By Railroad Model Craftsman Staff
The third-annual Walthers National Model Railroad Build-Off is underway. On March 1, modelers from across the country got to work on their small HO and N scale displays for consideration by a panel of expert judges later this year. The contest is meant to challenge the skills of beginners and experts alike.
There are multiple divisions to enter, including Adult HO Scale, Adult N Scale, Freestyle and Youth HO/N Scale. To start, participants purchase a themed kit that includes buildings, track, vehicles and scenery material so that everyone in each division is working with the same things. Purchase is not necessary for the Freestyle division (which is open to participants in all 50 states; Maryland, Colorado and North Dakota residents are not allowed to partake in the division that requires purchasing a product bundle).
Adults can win up to $2,000 and youth (14 years old and younger) can win up to $1,000 if they win. In years past, people could enter as individuals or teams, but this year there is no distinction between the two. People can start entering the layouts on April 1 (Submissions must include multiple photos of the layout from different angles) and all entries must be in by June 30. The winners will be announced in August.
“We wanted to do something that would promote the hobby, not just a specific product,” Zach Thompson, director of product marketing, told RMC last year about why the company started the contest.