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MarkMcGovern

Arguement For Judging Figures AND Bases

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It's been a long time since I've been on this forum, but there's been a sore point that's been bugging me long enough to reactivate my account. It has to do with the exclusion of a figure's base for consideration by judges at IPMS and other model competitions. In my humble opinion, a base that has been as competently done as the figure only enhances the overall presentation. Indeed, many kits include a base that requires as much or more work to complete than the figure, yet that aspect of the project must be ignored by the contest judges. In some cases, the stand-alone figure could hardly compete without the kit base - consider the classic Aurora Bride of Frankenstein or Moebius Models' kit of The Mummy. The parts count for the bases actually outnumber those for the figures; these are extreme cases, but why should any parts that come with a kit be discounted at contest time?

 

Under current IPMS rules, a single figure and its base can only be judged together (I'm thinking here of the 1-2-3, rather than the Open judging systems) in these categories:

  • "Vignette" - but only if the host chapter defines a vignette as one to five figures; often the lower number is two figures. Since the vignette must also have a story-telling element, that leaves an otherwise well-constructed single figure and its base out of the running.
  • "Miscellaneous" - now a single figure and its base can be judged together, but against almost any other type of model. The judges, in effect, must compare apples and oranges.

My proposal is for an extra category in the Figures Class, "Figure With Base". It would simply include the base for judging along with the figure. There will still be figure builders who not want to have the presentation of their models judged - some military subjects and large-scale Garage Kit models, I would think, and they are already covered by the existing categories. This new category would level the playing field for those modelers whose kits include elaborate bases or who choose to go the extra mile with scratchbuilding.

Edited by MarkMcGovern

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Would judging a fig and the base as a single entry not be better described as a "diorama" or "vignette"? Aren't there already categories for these remarkable pieces of workmanship?

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Would judging a fig and the base as a single entry not be better described as a "diorama" or "vignette"? Aren't there already categories for these remarkable pieces of workmanship?

Not really, Dick. The issue is that "Vignettes" are often defined as a composition with no less than two and no more than five figures. I've heard some very strong opinions at local shows that single figures cannot be considered in that category. And "Dioramas" seem to be universally defined as a composition with five or more figures. Therefore, under current rules, a single figure must either compete with no consideration for its base in the appropriate Figures category, or else it must compete in Miscellaneous against other types of models.

 

In every contest I've ever judged, we have been instructed to ignore the bases of models in the regular Figures categories. If Vignettes and Dioramas are closed to a single figure entry as well, the only alternative I can see is a "Single Figure With Base" (probably all types and scales), which would be added to the Figures class.

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I've got it now. Just didn't think it through......................so in essence you advocate the creation of a new category for a (single) fig on a base, and the judges take the piece as a whole, judging fig and base together.

 

Some nits to pick at: Would it be required that the base have some sort of scenery applied? Perhaps a portion of a stone wall, some vegetation, or water? What wording would limit figs that are simply mounted on a base that has no scenery or enhancement?

Edited by Dick Montgomery

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I don't think any special wording would actually be needed.

 

Figure modelers who want their figure AND base judged as one would use the new category. Those whose bases have no enhancements, or only want the figure judged, would opt for the "regular" category.

 

The only sticky spot I see is those who don't get "the word", especially the first year it's tried, and don't place their entry in the proper category. In that case judges could simply move figures with and without enhanced bases to the proper category; just as they currently move improperly placed entries.

 

This sounds like it should be seriously considered, especially if this is a "norm" for a lot of figure builders. We already lose out to the open system for a lot of figure modelers. Perhaps this might help convince some to try our IPMS contest out since it would put us slightly more in alignment with their expectations.

 

GIL :smiley16:

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Guys,

 

First, I must thank you for your thoughtful replies; I was expecting more terse comments with words of fewer syllables...

 

Your concerns about confusion over this category are probably accurate and to be expected. I think that simple wording will solve many problems. For example, a host chapter might describe the Single Figure On Base category along these lines : "A single figure on a scenic base, judged as a whole". The contestants would have to decide for themselves whether a finished wood plaque constituted a "scenic base" or not. At some shows, the Single Figure On Base idea could be the criteria for a split among a large number of entries in a given Figure category.

 

This category was tried a a local show a few years ago. As I recall, we didn't get very many entries by modelers who were aiming for the Single figure category, which I put down to it being the first time the category had ever been tried. But the contestants we did get were very enthused about it. Unfortunately, the club opted not to list the category again.

Edited by MarkMcGovern

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I'm confused? Can't every single chapter just add this as a category to every single contest or is this just a Nats discussion??? Is it already a common category at local chapters? If it's been a long time since you were on the forum maybe you don't realize that in the last 18 months only an average of 4.8 people have responded to a thread in the figures forum. It's pretty unlikely that one of them can change the Nats. Come to think of it who can change the Nats? Have you contacted them? What did they say? What is the next step then? Would you be content if this were the norm at every contest on the planet except the Nats or is this Nats or bust?

 

Just curious. . .

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Mark:

 

As far as local shows go, I doubt this would fly only because there are usually so few figure entries. Some of the larger shows like the regional, Columbus, Cleveland, there might be 4-5 (maybe 8-=10 max with fewer builders) total per category so splitting out another category would be tough.

 

Might make sense foe the nationals and I suggest you pass it by the NCC

 

Dave

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In our local show (we are about to hold our 35th annual ModelFiesta) we recognize that in order to add a new category and to see if it will become a relatively permanent part of the category landscape takes about three years. Many entrants do not notice a new category or have not considered building something that would be eligible for it. (Yes....one can take steps to shine a spotlight on the new category, but that does not always translate to modelers actually seeing it). The 2nd year, those modelers are more aware of the new category and by the third year one gets some trend data upon which the utility of the category can be measured.
At the national level most entrants are much more attuned to changes in category structure, probably due to the fact that Investment in both time and treasure to attend a Nats is significantly greater than to attend a local show.

A possible way forward would be for those looking at adding a Fig category............attend some Figure shows in your area and actually ask figure painters for their opinions. One will gather much useful information in that way as well as spreading the word that a new category most likely is going to be offered.

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Any local show can create categories as they desire. Changing the categories at the Nats is much more difficult, and must have the support of the NCC, or it'll never happen.

 

We have a LOT of figure categories for Jaxcon compared to most other shows, but we will be tracking them more closely this year as they are some of the least populated categories of the show. This is due mainly (as I understand it) because of our proximity to a major yearly figure show up in Atlanta that most figure builders attend instead.

 

If we did condense some of our categories, I still think it would be a good idea to have one or two where the builders knew their figure and base could be judged together. I wasn't aware of this even being an issue, or a desire of the figure crowd until this topic was brought up. Thanks! We'd definitely want to recreate our categories in a fashion attractive to figure builders, if and when we do so.

 

GIL :smiley16:

Edited by ghodges

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Can you share the data after the event here please?

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Guys,

 

Again, thanks for your thoughtful input.

 

To answer Mike's question, I think the Nationals would be the ultimate goal for the addition of this category. In many respects, the way things are done at the Nats affects how they're done at local shows. For example, at the Judges meetings of local shows I have attended, frequently the general comment is made that National contest rules apply, except where the local club might allow sweeps or something like that.

 

On the other hand, Dick and Gil have pointed out that the process of getting a category change for the National contest isn't easy. Trial runs for a "Single Figure with Base" would best be conducted at the local level, so it's success there would be a strong argument to the NCC. Dave, as I mentioned above, the one time my chapter offered the category we got a small but enthusiastic response. You're a figure modeler - if you knew that such a category would be judged at a show, would you build a model specifically for it?

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This is news to me. I have entered single figures at the Nats, but I never thought or realized the base setting was being ignored in the judging. Looking at my "Lady in the Lake" figure (it's in the Figures section) for entry at my next Nats, all the work I did on the base will count for nothing. My goal in going all-in on the base was to present a complete package. Thanks to Mark for bringing this up.

 

Ed

 

LakeLady30_zps3cc164d8.jpg

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ewahl,

 

As I have heard many times before, a scenic base is not to be considered by figure judges. Once or twice when judging a contest, I've seen a nice base sway a decision between two equally well-done models. But for a base to be considered as part of the overall presentation, a figure model has to compete in another category. Hence my proposal here.

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