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For the past few months I've been working on a series of articles and videos of advice for people working on entries for the MSP Open. (Or anyone looking to improve their painting a little.) I've reviewed the most common issues that we see with entries and tried to provide both good explanations and before and after photo examples. My plan was to put this up before ReaperCon so you have the opportunity to go over your entries and see if you want to change anything before the contest. (And I'm sure many of us are still frantically painting anyway!)
Common contest entry feedback and solutions.
I have started the process of contacting various miniature manufacturers about providing prizes for their miniatures that have been entered into the Reaper Con 2019 Painting Competition. I will update this first post as the various manufacturers let me know what they want to do. I'll take requests of companies to contact up through the end of April.
First up is not an actual manufacturer award but I think a little variety is a good thing.
Chibi Gamers Award
Sponsored by Chibi Gamers (they have a facebook page) is the first annual Chibi Gamers Award. Gold, Silver and Bronze awards will be handed out to the best three Chibi miniatures (chibi's from all manufacturers will be considered) in the 2019 competition. The intent is for this to be an annual award so when in doubt paint a Chibi mini!
Paint It Pink
One in nine women will get this terrible disease in their lifetime. This has become close to home in our community this past year as one of our own is still fighting.
Can you create a piece of art that depicts one of the many facets of breast cancer? From awareness, support, education, hope, research, treatment, survivorship – breast cancer has touched almost everyone in some way.
Help us raise awareness through minis! Entering this contest simply says you care. A donation of any size is requested to enter. All donations will go to support breast cancer awareness and will be made in the name of the winner.
Oh, and a trophy... there will be trophies for the top 3.
(will fill in as manufacturers commit)
Bombshell Miniatures presents the 2019 Golden Maelee Awards. This is a Sponsored Award section of the annual Reaper Master Series Open Painting Contest. We are very pleased to announce that this year Bombshell Miniatures will be awarding ALL its eligible entries with either a copper, silver, or gold medal. In addition, the top three entries overall will also be awarded our 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place Maelee trophy.
To be eligible for these awards, entries will need to feature at least one or more Bombshell Miniatures as the prominent subject. This can be anything from Babes, Sidekicks, Kritterkins, to robots, or busts. Each entry will be judged on its own merit of painting execution, presentation, and skill.
Entries from artists who have been professionally commissioned by Bombshell Miniatures are ineligible.
Frozen Ninja 3D
The best Frozen Ninja 3D miniatures across all categories.
1st Place $100
2nd Place $50
3rd Place $25
Dark Sword Diorama Category:
$150 in Dark Sword Online Store Credit + $100 Cash + Trophy for best Dark Sword Diorama
$100 in Dark Sword Online Store Credit + Ribbon for 2nd place Dark Sword Diorama
Dark Sword Single Miniature Category:
$150 in Dark Sword Online Store Credit + $100 Cash + Trophy for best Dark Sword Single Mini
$100 in Dark Sword Online Store Credit + Ribbon for 2nd place Dark Sword Single Mini
Dark Sword Critter Kingdoms Anthropomorphic Animals Open Category:
Can be either a single miniature or a diorama
$150 in Dark Sword Online Store Credit + $100 Cash + Trophy for best Critter Kingdoms
$100 in Dark Sword Online Store Credit + Ribbon for 2nd place Critter Kingdoms
Dark Sword Young Painter Category (Age 13 and under):
Can be either a single miniature or a diorama
$100 in Dark Sword Online Store Credit + Trophy for best Dark Sword Young Painter
$50 in Dark Sword Online Store Credit + Ribbon for 2nd place Dark Sword Young Painter
Tiger Lily Anthro Pug (ReaperCon 2018 Swag Bag Dark Sword Mini) Special Category*:
Can be either a single miniature or a diorama including the Tiger Lily Anthro Pug Mini
$150 in Dark Sword Online Store Credit + $100 Cash + Trophy for best Tiger Lily entry
$100 in Dark Sword Online Store Credit + Ribbon for 2nd place Tiger Lily entry
Jason Wiebe and Jim from Dark Sword are working on creating something fun/cool to give to each entrant as a thank you for painting up the Tiger Lily tribute mini. As we get closer on the gift item, pics will be posted here and shared on the ReaperCon forums.
In addition, $300 cash will be offered to purchase one of the Tiger Lily entries from its painter to give as a gift to Jason Wiebe so he can have on display in his home in honor of the late great Tiger Lily. This will be something we go over the entries with Jason Wiebe on to find his favorite entry (which might differ from the prize ordering above). Please note - this purchase of the entry would be above and beyond any prizes won in the overall ReaperCon painting competition and the Dark Sword Mfr. Awards. And this is optional for the painter if approached (as a painter might want to keep the piece for their own collection).
* Any entry with the Tiger Lily Anthro Pug Miniature in it will automatically be put in this category as it relates to Dark Sword judging of the entry for the prizes listed above. The only exception to this would be the 13 and under category as the entry will be allowed to be judged in both and receive benefits from both categories.
The Dark Sword Miniatures Manufacturer Awards are open to all painters. To be eligible for the prize support listed above, the entries must be new entries, never entered into any other painting competitions. In addition, no entries can be commissions from Dark Sword Miniatures for painted studio models. This means Dark Sword studio painters can enter if they so desire, but their entries must be brand new creations not commissioned from Dark Sword and must also adhere to the eligibility requirements above. Please note - Dark Sword entries will also get the coveted "double dip" from being part of the overall ReaperCon painting competition as well. So one entry can potentially win multiple prizes/awards!
Galladoria is presenting a $100 First Prize for the best painted Galladoria Miniature in the competition and a $50 price for the runner up. They attended Reaper Con last year under the name Forge Prints.
DGS Games will present manufacturer’s awards, DGS Master Crafter Coins, to participants in the Reaper Con Painting Competition in the Painters, Open, and Diorama categories.
DGS will award a gold, silver and bronze coin to the top three participants in each category who made use of DGS Games models as their subject.
DGS Games models may be converted but the conversion must employ only scratch materials or materials from other DGS Games models. Models or parts of models from other manufacturers may not be used in any entry wishing to be considered for these awards.
DGS Games will identify a panel of judges to award the Master Crafter Coins. Each entry will be judged on its own merit of painting execution, presentation, and skill.
Entries from artists who have been professionally commissioned by DGS Games are ineligible.
Best Scale 75 Historical Figure or Bust
$25.00 Coupon to our web store.
Best Scale 75 Fantasy Figure or Bust
$25.00 Coupon to our web store.
Best Smog Rider (CHIBI)
$25.00 Coupon to our web store.
Bet Scale 75 piece overall piece by a junior
$25.00 Coupon to our web store.
Talon Games (CAV)
Best Individual CAV Model: Any single-model figure.
Best CAV "Squad": This category allows for multiple models (minimum four models) as part of a cohesive unit.
Best CAV Diorama: This category covers models with a scenic base where the entry is telling a story to the viewer and may include multiple models.
There are quite a number of threads regarding the Reaper Con Painting Competition. As Labor Day tends to get here at the speed of light I thought I would create a short index to the various threads. There is a lot of information useful to both the beginner and the veteran competition painter here, so pick a thread to start with and come join the fun!
This is the fourth, and last, in a series of four posts each concentrating on a different entry category. You can find information about the scoring system itself in the Painter Division post. From here forward I will just concentrate on how the component guidelines apply to the other three divisions.
At MMSI in Chicago and elsewhere around the globe this category is usually filled with armor, planes, artillery and the like. At the MSP Open it is more along the lines of the red-headed stepchild. This division shares a lot with the Open Division with workmanship and creativity being big components of the scoring. While many entrants are willing to spend hours pouring over a single miniature and eradicating mold lines and filling gaps, they seem to be loath to do that with an entry into the armor/ordnance category. Just like the other divisions preparation is key, a visible mold line or a seam is likely to drop you a whole medal category in the judging. Since many of the entries are from plastic and resin kits visible seams are usually the biggest problem I see as a judge, following that would be mold lines in difficult to reach places. At the 2018 MSP Open there were a lot of larger Games Workshop pieces. Almost everyone single of these had visible mold lines in the hoses and seams in the armor panels on the back of the legs. This dropped everyone of these entries a medal level. Decals are often used in this division and there is nothing wrong with using them. You will get marked down for poor application though, treat a decal like freehand and don’t just slop it into place. There is a right way and a wrong way to apply decals and it can be a bit of an art to the proper application.
Again, 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 although these discussions tend to be longer than they might be in the Painter Division. However, when selecting the scoring entry the conversation is still based on “I can score this one higher than the others” or words to that affect, till they come to a decision just as it would be for the Painter Division. If multiple 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. These are guidelines are subject to change.
Painting Skill: 35%
Difficulty: This and the Open Division are the places where difficulty does have a significant impact. The difficulty of assembling some of the kits available on the market can vary widely from manufacturer to manufacturer. Especially when dealing with a plastic kit like those produced by Tamiya and Games Workshop to the five piece resin game oriented kits put out by other manufacturers.
Creativity: There is not a lot of creativity involved with a straight up kit build, but when someone goes to the extra lengths to “upgrade” their kits with after market or hand made parts that impacts the creativity component. This is the equivalent of a conversion in the other divisions.
Workmanship: This is really a key component for this division and the proposed change reflects that. Any type of non-painting effort is represented here. This is includes your ability to do conversions and/or scratch sculpt or at least be able to blend your entry in with the scene you have constructed. A missed mold line, poor assembly or a poorly executed conversion could easily drop you a while numeric value in the scoring.
Painting Skill: Everything that was said about painting still applies in the Diorama Division but there is less emphasis. At this point workmanship and creativity components exceed the painting component (as currently proposed). There are a few other mediums that are often used in this category, like weathering powders, the application of those mediums falls into the painting component. While we don’t expect your abilities to be exactly equal in those areas you cannot count on your ability to paint alone to carry you over the top.
Presentation: While not the most important component in the Armor/Ordnance Division it is another example of getting the little things right. A nice, well executed base will set the “scene” for your entry. It can be the simple or it can be more elaborate. I would save the effort on a really elaborate base for an entry in the Open or Diorama divisions. This component is one that a judge will often use when making that final decision between scores, a tie breaker as it were.
This is the third in a series of four posts each concentrating on a different entry category. You can find information about the scoring system itself in the Painter Division post. From here forward I will just concentrate on how the component guidelines apply to the other three divisions
The Diorama Division does not exist in the MMSI structure. At MMSI a diorama goes into the Open Division as it encompasses the same set of skills. I, however, felt the Open Division ignored or down played the story and what is a diorama without a story? This is the division that lets you show off the same skills that the Open Division does and wrap it around a story. Again 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 although these discussions tend to be longer than they might be in the Painter Division. However, when selecting the scoring entry the conversation is still based on “I can score this one higher than the others” or words to that affect, till they come to a decision just as it would be for the Painter Division.
Let’s take a quick look at the scoring guidelines the judges use (which is published as part of the MSP Open rules. One cautionary note’ these particular scoring guidelines may change slightly):
Painting Skill: 30%
What does this mean for the Diorama Division? In this division we are really want to see all your hobby skills as well as your story telling ability. While the components remain the same the emphasis has obviously changed a great deal.
Difficulty: This is a tough one for the Diorama category, since most dioramas are difficult to begin with. We reduced the emphasis here because we feel that you should not take a hit for a good story that is comparatively simple to tell.
Creativity: Creativity steps up a bit here. While painting is still factor this is the portion that shows us the story you are telling. Now painting is combined with your ability to convert, sculpt and tell a story to your audience. The entrant’s imagination comes into play here, you are looking to tell a story to your viewers. You are striving for the audience to understand your story without commentary from you. It can be subtle or in your face but if you have to explain it then you have not succeeded.
Workmanship: This remains a pretty straightforward component but in the Diorama Division there is a higher emphasis on it. It reflects how well constructed the entire piece is. Any type of non-painting effort is represented here. This is includes your ability to do conversions and/or scratch sculpt or at least be able to blend your miniatures in with the scene you have constructed. A missed mold line, poor assembly or a poorly executed conversion could easily drop you a while numeric value in the scoring.
Painting Skill: Everything that was said about painting still applies in the Diorama Division but there is less emphasis. At this point workmanship and creativity components exceed the painting component. While we don’t expect your abilities to be exactly equal in those areas you cannot count on your ability to paint alone to carry you over the top.
Presentation: There is more emphasis on the is component as well. You are building the entire entry, essentially from scratch, and the presentation of everything you do affects the story. From the miniatures to the setting, this is where it all comes together. How you present it can be the difference between gold and silver.
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