This is an excerpt from my President's Letter for Edition no. 12:
This month I attended my first National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) convention. It was truly a great experience and I learned so much about model railroading, scratch building, and so much more from the Master Model Railroaders (MMR) and other modelers at the convention. Thanks to Div. 1 superintendent Steve Zapytowski, Railroading in America Magazine was able to sponsor the convention’s model contest and present three awards during the banquet on Saturday, May 4, 2019. It was also a true pleasure to spend the day with Allan Miller, (O Gauge Railroading magazine) Niel Shore, (a well respected 3-rail model railroader) and my dad as well.
As a sponsor of the event, Allan Miller and I were invited to judge the contest. As a judge, we evaluated structures, cars, and locomotives for construction, detail, finish/lettering, scratch-building, and conformity. Allan was selected to be on the construction committee, and myself on the finish/lettering committee. Although I was a judge for finish and lettering and Allan was a judge for construction, we also paid great attention to the other aspects of the models to
narrow down the selection to one in each category.
The locomotives that were presented to us were absolutely stunning. From RSDs, GPs, SDs, and electrics, the only locomotive type that was missing was a steam locomotive. I had three favorite locomotives - a NKP/N&W RSD-11 that was weathered according to a prototypical photo, a Chessie System SD40-2, and a Central of New Jersey (CNJ) Boxcab. The first and last locomotives were debated on which would receive the first Railroading in America Magazine “Exceptional Model Railroader” award. Allan and I ultimately decided due to the level of scratch-building (over 100 parts were scratch-built), detail, conformity, and construction, that the CNJ Boxcab #1000, built by Michael Wolf, was the best model to receive this award for the first time. This locomotive is
absolutely stunning! It reflects everything an extraordinary model railroader possesses in his/her remarkable toolbox of knowledge. The most impressive thing to me personally on this model was how the number board decals (that were absolutely miniscule - maybe 3 or 4mm in height at most) were perfectly applied. The model looked as if it just arrived from the warehouse.
The second category we judged were buildings/structures. For this category there were passenger stations; freight houses; office buildings; apartment buildings; liquor stores; and general stores. The most impressive model was built by Cecil Stewart. Cecil built a rendition of a freight house that was both unique, prototypical, and reflected a great deal of dedication and craftsmanship. Cecil’s “Old Town Freight House” received second place from Railroading in America Magazine.
The third category we judged were the revenue and non-revenue cars. Hoppers, box cars, cabooses, and flat cars were amongst the mix of rolling stock. The most impressive (and third place recipient) was Chuck Endreola’s “Coal Hopper #12.” Endreola’s model featured small pieces of leftover coal, worn numbers, weathered wood, and rusted wheels.
All that I can say from my experience as a judge is that all of the models that were presented to the panel left me awestruck. I can’t wait to attend another NMRA convention and hopefully judge again!
First photo: Cecil Stewart, second place recipient, accepts his award.
Second photo: Cecil Stewart's model of "Old Time Freight House."
Third photo: Chuck Endreola receives third place for his model.
Fourth photo: Chuck Endreola's model of "Coal Hopper #12."