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ReaperCon Painting Contest

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WOW...that is a big change.

 

A few not-so-quick points:

 

First, if an artist feels they haven't received the feedback they desire in order to improve, it means they aren't trying. A simple 1-2-3 placing alone gives no feedback...true. However, if "you" want to become a better painter, it is your responsibility to seek critique.

 

Second, allowing non-Reaper entries. This is a generous move by Reaper, but it is still Reaper hosting the event. A few of you that know me know that I am a huge GW Space Marine fan…I paint them almost exclusively. That's all fine and good...but ReaperCon (to me) is more about celebrating the Reaper aspect of the hobby. I know that Reaper is more concerned with spreading the joys of our hobby, and I certainly appreciate that...so that's not a big deal. I also agree with Anne that “other” companies ‘ignore’ each other, and Reaper is all about Hobby. I guess GW could dictate that all future Golden Demon entries must be accompanied with wip shots including open Citadel paints. And, I do have to admit a perverse satisfaction winning Demons using RMS paints…I guess I’m changing my own mind on this point…so…nevermind on that one.

 

Third...and I'll try to word this as delicately as possible. I do understand the premise behind the open judging system. After all, art is subjective, and everyone’s view of artistic ability is their own. For me, Monet doesn't impress me, and I think Shakespeare was a pretentious hack. But back to the point...although I see the value in this method, I don't personally like it...that's me. To me, it looks a little like the "you're all winners" soccer league. In the real world, not everyone wins, and we are placed in many things we do. In the business world, 2 proposals won't be given top bidding; only one will be the best. This serves to better the 2nd place guy, by forcing him to improve if he wants the recognition. If the guy who’s proposal wasn’t even considered wants to be considered in the future, he will seek help to better his skills.

 

Finally, to be fair, I have never participated in an open judging style event. It may turn out to be the greatest thing since the invention of the RMS Walnut Brown. But, these are my concerns.

 

I will also say that ReaperCon, and other painting competitions are intensely motivational for me. I was very much looking forward to being abused in the master's class this year. I knew I had virtually no chance at placing against the painting titans...so it made me try things I would never had tried this year. That's what the painting aspect of the hobby is about...learning. I have entered many competitions where my minis weren’t even considered. I sought advice from those I considered master painters, because it was up to me to take the initiative to better myself. The way I see it, feedback shouldn’t be offered…it should be requested.

 

All of this little rant is very self serving for me…so if the majority feels the new rules will best advance the painting aspect of our hobby, I’ll not speak of it again.

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I have to agree with lunchbox on his points that he made. I do like the open manufacturer thing as not many reaper minis tickle my fancy quite as much as some of the smaller European companies but just giving recognition to a few select people gave me incentive to push my technique and creativity as far as I can. But now, I feel as though I'm competing against myself now with nothing to really push for. I still like the idea with the best reaper minis winning the trophies and such, that's a great idea! Overall, I do like the changes but I would like to compete head to head with others as that really gives me motivation to push myself :)

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So... let me see if I understand this.

 

All entries receive a merit rating (certificate, bronze silver or gold).

Top rated entries compete for cash prizes.

Top rated Reaper entries get Sophie Trophies.

Best in Show receives a cash prize.

 

While it's nice that all entries will get some feedback with the merit awards, I don't see that much else is changing. Pardon my cynicism, but I still see the same old top-rated painters sweeping all categories and "Best in Show" as a popularity contest that goes to the pro-painter with the most friends present.

 

FWIW, I think it's great that Reaper folks have no prejudices against other manufacturers minis, but at Reapercon I'd really like to see Reaper minis painted. I can see the variety at GenCon and other shows. I go to Reapercon to be immersed in Reaper-y goodness for the weekend.

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A few comments:

 

Really like the painter category.

Really like opening it up to different manufacturers.

Really like the new multiple entry rules.

 

I honestly wasn't planning on coming to ReaperCon this year because I've scheduled so much vacation elsewhere. Now I'll have to figure out a way to spare some days, or convince them to give me comp time for all the extra hours I've put in in the last 10 months.

 

A few questions:

 

Will entries be anonymous (at least to the judges), or will the judges know whose work they are judging? This can be important, because sometimes judges have expectations from a certain painter, and they might knock off points if the paint quality doesn't meet their expectations, eventhough the piece if submitted by a different painter would score higher marks.

 

What determines the "quality curve"? Obviously you can't have a show where there are no gold medals, and you can't have a show where everyone gets a gold medal. In both cases, you are wasting the value of a medal. I have no experience with MMSI and the like, but unlike contests where entries are placed where judges are merely comparing entries against each other, judges in this format really need to put on some cruel hats especially at the low end of the spectrum where they have to decide between bronze, HM, and nothing. Otherwise, in the extremely friendly environment of ReaperCon, I'd be afraid everyone would end up with at least a bronze medal.

 

Can we see a few samples of what minis would place gold/silver/bronze/HM/nothing so we know what to expect? This is more to satisfy my curiosity than anything else.

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Pardon my cynicism, but I still see the same old top-rated painters sweeping all categories and "Best in Show" as a popularity contest that goes to the pro-painter with the most friends present.

 

Incorrect...the "top" painters paint their hearts out, and very few know which mini belongs to which painter. It's also rather insulting to say that, implying that they only win because they have buddies...to hell with the quality of their work. Last year, Angela Imrie won BoS...I think she knew maybe half a dozen people there. The judges voted hers best of show, and rightfully so. If you're talking about the master class painters, those were indeed judged by the public, but were not eligible for BoS.

 

FWIW, I think it's great that Reaper folks have no prejudices against other manufacturers minis, but at Reapercon I'd really like to see Reaper minis painted. I can see the variety at GenCon and other shows. I go to Reapercon to be immersed in Reaper-y goodness for the weekend.

 

 

Agreed.

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So... let me see if I understand this.

 

All entries receive a merit rating (certificate, bronze silver or gold).

Top rated entries compete for cash prizes.

Top rated Reaper entries get Sophie Trophies.

Best in Show receives a cash prize.

 

Anne answered that in one of her original posts.

 

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.

 

Emphasis mine.

 

So this isn't like 4H where everyone gets a ribbon for participating. Instead there isn't a limit on the number of types of awards that are given.

 

Further down in the Judging section is information on how the judging progresses from the initial pick.

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Don't worry about the value of the metal being degraded. If your stuff isn't gold medal quality then it won't get a gold. Although I hate to use this perspective you should look at gold and consider what it takes to win a golden demon and that's what you should be shooting for. Likewise with the other levels. I prefer the shelf analogy better but if you have to pin down "what do I need to achieve" set your bar at that level and really push on your entries.

Edited by Heisler

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Third...and I'll try to word this as delicately as possible. I do understand the remise behind the open judging system. After all, art is subjective, and everyone’s view of artistic ability is their own. For me, Monet doesn't impress me, and I think Shakespeare was a pretentious hack. But back to the point...although I see the value in this method, I don't personally like it...that's me. To me, it looks a little like the "you're all winners" soccer league. In the real world, not everyone wins, and we are placed in many things we do. In the business world, 2 proposals won't be given top bidding; only one will be the best. This serves to better the 2nd place guy, by forcing him to improve if he wants the recognition. If the guy who’s proposal wasn’t even considered wants to be considered in the future, he will seek help to better his skills.

I've got to disagree. Competition is good and a real world experience everyone needs to deal with. But in real life, competition is often tiered - most people are not competing out of their league, so to speak, and the ones who are, quickly rise up the ranks to compete with their peers. A high school dropout typically doesn't have to worry about competing for the same fast food job as a college educated lawyer or physician, simply because the lawyer and doctor aren't likely to be satisfied with the job or the money.

 

Take auto racing frex, since it's something my family used to do. I raced in SCCA's autocrossing series for 3 years. By the time I was done with the sport, I had managed a couple of 2nds and a few 3rds. I was feeling pretty good. However, I was racing against a pretty even field of competitors. The girl who wound up being the top driver my rookie and second seasons had moved up to more intense challenges by the time our third season rolled around, so I no longer had to compete with her.

 

However, as good as I was doing with in my class and at that level of competition, I would have given it up before the end of my second season if I had continually found myself competing against the likes of Jeff Gordon, Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi, etc. I witnessed just that on a local level when my dad used to autocross - after several years, if he showed up to an event, several other competitors would pack up and leave because they knew they had no shot at beating him. They were very releived when he went pro, and stopped racing in that venue. He didn't win nearly as many trophies when he moved up, but had a lot more fun because he was racing similarly skilled competition.

 

The mini's painting hobby doesn't really have that tiered level of competition. If I enter a painting contest now, I feel like I'm racing against Fittipaldi or Gordon if someone like Marike or Anne (or more probable, someone like flynn, mattmcl or midnight lurker) ends up entering. I'm not the only one who feels that way, and we have little to no motivation to enter a contest we feel we have no hope of even placing in - we can still seek to improve our skills until such time as we feel we are capable of competing at that level - and without the drive of somesort of scoring system, we may never reach that point where we feel we are ready.

 

So, IMO, there are two solutions to the "problem". One is to go with a system like this. The other is to somehow organize a tiered level of competition across the country - IE, Hobby shops host their local contests, the winners of those can compete in their regional conventions, and the winners of those regionals compete in a national level competition at Gen Con or another national event. IIRC, Games Day and the Golden Deamon/Slayer awards are (or used to be) structured like this, and because of such, the competition means something. Yet beyond GWs, no other painting competition I know of is structured this way. Heck, the sheer work of structuring such a competition for our hobby seems to be an overwhelming task just on the organizational side alone.

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WHEW! Lots to address! Sorry, the paint department buried me this morning. ::):

 

I'm going to try to do this point by point...bear with me!

 

1. Winners from other competitions: There is really no good or fair way to police this. No one judge (or even five) will be familiar with everything that won at all four GD's, GenCon, MMSI, Historicon...and that's not even counting regional contests like Genghis and Kubla, Atlanta and Tulsa, or the international World Expo! I spoke to Ed about this at length this morning and it is Reaper's opinion that, even if there is a glut of past work this first year (and I am willing to bet that many top painters agree with me that entering a bunch of past winners just to take more medals is both selfish and not in the spirit of the competition), none of those pieces will be able to be entered the next year. Essentially, it becomes Reaper's responsibility to build a database of entrants so that we *can* police the rule we have, which is a lot easier than keeping archives of other shows, especially since many of them don't really have a gallery (if anyone can point me to a gallery of entries for the 2008 World Expo I'd be ecstatic!). In fact, I have taken pictures of not just winners but all entries from our past shows, so I do have a complete archive of past ReaperCons (except for those darn Masters this year! :lol:).

 

I will admit that, since that time years ago when I came out against this practice, my views have softened. I still hate the people who run their multiple-award-winning best pieces around to competitions where they deprive other entrants of awards--I think it is tremendously unsportsmanlike to do so. The primary motivation for my sliding viewpoint was attending the MMSI Chicago show, an amazing event which showcases historical, fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and more, in any scale you can imagine. The MMSI peeps don't care if your model has won at every show you've attended for the last five years, as long as it hasn't won at theirs, and their rationale is that even if a bunch of other people all over the world have seen it, the people attending THIS show haven't yet. I was skeptical until I realized, about my second year in, that I was grateful to that show because it meant that there was no pressure attached to it--here I am, with very little time or inclination to paint outside of my work, but I usually attend at least three shows per year, and this means that the model I finish for one can enter MMSI too, no problem. I do try to get other stuff done, but it doesn't always work out. So I had to admit that there are cases where I really did not mind winners from one competition showing up at another.

 

In any case, that's the call, and you have my apologies if it goes terribly wrong this first year. But we'll give it a chance and see where it goes. And the loosening of the stricture does mean that you can post your finished pieces online for last-minute criticism and tweaking. :;):

 

2. Derek's idea to exclude past winners from winning the Best In Show prizes: Again, pretty much impossible to police. At best we'd be like the candy jar with the little box saying "Please Leave 25 cents" next to it. People who really wanted to blow us off would bring their award pieces anyway, and if we didn't catch it then it would look even worse if discovered a month later--proving that we can't police our own rules. This is complicated further by the fact that we are starting to get people flying over from Europe and such; most of us don't see coverage of their Games Days unless we actively search it out. And what about the big contests like Speil or World Expo, which it seems I can never find pics of all the winners from?

 

When it comes down to it, remember, the Best in Show prizes are in the hands of you, the competitors. When it comes time to cast your vote, and you recognize one of the best pieces as a winner from another contest, you are completely within your rights to vote for something else of equal quality instead. What I *don't* want, though, is someone tromping around telling all their friends which pieces have been entered before elsewhere. One, you could be wrong, and two, it's about which piece is better, not about politics. Any statement you wish to make with your choice is your own.

 

More in a bit, gotta scamper back to the paint department for a second--

 

--Anne ::):

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A high school dropout typically doesn't have to worry about competing for the same fast food job as a college educated lawyer or physician, simply because the lawyer and doctor aren't likely to be satisfied with the job or the money.

 

I appreciate what you're saying, and I do understand it...but in the scenario above, wouldn't the dropout aspire to more in life? If not, the dropout has no right to whine about their condition, until they choose to remedy it.

 

When I started painting a few years ago, I sucked...and I mean BAD. But, I worked my tail off to become better. However, I did this to be the best I could be, and hard competition schooled me, and schooled me quick. Competition is important to me...because it gives me a gauge of where I am as a painter.

 

Honestly, I'd be content to teach a few classes, and hang out in the painter's lounge area to help others, than compete this year. Mostly because I know I've gained the skills to where I can at least talk to people about painting without sounding completely stupid.

 

Again...that's me...and it's not MeaperCon...

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A high school dropout typically doesn't have to worry about competing for the same fast food job as a college educated lawyer or physician, simply because the lawyer and doctor aren't likely to be satisfied with the job or the money.

 

I appreciate what you're saying, and I do understand it...but in the scenario above, wouldn't the dropout aspire to more in life? If not, the dropout has no right to whine about their condition, until they choose to remedy it.

Agreed that they have no right to whine. But when that high school drop out looks at the other drop outs he's competing against, and realizes "Hey, if I go get a GED, I'll be a better candidate." After awhile, he realizes that going that next step, a technical certificate, or an Associates Degree, and he's raised himself up again.

 

Now, if he's sitting there looking at the competition, and they all have Masters and PhDs, how motivated is he going to be to get even the GED, when it makes no difference to where he places against a Doctorate?

 

As most painting competitions stand today, there are tons of more of us painters who are the painting equivilent of high school dropouts than there are the equivilent of painting PhDs.

 

 

When I started painting a few years ago, I sucked...and I mean BAD. But, I worked my tail off to become better. However, I did this to be the best I could be, and hard competition schooled me, and schooled me quick. Competition is important to me...because it gives me a gauge of where I am as a painter.

 

Competition against one's self can be nearly as motivating as competition against others, particularly when it's a hobby. How many runners/swimmers/drag racers/video game players out there strive not so much to beat the next guy, but to beat their own fastest time/highest score?

 

And it's not like they've removed the competition between painters entirely - there is still the Best of Show and the Sophies.

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I'm not really a competition painter but I do know what level I want my painting to be at, for my own personal reasons. Therefore if I enter a piece into this competition it's because I feel that it's representative of my best work.

 

If I don't win then I know that what I feel is my personal best isn't what will win a competition. Fine. As long as I'm happy with the end result there's no real loss here.

 

If I were painting solely to garner awards then my feelings might be different. Then I'm competing against a standard (or level, if you prefer) that is set by the judges. At that point I'm not painting for me - I'm painting for them.

 

Letting the judges give awards based on each individual piece instead of having to rank them will help one segment of painters and frustrate others. I think the rules change has addressed both camps. The first rank gives awards based on the piece itself. After that you're competing with other pieces deemed to be of the same quality.

 

I stopped entering after the first year for several reasons. After reading, re-reading and reading the discussion I might actually bring an entry or two next year. So I would call that an improvement.

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Competition against one's self can be nearly as motivating as competition against others, particularly when it's a hobby. How many runners/swimmers/drag racers/video game players out there strive not so much to beat the next guy, but to beat their own fastest time/highest score?

 

And it's not like they've removed the competition between painters entirely - there is still the Best of Show and the Sophies.

 

True enough...and I guess I should have clarified that I was competing with myself to be the best...using competitions with others as "markers".

 

Anyway, If the new rules drag people out of the woodwork to attend, paint, or enter, it's a win.

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I have always wanted to go to Reaper Conn but due to financial reasons mostly, I have not been able to attend. I understand that the piece has to be there for judging. Would it be possible if I could get a third party to bring it there to be placed in the competition? I.E another attendee at R-Conn?

 

This is something I have been curious about for a while and just wanted to throw it out there.

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