Painting Competition 001 – Combo Smite FTW!

Saturday saw me hosting my first ever Painting Competition… I’ve competed in one before (coming in a respectable 5th, which is about what I deserved in my humble opinion), but I’ve never run one before.
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I wanted to host an event that would be welcoming to beginners, and challenging and fun for experienced painters… actually, mostly I just wanted to get a bunch of really good painters into a room where I could pester them for hours for advice! Success!

We’ve recorded a podcast about our (mostly Aaron’s and Nick’s, since I am the scrub out of the three of us when it comes to painting!) suggestions on how to be a better painter… it’s really geared towards “Tabletop Quality” work (as opposed to much more demanding “Display Quality” work), but for those of you who are beginner-to-welterweight painters, it may be entertaining and useful! Some great tips from the guys!


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The basic format of the event was that there were 2 painting competitions run in parallel:
1. A large based model would be dropped off on the day of the competition (before noon-ish).
2. You show up with a monochromatically primed small based model at 10:30am, and then are given 2 hours to paint that bad boy up.

Both the large based and small based models would be judged (independently), and there would be “people’s choice” awards, decided by both the painters voting for models (under the rule that they shouldn’t vote for themselves) and by members of the public who happened to wander in during the competition. I set up a small ballot box in front of each model and gave everyone 2 tickets: one for each leg of the competition.

Let’s start with the speed contest. There were 4 competitors, and here they are with their models right at the beginning of the contest:

James, painting up Malakov (the Khadoran Journeyman Warcaster):
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I went around and took pictures of the painters and their models at the 1 hour mark… here we can see James about half way done with Malakov:
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Nick (from Combo Smite) was painting a Gorman di Wulfe. Nick often (always?) uses a “Greyscale” technique on his models, and since the rules stipulated “Monochromatically primed”, he had to do that after he showed up. Here we see his Gorman, already blackwashed and waiting to dry.
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And then again, one hour into the competition (and closing in on being finished… Nick is a remarkably fast painter!).
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Aaron (also from Combo Smite) was painting up his Reinholdt…
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The thing most of note to me is that Aaron uses a wide range of paints for his models (whereas I tend to be a PP-paint purist, with the exception of GW washes). Aaron uses a combination of Tamiya, PP, GW… and dollar store paint! From a DOLLAR STORE!

Here’s his Reinholdt an hour later…

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And lastly, John was painting up his new Cassius.

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John actually had a stroke of brilliance when it came to this contest… he used Cassius and his attached Tree for his small and large based models! Very clever.

(Forgot to take a picture of Cassius after an hour… whoops!)

So, after two hours, all the small based models were finished. Everyone broke for lunch, and there was an hour for the judges to deliberate, and for the public to vote.

After that time, it came to light that all 3 judges (myself and the 2 owners of The Game Chamber in London, Ontario, where we were having the event) all agreed on the 1st place finishers for each category, but none of us agreed on 2nd! Still, after the points were tallied and the tickets were counted, we had clear winners in each category.

Small Based Model Results:

In first place… Aaron’s Reinholdt!
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In second place… Nick’s Gorman! Nick also won the “People’s Choice” award for his model (nailing 7 of the 20 votes!)
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And here are Jame’s and John’s final models as well (who both tied for 3rd!):
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Large Based Models:

First place went to the following eThags model, painted up by David (who elected not to compete in the small based model portion, since he’s not a very fast painter):

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I don’t know if you guys can tell, but that’s real amethyst sculpted into that model… and a stunning job overall. Just stunning work! David also tied for “People’s Choice” award for the large based model category.

In second place we had Nick and his eAlexia… another beautiful conversion. Love the use of the Boneswarm, and the little sculpted grave… just beautiful work all around!
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In third place, Aaron’s Nomad. This was actually the 3rd model Aaron decided to paint for the large based competition… originally he hoped to get Vlad2 finished, but a mix up with a parts order resulted in Vlad not having a horse. And then he tried doing a Swamp Horror, but the waterFX didn’t dry on the base in time… so Aaron whipped up this Nomad in the last day! Beautiful work, really!
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And finally, John’s Wurmwood tree. Great use of his neon-green paint for the runes, clean work with the bones… a fantastic model, and painted extremely well!

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So, there ya have it. I love painting competitions, and despite the relatively low turnout, I’m very happy with how it went. I’ll be doing another (probably in February, I think), but likely with a slightly different format… for one thing, the “small based” part makes it difficult for Trollblood players to compete (since they’d have to buy a unit in order to have a single model, and that’s not cool). I like the speed portion of the event, though… maybe next time I’ll run it like a tiered tournament where you have 1 hour to paint a model each round… anyway, thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed the pictures and results!

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