The Challenge

This page introduces a concept that harks back to an era when a major publication claimed “Model Railroading is Fun.”

In that era it was fun in part because “Model Kit Building Is Fun”  Then something happened. Someone else built the kits and folks bought them to stack on shelves, putting a few on the track to run behind electronic wonders shaped like locomotives. Sure, I like them too. I like to watch and listen to them run. I like the variety of paint schemes researchers have provided the mass manufacturers.

But I like to exercise my own imagination, work on my own railroad and have pride in what I have accomplished. I enjoy creating an operating snapshot of a particular place at a particular time. That’s fun. So here’s The Challenge. Try it. Every couple months we’ll post a new Challenge or two. Cross the finish line by a reasonable deadline and we’ll send you a reward, in addition to the satisfaction and fun you had doing it.   Boss Merle

The CHALLENGE is to meet the criteria in your own way. At your own skill level.  We’ll spell out the general guidelines to meet.  We think you’ll find one of our challenges soon that WILL BE INTERESTING TO YOU. It stands to reason these challenges will include a product or two that we show and sell on our website, doesn’t it?

The FINISH LINE  is spelled out for each Challenge. In will include sending clear photos (either digital or 3×5 print) for us to place on this page of our website.  (Some CHALLENGES can be entered using video and some require sound or video recordings).  Submitted images/photos become the property of Model Railroad Warehouse so we suggest taking several different views. You may decide to write an article for a model magazine and will need other photos for that. 

The REWARD we provide is sent to each and every person who sends us the Finish Line material in publishable (clear & sharp photos) form (with written permission to publish them associated with your name) by our deadline. This is not a contest, there are no first, second or third prizes. There is no extra reward for crossing the line first. In fact if you don’t finish in time don’t despair. Your article to a magazine may be their winner and we will likely reissue the challenge again in the future. In some cases you might also enter The Project   in club or NMRA contests. Plus you’ll have fun and satisfaction.

“Well of course he says that, he wants to sell kits” you say? Please click on this link for a visit with the folks north of the border at Rapido.  They are well known as manufacturers in our hobby – and they don’t make a single kit.  On THEIR website (of excellent Chinese built models) they say….

— On Fri, 10/5/12, Bill Schneider  wrote:

If You Build it…. a discussion of kits vs  RTR on an prototype-based layout.



Thanks for looking!


Bill Schneider

Rapido Trains



Build a logging diorama, layout or section on your layout with “operating log dump” suited to “operations sessions.”   Deadline is August  1, 2013   Click here to see criteria, ideas, awards and submissions by others    Scale:  Either O or  HO , standard or narrow gauge.


Organize and coach a group of youth (10-16 age suggested) building Hometown HO Bristol structures to go on a small HO layout display in public exhibition at a store, youth center, library etc during the Christmas holiday season.  Deadline is January 21, 2013

Click here to see criteria, ideas, awards and submissions by others 

Scale: HO


Build a MofW car converted from/using   Cannonball, LTD or Red Ball WWII troop kitchen or troop sleeper car kit or troop conversion parts. The car could be a bunk car, wreck train kitchen, tool car, weed sprayer or other such conversion prototype or freelance (we’re including dynamometer cars in this Challenge).    Deadline is April  1, 2013

Click here to see  criteria,  ideas, awards and submissions by others.

Scale: HO, N, S, or O 


Build a Prototype Specific  express/baggage/mail  car using a Cannonball troop car core kit and Cannonball styrene sides  or any LTD Series brass  troop sleeper express/mail/baggage car conversion sides. Take sharp, clear photos showing the construction steps and your finished model and submit the photos for posting on our website and possible use in our advertising.  Upon submission and posting we will supply you another core kit and brass REA express boxcar sides or styrene car sides to build another converted troop car for express service on your layout.  (The awarded car is not eligible for another  award but we’ll be happy to post your photos of it too).

Read how Model Railroading is (Educational) Fun and check out the link.



Disclosure: We are a professional review site that receives compensation from the companies whose products we review. We test each product thoroughly and give high marks to only the very best. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.


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