Some time back I made the decision that when I had “train time” I would just work on projects that specifically got me one step closer towards an AP certificate. For me, as I’ve said in the past, the AP has helped me focus my
efforts when it comes to modeling. One of the things I like about this hobby is how many different areas there are but that’s also a way to fiddle with lots of things and never really get anything done. I do like how there are so many areas, locomotives, cars, structures, woodworking, electronics, and so much more. Did you know there are 11 different possible AP certificates? Only 7 are required to achieve Master Model Railroader. There are some things I’ve done in working toward my MMR that I never thought I would want to do but tried it anyway and
now I enjoy a lot! One of the benefits of working towards MMR, or any of the AP certificates, is that it makes one a well rounded railroad modeler. Sure, there are many things we do in this hobby that has nothing to do with the AP, or does it?
The first example that comes to my mind is, early on I learned to replace the plastic wheel sets that came with the rolling stock kits to metal ones. I don’t know who suggested it to me or if many people did it but immediately I found that my cars ran better. Do you think that if I use plastic wheels on a car I want to earn a merit award with for my Cars AP certificate that it would receive fewer points? Probably not but maybe. How about if I’m dispatching a railroad and cars keep derailing because of the plastic wheels, would that be any fun? Or…. I could go on and maybe I’m being a bit extreme but my point is everything we do is connected with something else. Each “category” in model railroading isn’t exclusive to itself. Even the Volunteer AP certificate. If we are giving advice to someone it’s sure to be in one of those other categories.
This rambling leads me back to my opening line. Last January I wrote about how I made some cars from scratch for my Master Builder Cars AP certificate. With those cars, along with some others, I was able to achieve that goal this year and earned that certificate! Four of those cars I specifically made for a “future project” and I recently was inspired to get started on it. I have already made an HO Timesaver which has proved to be lots of fun for me and others. This time I wanted to make an Inglenook which is another type of switching game but I wanted to do it in a different scale. I thought about Z or N but instead choose On30. The cars were fun to build. At this month’s Division Event I will be giving a clinic on how I did the castings. I might even bring the base for my Inglenook. It will eventually be sceniced, unlike my Timesaver. So, even though I’ve earned that specific certificate for which I made the cars, I still have the project I am working on. You don’t have to “give up” other projects to work on your AP. Use it to focus and supplement what you are currently doing. Besides, you can learn new skills along the way! Once this project is done I hope to have a lot of people enjoy it like my Timesaver and thus we can enjoy the journey together!