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Breaking out the scoring or How your models are judged at the Reaper Con MSP Open This will be a series of four posts each concentrating on a different entry category. These scoring “rules” are based on the MMSI painting competition in Chicago and variants of this system are used on an international basis. Michael Proctor and I took a good hard look at the rules a number of years ago and introduced a few tweaks to the system to better represent what we, as judges, are looking for when scoring your entry at Reaper Con. The basis for all of these is still the MMSI rules and there is not a whole lot of difference between the emphasis of the components in each division. One thing to keep in mind is that manufacturer awards do not necessarily use the MSP Open system. Those winners are, typically, chosen by the manufacturer (including Reaper for the Sophies) or their representative on site using their own criteria. The scoring is quite simple. A judge assigns an entry one of five numerical values based on their opinion of what the entrant has earned for their entry: 0 – no award 1 – Certificate of Merit 2 – Bronze Medal 3 – Silver Medal 4 – Gold Medal The Reaper Con judging teams are made up of three judges (There are options to use 4 or 5 judges but regardless of how many judges are used only three scores are tallied). Each judge assigns one of these 5 values to each miniature assigned to their team. The three scores are tallied which gets a value somewhere between 0 and 12. That final tally gives a number that tells the team what award to give to the entrant for that entry. Judging is typically not done by committee, each judge assigns the score they feel the piece deserves and moves on to the next. Most discussion takes place around which piece to score when there are multiple entries. Judges do consult with each other when they have difficulty assigning a score to an entry. 0 – 1 No Award 2 – 4 Certificate of Merit 5 – 7 Bronze Medal 8 – 10 Silver Medal 11 – 12 Gold Medal That’s the basics, now let’s take a look at how a judge uses the five components to decide what score they are going to give you. Painter Division The Painter Division is for stock models, those that come straight from the package or are assembled as shown by the manufacturer (it can include minor conversions). The Painter Division is the largest category at the MSP Open, often encompassing hundreds of entries at each show. There is no limit to the number of entries that an individual can enter in this category. I personally would limit yourself to your three best, but if you intend to be considered for other manufacturer or theme awards then it would not be out of place to see six or more entries from an individual. If you have just a single entry then the judges can just go ahead and score your entry, no discussion is necessary. If you have multiple entries, then there will be a discussion between the judges on which entry they want to score. That conversation is typically the only conversation that needs to occur for any given entrant. When selecting the scoring entry the conversation is based on “I can score this one higher than the others” or words to that affect, till they come to a decision which is usually pretty quickly done. If the entries are visually very thematic the judges may decide to judge them together as a single entry. Let’s take a quick look at the scoring guidelines the judges use (which is published as part of the MSP Open rules): Difficulty: 5% Creativity: 10% Workmanship: 10% Painting Skill: 70% Presentation: 5% What does that really mean? In a nutshell we want to see how well you can paint! Did you really execute the different techniques to the best of your ability? Hence why painting skill is the predominant component that a judge is going to look at. Let’s look at a breakdown of those components and how they relate to a miniature in the Painters Division. Difficulty: This is definitely not an intuitive concept in the Painter Division. The judge is not looking at the techniques (including freehand) you used on the miniature. They are looking at how difficult is the miniature itself to paint. While how difficult a miniature is also subjective, subtle shading on flat or nearly flat surfaces are much more difficult to pull off than shading on a surface with more surface texture. Often difficulty is going to come into play when a judge is on the fence between two scores. Creativity: This component looks at use of color, color schemes and the use of freehand designs in other words things that aren’t part of the sculpt itself. This is also where painted effects first come into play, like OSL (Object Source Lighting). This is the component that really addresses your freedom of expression on your entry and how well you bring that across to the audience. Workmanship: This is a pretty straightforward component. It reflects how well you prepared your model for painting. Any type of non-painting effort is represented here. In the Painter division this includes finding the elusive mold line and eliminating it but it also includes assembling a multi piece miniatures or executing minor conversions. A well done conversion or well assembled miniature means that the judge can’t tell that anything has been converted or that it had multiple pieces. A missed mold line, poor assembly or a poorly executed conversion could easily drop you a while numeric value in the scoring. Painting Skill: This is the whole key to the Painter Division entry, how well you apply paint to the miniature. These is where you are evaluated on the techniques you used how well you executed them. Tying everything together is really important as well. Everything you do must come together as a whole composition. It is an area where judges need to be aware of everything that is going on and how it is fitting together. While this is the predominate component of the Painter Division it is also the most subjective. Judges must overcome their prejudices about which techniques they prefer. As an example there is nothing wrong with drybrushing as long as you executed it properly regardless of how the judge feels about that technique. Here is an example of how a judge needs to be aware of many different styles and techniques. Blending doesn’t always have to be a smooth transition from light to dark, there are multiple different types of blending, it is how well you executed the technique or style you opted for. Do you blend like Jen Haley or like Alfonso “Banshee” Giraldes? They both achieve marvelous blends but their techniques are markedly different in achieving those blends. Presentation: While not the most important component in the Painter Division it is another example of getting the little things right. A nice, well executed base will set the “scene” for your miniature. It can be the simple base that the miniature came on or with or it can be more elaborate, although I would save the effort on a really elaborate base for a miniature going into the Open or Diorama divisions. This component is another that one that a judge will often use when making that final decision between scores, a tie breaker as it were. If you made it through that wall of text, congratulations! Hopefully that helped explain away some of the magic behind the scoring in the Painter Division.
Hello! I have a question on the upcoming ReaperCon this year. For the Master series paint open contest rules on the page https://reapercon.com/contestI could not find anything regarding personally designed Models that an artist 3D prints and then paints. for use as an example: That is my first attempt at a model I personally designed in Blender, and then printed, in the style of warhammer 40k, though as a mention I really like the look of the grav-flux bombard from forgeworld so I created a very close facsimile of it for my model. Under the rules I'm seeing I'm assuming that in the Painters Division it would not matter if it is 3D printed given the source of the model is not given consideration, just the prep and painting quality. However I'm curious what, if any, the ruling on 3D designed and printed models are in the Open Division. Given the rules and the scoring system, sculpted models are judged by design originality, creativity, difficulty, etc, would a custom designed 3D printed model enjoy the same criteria for judging, or would it even be welcome in this division? Arguably this could extend to the diorama and vehicle division as well given the criteria in those. I would like to argue that 3D designed and printed models should be welcome in any division; my design time alone for the model I gave as an example was clocked at 60+ hours. And while my tools and medium are different than a clay or greenstuff sculptor, I don't put any less passion or hard work into it.