Sunday, 1 February 2015


It's been a while hasn't it? I've been a bit fatigued with the hobby over the past 6 months and haven't really had the drive to do too much in the hobby. But, this is a new year, and a new Necron Codex and a Harlequin release is starting to stoke the fires again.

However, I've recently had a bit of a retrospective look at my progress in the local painting competition and would like to share a few thoughts.

Kranon and Christmas Lelith
These were my first ever entries in the competition, Kranon was the first miniature I painted on this current return to the hobby, and I was quite proud of them at the time. In fact, I did think that they were the best and deserved to win, Lelith did, but I think that had more to do with the concept than the actual paint job itself.

However, when it comes to competitive painting, you can't stand still, you always have to improve otherwise you are going backwards. You have to take a big bite of that humble pie and try and do better with the next miniature, you have to absorb all of the information from those that paint better than you and work to apply those techniques.

Archon Conversion and a rat Ogre
These were my last two entries, and I am again quite proud of them. I've converted miniatures and tried to create subtler blends to add new tools to my repertoire. They both finished second overall, but it's the consistency that I'm liking, to be consistently in with a chance of the prize is better than being around the bottom, but still leaves room to improve.

The thing that I found a bit insulting is the snide comments that are overheard during the judging. I don't know if it's jealousy or egotistical, but when the winner has had around 40+ hours work put into it and they think the model they painted in the morning and hadn't finished the base is worthy of taking the top prize it's not the fault of the other guy that you didn't take the win.

In competitions like this, if you want to progress, you have to look at yourself. Is it really a good win if the top painters don't enter? What does that prove? I wish I could talk to these people without coming across as arrogant, because I am in the same boat too, I'm not winning and I would like to, but I understand that I have to improve to take that step, not rely on some outside influence.


In other news, this blog will be evolving too. I have invited two of my friends to write posts to try and help keep the posts regular and give some diversity to the content. Hopefully they will post up soon and you too can enjoy their work.


  1. Really like the archon conversion. The blue hair really pulls attention to the face and generates a lot of interest.

    If I had to comment (from a judging perspective), I'd say to watch out for glaring mouldlines.

    The terrain scenery the archon is standing on has a noticeable mouldline running right along the side of it. Depending on the level of competition, just that mouldline would be enough to earn a "no" on an early round of judging.

    I sat in on a competitive painting course, which went through the judging process. When judges are faced with dozens (or hundreds of models), only the last stage do they do any actual judging. The rest of the stages are no's and yes's. The trick is to make sure your models get past the no/yes stage and make it to the actual judging part!

  2. Thanks for the feedback! I have noticed that my model prep isn't the best, in fact, it was what gave me second with the Rat Ogre (ill fitting push fit models).

    It's the next step on my journey, going to have to spend a bit more time on cleaning that model up ready to go.

    1. I just mention it because it was definitely something I didn't do for a looooong time. Now that I have started doing it, I go back and look at my old painted models and cringe a bit. Make sure to practice first on models you don't care too much about...I am awful at cleaning mould lines myself.

  3. Greg that advice is golden, just knowing that's how the comps work at a large scale is a revelation!

    1. If you are ever at an event (like adepticon, nova, etc), and misterjustin is present, take his "competitive painting" seminar. He basically goes over how judging works, what they look for, answers your questions (from a judges perspective).

      I didn't actually attend the class, (attended two of his others), but I was picking up my mini from the competition while he was there talking to his class, using some of the mini's on displays are examples of "no's".

      First off, don't let ANY of this dissuade ANYone from entering the competition. If you have ANY interest at all, enter your pieces. Trust me. It's worth it. It unlocks a entire world, even if you don't place. Other artists will over tips, talk to you about techniques, etc. Just having a piece in the display tells them you are worthwhile to talk to and share the same passions.

      Back to judges.

      Every judge is different of course! Here are some of the no examples I picked up.

      1) Model prep (mouldlines, barrels primer showing)
      2) Bases, minimal, resin, hand made.
      3) Technique, basic, glazing, blending levels, Neatness

      Then for actual judging...
      1) Composition
      2) Colors and movement
      3) Focus
      4) Story (if larger piece)
      5) Technique if advanced (TMM, NMM, Freehand)
      6) Consistency (if squad or army)

      Something that surprised me...special effects went into a special catagory. Usually reserved for closely done models. It was a tie breaker, not a make or break. (Special effects being Gore, OSL, lighting effects, weathering (though misterjustin LOVES good weather, so he is probably biased towards it...good to know your judges!)

    2. Oh and examples of my No's.
      1) Resin base
      2) Lack of focus and attention to the face (big one)
      3) Lack of blending on the armor plates
      4) Needed more attention to gold highlights, scripting, etc.

      My mini for example!

  4. Crikey, that's one tasty looking Chaplain my friend :)

    A Lot of info to digest there, but every bit good to know, thank you :)