Australian Model Railway Association NSW Inc.

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Sydney Model Railway Exhibition

Open Modelling CompetitionColour photo: Modelling Competition 1988.

The AMRA Open Modelling Competition is run each year in conjunction with the Sydney Model Railway Exhibition.

Models are entered in the following categories:

  1. Scratchbuilt Locomotive
  2. Scratchbuilt Rolling Stock
  3. Scratchbuilt Lineside Structure
  4. Kitbased/Kitbashed/Proprietary Modified Locomotive
  5. Kitbased/Kitbashed/Proprietary Modified Rolling Stock
  6. Kitbased/Kitbashed/Proprietary Modified Lineside Structure
  • 1st Place winner in each category receives an award of $50 and an engraved trophy.
  • 2nd Place winner in each category receives an award of $30.
  • 3rd Place winner in each category receives an award of $20.

All entrants receive a certificate of entry, and a copy of the judges' comments.

Open Modelling Competition Entry Form

You may download and print your own entry form. The form is double sided and should be printed with your printer page scaling set to none.

Additional Awards

  • School Students' Encouragement Award
  • President's Cup for Best of Show, awarded by the President of AMRA NSW Branch Inc.

All entries are placed on display in a secure showcase for the duration of the exhibition, before an admiring public. The standard of entries demonstrates the many varied skills of model railway modelling.


  1. The competition is open to all modellers of railway oriented subjects.
  2. Entries are not judged on a layout as this affects the impartiality of the judges.
  3. Locomotives are to be self-propelling.
  4. The rollingstock section includes any non-self-propelling rail vehicle that is able to roll freely down a slight incline.
  5. The lineside structure section includes any structure that would normally be found on a model railway layout, built to a specific scale.
  6. No visibly unfinished models will be accepted.
  7. Any model awarded a prize in this competition in previous years is ineligible for entry.
  8. Entries will be submitted at the owner's risk. No responsibility will be accepted by the organisers, the judges or AMRA NSW for any loss or damage whatsoever.
  9. The judges' decision is final in all matters relating to this competition.
  10. Entries have a specific lodgement date and time with the Co-ordinator which in recent years has been between 3pm and 6pm on the Friday immediately preceding the Exhibition weekend.* Arrangements for earlier lodgement can be made by contacting the Co-ordinator.
  11. A receipt will be issued for each entry received, which must be produced for collection of the entries.
  12. Entries are available for collection from 3pm on the Monday of the Exhibition weekend.

* Some potential entrants from regional areas have questioned the necessity for the early lodgement - why the judging can't happen on Saturday morning to allow them to enter when they are at the Exhibition. Following some discussion by the organisers, the Friday night deadline has been retained:

  • To ensure safety of the models. The judges cannot be responsible for damage to the models while they are surrounded by members of the public who do not understand the delicacy of railway models and the painstaking work that has gone into them.
  • To prevent theft of the models. Working with an open cabinet poses risks for those who are, shall we say, immorally desirous of our entrants' much-loved property.
  • To ensure fair judging. The judges, experienced modellers independent of the Association, require a quiet, undistracting environment in which to devote their concentration to the models.
  • To allow Saturday judging of the layouts. The same judges spend the first day of the Exhibition inspecting the layouts for the Awards that evening.

We recommend that regional entrants enquire to their local model railway organisation that may be setting up their stall on the Friday evening. They should be able to get the model(s) and documentation to the organisers by deadline. If this is still not an option, please contact the Competition organisers to make other arrangements.

Judging Criteria

  1. Basic Construction - how well built is the model? Is it square and without visible construction joins?
  2. Finish - this includes weathering if applicable.
  3. Detail - what's missing? To what level of effort has the modeller gone to ensure that the model has all of the character in the fine detail?
  4. Level of Difficulty - how complex is the project? How intricate is the construction attempted?
  5. Authentication - backup documentation supplied. It is recommended that as much support documentation as possible accompany your model(s), such as plans, prototype photos, etc. This allows the judges to assess the accuracy and background of your model to your advantage. This is where most entrants really fall down.
  6. Conformity - how much like the original is the model?

Barry Wilcockson
Modelling Competition Co-ordinator

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AMRA NSW is dedicated to promoting the hobby of model railways throughout New South Wales.
These pages last updated 12 March, 2015 by David Bennett.