Prototype Certificate

I’ve been thinking a lot about the NMRA AP certificate – Prototype models. A lot of people consider this to be the hardest certificate.

I’ve had quite a few people send me links or information about the work they have done and it can be really hard work. The trick, as always, is in reading the requirements:

Construct an animated or static model of a prototype scene containing at least six models of prototype equipment or structures.

At least four different types of models must be represented:

Rolling stock
Railroad structure
Caboose or passenger car
Motive power.

Any two of the six models must be scratch built: the remainder must be super detailed.

Plans or photographs must be provided to verify the final prototypical appearance of each model and of the total scene.

Earn a Merit Award of at least 87.5 points with the above scene.

Prepare a written description along with photographs, documented evidence and/or maps, which will verify the actual prototype scene, used as a basis for the modeled scene. Some things to remember are:

Include 2 sets of photographs (or a video tape presentation) that will document the prototype being modeled and the model of the prototype

Include a written description that clearly describes the intended setting of the model railroad

Include a written description than clearly describe the scenic details, including any towns or cities used to achieve the desired effect

Provide color photos (or video presentation) and a written description of materials and methods used to build the prototype scene

The real trick is finding a suitable photo. Over 20 books and numerous New York, New Haven & Hartford books later, I was almost at the verge of giving up when I finally found the following photo:

THE prototype photo

It’s set on the New Hartford branch which winds its way along the Farmington River. This photo is at Unionville. The photo is from August 1956.

The photo includes all the important elements:

Construct an animated or static model of a prototype scene containing at least six models of prototype equipment or structures.

At least four different types of models must be represented:

Rolling stock – Clinchfield box car
Railroad structure – station, train order board and railroad crossing sign
Caboose or passenger car – included
Motive power – 2 RS-3 locos

Any two of the six models must be scratch built: the remainder must be super detailed.

The structures will be scratchbuilt with the rest superdetailed.

The first loco is RS-3 #530. I can’t quite make out the next loco but it looks like #526 or #546.

However, Randy Hammill’s excellent website on New Britain lists the following roster of locos which may have serviced the line:

4/27/52 – 526 – NY-2, YA-1
4/27/52 – 530 – NY-2, YN-1
4/27/52 – 531 – AY-1, YN-1
4/27/52 – 537 – 463
4/27/52 – 545 – 444
4/27/52 – 546 – 157, 421, 446, 472

Given that #530 appears to be on a train with #526, I’ll assume it is that for now.

I do have Atlas RS-3s:

RS-3 roster

I need to search out a Clinchfield box car with similar lettering to the photo. I will also see if I can find a caboose assignment for the branch.

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