AP Scenery for the Utah Night Shift Railroad
I’m going to work on Electrical, Civil and Scenery all at the same time, and Scenery will be the last since I want all electrical and trackwork completed before starting the scenery. So we’ll focus on this with the intent to get it done by late December.
My notes in BLUE
Steps I need to take in RED
Here is my check list:
Master Builder - Scenery
To Qualify for the Master Builder - Scenery Certificate:
1. Construct a completed section of a model railroad of at least sixty square feet in O scale, or forty-five square feet in S scale, or thirty-two square feet in HO scale, or eighteen square feet in N scale or other scales in proportional relationship to HO scale. This completed section must contain the necessary scenic elements of Terrain, Structures, Background, Lighting, andRealism/Conformity as combined to achieve a realistic effect using applicable NMRA standards. in that particular model railroad scene. The intent of this category is the prototypical rendering of the scenic elements from the ground up.
The dimensions of this HO layout are just over 32 square feet, so we are good there. It contains three sections that are 7.5” x 20” (12.5 sq ft) for a total (3 x 12.5) of 37.5 sq ft. Since I’m basing the layout on a real railroad right here in Salt Lake, using photos, the prototypical recreation is easy to justify.
The definitions of the various elements (which may be combined to comprise the setting for the model railroad) shall be:
A. Terrain (35 pts)
The ground and all natural features such as rocks, water, trees, hills and depressions, as well as man made features such as railroad roadbed, cuts, fills, drainage ditches, embankments, streets and roads, etc.
Also remember different types of vegetation and the effects of weather and of animals. Remember the detail on streets and roads, whether in urban or rural areas: sewers / storm drains, man-hole covers, shoulders, drainage ditches, cracks, patches, road wear marks, oil stains, and tire ruts in dirt roads.
Make the transitions between different types of terrain as smooth as possible. Avoid glaring inconsistencies, such as a New England Farm house surrounded by palm trees. If you are going to have different scenes on your layout, use backdrop dividers or other vision blockers to separate them.
Because there aren’t any big hills or scenic features that stand out, the focus will have to be on berms, the river, and roads. Extreme detail needs to be taken on the streets. I probably need to sketch some of this out and keep a LOT of photographs. Might be a good idea to begin building a powerpoint for this now.
B. Structures (20 pts)
Structures are considered from the standpoint of prototypical suitability, placement, and appearance as scenic effects - NOT as to construction (which is covered under Master Builder - Structures). This includes bridges, trestles, and culverts, buildings and all other types of structures (towers, power lines, signs, fences, retaining walls, etc.), track and right-of-way features such as turnout controls, signaling structures, crossing gates and shanties, turntables and other service structures, etc.
These are but a few examples - additional features are encouraged. Also remember that structures should be in the ground, not sitting on top of it. Make sure that the appearance of your structures is consistent with your scenery. At the very least, weather it enough to take the "out of the box plastic shine" off of it. Switch machines, if not under the table, should be well disguised (this is one detail that will cause your application to be returned if it is not done). Remember details such as lights over the doors of commercial buildings.
The structures are built off of prototypes and most all will be scratch built, so we need to watch how they are mounted on to the layout. Gates and fences are critical. So is the bridge over the creek.
C. Background (25 pts)
Treatment of the wall, backdrop, and/or ceiling to realistically depict depth, distance, horizon, and sky.
This doesn't mean that you have to have a photographic or landscape artist quality background. Your background should continue the 'illusion of reality ' that you are trying to create with your scenery. The background should match the scenery, and the transition where the two of them meet is smooth and/or hidden. One good question to ask yourself is: Is there enough good background to allow a photo to be taken without showing other parts of the room? If a wall is the backdrop, make sure that the texture is appropriate, as well as the color (a concrete block wall painted sky-blue, still looks like a concrete block wall!)
I am building removable scenery backgrounds that will be blue only with light clouds. This won’t be part of the layout, just a one time addition for the AP. I was kicking around a photo backdrop of the Wasatch mountains, but I’m not sure I want to go to the trouble and expense.
D. Lighting (20 pts)
Illumination effects from three aspects:
§ a) railroad cars, signals, etc.
§ b) buildings, streets, and roads, etc.
§ c) overall lighting effects - day and/or night.
An entirely daylight scene is acceptable. This lighting information must be included in the material prepared for Section 4 below.
Note that a fully day lit scene is perfectly acceptable (although you may get more points for a scene that allows you to show off more lighting elements). However, even in a day lit scene, there may be evidence of lighting - even if it is not operational (non-illuminated street lights, for example.)
Also note that not every scene will contain all of these elements. If the scene you are modeling is in the middle of the desert, there may not be any buildings or streets there to light!
The layout is designed for night operation. All building, street and railcar lighting will be engaged. Black lights will be mounted in the ceiling for an overall night affect, without having a complete absence of light. I should do well on this.
E. Realism / Conformity (25 pts)
In the other four judging areas, the judges evaluate what you were trying to do - what you remembered to include in your scene. In this one, they evaluate how well you did what you were trying to do.
Your entire layout does not have to be completed to be judged - just enough to meet the minimum space requirements given above. However, the areas which are not to be judged should be blocked off (visually) from those that are.
Since my layout is based on a prototypical area, I think I will do well here. The scenes will be close to the photos.
2. Prepare a set of photographs (video tape presentation is acceptable) and a written description clearly describing the intended setting of the model railroad and the scenic details including towns or cities in the area being judged.
These photos don't have to be professional quality - that isn't what is being judged. However, there should be at least one over-all picture of the layout, and pictures of all the parts which are being judged. Each picture should have an accompanying description.
I’m blogging this, so I can go back to my photo deck and pull out what I need for this presentation.
3. Prepare a description of the materials and methods of construction used in creating various features of Terrain, Background, and Lighting.
These can be simple statements - nothing elaborate is required.
This is pretty simple, and can be done at the end.
4. Attach one copy of materials in Sections 2 & 3 to the Statement of Qualification (SOQ) for use by the judges in determining the effectiveness of the craftsmanship displayed by the member requesting certification.
Easy to do.
5. Earn a Merit Award of at least 87.5 points on the section of layout being judged.
6. Submit a completed Statement of Qualifications (SOQ) including the attachments for Sections 2 & 3 and the signed merit judging forms and/or copies of the Merit Award certificates from Section 5.
Contact National Achievement Program General Manager, Paul Richardson, MMR firstname.lastname@example.org, or your Region or Division Achievement Program Manager for more information.
Forms available for this category:
§ SOQ Form: (PDF)
§ Record and Validation form: (PDF)
§ Judging Form: (PDF)