Sunday, January 6, 2013

MMR 01

I've decided to take a crack at the National Model Railroad Association Achievement Program.  It's something that I've thought about quite a lot, and to be honest it's something I have had mixed feelings about.  I don't really need a title to enjoy what I do, but I do love a challenge.  When I looked at the AP requirements and scoring sheets I immediately began to associate them with projects both built and imagined.

I do have some concern that the achievement program promotes a vision of the hobby in which prototype fidelity and detail is preferred over artful effect.  I'm more interested in the latter.  That said, there is no harm in trying something different--and, I'm certain that I will experience no ill effects.

A friend warned me that using technology like a laser might disqualify my models from being considered as scratch built, and that they would be viewed as "kits".  I think that would be absurd, especially when the time, care and effort to design the intricate work on the models is considered.  Developing one of a kind laser cut models is certainly not labor saving.

If that is the case (and I have no way of knowing if it will be until I submit my work), it is probably even more important for me to venture forth, if for no other reason than to expand the vision of the hobby just a bit.  Photoshop, CAD, laser cutters and prototyping machines are tools just like an airbrush or a lathe.  I think the definition of a kit should have more to do with who put forth the effort than what tool one chose to use.  This is doubly important when the newer modelers in the hobby take things like Photoshop and 3d modelling for granted.

As long as doing the work is fun, I see no reason that a loose wheel like me should not try to roll into the roundhouse.  I've created a tag in this blog, and I'll post periodic updates on my progress.  Can't promise that they will be frequent  as there is a lot of other work to do in the day. . . but piece by piece I should be able to plug away at the MMR.

The thing that ultimately pushed me over the line in deciding to pursue the program was recognizing how many people I respected in the hobby were already (or on their way to being) Master Model Railroaders.  Bruce Wilson, Jim Harper, Jim Gore, to name just a few of many.  All people who are talented, kind, and generous with their time and thoughts.  They all grow their own skills while giving back to the hobby, and I would be very honored to be in their company.

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