Popular vote- was Iron Modeler competition?


Andy Carlson
 



Charlie,
I'll have to disagree with your assertion of popular vote being an inherently better solution as I've seen this happen on a couple of occasions. The pitfall is you'll find that the larger scale models tend to win the votes regardless of the work actually put into the models that have been entered. I've seen a kitbashed HO caboose that had full underbody detailing, wire grab irons, and completely scratchbuilt fabricated wire end railings that had scored 100-points at an NMRA contest lose a popular vote contest to a stock Aristo-Craft G-scale caboose that only had a decal job applied. Who had the "better" model in that case?

-Jason P

Around 20 years or so ago I attended a one-day meet in Sonora, CA. My friend brought his recently finished, nearly 100% scratch built, Westside Lumber Company narrow gauge Heisler. My friend's build quality was world class and one of his scratch built shays took 1st place steam at a National NMRA convention. This Heisler's work was an equal to his earlier shay. Popular vote Had the guy who brought two PFM geared locos take 1st and 2nd. !st place brass engine had moose antlers made from brass shim stock attached to the headlight, otherwise an as-built PFM shay. My friend wasn't as bothered about the slight it as me, but the lesson for me if someone wants to enter a judged contest, avoid a popular vote. The public's poor ability to judge built models makes any award from such contests meaningless.

It is well known along the NMRA contest circuit that the savvy builders who are out for bagging awards know ways in which prototypes are selected and other tricks, such as scale size, to rack up the points for a win.
-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA


Tony Thompson
 

I'll have to disagree with your assertion of popular vote being an inherently better solution as I've seen this happen on a couple of occasions. The pitfall is you'll find that the larger scale models tend to win the votes regardless of the work actually put into the models that have been entered. I've seen a kitbashed HO caboose that had full underbody detailing, wire grab irons, and completely scratchbuilt fabricated wire end railings that had scored 100-points at an NMRA contest lose a popular vote contest to a stock Aristo-Craft G-scale caboose that only had a decal job applied. Who had the "better" model in that case?

My observation from 15 or so years of hanging around contests is that the sure way to win a popular vote is to include figures, such as a couple of guys on a flat car, wrestling with a load. Even a happy young couple on the observation platform will do it. Great scratch building?? Great prototype accuracy?? Naw. The voters are just going for stuff that is fun to look at — or anything humorous.

Tony Thompson




 

Which explains why the NMRA for years featured outhouses in many forms. I think they finally realized it turned off serious modelers. 

Thanks!
Brian Ehni 
(Sent from my iPhone)

On Jan 13, 2022, at 6:29 PM, Tony Thompson <tony@...> wrote:


I'll have to disagree with your assertion of popular vote being an inherently better solution as I've seen this happen on a couple of occasions. The pitfall is you'll find that the larger scale models tend to win the votes regardless of the work actually put into the models that have been entered. I've seen a kitbashed HO caboose that had full underbody detailing, wire grab irons, and completely scratchbuilt fabricated wire end railings that had scored 100-points at an NMRA contest lose a popular vote contest to a stock Aristo-Craft G-scale caboose that only had a decal job applied. Who had the "better" model in that case?

My observation from 15 or so years of hanging around contests is that the sure way to win a popular vote is to include figures, such as a couple of guys on a flat car, wrestling with a load. Even a happy young couple on the observation platform will do it. Great scratch building?? Great prototype accuracy?? Naw. The voters are just going for stuff that is fun to look at — or anything humorous.

Tony Thompson




Nelson Moyer
 

I agree with Tony, with popular vote, the ‘cute’ factor outweighs any amount of originality and craftsmanship, especially when many of the voters are railfans without a clue about what it takes to scratchbuilt a prizewinning model.

 

Case in point. The Burlington Historical Society holds a model contest at their annual meeting in the fall. Contest rules break models into categories much like NMRA, there is no judging, just a popular vote on each category and best of show. A relatively small percentage of the membership are modelers, and a small fraction of those modelers scratchbuild. I entered a scratchbuilt BA-19 with shaddowline decal artwork I drew in Corel Draw and printed myself. I didn’t even take first in the passenger car category, much less best of show. The models that beat me were commercial RTR models, and the model winning best of show was a factory built and painted brass steam locomotive. After the meet I politely suggested that perhaps it was time to review the contest rules in the interest of rewarding scratchbuilding blood, sweat, and tears. I was summarily ignored. I don’t attend many BRHS meets any more, and when I do, I don’t bother to enter models in the popular vote they call a contest.

 

Nelson Moyer

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Tony Thompson
Sent: Thursday, January 13, 2022 6:29 PM
To: main@realstmfc.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Popular vote- was Iron Modeler competition?

 

I'll have to disagree with your assertion of popular vote being an inherently better solution as I've seen this happen on a couple of occasions. The pitfall is you'll find that the larger scale models tend to win the votes regardless of the work actually put into the models that have been entered. I've seen a kitbashed HO caboose that had full underbody detailing, wire grab irons, and completely scratchbuilt fabricated wire end railings that had scored 100-points at an NMRA contest lose a popular vote contest to a stock Aristo-Craft G-scale caboose that only had a decal job applied. Who had the "better" model in that case?

 

My observation from 15 or so years of hanging around contests is that the sure way to win a popular vote is to include figures, such as a couple of guys on a flat car, wrestling with a load. Even a happy young couple on the observation platform will do it. Great scratch building?? Great prototype accuracy?? Naw. The voters are just going for stuff that is fun to look at — or anything humorous.

 

Tony Thompson

 


Dennis Storzek <dennis@...>
 

On Thu, Jan 13, 2022 at 05:51 PM, Nelson Moyer wrote:
I agree with Tony, with popular vote, the ‘cute’ factor outweighs any amount of originality and craftsmanship, especially when many of the voters are railfans without a clue about what it takes to scratchbuilt a prizewinning model.
That exactly mirrors my experience with the popular vote contest at the Soo Line Historical & Technical Society annual convention. It's really disheartening to see scratch-built or kit-bashed models aced out by an O scale custom painted brass Diesel locomotive, but I've seen it happen, repeatedly. I remember one year, ages ago, when someone entered a completely scratch-built O scale bulk carrier lake freighter (from the years early in the twentieth century when the Soo Line had a lake shipping subsidiary). The model must have been over five feet long and had fully detailed interior of all the crew spaces. It didn't win a thing. This was so shocking that the BOD got together and created a "best of show" award on the spot, so we could recognize the model, and its builder, at the awards ceremony.

Dennis Storzek


Nelson Moyer
 

At least your BOD realized and corrected the injustice. The BRHS persists in its ignorance.

 

Nelson Moyer

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Dennis Storzek
Sent: Thursday, January 13, 2022 8:40 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Popular vote- was Iron Modeler competition?

 

On Thu, Jan 13, 2022 at 05:51 PM, Nelson Moyer wrote:

I agree with Tony, with popular vote, the ‘cute’ factor outweighs any amount of originality and craftsmanship, especially when many of the voters are railfans without a clue about what it takes to scratchbuilt a prizewinning model.

That exactly mirrors my experience with the popular vote contest at the Soo Line Historical & Technical Society annual convention. It's really disheartening to see scratch-built or kit-bashed models aced out by an O scale custom painted brass Diesel locomotive, but I've seen it happen, repeatedly. I remember one year, ages ago, when someone entered a completely scratch-built O scale bulk carrier lake freighter (from the years early in the twentieth century when the Soo Line had a lake shipping subsidiary). The model must have been over five feet long and had fully detailed interior of all the crew spaces. It didn't win a thing. This was so shocking that the BOD got together and created a "best of show" award on the spot, so we could recognize the model, and its builder, at the awards ceremony.

Dennis Storzek


Charlie Vlk
 

Nelson-

 

I’ve voted in BRHS popular vote contests and the “Cute” factor doesn’t enter into the equation.  While you are correct that there are many BRHS members who are or have a former employee in their lineage, have a historical interest in the railroad, or don’t bring models to the meets, I think their interest in the Burlington Route is the primary criteria that the attendees base their vote on. 

 

I am not trying to award a model that has the most work put into it, not even the one with the best craftsmanship.  Those factor into my decision but it isn’t like I am mentally totaling up points that are weighted. However, I have passed voting for an entry that was a neat idea but had sloppy craftsmanship or deviated too much from the prototype it was supposed to represent.

 

I will vote for whatever tickles my fancy….as long it is a prototypical Burlington subject.   I am not going to vote for a stock model, factory, custom or owner painted, brass or plastic, unless it has such a good modeler paint job on it or weathering that it blows me away. I admit I will give more consideration to an N Scale model since I know what has to be done to produce a model in 1/160  but it ought to be an example that good modeling can be done in N!

 

I also will not vote for a model that is crap even if it is the only one in the category….I cringe when there are such single entries and they get First Place!   In that case an entry probably should get a majority of the number of ballots submitted to get recognition to uphold the purpose of the contest.

 

I don’t recall seeing your BA-19; it may have been at a meet that I missed.  I likely would have been considering it for my vote as you know I like the prototype…but if I did see it there may have been something in that category that I liked better….or I may actually have voted for it and you just didn’t get enough votes to win. 

 

I agree that awarding Best In Show to a stock factory painted or custom painted item  is wrong and I would support a provision that models have to be worked over to be entered…at least weathered by the owner.  It is not fair to gather awards for a factory’s work or a custom painter. 

 

I don’t recall if the BRHS entries are identified as to who the model belongs to…if so, that is another thing that ought to be fixed.

 

Is it possible that perhaps your thought that your entry should have received Best In Show may have put an edge on your recommendation?

 

I am copying my reply and your email to the BRHS List as I think the society leadership should be aware of this conversation.

 

Charlie Vlk

 

 

Thu 1/13/2022 7:51 PM

main@RealSTMFC.groups.io on behalf of; Nelson Moyer npmoyer@...

Re: [RealSTMFC] Popular vote- was Iron Modeler competition?

 

I agree with Tony, with popular vote, the ‘cute’ factor outweighs any amount of originality and craftsmanship, especially when many of the voters are railfans without a clue about what it takes to scratchbuilt a prizewinning model.

 

Case in point. The Burlington Historical Society holds a model contest at their annual meeting in the fall. Contest rules break models into categories much like NMRA, there is no judging, just a popular vote on each category and best of show. A relatively small percentage of the membership are modelers, and a small fraction of those modelers scratchbuild. I entered a scratchbuilt BA-19 with shaddowline decal artwork I drew in Corel Draw and printed myself. I didn’t even take first in the passenger car category, much less best of show. The models that beat me were commercial RTR models, and the model winning best of show was a factory built and painted brass steam locomotive. After the meet I politely suggested that perhaps it was time to review the contest rules in the interest of rewarding scratchbuilding blood, sweat, and tears. I was summarily ignored. I don’t attend many BRHS meets any more, and when I do, I don’t bother to enter models in the popular vote they call a contest.

 

Nelson Moyer

 


Charlie Vlk
 

Frankly, I have no problem with eliminating the cost of ribbons, plaques and certificates.  I don’t need Merit badges for validation. Never hung one of the many such recognitions that I’ve received for the myriad of  professional, club or associations I have participated in.  
The RPMs get along fine without voting if any sort.   People will seek you out if they like what you’ve done or even better your work triggers questions.
Charlie Vlk


On Jan 13, 2022, at 7:51 PM, Nelson Moyer <npmoyer@...> wrote:



I agree with Tony, with popular vote, the ‘cute’ factor outweighs any amount of originality and craftsmanship, especially when many of the voters are railfans without a clue about what it takes to scratchbuilt a prizewinning model.

 

Case in point. The Burlington Historical Society holds a model contest at their annual meeting in the fall. Contest rules break models into categories much like NMRA, there is no judging, just a popular vote on each category and best of show. A relatively small percentage of the membership are modelers, and a small fraction of those modelers scratchbuild. I entered a scratchbuilt BA-19 with shaddowline decal artwork I drew in Corel Draw and printed myself. I didn’t even take first in the passenger car category, much less best of show. The models that beat me were commercial RTR models, and the model winning best of show was a factory built and painted brass steam locomotive. After the meet I politely suggested that perhaps it was time to review the contest rules in the interest of rewarding scratchbuilding blood, sweat, and tears. I was summarily ignored. I don’t attend many BRHS meets any more, and when I do, I don’t bother to enter models in the popular vote they call a contest.

 

Nelson Moyer

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Tony Thompson
Sent: Thursday, January 13, 2022 6:29 PM
To: main@realstmfc.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Popular vote- was Iron Modeler competition?

 

I'll have to disagree with your assertion of popular vote being an inherently better solution as I've seen this happen on a couple of occasions. The pitfall is you'll find that the larger scale models tend to win the votes regardless of the work actually put into the models that have been entered. I've seen a kitbashed HO caboose that had full underbody detailing, wire grab irons, and completely scratchbuilt fabricated wire end railings that had scored 100-points at an NMRA contest lose a popular vote contest to a stock Aristo-Craft G-scale caboose that only had a decal job applied. Who had the "better" model in that case?

 

My observation from 15 or so years of hanging around contests is that the sure way to win a popular vote is to include figures, such as a couple of guys on a flat car, wrestling with a load. Even a happy young couple on the observation platform will do it. Great scratch building?? Great prototype accuracy?? Naw. The voters are just going for stuff that is fun to look at — or anything humorous.

 

Tony Thompson