Volunteers are needed to judge contest entries on Saturday, May 13th and to provide security in the contest room Wednesday through Saturday May 10-13. Model and photography contest judges earn two (2) time units toward their AP Association Volunteer Certificate. Volunteers will earn units prorated to the time invested. Contact Contest Chair, Dennis Terpstra at or 206-612-8892 if you would like to assist in this very important function.

Contest Room Schedule – Mariner East Room

  • Wednesday, May 10
    10 – 11:30 AM Closed. Contest room setup
    1 – 5:30 PM Open for viewing and submitting entries
  • Thursday, May 11
    9 – 11:30 AM and 1 – 4:30 PM Open for viewing and submitting entries
  • Friday, May 12
    9 – 11:30 AM and 1 – 4:30 PM Open only for viewing.
    7-9 PM AP evaluations will be conducted.
  • Saturday, May 13
    Closed for Contest Judging 9 – 11:30 AM.
    1 PM – 4 PM pickup all entries.


Every entry requires as least one form to be entered in each category. Models and photos to be judged also need the appropriate judge’s score sheet (see end of document for forms).

After the forms have been downloaded, completed and signed for each item to be entered, bring the forms and the items (s) to the Contest Registration Table outside the Mariner East Room, where each entry will be assigned a number and entered into the appropriate contest category. A claim check will be handed to the modeler upon entry and must be presented to retrieve entries after the Contest. Please bring all entries at the same time.


Models presented for consideration in Contest may be Scratch Built or Kit/Kit bashed (motive power, structures, rail cars and non-revenue only). Scratch built and kit built will be judged separately. Models and photos may be submitted for judging in the following contest categories:

  1. Motive Power – Entrees must be powered (scratch and kit/kit bashed)
    • Steam
    • Diesel and others
    • Traction
  2. Rail Cars (scratch and kit/kit bashed)
    • Passenger
    • Freight
    • Caboose
  3. Structures (scratch and kit/kit bashed)
  4. Non-Revenue – such as Maintenance of Way, railroad off-track vehicles, etc. (scratch and kit/kit bashed)
  5. Photography (color or black & white)
    • Model
    • Prototype
    • Working on the Railroad
  6. Showcase – for display only


A. Model Contest

  • An entrant in the model contest must be an NMRA member in good standing.
  • Commercial model builders may not enter the model contest.
  • Entries that have won Best of Show or First Place previously in a PNR or NMRA contest may not be entered again.
  • All entries to the Judged Model Contest must be “scaled models”. No Lego, Hi-Rail or such entries will be permitted.
  • All models or photos must be 100% the work of the contest entrant, with no other help or contribution.
  • A model may not be unnecessarily elevated above the table height on a stand that is intended to give it more prominence over other entries.
  • Should any disputes arise about placement of a model into a category or other dispute, the decision of the Contest Chair will be final.

B. Photo Contest

An entrant in the Photo Contest must be a member of the NMRA in good standing. Prototype and model railroad theme photographic prints only (no slides), sized and mounted according to NMRA Photo Contest Judges and Participant Guide. Commercial photographers may not enter the Photo Contest.

Each print must be a least 5×7 inches and no larger than 8×12 inches and must be mounted on a ridge mounting board for ease of display. Said mounting board shall be no smaller than 11×14 inches and no larger than 12×16 inches. A photo may not be unnecessarily elevated (small stand for photo is ok) above the table height to give it more prominence over other entries.

Entries that have won First Place in a PNR or NMRA contest may not be entered again.

Should any disputes arise about placement of a photo into a category or other dispute, the decision of the Contest Chair will be final.

Maximum Entries

An entrant may enter a maximum of three prints in any one category and a maximum of six prints in total. The entrant must be the original photographer and have exposed the original negative or digital image.


Photos may be entered for formal judging in the following categories (all photos, whether black & white or color will be judged together):

  • Model
    • Prototype
    • Working on the Railroad

C. Required Forms (see end of document for downloadable forms)

To enter the Model/Photo Contest, entrants must submit completed separate PNR Model Contest Entry Form Cover Sheet for every model/photo submitted.

These forms will be collected in the Contest Log Book in chronological order with the Contest Claim Check attached. Entrants will be required to sign the claim check at the time the model/photo is returned to them in good order at the end of the contest. Proxy entries will be accepted.

For any contest model/photo to be formally judged, the entrant must, at a minimum, complete and submit the entry with all the required Model/Photo Contest Entry Forms, depending on the which category being entered. These Forms may be accompanied by supplemental information, plans, photographs, etc., that the entrant feels will help the judges appreciate the model/photo. However, all supplemental information should be very short, concisely written and legible. The judges will review short, supplemental descriptions, but are under no obligation to review long dissertations.

Failure to provide a Model/Photo Contest Entry Form will result in the model/photo not being formally judged as part of the Model/Photo Contest. In this case, the model/photo can still be displayed as a Showcase (display) item that will be a candidate in the People’s Choice Vote portion of the contest, along with other models/photos submitted for display only.

D. Showcase

  • We hope the above contest opportunities encourage all convention attendees to participate in at least one contest. For those who do not wish to enter any of the formal contest, please consider bringing examples of your craftmanship to display in the Showcase for the mutual pleasure of all attendees.
  • The Showcase is available for displaying any model or any photo of any subject that the entrant does not wish to be formally judged. However, all entries will still be eligible to participate in the People’s Choice Contest (see below).


A plaque will be awarded for Best of Show for model and plaque will be awarded for Best of Show for photography. A plaque will be awarded to first place winners in each category. Ribbons will be awarded for 2nd and 3rd place finishers. A model that does not earn 87.5 points or greater in judging will not be eligible for an AP Merit Award and will not be considered for contest award recognition. Models achieving 87.5 points or better will receive an NMRA Achievement Program Merit Award (AP), regardless of what place it finishes in. Models in the Kit category are not eligible for recognition as “Best in Show”.

If there is only a single model/photo entered in any category and that model/photo earns fewer than 87 ½ points, we will not award a first-place award that category. This is being done to try and encourage modelers to present their best effort, rather than to just enter a category that is undersubscribed only to get an award plaque. Our goal is for modelers to share their best work with our members at the convention.

The “Best in Show” awards for Model and Photography (the only two “Best in Show “awards) are not based upon votes but are judged competition. The “Best of Show” model and photography is the judged item that scores the highest points total. The “Best of Show” model and photograph is picked by the model/photo judges from the first-place photos in all categories. In both cases the “Best of Show” winner is promoted and the entries below them are moved up in their categories.

People’s Choice Contest

All registered convention attendees will receive a Ballot #904 form (yellow paper) in their registration packet and will be eligible to participate in the People’s Choice Contest. All contest models and photographs as well as those in the Showcase are eligible for the People’s Choice vote. Only one People’s Choice ballot will be available per registration packet (no additional ballots will be available).


Models achieving 87.5 points or better will receive an Achievement Program Merit Award, regardless of what place it finishes in. Only NMRA members in good standing are eligible in receive AP Merit Awards.

Members may submit their models for AP Evaluation only without entering the contest. If so, the modeler does not need to complete Form 902.

Remember that some AP certificates require some qualifying models to receive a NMRA Merit Award. This is a perfect opportunity to complete those requirements. Go to the NMRA website to view the requirements. If you have any questions about NMRA Achievement Program, Contact David Yadock, MMR at 425-226-7518 or

VI. Photos from a Recent Convention

Here are some photos of excellent models submitted for entry into the Contest at the recent NNGC convention held September 2022. This is to give you an idea of the excellent modeling skills of our local Model Railroading community (remember, you’ll want to start thinking and working on your model to submit):


Contest entries may be picked up from the Mariner East Contest Room after judging is completed on Saturday, May 14th between 1 – 4 PM. No exceptions.


Forms are available from the NMRA Contest Forms site Celebration (Contests) | National Model Railroad Association ( These are in PDF format. It is encouraged that all forms be completed in “typed” or “hand-printed” format and if hand-written, please ensure that it is legible and clearly written.

A. Contest Entry Form #901 (Updated 8/22/2020)
B. Module Contest Entry Form #901b (Print on Yellow Paper)
C. Module Contest Identification Form J (Print on Yellow Paper)
D. Model Contest Judge’s Score Sheet #902
E. People’s Choice Awards Ballot #904 (handed out during the convention)