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Rusty White

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Attention all IPMS/USA members.  Find below the official survey of the membership to ascertain preference of judging systems.  THIS IS A SURVEY TO SUPPLY CURRENT INFORMATION TO THE E-BOARD, NOT A PROPOSAL.  There is NO effort I am aware of to change the way IPMS/USA judges our contest.  This notice is to educate, inform, and promote discussion by the membership.  As part of the survey, we have provided descriptions of both GSB and 123 systems that will be included in the April/May issue with the survey card.  Voting will take place via a survey card in the April/May 2019 issue of "The Journal", on-line, and at the nationals in Chattanooga this summer.  The survey will also be printed at the bottom of the model registration form at the national contest to best insure the maximum participation of the membership.
The survey, questions, 1-2-3 and GSB descriptions were composed by a group of volunteers with oversight from Ron Bell and participation from Mark Persichetti, Head Judge for IPMS/USA and the NCC.
ON-LINE VOTING IS NOW ACTIVATED!  I got a pleasant surprise from Ron Bell.  I wasn't aware this would be possible, but thanks to Ron and the E-board for giving as many members as possible the opportunity!  Members may vote for their choice on the survey when you vote in the general election.  The instructions are here:  https://voting.ipmsusa3.org/content/activate-your-account.  The only way you can vote on the survey is register to vote.



Some of our members have requested data regarding the judging method used at the National Convention Contest.

Please check ONE of the options below that you prefer.

     1/2/3 - Models compete against the others in a given category.  Only the top three models in each category are identified and awarded.

      G/S/B - Models compete against an objective standard of quality.  Multiple awards may be given within each category.

IPMS/USA Membership #  _____________________________

Judging teams will assess each entry in each category and will award a First Place, a Second Place and Third Place based on the degree to which each entry meets the craftsmanship standards set forth in the IPMS/USA Competition Handbook.
(1) Since entries are judged only by comparison to each other, three awards (First, Second and Third) will be given to the top three entries in each category, regardless of the level of craftsmanship.
(2) Under this system, models vie “head to head” for awards, creating a healthy spirit of competitiveness amongst our members
(3) This system allows for the placement of constructive comments on the entry form by the judges (if desired by the National Contest Committee and the modeler).
(4) The incorporation of judges in training, the selection of “Best ofs”, special, and theme awards, the collating of results, and the announcement of awards at the Banquet will be done as it is now.





Judging teams will utilize the “open judging” system for assessment of each entry and may award a Gold, Silver, or a Bronze medal based on the degree to which that entry meets the craftsmanship standards set forth in the IPMS/USA Competition Handbook.  The judges may award more than one of each medal in each category.


(1) All entries of sufficient merit will be recognized; eliminating the need to “nit-pick” good entries in order get down to just three awards

(2) It will reduce the competitiveness of our National Contest (for which we have been criticized by some) since entrants will not be competing with each other.

 (3) Judges will provide constructive comments for the builder on the entry form, where appropriate, to encourage he or she to improve their building skills.

 (4) The incorporation of judges in training, the selection of “Best ofs”, special, theme awards, the collating of results, as well as the announcment of awards at the Banquet will be done as it is now.


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I look forward to the Survey.

I am Glad I am an Informed IPMS Judge, and familiar with the details involved in Open Judging (G_S_B). If i was depending on the above Definitions or explanations I would be hard pressed to make any type of informed decision. 

I would hope individuals involved in this "discussion /Survey would please look up the definition of :



So disappointing in these items to be used to INFOM membership of different systems used in the modeling contest world.


Bill Dedig IPMS 36229


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I think what's interesting is that the 1-2-3 description actually is written as a NEGATIVE towards GSB! Here are some examples:

1)  " Entries aren’t compared to any “ideal”, “perfect-model”, or “national-standards” criteria".  Strictly speaking that's true, but they make it sound like having a standard to WIN an award (NOT enter the contest) is a bad thing. Every club that does GSB KNOWS that to be false! And there IS a Standard in GSB... Those same BASICS!

2) "Judges are your IPMS peers"... Seems to imply that GSB uses wizards or outsiders from the GSB galaxy to judge at those shows. Nope! Turns out it's ALSO  your "IPMS peers"!

3) " Recording results for just the 600 winners now requires 8 staff, transcribing scoring from just 200 sheets of paper" (etc)...Implies that GSB judging would be IMPOSSIBLE at the Nats because of the logistics of how 1-2-3 is done. FAILS to point out that EVERY GSB system used or proposed does NOT use that 1-2-3 system of recording. IF GSB were ever to be used at a Nats, the system would be entirely different.

4) " How many ‘extras’ of each award level should a host chapter plan to order, ‘just in case’?  Just one per category (200 more)?  Two or more per category?  2,350 awards – just in case?" This next paragraph rightly points out the differences between the number of awards needed between the two systems. However, it WRONGLY implies that you could NEVER know how much you need! This is dealt with by EVERY GSB show in the nation EVERY year; so it IS something you can "learn". Would GSB be a "higher cost" system? YES! But then THAT is the crux of the debate: Should IPMSUSA look to reward MORE deserving builds than they do now? And with the profits that are being made, IPMS CAN afford to by some more awards! The debate, and the PURPOSE of this survey is to try to determine if the general membership thinks that's a good idea or not.

5) " Our convention attendees want a ‘contest’ "; THAT is a BLATANT assumption, and actually not true! There's enough of a question about that to lead to this survey being done! It also implies that GSB attendees aren't looking to "win" (as opposed to "contest" attendees). Baloney! GSB contestants want to win as MUCH as they can; they just prefer  to do so while NOT "beating" anyone else, and (when they do win) not limit anyone else's ability to win.

6) " How many ‘For Display Only’ entries do you ever see at any of our conventions?"  What has THAT to do with models in a CONTEST, be it GSB or 1-2-3? People who want to compete enter the show, be it GSB or 1-2-3. Those who prefer to display do that, no matter what format is being used there!

7) " Want to be the one of the few entrants not even good enough to earn a Bronze award – ‘not up to national standards’?  MISLEADINGLY implies that a Standard that determines WINNERS (not the ability to enter the show) is somehow mean. Well, how does it feel in a 1-2-3 show to go home EMPTY HANDED and not knowing if you even made the cut? BOTH systems still have "losers"...but GSB will have FEWER "losers" than 1-2-3!

8- " Our contest results and awards are a fair recognition of our entrants’ outstanding model-making accomplishmentsBLATANT BALONEY! In ANY 1-2-3 category with 10-25 entries at the Nats there are 7-22 that go home with NO idea of how they did!! There are HUNDREDS of outstandingly built models that go COMPLETELY unrecognized because the judges decide that there are 3 there THAT day that are "better".  The "fair recognition" is ONLY truly fair for the top 3 winners!

There's a LOT of advantages for 1-2-3 in IPMSUSA, and the system has some positives that make it preferable to many. There was NO need to write the above in such a negative way. Instead of touting the positives and advantages 1-2-3 offers IPMS members, it's written to PUT DOWN GSB. As the IPMS USA Chief Judge, I could understand if Mr. Persechetti wrote an enthusiastic support for 1-2-3. However, he chose to write it as a condemnation, and actually showed his ignorance of GSB in doing so. I'm greatly disappointed and disgusted with his lack of character and honesty in this matter!




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In my opinion, the referendum implies an immediate change to our system. As such it will of course be rejected. Let me explain.

I have been a judge at IPMS National Conventions for 20 years. I’ve also been the head judge at the Three Rivers IPMS contest for about that same length of time. Our show uses open judging. 

There is a common thread to the discussions on this and other forums regarding the GSB system. The topic is nothing less than radioactive.

This is not intended to be an ad hominem attack on any individual or group of individuals, but again through years of experience I have some idea of how these things work. Mr. Dedig has a very good point. One could easily see his description of “Lobby Champion” in the definition of the 1-2-3 system. It is not so much a definition as an indictment. I will interject in the definition below.


Currently, model entries are evaluated based only on the entries in that year’s contest - comparing them only to each other.  Entries aren’t compared to any “ideal”, “perfect-model”, or “national-standards” criteria.  Nor are entries judged, based on any perceived personal expertise of the entrant (“beginner/advanced/master modeler”).

This is absolutely true, and the inherit weakness of 1-2-3 contests. Much of any judging team’s time is often spent finding the “best of the rest” to fill out the 3rdor even 2ndplace winners of a category. The first plane winner may be obvious, but the rest could have so many problems that the team simply adds up the flaws of one model vs. another to determine the remaining winners. This frequently results in models winning at a national level that would not win in the open (GSB) format. Is that what we’re striving for? I’ve heard the argument that this point doesn’t matter. The three best models on the table in that group on that night won. Well how about the larger categories with 20-30 models that typically attract very good builders? I know we tend to split larger categories, but occasionally that can’t be accomplished due to the finite number of splits available. So here some very good models will not place, where in the first example, some not very good models will.

There are no “ideal”, “perfect-model”, or “national-standards” that I am aware of. But there are good and bad paint jobs, decal applications and basic construction. These can be dispassionately scored and the results evaluated. Perceived personal expertise of the entrant? We don’t do that now and would not in the open system either.

Judges are your IPMS peers, who volunteer a portion of their convention time to support the contest.  They follow the guidelines in our Modeler's Guide To IPMS Contests.  On average, we get 204 judges each year to cover 2,350 model entries.  They ‘score’ an average of 600 winning models.  Want to require those 204 to spend three times longer at their tasks, to ‘score’ all 2,350 models?  Currently, any judge can leave comments on any entrant’s model-entry sheet; want to require them to leave comments for all 2,350 models? Are you going to make the commitment to help accomplish that task?

We do evaluate all 2,350 models now. Some take very little time due to obvious flaws. Depending on the open judging format, this may not be necessary in GSB either. A scoring sheet does codify the results and focus judges’ evaluations. It does take more time. But judges at Telford use one and I haven’t heard any complaints about that. 

I’m not sure why this would take three times longer. Also, comments would not be required. A recent Regional Convention that I attended (and judged) solicited comments from judges. Some were helpful; most were not. The scoring speaks for itself. If you score 3 out of 10 in decal application the judging team doesn’t have to comment that the model didn’t place due to poor decals.

Recording results for just the 600 winners now requires 8 staff, transcribing scoring from just 200 sheets of paper, to provide entrant and model names for those winners.  They work all Friday night and into Saturday until Banquet time.  To do the same for 2,300 entries, are you ready to sacrifice your own convention time to help do that task?

This could be an issue, but perhaps not. We have run two Regional Conventions using the GSB system in Pittsburgh. One serious advantage is that judging can take place at any time. Our shows were two day events and judging began on Friday evening and continued through Saturday. Teams came and went at intervals. For a National Convention this would be a challenge to coordinate. But it could be done with proper planning. At the other Regional I mentioned, the judging time commitment was no greater than the typical 1-2-3 event. In no way do I wish to denigrate the efforts of the National’s staff. You all do absolutely excellent work and deserve all the credit we could possible give. The virtually flawless execution of the awards ceremony is evidence of the work of this group of people.

For cost efficiency and planning, the 1-2-3 system pre-defines the maximum number of awards to be purchased and presented: 200 categories X 3 awards in each = 600 awards.  G-S-B method leaves open the count of potential awards to be purchased (from 0% to 100%), for approximately 2,350 entries each year.  How many ‘extras’ of each award level should a host chapter plan to order, ‘just in case’?  Just one per category (200 more)?  Two or more per category?  2,350 awards – just in case?

This is an issue. But does anyone seriously think that 0%, no winners at an IPMS National Convention, or 100%, where everyone goes home happy is realistic. This type of argument clouds the issue and exaggerates the risk. Many shows of late have opted for medals as awards. These are relatively inexpensive. Extras could be ordered and some may not be used. If there are not enough, have more made and sent to the winners after the event. This is not a perfect solution, but we could ask other societies such as AMPS or the figure modeling groups how they handle the logistics. Also, there are no categories in open judging. We group the models together along natural lines: aircraft, armor, etc., just for ease of viewing. 

Our convention attendees want a ‘contest’.  How many ‘For Display Only’ entries do you ever see at any of our conventions?  

 I don’t even understand this point. GSB events are no less a contest than the current system. 

“Critiquing entries to determine 1-2-3 vs G-S-B rankings is a distinction without a difference.  

If this is true why is there resistance?

“Want to be the one of the few entrants not even good enough to earn a Bronze award – ‘not up to national standards’? 

Old line dating back to an unfortunate incident at a National Convention. Every model going home without at least a third place award feels precisely the same now. 

Our current processes are predictable and efficient.  Our contest results and awards are a fair recognition of our entrants’ outstanding model-making accomplishments.  The volunteer efforts of the judging corps are effective, without overwhelming our available judges.  Our current system isn’t ‘broken’ and doesn’t need to be ‘fixed’ – unless what you ultimately want is for every contest entrant to always be a winner!

This is true. Except for the last sentence. I’m not even going to address that because it lacks serious merit.

To sum up (a little late for that), the arguments against GSB on this forum seem to be more of an attack on an alternative. “This can’t possibly be done because…”

Well it is done by AMPS, MFCA and local and regional IPMS shows. It is out there and it is gaining support. The purpose is to reward excellence and encourage improvement in modelling skills. I realize that we will never shift overnight from one style to another. That would be a recipe for failure. But to dismiss the open system out of hand, or continually attack it without considering its merits is also wrong. I think the National referendum should be something like this. 

“Would you like to see IPMS/USA experiment with the open GSB system at a future National Convention?”

There are some excellent modelers who are also excellent judges and event coordinators who would support this. And by support I mean would sponsor trophy packages, offer to judge and help organize the experiment. Members could be solicited from the end of the prior convention, for let’s say a six month period to indicate if they would participate in an open judging experiment and approximately how many models they would enter. These models would not require any more space since they would be entered anyway. The distinction would be that a certain number of tables would be segregated for the purpose. Since we would know approximately how many models would participate, would could evaluate the number of awards to order. 

If it fails, it fails. At least the question would be addressed and long standing argument, both for and against, settled. At this point we honestly don’t know whether the topic would be accepted by the membership or not. I do know that after judging at our show, even some diehard opponents to GSB have been won over. They have said that our system is actually easier than they ever expected. 

Isn’t it time that we fairly approached this topic on a national level? 


Barry Numerick

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The two replies offer more "definition " than anything in the original posting.

Thank you Barry and Gil for clear and detailed information. Your replies shall be 100% more effective in informing members of some of the details regarding "Open Judging" and 1-2-3 Judging.

As President of Three Rivers IPMS, I will do my best to ensure our club members are reading this forum and actively involved in this discussion.

A. IPMS E-Board please try for an open mind regarding this subject.The survey looks to be a step.

B. Thank you Gil and Barry for your time.


Bill Dedig

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Let me now provide the history of the preparation of this ballot

It began after last year’s National Contest with the annual forum debate on open judging (GSB) vs. 123. I joined the discussion and innocently made what I believed to be a practical suggestion: attach a simple tear-off ballot to the National Convention Contest  registration form, deposit it in a box at the time of registration and add them up. That was rejected by the IPMS leadership, but, to their credit, they asked a working group of those interested in the question to create a ballot that would be included in an issue of the Journal so members could vote. I was one of the group, as was Rusty White. 

Again, to the credit of the leadership of IPMS, we were to be allowed to prepare the entire ballot. Our goal was to prepare a dispassionate, objective description of each system. It would be brief, fair, balanced and unemotional. 

At the beginning of the preparation of this ballot, I offered to write the initial description of our current 123 judging system for this ballot.  However, Rusty White, who, from the start, had arrogated to himself the position of working group leader, rejected this offer and unilaterally decided to have someone from IPMS administration prepare the portion of the ballot that would describe the 123 system for the voters. I can only assume that Rusty decided that I, who he perceived as having some deep-seated and unalterable pro-123 bias, would somehow scupper the attempt to create a fair ballot. No one else in the group was allowed any input in this decision.There was never any question about the group’s other members being able to be objective about GSB open judging. I, however, was apparently not to be trusted to be fair.

The irony is that I worked as hard as anyone in the group to prepare an accurate and fair description of open judging. We argued back and forth to create what you now see as the “position paper” for open judging. I insisted, as did others, that it take the form you now see. We wanted to provide basic facts and let the members decide. The Forum can provide the platform for debate and comment. We did not want that discussion to take place on the ballot.

 Then, without any warning or preparation from Rusty, the entire ballot suddenly appears as you see it. The working group was not permitted to sign off on it in it’s entirety. We never would have! And that is because the “position paper” for 123 was everything the group wanted to avoid. It is not brief or fair or balanced or unemotional! It is electioneering ON THE BALLOT by the very people who will be counting the votes.

If I sound like I am whining, it is because I am. I am trained as a scientist. I want facts obtained honestly and objectively. I also have great respect for fairness in any vote. This ballot, as presently constituted, is not fair and should be seen as an embarrassment to this organization!

I worked hard on this project. So did the others. We deserved the opportunity to produce something we could take some satisfaction in, regardless of the outcome of the vote. That opportunity was taken away from us by the very person in the working group who assumed the leadership position for himself and got out- manouvered.

Please don’t blame me. Thank you.

Regards, Nick Filippone, Senior National Judge.,






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As one of the individuals involved, and as a proponent for Open Judging, I read the NCC's summary.  While the mechanics of a possible Open Judging method were not fully developed at this time, I see several flaws in the NCC's assessment of how they believe Open Judging works.  Here's my counterpoint to the NCC:

  1. There is no "Ideal" or "Standard" (other than the Contest Rules) that needs to be met in order for anyone to enter models.  You can enter as many models as you wish as long as you pay the entry fee, the same as has always been done.  
  2. Models are judged using the very same criteria set that is currently employed by IPMS.  Rather than counting flaws and making cuts, each model is evaluated as to how well the modeler met the criteria.  
  3. Nothing has been said about skill levels.  Had these been mentioned,  I would suggest that it would be initially left to the entrant to determine their own skill level.  Once they've won Golds at their current level, they get promoted to the next level.  But that's step 1,278.  We're on Step 1.
  4. The judges would still be your peers within IPMS--It isn't as if IPMS will all of a sudden start using some "Intergalactic Model Judging Guild" to judge the show. 
  5. Because the models aren't compared to each other, the judging can begin as soon as the first models reach the display room--they get placed on the display tables and are judged as they sit.
  6. Done properly, judges will be able to pick what shifts they want to judge, rather than having to cram it all into a few hours on Friday night. 
  7. As soon as each model has the required number of judging sheets, it can be tabulated and the award determined.
  8. Class Awards, Best-of-Show, and Special Awards are judged as they always have been--all the Gold winners in a given class are compared and a "winner" determined.  
  9. The work is spread out over several days.  Start a Sign Me Up page or make other efforts to get volunteers to assist in tabulating the data, same as we do for other show volunteers.  I'm sure there are folks who want to see how the sausage is made after the judging itself is done.
  10. IPMS/USA designs a standard, non-show specific Field Award (medals or challenge coins, ideally) to be used at ALL National Conventions.  Order in bulk, the ones that don't get used this year are saved for the next year, or the following year, etc.  Put that onus on IPMS/USA and the NCC.  This will actually save money--ask me about the boxes of unneeded field awards left over from the 2016 Convention sitting in my garage.  They cannot be re-used as contest awards--most of them will have had the plaques torn off and the wood used as model bases by the time they're all gone.  In effect IPMS/USA tossed that money in the county landfill.
  11. Only the Class Awards, Best of Show, and Special Awards need to be designed and tailored to the current Convention's theme.  That work will still fall on the host chapter.
  12. Not everyone wants a 'contest'.  Many modelers want to be informed/educated, and many others certainly do just want to show off what they've done in a Display Only format. 
  13. A model that doesn't win 1st, 2nd, or 3rd under the current system doesn't meet the IPMS Standard.
  14. While every model should have at least one comment, there is no requirement to comment on each model in the room.
  15. These comments are quick notes--"There's a seam on the right wing", not short versions of "War and Peace". 

Dragging out the "every model wins a trophy" argument is beneath you, Mark, and I wouldn't have expected to see it.

Should the membership opt for Open Judging, it won't happen overnight.  I estimated a five- to seven-year implementation plan when it was discussed, starting at the local level for a few years, then migrating to the Regional level.  By the time it gets rolled out on a National level, most of the bugs will have been discovered and the wrinkles ironed out.  Like anything new, it won't always go to plan--I doubt our current system was seamless and foolproof when it was first used, either.  But the benefits of a properly designed and implemented Open Judging system--specifically the score sheet and feedback--outweigh the growing pains I know will happen.

Ralph Nardone

President, IPMS/Mid-Carolina Swamp Fox Modelers

IPMS #33984

AMPS #2540

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Interesting exchange of ideas, for sure!

Regarding the issue of how to order what would be an unknown number of awards in the Open/GSB style of judging, I have heard of organizations handling that conundrum, thusly:

Design and order one set of awards (GSB medals for instance) for each category to function as publicity sets (pictures for press, publication photos, etc.) to be utilized the day of the contest. After the contest is completed and with the number of winners of each level and category known, order the known, well-defined number of awards and mail them to the recipients. Some “pros” for this method…no waste with unused awards; utilize smaller winner’s medals, or professionally printed paper awards instead of plaques to minimize postage costs; allow sponsoring club members to volunteer to mail awards for individual categories; allow winners to opt for pics of their models with the publicity medal only and forego receiving an actual award.

Regarding “Open” versus “1-2-3” forms of judging: having competed, won, lost, and judged at IPMS events, I can tell you that I would appreciate the ability to give and receive a small bit of feedback and rationale regarding the judging of my work, and the work I evaluate as a judge. Also, the ability to judge in shifts as the work comes in to the contest is quite attractive, as well. Regardless, I’ll still compete and judge in IPMS events, irrespective of the manner of judging.

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It's not as much "hit and miss and guess" in trying to figure out awards numbers; it's just not a KNOWN number to start.

We just started dealing with this at Jaxcon. We normally have 500-600 entries; so we figured that we'd need at least 500 medals, and ordered 300 bronze, 150 silver, and 50 golds. The other reason for ordering 500 medals was there was a significant price break there.

Our first complication was that we had a record turnout of over 650 entries on the tables. Turns out we'd have still been perfectly fine EXCEPT for a second complication: ONE guy came in with 40 superb models (35 busts, and 5 airplanes). He skewed our expectations by taking home at least 15 golds and 15 silvers all by himself (he also won Best Figure)!

We ran out of Gold and Silver medals, but even with the one guy making us run short, we only ended up 11 Gold and 17 Silvers short. So, we planned correctly for the show, and would have even been ok if that one guy hadn't brought so many entries that were top level medalists. But hey, GOOD FOR HIM! By the way, another nice thing about simple medals (without a box or ribbon) is that you can put them in a regular envelope and mail them with a couple of stamps on them if you run short! Cheap and easy!

So, next year, we figure we'll up our medal order by another 100. We'll get 100 Gold, 200 Silver, and another 300 Bronze to go with the 58 left over. We're pretty sure that unless 750 or more entries show up next yer, we'll be well covered, even if someone manages to win another 20 medals themselves.

The bottom line is, the"higher" the show, the more good models will show up. The Nats will have a higher percentage of "medalist" models than a Regional will, which will have more than a Local will. I'd estimate that at least 75% of the models on the tables at the Nats are "medal worthy" (depending on how strictly written the criteria is). Now "medal worthy" means Bronze OR better....and so you set it up along the following lines.

Bronze: no big basic mistakes and only 2-3 small basic problems. The more something is visible and the faster it may be noticed; the worse it is. These are models that would probably make the first cut in 1-2-3. That's why I say at least 75% of the models at the NATS could win at least a Bronze. The bar is higher and people bring nicer entries. But, many of those are actually better than that and will place higher!

Silver: You have to look hard to find a problem, and what problems there are are minuscule and not readily apparent. These are models you'd judge to be in the running for the 1-2-3 in most Nats categories. In other words, the top level of those that would make the cut in 1-2-3. So, figure that half of that 75% (40%) may be worthy of a Silver.

Gold: These should be rare, but yet attainable. These are models that stand out at a first glance. You cannot find a basic problem AND they'll almost always have extra work done to them. These are models that you'd be nominating for Best Ofs in their genre. A Gold level build is sort of an intangible, but I'm betting most EVERY judge out there has an idea in their mind of what they think it is, and can spot that model that's just heads and shoulders above most everything around it. I'm guessing no more than 5-10% in the room at the Nats will qualify for Gold.

So, figure on a record turn out (could happen in Chattanooga) of 3000 or so entries. Better plan on having 2300 medals on hand. Is there a price break for ordering 2500? Then do that!

Personally, I'd go with the 2500 for the first trial (they left-overs can be used the next year). I'd order 500 Golds (probably enough for 2-3yrs), 900 Silvers, and 1100 Bronzes. Then you see what is left over, what you run out of, and adjust accordingly for the next year's order.

Now I just did this "on the fly" without any "scientific" input or cross-discussion among a committee; which is what WOULD happen if a Nats host went GSB. I'm sure they could come up with more accurate predictions and percentages than I did on the fly. And with 2-3 years of experience, I'm betting a pretty reliable pattern would emerge allowing for some very close numbered ordering to be done.

This is NOT a tough thing to do or figure. It's just an EXCUSE that 1-2-3 supporters want to throw down on. Their only true contrary point is that it IS more expensive than a "set" number of awards. Or is it???

Our awards company charges $2.50/medal for an order of 500 minimum. I'm guessing there's another good price break at 1000, and perhaps another at 2500 or so. But let's be conservative and say we have to pay $2@. So, 2500 medals will run $5000. Even if they're still $2.50@, that's only $6250. Heck, lets order 3000 for $7500. what's my point? Although it's been a while since I've seen a Nats report that listed awards cost, I'm pretty sure most of them are spending  north of $5000 as it is now. (If anyone has a recent "bid" package from IPMSUSA, those yearly costs are broken down and listed in it. Please share to either confirm or contradict my thoughts). It could very well be that IPMSUSA could end up SAVING awards costs, especially over a period of years.

Anyway, it's always fun to "hypothesize" about such things. BUT, one thing I CAN say with confidence is that we seemed to have MANY MORE people go home from Jaxcon happier this year! We didn't do it perfectly, especially since it was our first time. But, we set a goal to try to award more DESERVING builds; and we did. The impression given to us is that we're on the right track, and that we should see as many or more models in 2020! THAT'S why I think IPMSUSA can benefit from GSB. It rightly awards more models WITHOUT limiting the ability of any "honcho" to win a really big award.


GIL :cool:

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Not sure if this is worth considering, but I competed at the Sword and Brush figure show in Toronto last year, which is an open system. There, they do GSB, but competitors are told to put all their entries in one category next to each other and they are looked at as a whole. I'm not sure about all the intricacies of judging, but even if you enter multiple models in a category,  you can only get one medal, generally representing your best piece out of what's on the table. As such, you won't have the issue Gil mentioned above with running out because one guy took home 30 or 40 medals by himself - he would just win two golds, one for his best plane and one for his best figure, and his "Best Of". Categories are very general (IPMS could probably get away with about 10 categories -- aircraft, armour, automotive, figures, etc.), and it doesn't matter how many models are in a category, so you don't have to worry about things like splits and merge

So, for example, I entered about a dozen models split across three categories, of which I would say that all were probably at least bronze-worthy, but came away with two Silvers and a Bronze for my best works in each of these three categories.

The other thing is, I don't think the medal had a year on it -- so unused medals could be thrown in a box and reused next year.

Finally, regarding the "every model a winner" idea... I feel like there is a similar thing going on with the 1-2-3 system. You end up with things like splits and very finely detailed categories, because the contest organizers don't want anyone to feel like they don't have a chance because their category has so many entries. Let's face it -- there isn't that much difference in technique between building 1/35 German WWII armour and 1/35 Allied WWII armour; the only reasons for splitting categories up by nationality like this is so people don't get upset over it being harder to win a medal in a more popular category and so we can have more winners.

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Brian (and all):

The example of GSB that you cite is yet another possible variant of that system, and is designed to reward the BUILDER instead of the models. This is the system that Orlando uses for GSB. As you point out, the big advantage there is it greatly reduces the awards costs since (theoretically) an attendee only gets one award per genre entered. The down side to that (as I've experienced it in Orlando) is that they pick which of your models in your group to judge (it may not be the best of your group in your own opinion), so there's really no incentive to bring more than one model per genre you want to enter.

That system might be a good one for IPMSUSA to consider, IF they want to establish a "hierarchy" of builders (another whole can of worms). It might also encourage some people to expand into other genres IF they wanted to find out if they're as good a builder in THAT genre as they are in their regular building genre. However, besides the problem of establishing a hierarchy, it would probably also dissuade people from bringing as many models as they do now. That, in turn would bring on the appearance that the show was shrinking (starting to fail) and then open up another whole set of problems.

What the current 1-2-3 system has encouraged and fostered is for builders to enter as many models as they can in order to win as many awards as they can. A completely open GSB system allows that to continue. The "limited" GSB you cite, while a much more accurate barometer of the builder, probably won't satisfy the long established "need to win" with most IPMS contest goers.

Your mentioning of the medal not having a year on it is also a common complaint about GSB awards. At Jaxcon, we have self adhesive white discs available to anyone who wants them so they can put them on the back and record what year/etc. for their own posterity. So, even if you end up with several of the same looking medals in your case after a few years, you can differentiate between them if your memory fails you.

Your last paragraph I think is a bit mistaken in that it suggests that splits at a 1-2-3 contest are made to allow more people to win. That is the RESULT, but usually NOT the reason. The reason, especially at the big shows like the Nats, is to give the judges a grouping of models that they can more easily handle. If 50-60 entries show up in a category, it'll take forever for the guys to try to pick 1-2-3. However, if it's split 3 ways so they're only having to judge 15-20 in each category, they can not only do a faster job, but probably (since they don't feel as overwhelmed or rushed) do a more thorough job of judging them. I know when Jaxcon was 1-2-3 we DID design it with many more categories than most other shows with a two-fold purpose: to (as you said) give people more of a chance to win something somewhere; AND to keep the numbers in each category manageable from the start, and we seldom had to add a "split".


GIL :cool:

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6 hours ago, crimsyn1919 said:

"every model a winner" idea...

I can tell you for a fact as a past member of the NCC, that your characterization of splits and various additions and subtractions of categories is correct.  We called it "spreading the wealth".  IMHO, I see nothing wrong with it.  It's just another way to do the 1-2-3 judging process.

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So Rusty...as one of THE leaders of getting this survey done; are you going to allow it to be run and submitted in the form you posted above? Or, will you demand that the 1-2-3 be rewritten in a non-biased, and fact based manner for the survey?


GIL :cool:

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Thanks Rusty...I can appreciate the position you've been boxed into. The NCC "leadership" may have changed, but not its attitudes. Frankly, I'm done with them myself. Perhaps the survey will surprise everyone in spite of the way it appears it will go into the Journal.


GIL :cool:

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But the original intent of the survey was never to persuade people one way or the other, pro or con, for one system over the other. It was meant to simply be a fact finding effort to determinine the attitude of the members toward judging at the National Convention Contest. There was no reason to assume that, while the working group could be unbiased in it’s presentation of the description of open, GSB judging, we could not be trusted to be equally unbiased in presenting the description of 123. The working group, in fact, had a broad representation across the spectrum of opinion on this matter and as a group we worked well together. We fought, “pounded the table,” and expended a lot of electrons. In the end, we arrived at a description the GSB system that was only fact based as a good ballot should be.  And, again, remember, at the beginning, to their credit, the NCC allowed us to write the entire ballot. Without consulting anyone else, Rusty decided, more or less, that we could not bring the same intellectual honesty to the description of 123. Rusty’s poor decision could not have tainted the process anymore effectively than if that had been the motive in the first place. It was a decision as arbitrary and unilateral as any of which we have accused the NCC. But then, Rusty, you have been a member of the NCC.

I guess you can take the man out of the NCC, but you can’t take the NCC out of the man. Nick Filippone 

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Interesting Nick....So you worked with Rusty (and the others), fought with Rusty (and the others), pounded the table with Rusty (and the others); and you point this out as a POSITIVE in that you all accomplished something despite individual differences. Yet, you want to hold Rusty alone to blame because he let Mark write the 1-2-3 narrative?

I can see your point, and agree that the 1-23 AND the GSB narratives should have been written by the group wanting and conducting the survey. However, I cannot see, after his participation and hard work WITH you, why Rusty would "sabotage" the effort as you imply. On that I think you're mistaken. I have no problem with pointing out his mistake in including Mark at all....but think you (once again) decided to make it personal, which comes off as nasty.

I'd be interested to know why Rusty would think it was a good idea to ask Mark to write the 1-2-3. There's no reason to expect him to be unbiased. Perhaps Rusty can offer us an explanation.

Where I differ from Rusty, as he says he doesn't want to accuse Mark of bias, is that I HAVE, and will continue to do so. But...I will say that after Rusty's inviting "the fox into the hen house"; I better understand why Mark wrote what he did. I am truly saddened that he choose the low road, but then I also think Mark believes 1-2-3 is best for IPMSUSA and is working to keep the status quo no matter the consequences.

The sad part is that the most likely outcome (no matter what) is a poor response to the survey, just because ALL surveys in the Journal get little to no responses. Also, even though we may get 1000 people to attend a Nats, only a little over half of those are actually members and compete in the contest. A even lesser percentage of those who compete actually care what system is used. I'll be surprised if 300 "ballots" are turned in. Predictably, in that case, even if ALL of them are pro GSB, the NCC will simply say it's "too small a sampling" to rely on or make any decisions on.

As I stated when you guys began this....I've been there and done that (GSB committee) already more than a decade ago. That's why I've decided the ONLY way things will ever change is from the bottom up. GSB has to become THE dominant system for Locals and Regionals, establish a way to make it work for a lot of models, do it routinely and well for several years, and only THEN will the membership go to the Nats LOOKING for a GSB format and start asking why the NCC is so far behind the times! And if it fails at those lower levels? Then Mark and the NCC was right, all along!


GIL :cool:

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Just spit-balling for fun here…based on my limited experience, the “Modeler’s Guide”, and previous responses to this thread, this is what I came up with as a brief “definition” of our 1-2-3 System:


Current Form of Judging IPMS/USA National Contests (1-2-3)

Model entries are evaluated based only on the entries in the categories of that year’s contest. They are compared only to each other, and judged irrespective of any perceived personal expertise of the entrant as the entrant is anonymous. The best model in the category on any given day is just that: of the models entered that day, this one is better than that one.

Judges are IPMS members who volunteer their time. They follow the guidelines in our Modeler's Guide To IPMS Contests. According to that mandate, judges look at the whole model and determine how well the modeler did in bringing the whole project to completion, focusing first and foremost on “the basics”. While there will be class-specific (aircraft, armor, etc.) nuances, the overarching “basics” that will govern each class are construction, painting, and decaling. Judges only dig deeper when the basics do not allow for a clear-cut ranking.

Judges are grouped in odd numbered teams to prevent a tie, and to provide balance when a judge may have a preference/bias. Currently, any judge can leave comments on any entrant’s model-entry sheet.

Because the 1-2-3 system uses no “national standard” to compare all models, nor does it use a numeric system to present an unknown number of awards per category, inherently it defines the maximum number of awards to be purchased and presented.


**Portions (if not all 😀) of my post are drawn from The IPMS/USA Modeler’s Guide To IPMS Contests, and previous responses in this thread. This is in no way meant to inflame, "one-up", or provide commentary on any other post in this thread. It is simply my stream-of-consciousness regarding this subject. Feel free to laud it, rip it to shreds, or print it out and use it as toilet paper.

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Mr. Willis: What you wrote, although a little more detailed and therefore longer than what our Survey working group would have prepared, is exactly the way we wanted the description of the 123 judging system to appear on the ballot- factual, unemotional, objective. Designed to inform, but not to persuade. Kudos to you! You must not have slept through those Civics classes that covered voting in an open honest system of government. 

At least somebody else gets it! Thank you. 

Regards, Nick 


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16 hours ago, ghodges said:

Interesting Nick....So you worked with Rusty (and the others), fought with Rusty (and the others), pounded the table with Rusty (and the others); and you point this out as a POSITIVE in that you all accomplished something despite individual differences. Yet, you want to hold Rusty alone to blame because he let Mark write the 1-2-3 narrative?

Rusty made the decision to ask Mark to write the 1-2-3 summary unilaterally.  I know I was not polled on the subject--indeed, we worked internally to write the 1-2-3 summary as well as the Open Judging summary.  We were all caught off guard when we saw the actual 1-2-3 summary when Rusty posted it.

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The 1-2-3 description is being edited by the group and the discussion will soon resume with the update. The thread will be locked until then. Thank you for your input thus far, and for your patience moving ahead.

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I like the basic concept of the GSB as long as it is based on the current judging methodology. I.E.The collective judging in teams of odd numbers. I believe this to be the best way to judge an art form. I find the collective discussion, give and take, gives the best consensus of the group. I like to understand why a team judge feels a way he does, because he may have an observation which may change my opinion, or I may have one that will change his opinion.

However, the big bottleneck for IPMS would seem to be cost. How do you estimate the needed number of awards without setting a limit? And setting am limit defeats the main advantage of the GSB. IPMS has shown a reluctance to go to a generic award for all chapters to use , as each hosting chapter seems to want its own stamp on each National. Some may think this a trivial point, but it is one that needs to be addressed early before other stuff gets going.

Another point needs to be addressed, too. Do we keep the judging time as we do now, or change to a rolling judging that starts on the first day entries are put out? I for one, don't like judging with a crowd of spectators because it inhibits discussion.

Dak 39410

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I encourage everyone to read the first paragraph carefully. " THIS IS A SURVEY TO SUPPLY CURRENT INFORMATION TO THE E-BOARD, NOT A PROPOSAL. "  Any questions about the GSB method will need to be answered by the folks (whoever they may be) who want to propose the system.

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4 minutes ago, Rusty White said:

Any questions about the GSB method will need to be answered by the folks (whoever they may be) who want to propose the system.

Rusty, would these folks (or the 1,2,3 folks) be willing to chime in to this discussion? I'm talking about the people you got to put these proposals together. I'd love to see each "side" extol the virtues of their preferred system and answer questions without trashing the other side, of course.


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