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ReaperCon Painting Contest

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The ReaperCon painting competition, hereafter referred to as the Master Series Open, has undergone HUGE changes for this coming year! We wanted to give everyone at least six months to work on their entries after they see the new rules, so here we go. Now, the key...these are not set in stone, and I need your help!! We want to do a FAQ for these which will go up with them when they appear on the ReaperCon section of the site, so I need for you guys to read this over and ask questions...TONS of questions! There are no stupid questions for this--ask anything that comes into your head that you think someone looking at these rules would ask. ::):

 

This will probably have to be split into a few posts, so bear with me!

 

*******************************

 

It is a great honor and pleasure for me to introduce sweeping changes in the format for the 2009 Reaper Master Series Open painting competition. With this post I hope to not only present the format and awards for the contest, but also to communicate with you the reason why we are deciding to go with this system.

 

For over a decade now in our hobby it has been the tradition to use what I'll call the “competitive” format here in the states. This format consists of a large selection of categories, from each of which a first, second, and third place are chosen. There are a few issues with this format. For one, it causes some popular categories to be very strong, with a great number of entries, so entrants in these categories have a very low chance of actually winning anything. Second, it conversely produces “weak” categories, where the number of models is so small that it is easy for a model of less than high caliber to gain the award. Though it is easier for a painter to win in such categories, it tends to lower the overall value of the event in the minds of the entrants. Third, this type of format generally does not give anyone but the winners any feedback as to where they stand in the development of their talent, and the vast majority of them walk away with no prize, no real reward at all for having entered, and no encouragement to do so again. Finally, there is the fear of or resentment at having a few very good, possibly even professional, painters walk in and win a great number of the available awards, excluding many other entrants from getting anything.

 

There are other, less obvious disadvantages as well. When painters compete against one another, some of them will start to foster the mindset of not helping the competition, and will hold back bits of their knowledge instead of helping other painters rise to their level. It breeds pettiness, and gives rise to resentment and arguments which have destroyed friendships. Though I feel most of the good painters in our hobby are generous, enthusiastic individuals who love to teach and help others, with this competitive system it is not in their interest to do so.

 

Keeping these factors in mind, Reaper has chosen to adopt the Open System of judging for ReaperCon, starting in 2009. This is a system pioneered by famous historical painter and modeler Sheperd Paine, and it is the same system used by the World Expo, the only truly international venue for painted miniatures competition (you can find their website at www.wmsf-expo.org).

 

In the words of another famous historical painter and modeler, Bill Horan, “The 'Open System' of judging was devoloped by Shep at a time when his work was winning most of the major awards given in the old first-, second-, and third-place system. The system Shep devised recognized work based on a level of achievement, resulting in a variable number of awards at each level. If two models were outstanding, each was equally recognized. No modeler would receive an award at the expense of another's deserving work.

Almost overnight, this system changed the way in which modelers related to one another, removing the often acrimonious scrambling for a small number of awards, and eliminating any secretiveness about techniques. In its place, a level of camaraderie and mutual support developed, leading to a greater sharing of techniques, closer friendships among the world's modelers, and, most of all, a significant increase in the quantity and quality of work.” *

 

What is the Open System? What's going to change? I've taken the ReaperCon Painting Competition rules as seen on our website and re-written them below (next post) to reflect the new system.

 

* Quote taken from Bill Horan's introduction to Sheperd Paine: the Life and Works of a Master Modeler and Military Historian, by Jim DeRogatis, copyright 2008.

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REAPERCON “MASTER SERIES OPEN” CONTEST RULES

 

The Biggest Change: ALL MODELS from ALL MANUFACTURERS are allowed to enter!

 

Categories

1. Painters

2. Open

3. Ordnance/Machines of War

4. Young Painters

 

Category Breakdown

 

Painters

This includes one or more stock models. Parts may be bent for more dynamic posing but no weapon swaps, sculpted details, or other modeling or conversions are allowed. There is no size limit—anything from a 15mm solider to a 15” resin garage kit is allowed, as long as the kits or models are painted “out of the box” with no modifications to the sculpt. This category is judged 70% on painting skill and technique, 10% on Workmanship (removal of mold lines, general cleaning and prep of the figure), 10% on overall effect and 10% accorded for difficulty of the model. Notice that there is no emphasis placed on basing in this category except as it influences overall effect, so painters who have constructed an elaborate base and wish it to have more influence on their score should look to the Open category.

 

Open

This is for any model or group of models which has been modified from its original production sculpt, be it via a head or weapon swap, the addition of sculpted details, a re-posed arm, or even a model which has been almost entirely sculpted over. This is also the place for heavily modeled basing and for dioramas. Scratch sculpts are allowed and encouraged in this category (though of course they must also be painted!). All sculpting and painting needs to be the work of the artist entering the piece; a model sculpted or converted by someone other than the entrant and then painted by the entrant should be placed in the Painters category, unless the entrant has done further conversion or sculpting work on the piece. There is no size limit in this category; if you want to build ten square feet of diorama showing the undead siege of a dwarven stronghold, do it! This category is judged 30% on painting skill, 30% on technique (split between cleanup/prep work and smoothness/quality of conversion/sculpting/building), 15% on overall effect, 15% on creativity, and 10% on difficulty.

 

Ordnance

This is a category for vehicles and machines of war, be they fantasy, historical, or science fiction-based. CAV models and other mecha, catapults, cannons, tanks, planes, and viking ships qualify; so could a model car which has been converted with weapons and armor into something out of a Mad Max movie! The key here is that there should be no crew in, on, or around the vehicle or machine—only the mechanical aspect is being judged. If there are crew models which cannot be removed, they will either be ignored in the judging or the model moved to the Open category and judged with the crew, at the judges' discretion. All entries must be mounted on a base of some sort, to make handling easier.

 

 

Young Painters

All subject matter allowed, open to kids aged 16 and under. Medals and certificates only will be awarded in this category.

 

Definitions

The terms of scenic and display base, primary and secondary models, staff painter and basing size regulations from our previous competition rules are all null and void. Any size entry is allowed, on any type of basing, with any number of models in the entry. Reaper staff members and staff painters are free to enter any category they wish. Staff members will not be judged by other staff members; in the case of a staff member being on the judging team that person will step out for a non-Reaper-employed alternate judge for that entry.

 

Submissions

Initial deadline for entries will be Friday evening at 6 p.m. For any convention attendees who cannot attend until Saturday, some entries may continue to be accepted Saturday morning, but only as space permits. This is to ensure that most of the judging can be done Friday night, leaving plenty of time on Saturday for everyone to view the models and for any additional Saturday entries to be quickly judged, scores totaled, and special award winners chosen.

Painters must personally submit all entries. If they will not be present when winners are announced, they must inform Reaper prior to leaving the grounds and sign a waiver which provides for a party other than themselves to pick up their entries and awards post-competition.

 

Judging and Awards

All categories will be judged by a team of five judges, made up of Reaper staff, professional sculptors and painters. Alternate judges will be appointed to step in so that no one has to judge their own entry and so that staff members are not judged by their co-workers.

The judging team will go around to each entrant's display (see number of entries, below), and will discuss among themselves which model is the best representative of that painter's skill level. They will then move apart and privately mark on their scoring sheets whether that model rates a gold, silver, bronze, certificate, or nothing in their own opinion. They will do this for each category, so if a painter enters three models in Painters and one in Ordnance, then two of their models will be judged—the best one from among their Painters entries, and the single entry in Ordnance.

After the models are chosen and scored, the score sheets go to be tallied. The lowest and highest scores assigned to each model are dropped and the three remaining scores are averaged. The number remaining determines whether a gold, silver, bronze, or Certificate of Merit (equivalent to an Honorable Mention) is awarded.

All models from all manufacturers will be in the running for Master Series Medals. If the model scores a gold, it gets a gold! It does not matter how many entrants there are in each category; only the quality of the work matters. A category could award twenty-five golds and four silvers, or no gold medals at all and forty bronzes. Models are judged against a standard rather than each other. It is much more likely for any given entrant to win an award, and the system gives a scale for entrants to measure their work against: “Oh, I got a Certificate this year...if I only push a little harder I could medal next year!” or “Well I got a silver in Open this year...maybe I need to try something more challenging for next year, impress the judges, see if I can pump that up to a gold.”

After all medals are allocated, the top three Reaper models in each category are chosen, and these are awarded Sophie Trophies. This is the only area where the old spirit of competition remains, as an incentive to paint Reaper models for our show. The Sophie Trophy thus becomes a rare and even more prestigious award, an incentive to wow us with a great Reaper paint job or conversion!

In addition, three Best In Show prizes will be awarded. The Best in Show competition will be judged by the same system our old Masters competition was. Everyone who enters the competition gets to cast their vote for Best In Show! Entrants will have from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. to cast their votes. Any model from any manufacturer can qualify. After the ballots have been tabulated, three separate Best in Show prizes will be awarded. Overall Best in Show is the highest honor, followed by the Reaper Best and Non-Reaper Best, which are runners-up awards. All three Best in Show awards win cash prizes!

Finally, there are special awards, featuring unique certificates or medals, which will be chosen by either the judges or a special guest (the “Ed's Choice” award, for example, is bestowed by our CEO, Ed Pugh). Possible awards we are discussing include funniest model, best dragon, a Gary Gygax medal for “entry most in the spirit of D&D”, and perhaps a special “Hat Trick” award for entrants who succeed in winning a gold medal in all three main categories. A complete list of special awards and the criteria we will use for choosing them will be posted before the convention.

Awards will be announced and given out Saturday evening. Please check the con schedule for details.

 

(more to come, on rules and additional information, next post)

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Contest Rules

 

1. Any number of entries are permitted per painter per category, but only one entry in each category will be judged.

2. Only stock models are allowed in the Painter category; all converted or scratch sculpted models belong in the Open category. Ordnance is open to vehicles and machines of war from any genre, which may be stock or converted/sculpted, without crews.

3. No basing regulations will be imposed as to size or particular base to be used, though models must always have a base. Basing counts for a small amount in Painters and Ordnance, but is much more important in Open. Be creative!

4. By submitting an entry you agree to allow the model to be photographed by Reaper for use in ads, promotions, and galleries. All entry forms for submissions must be signed by the painter.

5. Painters must personally submit all entries.

6. Entrants may only enter models painted by them personally. Discovery that a model was not painted by the person who entered it will result in the barring of said individual from all future Reaper events.

7. Any model may be entered, even if it has appeared in other competitions, in magazines, or online in finished form. The ONLY limitation is that the model can NOT have entered the ReaperCon competition before. And we do have pictures of all previous entrants so if there is a question, we can check.

8. In the case of confusion regarding which category a model might belong in, all decisions of the Reaper judges are final. If you are unsure which category to enter with your model, please feel free to ask the Reaper staff at the time you submit your entry, or post a query on the Reaper discussion boards in the ReaperCon forum.

9. If you wish to bring a model for display or show-off only (not to be judged or photographed) simply do not fill out a display card for that model. Ask the Reaper staff at the time you are setting up if there will be a separate area for displays or if they would rather you included the model with the rest of your work. If the latter, a small “display only” card will be provided for the model so that it is not accidentally considered for judging.

10. Entrants may choose to make documentation for their entry available to judges and attendees, to be placed next to their entry on display. These may be something as simple as an index card with a few details of interest to the viewer, or an entire booklet documenting the work in progress! The aim of such documentation should be to help the viewer further enjoy the piece through understanding what went into it. Common topics would be: why the subject matter is meaningful to the entrant, the story behind the entry (especially with dioramas), photo documentation of conversions or sculpting done before the model was painted, or photo or text documentation as to the historical or literary source behind the scene. A model will not be penalized for not including this type of information, but it is encouraged in the hope that it will build interest in the subject or techniques presented. For a couple of sample documentations, see below.

 

 

Sample Documentations

 

1.“This is a WWII fighter pilot bust which I have converted to resemble my grandfather, who flew in the war. I have enclosed a photo of him and of his original uniform which was passed down to my dad, so you can see how closely I've matched the colors. Also included are some photographs of the sculpt before I applied the paint, so that you can see how much modification was involved.”

2. “This is a sculpt I did of Vincent Van Gogh painting while he was living in the asylum. I began this project because I greatly admire his work. I wanted to portray him later in his career, and to attempt to convey his emotional state at this time of his life, so I chose muted, cool colors primarily to convey melancholy. However, Van Gogh was known for using complementary colors to shade and highlight each other, so I have worked a lot of these also in to my piece as a tribute. I incorporated research from source x, y, and z in designing the asylum room, and the painting he is working on is one he completed while incarcerated, as x book on his life states.”

3.“This is a Warlord elf who I have converted and painted as if she were a Japanese geisha. I have included copies of the fabric patterns I chose to imitate, taken from X book on kimonos, and with sketches I've tried to show how I had to simplify them to make them work in 28mm. She is based on a character in a famous series of fantasy novels by x author, and with her basing I have chosen to portray her standing on the balcony of her noble house, where much important drama unfolds! Below are a few paragraphs from the book where her clothing and the balcony are described.”

4. "This is a conversion I did to represent my role-playing character, Ed the Mighty. I've included a photo of the original figure. I cut off his left hand and modeled it holding a Sonic cup for the tea he gets every day, and the right hand has been re-modeled into a fist, which he is shaking at his legions of minions. I have added stubble on the face and re-modeled some of the clothes to match Ed's outfit in the game. He is based atop a mountain of pewter figurines, which I've had to model out of 10mm army figures."

 

Sample Scoring Sheet

 

(Judge prints their name at the top of each page)

Category: Painters (70% painting skill, 10% workmanship, 10% overall effect, 10% difficulty)

 

Entry Number:

Entrant:

Title of the piece:

Manufacturer:

Model is (mark one): 0 Stock 0 Converted 0 Scratch Sculpt

 

Award (circle one): Gold – 4 pts Silver – 3 pts Bronze – 2 pts Certificate – 1 pt None – 0

 

As many Entry Numbers information and ratings follow as will fill the page. When the pages go to the tabulator for awards designations, the highest and lowest scores are dropped and the remaining three averaged and rounded to the closest number.

 

Conclusion

 

We at Reaper sincerely feel that this is the system we wish to move forward with. It encourages excellence while excluding no one, and embraces all styles and aspects of the hobby that we love. We hope that you, our potential entrants, are just as excited as we are about this new format, and we hope you will share your thoughts here in our forums, in our discussion thread on this topic.

 

Additional Related Sources

 

Those interested in the Open System of judging will find our criteria laid out in detail on the World Model Soldier Federation website, at http://www.wmsf-expo.org/Judging-criteria.htm .

Another great show which uses this judging system is the Chicago Show, run by MMSI. Their website (and many photos of past winners) can be found at http://www.mmsichicago.com . For more information on how they utilize the Open System and on special awards they present, click on the “Open System” link on their home page.

The Reaper forums can be found at http://www.reapermini.com/forum.

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Okay, that's it!! What do you think? What do you love? What do you hate? What questions come to mind? Help us build our FAQ! ::):

 

--Anne ::D:

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My initial gut reaction is that I like the change. It is disheartening to see that someone can come in and sweep the entire contest and you don't even know if you ranked high enough for your mini to receive more than a quick glance from the judges. However, I do have some questions.

 

How will a 15" model be judged in comparison to a 1" model? There's a lot of difference in the two and when it comes to the Sophie award for the category, is it that easy to choose between them? Is one at a disadvantage? I honestly don't know, never having judged a contest.

 

What are the criteria for gold, silver, bronze, certificate, NA? Are the criteria the same for every painter? Is the color of your medal an accurate gauge for how well you did against the other contestants?

 

Thanks!

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The scale question is a good one! What we will be doing is making sure that the judging team has members on it with experience with both large and small scales, so that they can judge technique. With difficulty, they are both difficult in different ways, though the very large model may have more room to rise or fall based on there being more space for the painter to wow the judge or make mistakes. :;):

 

Since the models are not being judged against each other, it doesn't matter that they are very different subjects. The judges will look at each and ask, "If I was looking at the most perfect example of this model that I can imagine, how close is this to the ideal?" Not very close, but has potential = Certificate. Moderately close, has merit, it's a solid job = bronze. Close, good tight job, but missing that certain something or has an obvious flaw or a few minor ones = silver. Very close, maybe only one or two minor flaws or none at all, amazing work = gold. ::): Though each judge will have a different vision of the ideal model, the fact that there are five of them and scores are dropped and averaged should mean that even if one judge doesn't recognize the merit of your awesome 15mm dude another very well may.

 

Now, that said, yes, in an ideal world you would be able to look at all silver medalists and see a level of quality in common among them. Likewise with the gold. In my experience helping to judge at the Tulsa show, sometimes this just doesn't happen, but more often yes, you can see different "levels" of work. There will always be grey areas where a model could rate bronze or silver, and that's where the judges have to sweat. I personally find silver the hardest award to quantify; it's easy for me to visualize bronze and gold, silver is that nebulous area in between!! Also remember that in the Open you may have a model with bronze-level painting but gold-level sculpting, so it may rate a silver overall, where if it was a stock model in Painters it may have only gotten bronze. So it will vary from category to category.

 

--Anne

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Edited after reading other comments and reviewing some of the things I missed.

 

Only one thing that I really wonder about is the 'any manufacturer' clause. I personally always thought of this as the Reaper painting contest. As such, it was for Reaper minis.

 

I also liked the focus on the different product lines to spotlight the Reaper products and games.

Edited by Rastl_Deeperdown

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For the most part I like the changes, but there are two things that concern me. One is what cbp asked about 15" versus 28mm. The other is why have you elected to open it up to all manufacturers minis? In some ways, I feel that's a good thing - encourages more entrants, in other ways, I wonder if Reaper is doing itself a disservice by doing so.

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I love the changes...I think it adds greatly to the contest!!! The chance to have multiple winners per catagory, per placing is awesome!!! I can see this attracting many more painters . The only thing I don't like (and its minor) is the rule about previously published models. Since there can be multiple winners, does it really matter is someone saw it on cmon???...or in a magazine for that matter. I think you will get a lot more entries if you allow published models. If you look at the most successful contests over in Europe, they dont even care if the model has won an award in another contest. You are just judged on the model, thats it, not the history of the model. Anyways, thats my 2 cents....I am very happy about the changes so far and I think it will be one of the better contests of next year!!!!

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I wonder if Reaper is doing itself a disservice by doing so.

 

I have to echo this concern. I expect that a competition held AT your facility would require painters to use your minis. I can't think of any other manufacturer that does this. You have a great opportunity to take pics of some amazing work and publish them (there should be a release for this on the entry form, if it's not there already- I don't remember) to show off your minis. I certainly have not felt constrained by this limitation in the past.

 

Otherwise, I'm all for the changes.

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I'd like to point out that, in my opinion, opening the competition to various manufacturers' minis without allowing them to win a coveted Sophie trophy is not a BAD thing. Think about the following: You have to pay to attend the convention-sure this gets you access to all the events going on, but I can also see this bringing people who USUALLY wouldn't attend the convention and giving them the opportunity to try reaper paints and reaper miniatures throughout the con, perhaps turning them on to reaper products. Reaper does have a paint line, so it is entirely possible that someone who really only paints, say, Darksword miniatures, uses Reaper paints. Or some of us reaper die hards may feel we've done an exceptional job on a miniature manufactured by someone else and we want to show it off. How about a Freebooter miniature? I know I've bought some in the Asylum and it might be nice to enter one into a competition. That's just my two cents.

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The main question I had, you answered with #7, saying WIP pictures online are allowed.

 

Since what I am reading here is that I am basically competing against myself and to a standard, not against other people, it does encourage me to try a bit more.

 

The idea that it is opened up to all manufacturers, although it does not affect me since again as we just stated, I would be competing against myself and a standard and not against others, I admit I guess I dont like it as much. Yes, there are some beautiful minis by other companies, but I do enjoy the idea of Reaper's painting contest at ReaperCon be all about Reaper models. But, again since it doesnt affect me in terms of my scores, I dont have a big argument here.

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I have never attended a ReaperCon, but I have been trying to since you guys started organizing them. I hope I can make it in 2009!

 

I think these changes are awesome. When Jeremie Bonamont Teboul came to the Bay Area to teach his classes, he denounced the old competition system as elitist, and after thinking about it, I had to agree with him. The open system is way more painter (artist) centered. One of the things that I always felt bad about at traditional competitions was when one person was able to enter several categories with high quality entries. That one person would often sweep many of the prizes. While it's good for that person, I just felt that it was... sad for us others who entered. I know I had nothing to complain about, because if I wanted to win like that I just had to paint better (and paint more), but it still felt...not unfair, but it was just a bummer for everyone else, I thought. The open system takes care of that, because there is not a restricted number of models which can place. Everyone can be a winner, if they are good enough.

 

I also like your twist on the rules for the Sophie Trophies. Basically the competition for those is the same as it always was. There are some changes, but they are still hard to get. Personally, if I can make it to RCon 09, I will be gunning for a Sophie Trophy, just like I would have been any of the years before. The medal system is cool, and artist centered, and all that, but winning a Sophie would be my real goal. This is good I think because it encourages people to paint Reaper minis, as well as giving us an even higher goal to shoot for than a gold medal. Awesome!

 

I especially like the fact that you now allow for entries to appear in forums or WIPs. My painting community is online, as are most peoples' I think, so if I want feedback on a model before a competition it makes it all but impossible if the model has to be "never seen in public." I think this will make my entries stronger.

 

I have to agree with Aaron (Ollie) though. Could you explain why you don't allow winning entries from other contests? Or even models that have been shown in finished form online? To allow entries that were shown in WIPs but not those that were declared "finished!" seems arbitrary to me, so I'd like to know why you made that distinction.

 

The only thing I miss in this new set of rules is a dedicated section for Warlord squads. At previous ReaperCons, I thought it was an interesting twist on the rules to only allow legal squads or groups for the Warlord category. I know that those can now go into open, but I think there should be some prize dedicated to best rules-legal Warlord squad. Perhaps there will be Sophie Trophies for those?

 

So, if you don't want to wade through all my verbage above, I think this is an awesome change, but I have a couple questions too:

Why no entries that have been posted on the net as "finished" or that have won previously?

What about a Warlord squad prize?

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There are a lot of good questions here so I am going to answer point by point. ::):

 

One category means that I'm up against anything and everything people can throw at the contest. Even if only one model gets judged they have a seeming better chance at winning since they can choose which model to have judged after seeing everyone else's work.

 

The judges choose which model gets judged, not the competitors. Also, this is not a competitive event--if your model is good, and fifty other people have models which are as good, you ALL get medals. ::): That is the beauty of the format, no one gets an award at the expense of another deserving piece! ::D:

 

Reposing an arm moves me into a category where I could be up against a 99% converted model. Which one gets more attention and consideration from the judges?

 

They each get their own consideration. The judges are never to consider one model against another one when making their decisions. Each judge is essentially asked to forget the last model they judged and consider the next model purely on the basis of its own merits.

 

While this prevents someone from sweeping the categories it also prevents people from playing to their strengths. One category means one model which means you can only hope that it fits your strength.

 

You can enter any number of models in each category, in the hopes of tickling the judges' fancy. ::): So if you know one judge likes monsters but you prefer to paint female models, you can enter one of each to have the bases covered. :;): Knowing your strengths and figuring out subject matter that lets you play to them but still fits the category is part of miniatures competition, after all! ::D:

 

The whole 'tell me about your model' just doesn't appeal to me. Now you're putting a subjective element into the contest. Sure two models may be on the same level but person A can tell a better story. Does that mean they win?

 

The "tell me about your model" is not part of the scoring sheet at all. It is there so that the artist has that rare chance to actually explain what they were thinking when they choose the project, or to pay homage to something they really like (so they want the viewer to know where it comes from). In historicals conventions, it serves the purpose of educating the viewer--I may know absolutely nothing about the battle of the Alamo but because this entrant put a small card next to his piece, now I do, and I can appreciate the work more because of it. It would be like walking through an art museum with personally-written explanations and in-progress shots next to each piece by Michaelangelo, Van Gogh, Rodin...wouldn't that be awesome??? And wouldn't it help viewers who chose to read it to appreciate the work more? In the case of a converted model or extreme scenic base, it will help the judges to adequately judge how difficult the project was (per the 10% scored on difficulty) and so that judges in the Open can see where the sculpted parts are easily, for assessment. That is the only place it should come into play in the judging. ::): Honestly, you could write a novel with 500 illustrations for your piece, but it's the quality of the model itself that counts. If that's not there, no amount of prose can help you...and if you paint a great mini, no amount of bad prose can hurt you. :;):

 

But the special feel of the Reaper paint contest is missing from this. Now it's anything someone wants to paint and the idea before was using a Reaper model at ReaperCon.

 

You can't win a Sophie unless you paint a Reaper model, and there are several special awards and at least one special competition where only Reaper models are allowed. ::):

 

I'm not completely negative here but overall I'm not seeing how the changes benefit or promote Reaper itself.

 

When I first came to Reaper from around a year of working at Games Workshop, the one thing that completely impressed me was that the people at Reaper had no prejudice against other companies. "You want to go to Games Day and compete? Fine, it only gets us another feather in our caps because you are OUR staff painter!" "You want to still do freelance work for other miniatures companies? Sure, go ahead, it helps us too if you expand your name and they know that you are our staff painter!" "Oh, this guy wants to start his own miniatures company right here in Texas...okay, well come on in and we will spend hours of our time teaching you how to do it and showing you the ropes!" "Hey Ed, can we donate a special award for the Gen Con competition this year because it's their anniversary, even though it might not be a Reaper model that wins it?" "Sure!" (Reaper Bryan, looking over my shoulder, brought up an even better example: our Show Off forum, where models from any company are welcome.)

 

All of the above are actual things I have had said to me or heard said to others, from Reaper leadership choosing to be open-minded and generous. In short, though many people don't realize it, Reaper has always been not just pro-themselves, but also pro-HOBBY. Unlike some other companies I could mention, the Reaper owners realize that helping the hobby helps EVERYONE--Reaper, painters, sculptors, other companies, and people who haven't yet embraced the hobby but could if the right subject or product hit them at the right time! Consider: this company lives or dies by the hobbies which propel us, be they RPG's, painting, or wargaming. If you get a person from GW to come up here because he heard he could win a medal and he ends up really taking to the paint line, we just got an in to a section of the hobby that was ignoring us. If someone who only paints historical resin kits walks in and sees some 54mm Reaper minis she loves and walks out with a few, you bet that benefits Reaper! And how about the people who really didn't know we were even up here, who hear about the contest, come up for the day, and end up taking a couple classes?

 

I realize that I've run away from the post a bit--apologies Rastl!!--but I sincerely believe that what helps the hobby, helps us. And you might be interested to know that it was Ed--that's right, our CEO--who originally suggested opening this up to all manufacturers. Being insular makes us our own little club, but it has never been Reaper's nature to be exclusionary. ::):

 

--Anne

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I love the changes...I think it adds greatly to the contest!!! The chance to have multiple winners per catagory, per placing is awesome!!! I can see this attracting many more painters . The only thing I don't like (and its minor) is the rule about previously published models. Since there can be multiple winners, does it really matter is someone saw it on cmon???...or in a magazine for that matter. I think you will get a lot more entries if you allow published models. If you look at the most successful contests over in Europe, they dont even care if the model has won an award in another contest. You are just judged on the model, thats it, not the history of the model. Anyways, thats my 2 cents....I am very happy about the changes so far and I think it will be one of the better contests of next year!!!!

 

A very good point and one that I did consider. I will take it to Ed and get his opinion on it before we finalize. ::):

 

Arguments for and against:

 

Good points: It encourages people to bring their most awesome work to show off and compete with, creating an incredible competition full of "wow!" factor, and possibly creating a larger incentive to attend. It is in the same open spirit as the rest of the competition.

 

Not-so-good points: This only matters in the Reaper section of the competition and for Best In Show, where we still have competitive awards. It makes it too easy for someone to bring a past model which has won awards before and which everyone has seen on CMoN and now it wins a gold Sophie and Best in Show, which leaves competitors who worked hard on their entries for this year with a generally bad taste in their mouths. I consider entering old work to be not in the spirit of the competition--we don't hold these things every year to see the same old stuff show up on the shelf. I judged the old Gen Con competition before this kind of rule was made and I remember the "familiar faces" showing up. It saps some of the excitement of the competition to not see anything new.

 

My worst-case example/fear: Derek Schubert won Best in Show at Gen Con with a great diorama. Now he decides to bring it to ReaperCon to compete. There is some excitement from people who have not seen it in person, but more people feel a bit cheated or disappointed, a feeling which grows when he takes the gold Sophie and Best in Show. If two other top painters pulled the same thing in the same year, suddenly you have all the Best in Shows taken by pieces that everyone has seen before--any excitement your top awards would otherwise have generated is now undermined. Now, yeah, I know Derek would never do this (are you listening, Derek..? :lol: ) but the possibility is there, and it makes me sad to think about it.

 

Now, the compromise is to state that you can bring a model which has appeared online or in magazines to compete--but once it has been entered it can not be entered again. I could see doing that. But I still fear the above scenario. So much excitement in this kind of thing is tied to seeing brilliant new work and having it rewarded.

 

--Anne

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