Normally I do this way before I'm this involved with a model. But I like this bridge and would build it anyway, so I'll push on. One thing I'd like to do is to pre-judge it (yes I know I haven't built it yet) so that I can get a rough idea of how it would score. This way I know if I have a chance at a Merit Award, or if I should start working on scratchbuilding 200 nbw castings!
I'll start with the Judging Guide for Motive Power, Cars and Structures on the NMRA AP website.
Construction: This model is a bit more difficult than others due to the angles of the bridge trusses. Great care will have to be given in order to get them all straight and on the bridge beams. A judge will look for glue, fuzzy wood, straightness, alignment, and NBW placement. I would expect it to be classes as moderately complex on the grid, and I would do a very good job of assembly. This would score 25 points.
Details: This model will be 100% detailed, which is good. Spiking the rails, all the NBW's and the wood finish should do very well. I'll need to make sure the rail sections are cut and spliced at 39' intervals. On the grid I would say it would be classes as extensive detail, and evenly between easy and hard to add. Truss rods are tough! This would give me a score of 17 points
Conformity: The bridge is supported by excellent documentation with several photos and a complete set of drawings for assembly. It is very prototypical and matches the photos. I'll be sure to mention the errors in the original plans and other models. While some of the timber sizes may not be exact, they are very close and would have been exact if they had known dimensions. Wood is wood, metal is metal with the exceptions of the NBW's. On the graph I would say it is completely prototypical and almost extensive for a score of 21 points.
Finish & Lettering: It is hard to score lettering points on this bridge as there isn't any really. The finish will be excellent as I'm very good at staining and weathering real would and duplicating rust. Weathering will be the critical item here. I'm thinking simple and better for a score of 16 points.
Scratchbuilt: Drawings will be provided and the model is almost completely screatchbuilt with the exception of the nbw's and the turnbuckles. I'm not really sure if a judge would call this Moderate or Complex, so we'll use Moderate and Completely Scratchbuilt. This will yield a score of 13 points.
Summing it up:
Construction - 25 points
Detail - 17 points
Conformity - 21 points
Finish & Lettering - 16 points
Scratchbuilt - 13 points
Total - 92 points
That is a good potential score! I could build the nbw's and turnbuckles from scratch, but they may wind up hurting me instead of helping me, so I won't bother. Construction will be the place I lose points if I don't do a good job on the assembly and cutting of the wood. But I have 4.5 points of room to play in and usually prefer 5. That should get me a merit award! Let's finish the drawings and build this sucker!