Painting Competition Rules and Categories


Friday: Model drop off time


Saturday: Model drop off time


Sunday: Model Pickup and Feedback Critiques


  1. All entries must be modeled and painted by the person entering. The person entering must personally hand in the miniatures before 4pm on Saturday. Entries must also be collected from the display case promptly Sunday morning before convention closing. Any entries not collected by the end of the show automatically become the property of the convention.
  2. Entrants must have purchased a convention badge.
  3. All entries must be accompanied by the provided entry form. This must be filled out correctly and clearly. Competitors will be issued a numbered receipt when they have handed in their miniatures. In order to collect their miniatures at the end of the show, competitors must present this receipt in person.
  4. Competitors can only enter categories once; though they may enter as many categories as they choose.
  5. Competitors cannot enter a piece that has previously won an award from another competition.
  6. While every care possible will be taken with the entries, the miniatures are entirely at the risk of the competitor.
  7. The convention will not be responsible for any damage or loss that might occur while the miniatures are in their care.
  8. The convention has the right to photograph the competition submissions and to publish photographs.
  9. The judges’ decisions are final in all cases.


Each entry in the competition will be judged based on its own merit irrespective of the other entries and categories. Judges will look at each piece and award entries a gold, silver, or bronze (or possibly no award) based solely on the quality of the entry. For example, in a category with 20 entries, there may be 2 gold, 5 silver, 7 bronze, and 6 entries with no award.

This system enables participants to judge the progress of their work from year to year without regard to what the other competitors may enter. This will also ensure each entry gets recognized for its effort despite being in a category with an abundance of entries.

There will be an overall winner for each category, selected from the models that earned a gold medal.

The title of Best In Show will be awarded to one entry, the best piece in the competition, selected from the overall winners of each of the five categories.

Criteria for Panel Judges

Each entry will be evaluated on the following criteria. Both Technical Quality and Artistic Quality will be given equal consideration in determining whether a model achieves a gold, silver, bronze, or no award for the Diorama category, Technical Quality, Artistic Quality, and Narrative Quality will be given equal consideration.

1. Technical Quality

This includes all the skills used in constructing, painting, basing, and finishing the entry. An entry should exhibit the best technical work of which the entrant is capable.

Preparation and construction. Visible mold lines, untrimmed flash, excess glue, grainy primer, and unfilled gaps detract from a model. Conversions and added details should blend convincingly with the original piece. There should be no wobbly parts or loose bits that fall off the entry with normal handling.

Painting. A model can be painted many ways (from smooth blends to textured brushwork, from bright clean colors to monochrome, from realistic metallics to stylized NMM), but the painting should be competently and consistently executed within the chosen style(s). An entry that catches the eye at a distance should also look good on close examination. All individual figures in a unit should be painted to the same level as the leader.

Presentation. Groundwork and scenic elements should be given the same attention to detail as the main figure. A well painted model should not be standing on poorly finished terrain. All areas of an entry that are meant to be seen should receive consideration and treatment.

2. Artistic Quality

This includes all the aesthetic and creative decisions made in creating the work. An entry should demonstrate that the entrant has thought seriously about how best to model it.

Painting. For example, does the color palette complement the subject of the entry? Do the style of painting and brushwork enhances the form and texture of the model’s surfaces? Does the entry use contrasts of color and value for emphasis?

Composition and design. For example, does the entry have a focal point? Does it make use of color and form to draw the eye there? Does the posing of the model give it movement and life? Are colors and shapes repeated in a way that creates a sense of unity throughout the work?

Presentation. For example, if the entry is a unit, do color, basing, pose, and details give it a cohesive feel? Do the groundwork and scenic elements help ‘frame’ a model and give it context, rather than just filling space? Are these elements modeled and painted in a style that is harmonious with the main figure(s)? Does a model intended to be viewed in the round have visual interest from all angles?

General effect. This is hard to quantify. However, a good model has a certain ‘feel.’ Busts have expressive character and a look of life in their eyes. Weathered models look convincingly dirty or aged. Fire and light effects seem to really glow. Viewers feel an emotional response to the entry.

3. Narrative Quality/Story (Diorama only)

The diorama category will be judged on an additional criterion: story. Good dioramas are more than just a collection of models together. They must include a narrative that tells a clear and readable visual story. The composition of the entry should lead the eye from element to element, engaging the viewer and helping to tell the story. The figures interact like characters in a movie, and their relationships are clear. The viewer not only sees a moment captured in time, but can guess what is going to happen next.

Not Included in Judging Criteria

Entries represent a vast range of manufacturers, styles, and genres. Judges are not expected to be familiar with the background or subject matter of so many different models. Therefore:


Single Figure: Single figure, 25mm to 40mm scale, on a base no larger than 60mm in diameter, with a total height no more than 75mm. (ex. Solo, warcaster/warlock, single trooper, etc.)

Unit/Group: Unit, squad, or battlegroup (minimum of 2 figures), 25mm to 40mm scale, on bases no larger than 60mm in diameter, with a total height no more than 75mm. Figures may be mounted on a single display base or individually based. Please use minimum standard unit size appropriate to the system. (ex. Trooper unit, warcaster and battlegroup, Guild Ball team, etc.)

Monster/Vehicle: Vehicle, warmachine, or monster, 25 to 40mm scale, on a base no larger than 300mm in diameter, total height no more than 300mm. This category includes vehicles with riders and figures mounted on large animals such as dragons. (ex. Warjacks/warbeasts, colossals/gargantuans, battle engines, etc.)

Large Scale/Bust: Single foot or mounted figure, 54mm scale and above, on a base no larger than 300mm in diameter, total height no more than 400mm. -OR- Single bust, 1/12 to 1/6 scale, total height no more than 300mm. (ex. Sorscha bust, Judgement models, Guild Ball Angel bust, etc.)

Diorama: At least two figures, up to 90mm scale, expressing a clear narrative scene, mounted on a base no larger than 300mm in diameter, total height no more than 400mm.

As a note, size restrictions are in regards to the models and their basing elements only and do not include any plinths the entry may be attached to unless the basing scheme extends into said plinth.

If you have a question about where your model belongs, a judge or hobby moderator can assist you.

till WarFaire Weekend