weathering treatment. I stained the planks with my usual black ink and isopropyl alcohol mix and also punched nail holes, taking care to locate them exactly over the sills underneath. I decalled the cab sides with a fictional name and the water tank with the wording "Water". The decalling on the sides actually came from a Santa Fe passenger car name as well ass the "Water" decal from the tank.

Then I attached all these components on top of the deck.

Because the cab decal left some silvering after application I tried to improve the look by simulating the white from the lettering running down the sides of the cab. This was achieved by applying small dots of white oil paint to the letters and with a wide brush dampened with Turpentine I streaked the paint down.

The effect of the running white paint could not hide the silvering completely, but it did not lead to a major loss of points.

The final touch before heading to the convention in Birmingham was to add the engineer figure into the cab.