Scratch Building Criteria
The following are excerpts from a short Essay by Eugene L. Larson in the Nautical Research Journal, Volume 38, Number 4 (December 1993) entitled "Is it Scratch or Not?":
"To some ship model builders the concept of scratch building has no significance; they build models as they like and are not bothered with burdensome classifications which may have little or no meaning [to them now or] in future years. Others find the concept so important that they place the words in titles of their model magazine articles, and various scale ship model competitions provide separate categories for scratch-built models.---A model builder may build a model, unknowingly thinking that criteria in his or her mind will result in a scratch-built model. Later, when entering a competition, a rude awakening comes when the builder discovers certain techniques or materials disqualify his efforts from the scratch-built category. Likewise, two model builders discussing their techniques may have completely different ideas about what is scratch-built."
"Beautiful, accurate, and superb models have been produced in many different ways, and there is no intent here to detract from the quality of a finished model if it is not scratch-built. Many other standards come into play when observing top quality models including scale compliance, accuracy, fidelity, workmanship, artistic expression, and original research. Further, there is no need to rush out to plant a tree for scratch-grown wood, to buy elaborate foundry equipment, to purchase a chemical lab. or to obtain lavish woodworking machines. These are not necessary for scratch building, except that nowadays the undertaking of such work implies a commitment to more sophisticated tools. ---At the other end of the spectrum from the tree-planter is the modeler who proudly claims his model is scratch-built, and then explains that the hull was purchased from XYZ Company, the fittings from A and B companies, the photo etching from C, and the sails were designed and made by a neighbor." [A term more fitting to this situation is Scratch Assembly of randomly purchased parts.]
The article goes on in some detail to suggest criteria for defining the scratch-built model. This criteria was the result of discussions with Directors and Officers of the Nautical Research Guild, various model builders, and museums. The questions posed to the Mariners' Museum amplified some thought among the officials there who were coincidentally formulating guidelines for their 1995 competition. The fact that based upon the NRG discussions they amended their 1991 scratch-building criteria to formulate the new 1995 rules reveals that some permanent standards should be established. These 1995 standards are included below.
Although the intent of the article was "an attempt to better define scratch building as a category, it does not presume that the scratch-built model is the ultimate in model building. Scratch-built models fit into a classification that does not necessarily imply a level of excellence, The greatest claim for scratch building is the modeler's self-satisfaction that he or she did it all".
Mariners' Museum Criteria
No manufactured items except cordage, chain, and such fastenings as pins and nails.
Such materials as dimensioned lumber, sheet metal, tubing, wire, and milled shapes are allowed as raw material.
Photo-etched, laser-cut, cast, or similar parts mechanically or chemically duplicated by others from the entrant's original master or pattern, shall be considered as scratch built.
Models based on scratch built hulls.
Fittings designed and produced by others.
Models based on commercial kits or hulls.
With or without the addition of other commercial fittings or scratch built parts.