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"Historicon Painting Comp" Topic

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vojvoda25 Jul 2005 10:15 a.m. PST

pancerni 25 Jul 2005 10:41 a.m. PST Wrote:
Well for the second Historicon in a row the painting competition was a joke. The painting seminars were apparently well attended, all 6 or 7 entries to the competition were underwhelming.

Moved this over here as it is more on topic to conventions. I think the issue with painting comps is one of personnel with a passion for the running of the things. While I love to see the work guys do I am not sure of the promotional value of the things. Also someone has to be willing to step up and run it as well as get the word out.

The paint and take etc were very well attended. I think I was told around 200 some odd folks participated. Lots of comments on that.

James Mattes

Goldwyrm25 Jul 2005 10:24 a.m. PST

I really enjoyed a painting seminar I attended on Friday or Saturday? Jaime from Pictors Studio was giving a talk on advanced painting techniques. It was great to hear what methods and materials people use. I also saw a lot of young people painting at the other sessions so I would say the program was very successful.

I don't have much to comment on painting competitions. Art is subjective.

Another Account Deleted25 Jul 2005 10:55 a.m. PST

I read about the competition, in the program, but did not ever see the figures. I saw some figures being displayed at the painting seminar area, but I thought those were the results of the seminars(?).

The problem is indeed with the person/people that run it. I don't know any specifics about this competition, but it has been difficult to get folks interested in running it. I guess the new coordinator didn't put in the effort or was it just a lack of entrants?

It was good to see that the competition wasn't hamstrung by the "rules" like it was at Cold Wars. That was a joke… Way too Origins/GAMA/GW like and not anything like our hobby is accustomed to. I know there was some inconsistency between the website and the program. Were people confused/turned off by the information presented on the website? Did that limit the number of entrants?

Lord Billington Wadsworth Fezian25 Jul 2005 11:04 a.m. PST

Vojvoda – Did you enter anything?

Lord Billington Wadsworth Fezian25 Jul 2005 11:07 a.m. PST

Sorry, I guess that should be addressed to Pancerni

Pancerni – Did you enter anything.. or anyone really, it's a general question :)

I didn't. I do definately understand the confusion between the website and the printed book.

I did see the entries though – and they were pretty cool :)

Mr Elmo25 Jul 2005 11:21 a.m. PST

Contests have changed, or I've changed, I don't know which. Having won a few painting contests in my time, I think the real problem with the contests is the influx of professional painters.

Let's face it, Joe Gamer who painted up a nice general for his army isn't going to win against some pro painted masterpeice which was never meant to see the gaming table and is probably too fragile to survive the battle anyway. If only the professionals can win, why bother having a comptetion open to the public?

One thing Little Wars did last year was to have separate Professional and Gamer classes. I think that was a great idea.

I also would love to see more "holistic competitions". For example, how about a painting contest where the subject is 25mm DBA armies? You must then use the army to play games. Sounds a bit like GW but the focus on painting does a lot of good the hobby. Given the size of the armies, most people should be able to transport it to the show.

vojvoda25 Jul 2005 11:29 a.m. PST

One thing to consider as well is the Ancients painting comp also goes off at Hcon.
James Mattes

Lord Billington Wadsworth Fezian25 Jul 2005 11:33 a.m. PST

Aren't all historical players ancient?



mksiebler25 Jul 2005 12:05 p.m. PST

The paint-n-take, and the seminars were a big hit it seems. Our group was in the Cornwall room next to Business Area, and there was always a crowd busily painting up something, or listening intently to the professionals. I attended the same painting session as Goldwyrm, and it was informative and fun. A good mix of instruction, Q&A, and info swapping.

I managed to get into one of the terrain painting seminars on Saturday held by Allison of Antenociti (sp?). It was good, but more hands-on and was therefore hurt by the slow drying time of the paint in the high humidity conditions. I stopped and just listened after a while since I was just smudging everything and making a mess of my terrain piece. Some of the brickwork effects that people were doing looked interesting, though.


Syr Hobbs Wargames Sponsoring Member of TMP25 Jul 2005 1:52 p.m. PST

How to and Who judges the professionals?

Good ideas jlmartin

Jsmack6525 Jul 2005 5:30 p.m. PST

The whole "professional painters" argument is just nonsense, IMO. Most of the people who win the high profile competitions (i.e., GW Games Day, Gen Con, IPMS, etc.) aren't professionals in the sense that they make their living painting miniatures. They may sell them afterwards (I know I do,) but it isn't how they put food on the table. By the same token, some professional painters, in the sense that they run a painting service, wouldn't stand a chance in the above mentioned competitions.

As to Historicon – I actually looked up the painting competition rules when I was toying with the idea of going. Entering the painting competition would be one of the primary reasons I'd go to a con. After reading through the rules, I decided that it sounded like it wound be truly lame. Four categories, with an arbitrary distinction between "gaming" figures and "display" figures. Bleh. Who makes that call? Anything I paint I'm willing to play with, no matter how much effort goes into it.

It seems to me that historicals, as a gaming genre, just don't put the same premium on painting and modelling that fantasy and sci-fi do. Look at the level of painting in White Dwarf or No Quarter magazine versus Wargames Illustrated or Miniature Wargames if you don't believe me.
Having started out playing fantasy/sci-fi games, and having won a few Golden Demons, I want to compete against the best, not have a bunch of categories arbitrarily arranged so that mediocre figures can win something.

I'd love for Cold Wars or Historicon to develop a really prestigious painting competition, but it isn't going to happen as it's currently constituted. Yeah, GW sucks and all, but they did raise the painting bar pretty high, and Gen Con is following suit. Historicals need to recognize and encourage the artistry of miniature painting, rather than disdaining it in favor of getting stuff done and on the table as fast as possible.

Otherdave25 Jul 2005 5:40 p.m. PST

GW has indeed raised the painting standards of the highest quality painting – who can't paint better than the figures gracing the pages of the old Rogue Trader – but that trend also bred a tendancy within the hobby of playing with unpainted armies 'until I can get them all painted to the highest standard'.

Me, I'd rather see painted armies on the table.

Don Johnson25 Jul 2005 5:41 p.m. PST

Each May in Valley Forge, PA (about an hour east of Lancaster), the Miniature Figure Collectors of America (MFCA) show runs for two days. This is the oldest of the figure shows in the US – 60-plus years.

Relevance? Some of the best "historical miniature" artists in the world come together for 2.5 days of fellowship, shopping, and displaying their works. Most, but not all, of the displays are 54mm or larger figures. The "competition" is conducted using what is called the Open System, whereby everyone is judged against a standard. Certificates, bronze, silver and gold awards are conveyed; unlike a "1st, 2nd 3rd" type system (like, for instance, IPMS), if your work is good enough, several people can walk away with medals!

Who judges? Well, the best artists judge, in teams, assigning points (generally 3-person teams, and 0-4 points per figure/display) – you need 11 or 12 for a Gold, 8-10 for a Silver, etc. If you go to, or, and look thru the forums, you will read much more about the Open System.

In short, it works. Is it a lot of work – for the judges, yes. Is it appreciated by the artists – again, generally, yes. And it is universally looked upon as a "better" (yes, that's a subjective measuring stick, but…) system than the "3 awards per class – too bad, No. 4" system.

And a word about professionals – is a "pro" painter a BETTER painter?

As a non-gamer, I may not share everyone's perspective regarding units of figures displayed as game pieces. But there clearly are gamers out there that make a real effort to turn their game pieces into mini-dioramas. And I LIKE that!

Is there room for game pieces and "display" pieces in a painting competition – I would think yes, although I would defer to others more knowledgeable or experienced.

In short, if the present method isn't working, perhaps a look around at other segments of our hobby might provide some insights.

And in the end, if you have 2,000+ gamers in one place who are far more interested in the games themselves, rather than the game pieces, then perhaps the efforts to organize a "competition" might be directed towards some other worthy task.


WaltOHara25 Jul 2005 5:44 p.m. PST

Speaking as the COLD WARS director, and the guy who made up the "bleagh" rules you cite, I'm more than happy to have better criteria for judgement. I'd be DELIGHTED to.. I've never run, entered in, or judged such a contest in my life, and didn't have the first concept of how to set one up and just winged it. If you have a better way of doing it, I'd love you to volunteer to set up criteria and judge it. My email will be, I look forward to hearing from you.

Walt O'Hara

Another Account Deleted25 Jul 2005 5:58 p.m. PST

Hey Walt! Wasn't just such a situation why there was supposed to be a set of Standard Operating Procedures drawn up for the conventions? Then the director would have something to work from right? ;)

Jsmack6525 Jul 2005 6:20 p.m. PST

I think the larger issue, which Don Johnson touched on, is whether the historical gaming community wants or values a "Golden Demon" style painting competition. The impression I get from hanging out here is, not really. The turn out at Historicon for the painting competion would appear to have been underwhelming, and I just don't know enough to judge whether it was because of the particulars of the competition, or a general disinterest in anything other than playing games. Is there enough interest at Historicon or Cold Wars to have a full-blown competition with categories for different periods, scales, vehicles, units, and single figures? My suspicion is no, and I think it's because that level of painting/modeling just isn't something that's valued by the majority of the community. Admired or respected, possibly, but certainly not a top priority. The standards, priorities, and culture of historicals just seem to be different from those of sci fi and fantasy – not better, or worse, just different.

To me, and I know full well I'm in the minority here to whatever extent, the "hobby" aspect of miniatures is what really excites me. If I can't actually play a game for months, I'll get over it. I just want to build and paint models.

Dread Pirate Garness Fezian25 Jul 2005 6:30 p.m. PST

I am going to throw in my 2 cents here. The whole pro painter vs gaming quality painters is stupid, plain and simple stupid. I strive to do the very best I can on competition figures, and my play pieces are just that, I don't paint them to the same standard. I am not a propainter, although I do put up a painted figure or army from time to time.

I paint because I love painting figures. I think having 2 standards for what ever reason is asking for trouble, cause there are some gamers out there who are very good, and some pro painters who are not that good. How does one decide who wins??

I thought the point of a competition was to do the very best you could, submit it for critique by the judges and then have the very best ones awarded top marks/prizes/awards or whatever.

I fail to see how somehow justifying a lower standard as quality is a complement of any any sort. " gee you won 1sr place in the can't compete with the pros level, here is your trophy for being the best of the worst"

Forgive me for being blunt, but I think the best will always come out on top, not matter what ever criteria, if they don't then the better painters are penalyzed for putting more effort and time into a figure and a lesser painter is unjustifiably rewarded for doing less.

You may as well give everyone an award for entering and declare no one the winnner, so one's feelings get hurt.

IPMS has great standards, enter what you want within category, and good luck. Sounds a fair to me.

vojvoda25 Jul 2005 6:40 p.m. PST

Well Neal we "are" required by our by-laws to approve NOT having a painting comp at conventions! Go figure. We are working to change that. As to the SOPs the "details" of painting comps are not covered. I expect we might have someone write it but as of now it is not high on the list of To-Dos. Dave Bonks has offered in the past to assist in the establishment of the program and did run it in the past. I think we considered the Painting Comp to be "primary" event for Historicon but other conventions could run some painting events if the energy was there.
James Mattes

vojvoda25 Jul 2005 6:42 p.m. PST

By the way it was a pleasure talking to you and Brent and your wives on Saturday PM. I am checking my calendar for the end of Sept, first of October.
James Mattes

Jsmack6525 Jul 2005 6:48 p.m. PST

Which is kind of my point. If a painting competition is a "primary" event, why is setting up rules and guidelines for it such a low priority? And if HMGS-East is committed to it, why work to change the by-laws so you can opt to not have one? Or am I misunderstanding your post?

Just curious.

Don Johnson25 Jul 2005 7:30 p.m. PST

Garness – I'm not sure I understand your "two standards" comment. I may be misreading something, but I don't think any prior posters advocated either a "pro" or a "non-pro" (for lack of a better description) category.

Again, I fall back on the shows I've attended. MFCA, Chicago, Long Island, World Expo – all these have a couple "classes" and one major "distinction", but within those, artists are free to enter.

Classes – "Advanced" for (generally) experienced modelers; "novice" for less experienced (your own choice, and generally the top prize is a Pewter medal, or something similar); and "beginner" (or similar name) for folks just starting out, or juniors, etc.

Distinction – generally, a division is made between "Painters" (judge me JUST on my painting skills, whether it is a stock figure or a self-sculpted one-off) and "Open" (judge me on sculpting, major modifications to a stock figure, groundwork – the whole piece). In some shows, "Ordenance" is used to differentiate between figures and "stuff with (or without) figures".

Shows run under an Open System have not been, in my experience, a "everyone gets a prize" type event. There were several hundred entries at the recent World Expo in Boston – to get ANY recognition there, with the amazing quality of work from around the world, was a HUGE accomplishment. The bar is so very high now, but it seems more and more people are trying their hand at figure painting these days (subjective opinion, I'll grant, but it seems that way to me). You could not run a WE with a simple 1-2-3 awards system.

I'm probably sounding like I'm trying to convince you of this, but I'm not, really. There is plenty of room for different systems and types of "competitions". Good painting, and modeling, is what many of us want to see, and I'm glad there are shows we can attend to be inspired by, and to measure ourselves against, the better/best artists.



Dread Pirate Garness Fezian25 Jul 2005 8:41 p.m. PST

Don, I was responding to the comments about the problem being the "pro painters" that are messing up the contests for the "non pro painters" who simply want a gaming standard.

I have been in a lot of painting and modleing contest over the last 20 years and done fairly well, not always a gold or 1st, but a good showing worthy of comment from my peers.
My main complaint is to somehow try to separate the more experienced or "talented" painters from everyone else is assanine. When I was up and coming, I thought I was pretty good, btu was utterly blown away with some of the true masterpieces other painters and modelers did, and I made it a point to get better so I could compete with those calibur of painter.

What I am reading, and have for a while now over the years, is a lot of whinning "it isn't fair, they are way to good for me to stand a chance" and it really ticks me off. Why should someone be rewarded for a lesser effort???

On my competiton pieces, I will spend easily 20 to 50 hours working on a figure to get it up to snuff. On game pieces, maybe an hour to get it done and based. But I don't expect my gaming standard figures to be somehow noteworthy, just a toy soldier to run around the table top and killstuff, or be killed.

I have seen some classes from time to time, but the contests I have seen are the ones that have specific categories, such as IPMS and some others where the category is spelled out clearly as well as what is allowable, and there are also open categories, whether they must be box stock or if extra accesories are allowed. I feel these are the best ones since they are open to whomever wants in.

I will freely admit I do like a category or class for the younger members, they should not have to comepete against the adults, but it is my view, that if you want to enter a contest, you should strive to do the best you can and then see how it does.

Even if it does horrible, the experience and chance to speak with the painters who do well is an excellent opportunity to learn tips and new ways of doing things. I always jump at the chance to speake with other painters who may have tips to share and I regularly do painting clinics for those who want to lear ways to improve. Some listen and others tell about how great their drybrushing is and they can paint 5 figures in 5 minutes. Ok fine, whatever works for you is fine by me.

I personally go to shows to be inspired by some very good artists, and if I do well great, but to me the point is to see how well I can do against others and to see new ways to improve.

Maybe my ramble is a little long, but I hope you understabd where I am coming from, in short, to try to have a gamer standard vs a pro painter standard is foolish because there is no sort of existing fair criteria to dinstiguish what is a subjective art form. One persons pro is another person's gaming standard. I say throw 'em all in and let the judges decide.


Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP26 Jul 2005 2:40 a.m. PST

I sympathize with those who organize these things. I resurrected the painting competition for our Recon and Hurricon and know some of the problems with the competitions. We stress that the painting competition is for wargame figures and not meant to be mini-dioramas. Our judges are both expert painters AND wargamers and usually can spot the ringers, those items which may be wargame figures but are painted strictly for competition and will never see the table. We also have broken out into several categories including one just for juniors which helps. Also, we have some super members who routinely win not only at our Cons but in National level events purposely not entering now and then, enter only to show not for competition or volunteer to judge (judges of course can not enter an item).

It takes time but we are slowly expanding the competition. My hats off to James and any other organizers for handling what can be a very contentious part of a convention.

Jsmack6526 Jul 2005 5:03 a.m. PST

Again, how do you make the distinction? And why the hostility to an extremely well painted figure?

I mainly play skirmish level games, because I paint slowly, and put a lot of time into the figures, since relatively few are needed. So, my figures would be disqualified, since they don't look "wargame-y" enough? I'm a ringer because I paint well?

Until convention organisers decide they want to have a painting competition, rather than a "gold star on the fore-head for mediocre figures" competition, there just isn't going to be any prestige associated with historical painting competitions.

Lord Billington Wadsworth Fezian26 Jul 2005 6:05 a.m. PST

I wasn't going to chime in – but I think I will and give my .02

First and foremost I think it's *great* that there are painting competitions for historical figures. For too long they get snubbed by fantasy as sci fi figures for not being exciting – for whatever reasons. It's also a stereotype that historical players can't paint – and while there are cases to lend credibility to this generalization for multitudes of reasons (they just want to play, they are old and can't see, they are apathetic etc..) there are just as many who can paint.

I think as historical players we should be doing everything we can to support this aspect of our hobby. Miniatures are *core* to what we enjoy. Why not celebrate their painting as well as the games. Enjoy the figure for the figure – there are some really beautiful models out there. I think it's really detremental to the hobby and to us as a group to "Poo poo" (I love that word) the painting competitions. For goodness sake – participate in whatever way you can. Submit a model, submit a unit. Even if you don't think you are the best painter out there – show support. Meet other painters, learn pointers on how to improve, get other people competing. Look the the difference in Golden Demon winners over the last 5-10 years. 10 years ago, they'd barely be considered "passable" by todays fantasy contest standards. Do you think this improvement with painters happened overnight? NO! They went to contests, they saw what won and what they need to do to improve – they learned new techniques and they came back the next year with something different. Historicals are no different than fantasy or sci-fi.

I'm on the fence about having split classes. On the one hand, it is very annoying (at least to me) to see the same people enter and win painting contests. It saps the excitement from them, in my opinion. While I like to see their work, it's akin to Lance Armstrong and the Tour de France. Who cares, he's an amazing rider but now that he's gone there will be some mystery and excitement again. GW used to have a rule that if you won a competition then from that point on you could only enter the "Open" category. Which I think is kinda neat. That way new bloods can enter and have a fighting chance, and if you feel you are good enough, you can enter the open competition and go against the past winners to see how you rank up.

On the other hand, I feel that this somewhat cripples the contest. If all the winners are forced into the open class – then the level of competition in open jumps in leaps and bounds – but all the other categories kinda stagnate and people are left with a "ho-hum" feeling about the miniatures.

I have a world of respect for the individuals who volunteered their time to wrangle up materials and paints for the paint and take, painting classes and running the competition. Having done this at a few cons (both small and really big) before I know how much effort and energy it takes. It was their first year (i believe) taking the reins and trying to make it a bigger and better event, and I salute them. It's a tough job and they stepped up to do it. I get very frustrated when people don't offer constructive criticism on how to make improvements, and just opt to say "this sucks". Honestly, how are you helping the hobby here?

I'd also like to go on record and say that I assisted in judging the Historicon entries this year – and to be honest, they were all quite nice. I know in past years there has been some questions on judgement with people feeling certain entries won because of who they knew and now how they painted. This year lots of steps were taking to prevent that. First – I really don't know any of you – and I doubt you knew me, or that I was judging. Second, names were hidden so even if I did know anyone – it wouldn't matter because I couldn't put a name with a model.

I took a close look at each entry this year and there was some really good stuff there – and I also knew that at least one entry was used in a game, because this individual had to pick his models up right away to play with. (Which does my heart well – I know everything that I have painted for competition witht he exception of dioramas has been blooded on the battlefield at least once)

I think there was confusion and communications problems with the contest rules. Those that were posted on the web-site were not the same rules that were published in the book. I think people didn't want to paint a unit of 10 models for competition – where as I think the book said 3 or more is a unit.

I think there should be some distinction between infanty units and vehicle units too. It's really tough to judge a unit of micro-armor tanks against a rifle squad – and they should probably be seperate categories. Problem here is getting at least 3 entries in each.

If it was up to me, I'd have the following categories:
Best Single Miniature, Best Foot Unit, Best Cavalry Unit and then Best Single Vehicle, Best Vehicle Squadron, Best Large Model (For 54mm and above), Best Diorama and "Open" for anything else anyone might want to enter.

Now if someone wins a category – should they be prevented from entering that category again forever, or for a time period (like a year or two) or no restriction is entirely up for debate. I don't have an easy answer or solution for this. I don't think splitting up "Pro" and "Non-pro" is a good idea however. I think it cheapens the competition as a whole. I think most of the judges will come to recognize and individuals work over time and if they are consistantly entering and winning – then perhaps some steps will be made to correct this. Perhaps it will also drive people to better their painting abilities. When I was a new painter, I used to get dominated in local competitions by the same guy, time and time again. I was frustrated and was about ready to give up when a grizzled old vet pulled me aside and gave me some great advice. Basically he said "Well, you saw what won, didn't you? Now take a look at your entry and what do you think you need to do to improve and get to that level" It was so simple, and it worked. I pushed myself to learn new techniques and soon I was beating him regularly and sweeping competitions. Which also put me in a weird position – because if I enter every category and win every category, I'm both proud for my acheivement but I also feel rather bad for everyone else. For a while I refrianed from entering until one of the new guys said "Hey, what happened – I liked competing with you." Over time this guy has come to match my abilities and I suspect he will definately far surpass what I can do (He's still young). Take that analogy as you will.

I also saw some individual's figures on a table that were in my opinion better than what some of the pro- painting services crank out.

These things take time and patience – and no matter what you do, someone is going to claim a contest is unfair or the rules suck. Sometimes they are just jerks who like to hear themselves rant.. sometimes it's a legitimate complaint and steps can be taken to make improvements. It takes experience and trail and error to find a perfect system, and I'm not even sure such a system exists because it hasn't been found yet. People complain about the demon competitions all the time – and still there is no resolution.

I don't think canceling it is a good solution however – because that does more damage than good to the hobby.

PaintMinion26 Jul 2005 6:16 a.m. PST

Marc, thank you for the "hats off", as I'm the one who handles the Gen Con Competitions these past few years. This thread caught my eye and I couldn't not put my cents in on the matter.

I've worked dang hard to build Gen Con, every year learning more, adding, building, with the full backing and whole-hearted support of Gen Con LLC and my judging team. Although Indy hasn't even started yet, we're already working towards next year's competition and hobby events, watching and looking at other competitions, including Historicals.

The MMSI show here in Chicagoland was awesome last year! I had an email discussion with the administration of the show regarding their judging system and criteria so I'd know better what to expect when I got there, and I was incredibly happy to find not only a different system than Fantasy/Sf was used to, but that Historicals was open enough to our genre's as well. The work I saw was amazing!

Realistically could Gen Con change to a system like that? No. We're heading in a different direction, though, like them, we are doing our best to encourage and inspire painters. I think there's room and merit for both systems.

I handled the Origins Painting Competition for a bit, and when Gama first took it over they asked me to create a system of "Master" vs "Novice", as well as add Historical Specific Categories. Deane Goodwin stepped up to help me as I had no experience with historicals and worked his tail off getting historicals manufacturers involved. We worked with the Historicals organizations that would be at Origins. I thought we were bringing back a great aspect of Origins in encouraging historicals in the competition. Care to guess how many entries we received in the 6 (I think it was) categories for historicals?

Nada. Not one. Tons of prizes went unawarded and we were embarrassed to have to return prizes to the Manufacturers and report we would be dropping historicals, since there was so little support. Novice vs. Masters was a nightmare of accusations as to who should be in which category, and many were left unhappy on both sides. It is, in my long experience, pointless to try and cater to everyone in a competition. The realities of budget and time always hang over our heads, and in the end, we must create "competition"!

For Gen Con, we changed our categories last year in a conscious effort to be non-genre related, and thus open to Historicals, Modern, Sf and Fantasy. The definitions of each are so blurred amongst Manufacturers, we decided not to continue that headache, but take it out of the equation altogether.

We look to GW and Games Day, Historicals Shows, other conventions, local competitions, online competitions and Manufacturers, but our mission is to build our own kind of competition that should come to reflect the best our hobby has to showcase. On the flip side, our efforts have spilled over right and left as other competitions, including Games Day, use our event to help better their own, and I've consulted with many new contest organizers looking for help.

So yes, the world of competition is changing. My crew and I discuss it all year long, looking for ways to improve, convincing Gen Con of what we want to do, and brainstorming every detail that comes up. I know we're not perfect. We try things, screw up, and rework things each year. But we ARE painters and people in the hobby industry with a passion for creating a good competition. I'm happy to see more sprouting up all the time. Just know that the realities of supporting, organizing, running, judging and administering the competitions is a costly and time consuming effort at any level and any system.

And a quick note to those who don't enter cuz they're "certain" that the pros will win everything… I hear it all the time and it's wrong. There are lots of prizes that go unawarded because people didn't enter for them. Gen Con prizes, and the Manufacturer Awards especially! Choose your battles carefully, and then go all out. Competitions should be about pushing yourself, having fun with it, not about the awards. Bobby Wong taught me that. Remember that you can't win if you don't enter. What other event will push your skills and talents and make you a better hobbyist? You also never know who will and will not enter a competition. "Pro painters", a very nebulous term!, have to pick and choose as well.

So paint, gosh dern it, and enter! Don't make me return prizes!!!

Dread Pirate Garness Fezian26 Jul 2005 6:22 a.m. PST

Brilliantly said StRigger, Brilliantly said.


WaltOHara26 Jul 2005 7:12 a.m. PST

"Hey Walt! Wasn't just such a situation why there was supposed to be a set of Standard Operating Procedures drawn up for the conventions? Then the director would have something to work from right? ;)"

Two things about that.. I know it's easy to make fun of the much-vaunted SOP boondoggle, but surprisingly Del has done a lot of work on this — and that's not fiction, I've seen it, he involves me in every chapter he publishes. I mention this in passing, because if we ever DO come up with a SOP for this event, Del's the man.

Having said that, I DID look around for some form of guidance last year, and was disappointed to discover we had such a weak corporate memory on the subject. I had no ideas what a land mine this issue is, and just tried to come up with something fast and easy. My bad!


vojvoda26 Jul 2005 7:26 a.m. PST

Jsmack65 25 Jul 2005 7:48 p.m. PST Wrote:
Which is kind of my point. If a painting competition is a "primary" event, why is setting up rules and guidelines for it such a low priority? And if HMGS-East is committed to it, why work to change the by-laws so you can opt to not have one? Or am I misunderstanding your post?
Just curious.

The Board of Directors should not have to approve doing or not doing a painting event. Take it out of the by-laws and lets look at it on a case by case basis if we have the folks to run with it.

From the promotions guy (me) it is not high on my to do list as I just do not have time to push every issue or good idea. It could be different if I had a body that was very excited about it and wanted to run with the effort. Just do not have that right now.

BUT we are doing several painting type activities and are open to recommendations (via the Convention Directors). Heather, Paul and a few others are running with some events right now.

I will say that "I" feel these events have to be planned way out and organized accordingly. We are starting to build the budget this next month for 2006. As a general rule of thumb it almost has to be planned and template layout done about a year out.

James Mattes

Mr Elmo26 Jul 2005 7:31 a.m. PST

I don't think splitting up "Pro" and "Non-pro" is a good idea however. I think it cheapens the competition as a whole

There are a huge number of competitions that are divided by "class."

Boxing: Flyweight vs Heavyweight..anyone?
Horse Racing: Grade 1 vs Grade 3…why bother?
Boseball: NY Yankees vs Tee Ball…evil grin?

The purpose of classes is to create parity among the competitors. The purpose is to COMPETE; and, if you out class the competition you really haven't accomplished anything worthwhile.

Three classes of painting is sufficient: Junior, Hobbyist, and Master (Professional). Its not too much for con organizers to keep records so if you've won a category at one level you must enter the next level/category.

If entries are short, combine categories…not classes.

vojvoda26 Jul 2005 7:36 a.m. PST

SaintRigger & PaintMinion do you all mind if I print your post and add them to the AAR notes I have? As for others I will also take notes and add them to our feedback for Heather and crew.
James Mattes

Lord Billington Wadsworth Fezian26 Jul 2005 7:47 a.m. PST

I do like the idea of being bumped up in class based on victories. I like the idea of a junior category as well – give new and inexperienced painters and/or kids a chance to compete on a more level playing field.

My concern is this… most contests require 3 entries per categories before they judge. It's really tough to get this without class distinction.

there should be multiple categories for each type of model. I don't think judging a single prussian against a tank is level.

So lets say we use the categories I outlined above minus the open – that is 7 categories. With 3 classes this becomes 21 categories. Now with 3 entries per category ou have 63 models minimum. At historicon this year we were under 20 entries total.

If we could get the entries – I'd be all in favor of moving to a model like this – perhaps even just "Rookie" and "Vet" Classes based on past victories. Maybe 2 or 3 wins moves you to vet status. That way people could still have something to aspire and strive for – but they also don't have to fear being dominated by vet painters.

Kinda like a major and minor league level of competition.

Any other thoughts on this?

Lord Billington Wadsworth Fezian26 Jul 2005 7:49 a.m. PST

James – No, definately don't mind at all. I'm also hoping to be able to volunteer to help Heather and Paul next year. I really respect what they are trying to do and the effort they are putting forth and would like to help out in any way I can.

She and Paul both know Jenna and I, btw :)

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP26 Jul 2005 9:14 a.m. PST

"Again, how do you make the distinction? And why the hostility to an extremely well painted figure?"

I am afraid you missed my point. There is nothing wrong with extremely well painted figures and they are welcome. The difference is that there are many competitions for painted figures but few in the wargame category or convention.

We are blessed with some very talented figure painters that I believe many of you may know. We have such luminaries as Bill Moreno or Jesus Rivera.

We have divided scale by 20mm and smaller and 25 and up. But in say the 25 and up if someone wants to enter a jaw dropping 54mm and we know that they actively game in that scale and the figure may have or will in future see a table then they are no problem. What we dont want to do is compete with or be another Model Soldier type competition where expert painters take commerical figures that are meant strictly for display.

Jerry Boles does some absolutely drop dead gorgeous work in the vehicle category, 1/285th scale aircraft for example. Last show he entered a Corsair with hand painted insignia of the Jolly Rogers on it. This could easily have been entered in a model competition. But the key is Jerry had entered items before he used in his games and this one was mounted on his standard game stand and would see light in a future game.

Dont mistake wargame painting competitions for mediocrity! It is simply that we organize, and I believe others do too, to promote wargaming and not figure modeling.

At Hurricon and Recon we have chosen to have wargame figure painting competitions. To get upset or take us to task for limiting it to wargame figures is like taking a ship model competition to task for not allowing armor.

I am proud of the effort we have had to energize this segment of the hobby and to give some very talented painters an outlet to display their works.

Jsmack6526 Jul 2005 12:26 p.m. PST

My point was not that a painting competition at a wargaming convention necessarily needs to accomodate a 54mm display figure.

You previously posted:

"We stress that the painting competition is for wargame figures and not meant to be mini-dioramas. Our judges are both expert painters AND wargamers and usually can spot the ringers, those items which may be wargame figures but are painted strictly for competition and will never see the table."

What does that mean? If I paint a handful of Foundry figures, base them appropriately, and devote a ton of time and effort to making them look as good as I can, does that make me a ringer? How do you know I won't use them in a game? Or is it just that a certain degree of quality gets them disqualified?

What I find really hard to fathom is this: a group of people who relish competition on the gaming table will engage in nutty hair-spliting about who's a "pro" to ensure that a painting contest runs like the Special Olympics. Set your categories, and let whomever wants to enter, enter as long as the rules are followed. Otherwise, it's a sham.

And jlmartin – regarding how you divvy up entries by "class" – ANYTHING you come up with will be arbitrary. Unless you can show that weight, or age have the same bearing in painting that they do in boxing or horse-racing, then the only class you can use is talent. Which is entirely subjective. If judges are going to exclude entries because the painter is a "pro," or "too scary good," why have a competition at all?

Dread Pirate Garness Fezian26 Jul 2005 4:50 p.m. PST

<<The purpose of classes is to create parity among the competitors. The purpose is to COMPETE; and, if you out class the competition you really haven't accomplished anything worthwhile.>>

That is stupid. Would you bann Lance Armstrong would cause it's not fair he is soo good. Or would you also say it is not fair my lawnmower has a ton of horsepower and can cut down tall grass with ease while my neighbor does not???

It's not fiar Kermit never got date a frog and got stuck with a pig. It's not fair Snow White got the prince and the dwarves got to go back to their coal mine.

The real challenge in competiton is everyone has the same chance. The amount of effort and time that goes into a figure is entirely up to the painter, those that put in the effort and practice at getting better are naturally going to do better. To isolate the ones that put forth the extra effort to do better is nonsense. If the best are not allowed to compete, whats the point?? Do we give everyone a little gold star for effort and call it good???

The best painters do one thing in competition, they inspire others to do better. I look at Mike McVey as one of my idols from years ago. Seeing some of his stuff made me want to get better, and be the best I can be. I don't know that I would ever meet him, but there is a master who has certainly dominated competitons and inspired a generation of young up and comers to practice and work at being great painters. At least he did me.

Lord Billington Wadsworth Fezian26 Jul 2005 5:22 p.m. PST

I kinda thought miss piggy was hot.

Don Johnson26 Jul 2005 5:48 p.m. PST


From last night – thanks for clarifying your earlier post. Very helpful! I'm with you all the way on the idea of competing against the best. If you want to stretch yourself, do it. If not, that's ok too, but you can't then bitch about who gets the medals. Run with the big dogs, or get up on the porch.

Junior categories – by all means, but if a junior wants to get in with the big girls and boys, more power to them!

The fellowship aspect – in my opinion, this is what elevates the historical figure painters above other groups – the willingness to share tips and stories about sculpting and painting. Again, for anyone who doubts this, please take a moment to look in on planetfigure or timelines. Although I have not attended Historicon-type shows, I hope that gamers (as inclusive as possible) show the same willingness to share. Based on TMP, I bekieve this is so.

Your last two lines … "One persons pro is another person's gaming standard. I say throw 'em all in and let the judges decide" … – I didn't quite get the pro-vs-gamer aspect. After reading more posts, I think I got it now. And I agree with you!

Mr Elmo26 Jul 2005 8:05 p.m. PST

how you divvy up entries by "class" ANYTHING you come up with will be arbitrary

It's not rocket science:

Junior class: Under 16 unless you've previously placed first in the junior class.

Hobbyist: Anyone can enter unless you've previously placed first in the Hobbyist class.

Master: Open to anyone.

Yeah…that's so arbitrary

If the con keeps track of how many people show up from year to year, they sure as Bleeped text will know who won a painting contest.

Dread Pirate Garness Fezian26 Jul 2005 9:24 p.m. PST

<<I kinda thought miss piggy was hot.>>

Whoa there cowboy,thats a little bit too much personal information there.


Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2005 2:00 a.m. PST

"What does that mean? If I paint a handful of Foundry figures, base them appropriately, and devote a ton of time and effort to making them look as good as I can, does that make me a ringer? How do you know I won't use them in a game? Or is it just that a certain degree of quality gets them disqualified?

What I find really hard to fathom is this: a group of people who relish competition on the gaming table will engage in nutty hair-spliting about who's a "pro" to ensure that a painting contest runs like the Special Olympics. Set your categories, and let whomever wants to enter, enter as long as the rules are followed. Otherwise, it's a sham."

For some reason you want to argue. Our rules are clear and anyone who doesnt wish to enter need not. We are talking about obvious abuses. We have had painters enter 54mm figures which are part of commercial dioramas meant for display and to our knowledge, and those who play the games, have NEVER been used by anyone in a game. We dont restrict who can enter. Some of those who enter our painting competition are professional painters who take commission work. Even if someone were a full time painter who made their living at it they would still be welcome, I fail to see where we have said we split hairs.

We dont split hairs. If you spend the time on your foundry figures and wish to enter them, do so. Most players know those who NEVER use their well done figures in any games whatsoever. To date the only entries we have disqualified are those who have blatantly and obviously broken the spirit of the rules, wargame figures to be used in wargames.

Our only categories which limit someone are the usual. To encourage younger painters we have two junior categories. We have divided categories into historical and sci-fi/role playing (we even have separate categories for historical and sci-fi vehicles). Within those categories, and as long as they are wargame figures either that the painters actually game with or are meant for the game table and not the display case then anyone, pro, amateur or inbetween is welcome. Our prizes are a rather nice ribbon and a small gift certificate for use with any dealers at the show. This tends to keep those out who figure it isnt worth their time yet encourages our members to display their best efforts. The goal is to raise the quality of wargame figure and vehicle painting.

One last point is that many of the folks who enter, whether they win or not, freely share their techniques and research with anyone who wishes to stop by and chat with them. As I said they are a friendly group.

PaintMinion31 Jul 2005 8:59 p.m. PST

Yep, vojvoda, use my post for your notes, and let me know if you need anything else. As many know, I've helped people worldwide with this sorta thing.

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