Mark also added...
More to help answer your question -
Construction = quality of the work you did on the item of track work. Clean solder joints, ties now cracked or broken, rail has clean cuts......
Detail - How much detail is there - if the prototype had 4 spikes per tie then the model would. If you only do 1 spike per tie then that seems to me to be less detail than more. NBW castings on joint bars ? You get the idea
Conformity - does your track item look like the real thing - doesn't matter what the real thing is but have photos so the judges can see what you were trying to recreate in miniature.
Finish/Lettering - Ties stained the right color (or not) - rail weathered per the prototype
Scratch Building - Cut ties from a tree or a piece of stripwood versus using laser cut ties. I actually scratch built my harp switch stands. This one can be tougher than the above.
Food for thoughtMark
And some great advice from Bruce Wilson...
The times I have judged civil we basically followed what was written
in the requirements and what is shown on the Judging Sheet.
The first thing we did was check everything with an NMRA Track Gauge
to make sure all clearances were correct. The looked at the pieces
for neatness of work how complex was the piece etc. Were we able to
run a locomotive through all possible routes. Remember to have
enough track for the loco beyond the piece you are modelling. You
will have to make sure the wiring is correct as well (Wait there a
minute! Sounds like part of the requirements for Electrical Part 2
doesn't it? You can use your three Civil examples for electrical as well)
Next we looked at the overall details such as were tie plates added,
bolt details on the frog, fish plates, spikes, stretcher bar details,
switch machines or hand throws etc. Look at the P87 stores site to
see some great detail.
Did the modeler get it right with respect to following the
prototype. Some of the ones we judged provided photos of what they
were trying to reproduce
Finish. Ties stained, rails weathered, grease around moving points,
ballasted, etc. Does it look real.
How much did the modeler build from scratch. Look at was is allowed
and not allowed. Cutting ties from stock will get higher points, you
can make your own spikes etc.
Remember you only need to build three examples that must get 87 1/2
so it makes sense to go all out with the details. Also remember the
three you build do not have to be on your layout but can be on separate boards
Hope this is of some help.
Now having read the judging form, here's what I'm thinking. First, like I always do, I score the model before I start building it. Here's what I came up with.
Not good. Just barely getting to 87.5. Looks like I needs a new strategy. I'm avoiding a lot of added cost by not buying and adding detail. I like Mark's idea of a scratchbuilt swithstand. Cutting my own ties is easy, too. For some really good points I could etch some tie plates. Either way, I've got to put on more detail.
I'm still sick, so I'm headed to bed.