By Railroad Model Craftsman Staff
The second annual Walthers National Model Railroad Build-Off is underway. On Feb. 1, the nearly 90-year-old model railroad manufacturer kicked off its second-ever module building contest that tests the skills of beginners and experts alike.
This month, participants are purchasing bundles of Walthers kits that must be incorporated into a finished model and they have until May 30, 2021, to share their results. Each bundle has a theme. One includes a depot and interlocking tower, another has a grain elevator and a third has a coal mine. There are individual, team, and youth categories. There is also an open class for N, O and HO modelers who chose not to purchase the bundle (This was done so people in all 50 states can participate since the last year’s rules prevented residents of Maryland, North Dakota and Colorado from participating).
“We wanted to do something that would promote the hobby, not just a specific product,” said Zach Thompson, director of product marketing, of why the company started the build-off.
The winners are selected by a panel of modeling experts and Thompson said last year’s competition was stiff. Youth competitors must build a 2’ x 2’ layout, adults must build a 4’ x 2’ layout and adults working as a team must complete a 6’ x 2’ layout. The layouts must incorporate the products included in the bundle. First place in the adult division can win up to $1,500 (or $3,000 as a team). Youth winners can score up to $1,000. Entrants for any other category besides the open division must pre-order their kit between Feb. 1 and April 15.
Once the module is done, participants will submit photos of the layout, the team and the building process. Thompson said the more photos included in the submission the better the chances of winning. He said last year’s winners did a great job of highlighting the many details they included in the module.
Visit the Walthers website for more details.