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Judging Question

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I was over at another  forum and in the sci-fi folder where a question was asked. Someone submitted one of the new Bandai Star Wars models for the competition. Now as a sidebar some think these models engineering etc., are miles above other models. Anyway he lost to some mini figure with all the "shadows and highlights painted on."  He did say that the armor of the stormtrooper looked so good that he didn't paint it.

My lowly opinion (I've only judged on the local level) was that he prolly got "points off" b/c it wasn't painted.  I was taught to always paint everything, even if you're covering, in this case, white paint over white plastic.

Thoughts from judges?

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First thought is to remember that everything is relative in a 1-2-3 contest. It's not just what you do, but how it COMPARES to what else in on the table that day.

In that vein...unpainted plastic is unimpressive. It's not an automatic demerit (so to speak), but it says the modeler didn't do as much as his competition.

That white plastic may indeed have looked pretty good on face value, and is designed to be so. It's engineered to be used unpainted and ease construction for the general buying public. However, that does NOT apply to modelers who want to compete.

While it may look good, bare plastic can still show the spots where it was trimmed from the tree. Even if those nubs are cleaned up properly, without polishing those areas  will still show up as being less glossy than the bare plastic. A coat of paint covers such things as those (and molding swirl marks, etc.)

In the end, a modeler who chooses to use unpainted plastic leaves himself open to more problems in judging than if he paints the piece. It's not that it can't be done. But, it's very hard to do so and make it match up against the competition.

 

GIL :cool:

Edited by ghodges

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There is so much to assume reading the builder's statement that I can't really give an answer.  What strikes me most from the modeler's statement was; ..."shadows and highlights painted on."   By that, I can only assume that he didn't paint his shadows and highlights as others in the category did.  As I said, ASSUMING that, would make an informed answer or opinion impossible.  IF he chose NOT to add highlights and shadows, I can easily imagine why his entry was judged below the other figures in the category.  Also, modelers are biased towards their entries that they invested lots of time and effort in.  There's nothing wrong with that.  It's just human nature.  The biggest problem with 1,2,3 judging (as Gil mentions) is the outcome of judging ON THAT DAY.

Try not to let any contest results get you down.  There is always another day and another group of models to compete against.

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Remember, you're only hearing one side of the story. We don't know what his model looked like. Maybe poor paint, or open seams or who knows what else. Don't go by what anyone says about a model unless you've seen it yourself. We've had many instances of people complaining about what model won over theirs bvecause it had this problem or that, overlooking the problems their own model had. 

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Rusty says it best and I wish I could instill that attitude in all my model buddies.  While I go to contests and enter models I no longer worry or care about not winning.  I still chat and discuss when something wins that I feel shouldn't have (as all modelers tend to do).  My theory or mentality is that if I win I was fortunate enough that 3 fellow model builders (hopefully) thought my entry was better than the others presented on that day and time.  If I don't win.....Guess what?  I will still build models to the best of my ability and will still enter contests until I can no longer build. 

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Mark said, "I will still build models to the best of my ability."

Words to model by.

 

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I totally agree with and support Mark's statement about still modeling to the best of one's ability and continuing to enter contests. I myself go into contests with my entries fully expecting to be locked for fifth place. So if I do place, it is a most pleasant bit of icing on the cake! I still enter anyway, regardless of my chances. After all, this is a hobby and sharing my work with my fellow enthusiasts is where the most fun is for me.

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Thanks guys. All good replies, and you guys are right. Being that he left part of it unpainted - I think we all know what that looks like even if Bandai's plastic "looks great."  It's just that I'm sick and tired of these guys going to a Con, not winning and blaming "the elitist nature of the military focused IMPS". Personally I don't know what he's talking about. Most of the shows I attend, the space and sci-fi tables are always pretty full. I tried to explain what the judges look for, (I've seen that seminar a lot) but doubt it made a difference to his already formed opinion. So fair thee well...

Personally I'm with you Mark, I couldn't care less if I win or not. I take my models to the Nats and as I put them down on the table I look around, giggle to myself, and think "Nope, not this year." 🤣   But I put my models down. I don't collect them up and bring them back to the room.  Even if walking by my models and I overhear one guy say Hey not bad. Thats good enuff for me.

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Well spoken Kevin!

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I tried to explain what the judges look for, (I've seen that seminar a lot) but doubt it made a difference to his already formed opinion. So fair thee well...

This is the HARDEST part to overcome when you are talking with people about "how and why" at a contest.  By the time they are talking with you, they have already formed an opinion and no matter what you say to them, it usually goes in one ear and out the other.  I truly think the biggest problem is that most local shows involve the judging taking place while the contestants and spectators are there.  This means that anyone can listen to what the judges are saying and YOU NEVER WANT THAT!!!  However, it is the nature of the beast. 

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13 hours ago, Mark Aldrich said:

I tried to explain what the judges look for, (I've seen that seminar a lot) but doubt it made a difference to his already formed opinion. So fair thee well...

This is the HARDEST part to overcome when you are talking with people about "how and why" at a contest.  By the time they are talking with you, they have already formed an opinion and no matter what you say to them, it usually goes in one ear and out the other.  I truly think the biggest problem is that most local shows involve the judging taking place while the contestants and spectators are there.  This means that anyone can listen to what the judges are saying and YOU NEVER WANT THAT!!!  However, it is the nature of the beast. 

We're getting prepared for our show coming up on the 23rd, and as such I'm gathering the guys and gals and will have the whole discussion on contests, judging, and what it means in the big picture...

The advice I always offer to someone new to model contests is this:  Read the rules governing the contest.  Any game comes with rules, and if you want to play the game, you have to play by the rules the sanctioning body developed for said game.

If you don't understand something, ask in advance of the show for clarification.  If there is something in the rules you do not like, understand that you have two options--enter, knowing there are parts of the rules you don't like, and accept the consequences; or simply do not enter.  By the time a show is advertised, the rules aren't likely to be changed simply because someone doesn't like one thing or other...

As for the judging being done while the world watches, my take on the situation is this:  All those people milling around had the opportunity to join the judging staff for that show (usually) by answering the dozen or more "If you'd like to judge, we will have the judges meeting in 20 minutes by the water cooler" announcements.  It always chaps me that an irate entrant will come up to a judge after the fact and recite why his/her model should have won because, and I may be paraphrasing here, "I'm an experienced judge, and your guys missed this!"  Fine, cowboy--if you are such an experienced judge, why didn't you lend a hand with this show instead of wandering around, catching a cool breeze, and (more often than not) trying to lobby the judges to choose your model... 

The other advice I have for noobs is to understand that "contest" is defined by Merriam-Webster as follows:

Definition of contest

1 : a struggle for superiority or victory : competition
  • a football contest between rival teams
2 : a competition in which each contestant performs without direct contact with or interference from competitors
  • He won the contest for best photograph

"A struggle for superiority or victory"--which means there will be one winner.  So, understand going in that you may win, or you may "not win".  What was it that Ricky Bobby's daddy told him (along with, "If you ain't First, you're last!")?  Second place is the First Loser...but only if you look at things in a certain light.  Go to the show, enjoy seeing everybody's work, talk to people--make friends!--and, if at the end of the day they call your name to go accept a tin pot, so much the better.  Not winning a model contest is not the end of the world, especially an IPMS contest where this week's Best of Show can be next week's Out of the Running, depending on what else is present on the tables... 

(I'll not begin the discussion of why I think the AMPS scoring system is a better way to help modelers improve their craft...)   :)

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Let's look at the 2013 Competition Handbook, which is the latest as far as I know.  And, I also know, that looking at the rules and pointing out the rules and quoting the rules is a good way to really antagonize a peeved modeler.

Shadows should be present when two surfaces meet (e.g. belts over tunics) and on undersurfaces (e.g. between legs and under arms).
And--
Headgear shadows should show on the figure's face.
Plus --
Equipment such as swords should have a shadow shown on the figure.
 
So, it seems clear to me that the issue of shadows is addressed in the Handbook.  I hold that the Handbook is saying that light should act like light acts on any surface ... say, the surfaces of a figure under a consistent light source (sort of).  And that shadows and highlights must be painted.   BTW, the Handbook does not say:  "The Judge should hold the figure under the venue's lights to create highlights and shadows from the actual light that is present in order to present the figure in the best light possible."  It also doesn't say: "Shadows and highlights cast by venue lighting should have the same credit given as shadows and highlights painted on the figure."  So, when I judge a figure that sits under overhead venue lighting which provides definite shadows over the figure, I use my flashlight to hit the areas where shadows from the venue lighting are evident.  If the shadow from the venue's lighting disappears and I can see that the paint job has no shadow whatsoever, I advocate that that figure is non-competitive.
 
As to the OP, no shadows or highlights on a figure's armor removes it from further consideration.

 

Edited by Highlander

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OK, I'm on a roll.

Recently, I had the opportunity to judge a figure that was not painted at all.  The sprues came in different colors  so assembly caused it to resemble a pre-painted figure.  Or so I am told.  Since it was not painted, in my mind, it was not competitive.

This lead the judging team to discuss what IPMS will do as pre-painted figures are entered in contests.  We are already in that area with 3-D printed models -- the no-construction alternative for challenged modelers.

It will be interesting to see how IPMS reacts to the accelerating changes that technology is introducing into what has been a pretty stable hobby.

 

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It as been my experience many do not understand the contest they are entering. I enter a figure contest every year and the rules and expectations are not the same as an IPMS contest. And every year I've been to the Nationals, I here someone say "that's not how AMPS does it!" Well, duh!

Dak

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Every organisation has their own  contest stipulations so it is up to the entrant to comply rather than compare!

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IPMS has a Judge’s Handbook and we are briefed at the Nationals by the IPMS  Chief Judge each year just before judging begins. Nick

 

 

 

 

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Yes, the judges are briefed before entering the contest room on Friday evening,  but there is no Judges Handbook.    What is most often referenced during the 'What Judges Look For' seminar presented during the convention is the 'Modelers Guide to IPMS Contests',  often called the Competition Handbook.  While the handbook is available in some classes,  it is not provided nor considered required reading by the judges before or during contest judging.   

The handbook may be found on the NCC page on the IPMS/USA website at this link:

http://ipmsusa.org/national_contest_committee/competion_handbook.shtml

The preface material on the webpage is instructive:

"This Handbook is designed for the use of modelers everywhere, competitors and non-competitors alike. For competitors, it outlines the basic principles that guide IPMS model contests. For judges, it outlines the standards and objectives that make for fair, effective, and efficient competitions. For all modelers, it is a single best reference on how to look at models objectively: to know what to look for, to know what others are looking for, and to learn how to set personal standards of satisfaction and accomplishment."

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A rose by any other name is just as useful to a judge who wants to be informed about his or her responsibilities and to a contestant who cares to inform himself or herself about how the judges will be assessing their work. Since it is on the website, how can it be said that it is not provided before or available during judging? (They have this great new invention. It’s called a smart phone. Lt. Uhuru will show you how it works.) Handbook, primer, guidelines, visual aid, reference, etc- what’s the diff. We are all big boys and girls. No one in IPMS is going to check to see if you have done your homework!  A conscientious judge will prepare him or herself to judge by reviewing the “whatever you want to call it.” A smart  contestant will do the same. Nick Filippone, Senior National Judge (who always does his homework.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What gets me is all the people who seem to be totally blind sided by the rules. The stuff is readily available and yet, many appear shocked when they get moved to a different category or simply don't win.

Dak

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Keep in mind that almost all of us here on this site, and participating in these discussions are "old hands". We've competed for years, and in many cases have judged for years.

I think many of those who're "blindsided" are NOT that experienced. I totally agree that anyone, as a contest goer, has a personal responsibility to read and understand the rules they plan to compete under. However, I don't find it too surprising when they don't, either assuming a show is like any other they've attended in the past, or just blithely entering with false expectations.

What I'm driving at, since many of us here help run shows, is that we need to recall what it was like when we were "newbies and blundered our way from show to show. Be kind when pointing out an obvious gaff or oversight on the part of an entrant. They don't get to "slide" or be exempt from a rule they didn't know; but then we don't have to make them feel any worse than they do if we possibly can.

GIL :cool:

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Actually, I am referring  to some old hands more than newbies. Several old hands I know have come up sharp because they failed to keep up with the rule changes. One, who was a long time National attendee and vendor, found his model un-expectedly put into the dioramas.

Dak

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14 hours ago, Dakimbrell said:

What gets me is all the people who seem to be totally blind sided by the rules. The stuff is readily available and yet, many appear shocked when they get moved to a different category or simply don't win.

Dak

Bingo!

Between the contest rules and the Modeler's Guide to Competition (as Nick reminded us, it is the document formerly known as the Competition Handbook), most questions should be answered well in advance of any model show. 

Rules.  Huh!  What are they good for?  Well, absolutely everything...

They get updated at the National level annually (more or less), and most other IPMS-sanctioned contests base their rules on the Nationals rules, so you need to read them in advance of any contest.  Ask questions.  If the rules don't suit you--if you have some fundamental disagreement with them--you have the option not to play, or ask for some "Display Only" space.  More and more shows offer it these days...you may still have to pay an entry fee, but you can still show your stuff.

The information is readily available.  As Brad Hamilton told Jeff Spicoli in the movie "Fast Times at Ridgemont High", "Learn it.  Know it.  Live it." 

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Always read the rules. There are almost always wonderful little loopholes.:biggrin:

Dak

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It is a shame that some otherwise excellent models have to be disqualified due to falling foul of the rules. I was judging at Telford last year and had to disqualify two models specifically because of the ruling that anything in the competition except ship models have to have any display cases removed beforehand.

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I don’t think I have ever seen anything disqualified, but just moved to the appropriate category. 

Of course, that sometimes starts arguments. I once argued my V-1 should be in Field Rockety and the head judge wanted it in Jet Aircraft. 

I was basing my opinion on how the V-1 was deployed and the unit operating it. Now days it gets put in Drones and UAVs. 🤔

Dak

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