NASG Model Contests

The NASG model contests are typically held at the annual NASG Convention. However, they can also be held at other occasions. The model contests are considered separate from the event at which they are held.

Contact person: Charlie Leonard

Official Forms

Below are the current revision of the various official model contest forms, in PDF format. If you are considering entering one or more models, be sure to read these; the last one needs to be printed, filled in, and accompanied by each model you enter.

Contest Definitions

The definitions of the various types of contests offered.

Contest Judging Instructions

Detailed information about how contests are judged.

Contest Rules

The official rules by which model contests are governed.

Contest Entry Form

Complete this form for each model that you enter for the competition.

Why Participate?

model shown for display only; photo © Peter Vanvliet

Why would you want to enter a model contest? Certainly an award would be recognition of your modeling skill. However, that is not the only reason. It gives you a chance to compare your modeling skills to those of other members and learn how to improve your skills and possibly learn new techniques. Other entrants are generally willing to explain how they did something.

The NASG views the contest as a showcase of our members' modeling. Most members enjoy seeing what others are doing. It is an opportunity to learn and gain ideas for something you could do for your own layout.

Even if you would rather not compete, we encourage you to bring a model for display only. Placing a model on display shows your work without the pressure of competition and you can still gain recognition as a competent modeler. An example of which is shown in the accompanying photo.

Please don't be afraid to enter a model because you feel that it might not be good enough. Everyone has to start somewhere and your model may be better than you think it is. If you don't enter, you will never know. All models are treated fairly and with respect.

So, if you plan on attending an event where an NASG Model Contest is to be held, by all means, BRING A MODEL!

The Contest Room

photo © Peter Vanvliet

The contest room is open to all attendees of the event. Members of the NASG Contest Committee monitor it at all times and advises attendees to not touch the models. If no one is available to monitor the room, the room is locked, so your models are safe at all times.

The contest room will also be locked when the judges are actively judging the models.

Some modelers request that no one, including the judges, touch their model. Judges will honor such requests, but it should be understood that judges cannot consider portions of the model they cannot see. Alternatively, some modelers position their models on a reflective mirror, so that the underside of the model can still be visible. Note, however, that that is impacted by ambient light, and the NASG Contest Committee may not have any control over the venue's lighting system.

Planning to Enter

The modeler should get into the right mindset before starting a contest model. Most of us, including modeling greats, build to "good enough" standards for most of the models populating our layouts, saving our best efforts for foreground models where the increased level of detail can be seen and appreciated. A contest model should represent your best efforts at modeling. Do not be intimidated by this. The judges know that this is your best effort and will try to be constructive in their comments.

Before starting the construction of a model intended for a contest you need to do some research. If the model is of a particular prototype, you should find pictures, plans, and any other information that will help you build a model that is true to the prototype. The more specific you can be, the better your model will score. For example, most prototypes have been modified, often several times after they were built. You should specify that your model represents the prototype "as built" or as per a specific modification.

Entering a Model

forms supplied with contest model; photo © Peter Vanvliet

On the contest entry form, the information that you provide must be clear and complete to insure that your model gets the proper consideration. Be sure to download and read all of the documents linked to at the top of this page.

Provide information as to exactly what your model depicts. Explain how your model conforms to the prototype. For freelance models, explain how the model represents something that logically might have been. For American Flyer Imagineering, explain how the model represents something that A. C. Gilbert might have made.

List all of the details you have added to the model beyond the basic shell. Be sure to list which parts were purchased rather than scratch built. Be sure to note if you have modified any of the parts, as this could earn extra credit. Explain how you constructed the model, especially any unique methods you may have developed. Explain how you scratch built any of the parts or assemblies.

You should add any information that illustrates why the model looks like it does. Information provided should be clear and easily understood. Due to time constraints, judges cannot be expected to look through numerous pages of detail. In general, you want to tell the judges about all the effort you put into your model. Do not assume that the judges will know by looking at the model exactly what you were trying to do.

About the Judging

Each judge assigns points for each of the judging criteria. If there is a significant variance in the scores, the judges will confer to find out why each judge decided on the points awarded. Judges may decide to change the points awarded. If more than one judging team is involved; the teams will review each other's work.

Models with the highest scores will be in contention for best-of-show. Judges review the scores of each model to ensure that the best of the best are in consideration for this award. Judges then compare the highest scoring models until they reach a consensus on the model that will be awarded best-of-show. In recent years, the best-of-show has been called the "Frank Titman Award". According to Jamie Bothwell, a few years ago, the Lehigh Valley S Gaugers approached the NASG's Board of Trustees and suggested that the "Best in Show" award be named the "Frank Titman Award". The club offered to provide a plaque and pay for the winner's NASG membership for the next year. They handed out the first one to Gaylord Gill in 2019, and they have committed to continue to do so through 2028 (ten years).

Much time is involved in judging. At one show, the contest with about 25 models required about 6 hours to complete. This averaged out to about 15 minutes per model. Judges are selected from experienced modelers. New judges are paired with those who have judging experience.

The NASG Contest Committee is always interested in individuals who would be willing to act as judges. We will help those interested learn what is involved in judging a contest. See the Contact Person link at the top of this page to let them know that you are interested in being a judge in an upcoming event.

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