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Dakimbrell

Confessions of a model judge

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I was judging at the Chattanooga show and the most common flaw we found on 1/72nd scale armor was crooked tracks. This seemed to be a problem on about half of what we looked at. Tow in; tow out and floating roadwheels.

Also, if you are super detailing your 1/35th tank, make sure you drill out the machine gun barrels.

Dak

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Whenever I get asked why I present "Model Building 101" at a National Convention--I mean, this is the World Series/Super Bowl of modeling, right?  People should know this stuff, right?  I believe your post provides the answer--I always say that basic things are what the judges look for, and ignoring basics will trip you up more times than not.  Alignment is usually #1 on the list of the things that answer the question "Why didn't my model win?"

Then there are "the little things"--drilled out gun barrels, those pesky ejection pin marks that you thought were not visible, that minuscule parting line that you forgot to remove...

By the way, it was great to finally meet you in Chattanooga...

Cheers!

Ralph

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Great post. I've judged a few local shows and it surprises me how often the basic things go unnoticed by the builder. Finger prints, glue marks, seam lines, sprue gate marks, ejector pin marks, floating wheels. Also clean off the dust and cat hairs before you enter.🙄

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With most 1/72 scale armor, the kit builder is stuck with the tracks the kit comes with, good or bad, unless it is a common vehicle like a Tiger or Sherman. Then they may have an aftermarket alternative.

I've been a 1/72 scale armor builder for many years and was sometimes recruited to judge that category. Very few 1/72 scale tank kits have what I would consider "great" tracks. Most are okay, but many are poor.

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As an ex head judge, I too was surprised how many times I noticed miss-aligned masts on ship and in particular submarines at a  national competition.  One would think such a "basic" mistake would not be made at the national level.

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"National Level" is somewhat mis-leading in our case. These models did not have to win a preliminary event to get into the national contest. Any IPMS member can enter whatever he has built, beginner or expert. It is hoped that those beginners learn by seeing the accomplishments of the experts and are inspired to do better. That's also why we have the "What judges look for" seminar and have national judges in the contest room on Sat. AM to whom you can show your model and ask them to "judge" it so you know how to improve. It's also why we ask people not to be openly critical out loud as the modeler may be standing right there and he may be a novice who just did his best and here you are saying how bad it is. 

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I was glad to meet you too, Ralph. I wish we had more time to chat.

4 hours ago, RGronovius said:

With most 1/72 scale armor, the kit builder is stuck with the tracks the kit comes with, good or bad, unless it is a common vehicle like a Tiger or Sherman. Then they may have an aftermarket alternative.

I've been a 1/72 scale armor builder for many years and was sometimes recruited to judge that category. Very few 1/72 scale tank kits have what I would consider "great" tracks. Most are okay, but many are poor.

The tracks may be crappy in the box, but basic alignment is another issue. Most would have done better if they had been glued down to a base. Many were on a base, but perhaps only half of those were attached. Constant handling of a model degrades it. 1/72nd tanks should always be glued down to protect the model.

53 minutes ago, Ron Bell said:

"National Level" is somewhat mis-leading in our case. These models did not have to win a preliminary event to get into the national contest. Any IPMS member can enter whatever he has built, beginner or expert. It is hoped that those beginners learn by seeing the accomplishments of the experts and are inspired to do better. That's also why we have the "What judges look for" seminar and have national judges in the contest room on Sat. AM to whom you can show your model and ask them to "judge" it so you know how to improve. It's also why we ask people not to be openly critical out loud as the modeler may be standing right there and he may be a novice who just did his best and here you are saying how bad it is. 

A well made point and one I made to those who feel IPMS is too picky. I was one of the Saturday critique judges. Surprisingly, most of those who came up for critique turned out to be winners. No armor modelers came by while I was there.

Dak 

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1 hour ago, Ron Bell said:

"National Level" is somewhat mis-leading in our case. These models did not have to win a preliminary event to get into the national contest. Any IPMS member can enter whatever he has built, beginner or expert. It is hoped that those beginners learn by seeing the accomplishments of the experts and are inspired to do better. That's also why we have the "What judges look for" seminar and have national judges in the contest room on Sat. AM to whom you can show your model and ask them to "judge" it so you know how to improve. It's also why we ask people not to be openly critical out loud as the modeler may be standing right there and he may be a novice who just did his best and here you are saying how bad it is. 

It is the same reason I put the Model Building 101 seminar together for the 2016 Convention, and have been continually refining and updating it.  It is now a series of units, much like Paul Boyer's "Finishing School" series from FineScale Modeler back in the day...

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