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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.

 

 

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    • By Vacaroja
      I put two entries into the recent Reaper Facebook Convert and Paint contest. This first one didn't get many votes, which doesn't surprise me as I think not too many people knew what it was and it was on the weirder side. Plus the paint job itself was kind of bland.  But I like the idea of it because of what it is. It is a tikbalang - a malevolent, mythical Filipino creature that leads travelers astray or plays tricks on them. It has a horse's head, a bony body, and long, disproportioned limbs.
       
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    • By Heisler
      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.
       
      Armor/Ordnance Division
      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.
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      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.
      Difficulty: 15%
      Creativity: 10% 
      Workmanship: 30%
      Painting Skill: 35% 
      Presentation: 10% 
       
      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.
       
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      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.
    • By Heisler
      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
       
      Diorama Division
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      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):
      Difficulty: 15%
      Creativity: 15%
      Workmanship: 25%
      Painting Skill: 30%
      Presentation: 15%
       
      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.
    • By Pochi
      Non Reaper 40mm+,  Bust, and Diorama entries only.  No more than 4 images per entry please.
      No chatter or questions, please.  Use the Rules and Questions thread. 
    • By Pochi
      Large Reaper based diorama entries only.  No more than 6 images per entry please.
      No chatter or questions, please. Use the Rules and Questions thread. 
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