2019 Painting Contest

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CaptainCon is a celebration of the tabletop social hobbies and a key part of that is the visual appeal.  To encourage and recognize the artists within our midst, CaptainCon will once again be hosting a painting competition.  Entry is open to any attendee of CaptainCon 2019 wishing to submit a model he/she has painted.  Models can be miniatures from wargames, board game figures, role playing miniatures, or even original sculpts.  The rules and judging this year are based generally on the Crystal Brush format by Cool Mini or Not.

Without further ado, here are photos of this year’s winners and honorable mentions followed by the rules.  Right now things are not ordered or labeled as we play catch-up, but that will come soon.  For now, enjoy the great artwork….

Rules & Procedures


  • Entrants must be registered attendees of CaptainCon 2019
  • All entries must be submitted in person by the person who painted the entry between 1pm and 6pm Friday, February 8, 2019 or between 11am and 4pm on Saturday, February 9, 2019
  • Entrants must pick up their entries on Sunday, February 10, 2019 between 10am and 4pm.  CaptainCon cannot be responsible for storage or shipping of entries not picked up on time.
  • Entries must not have been winners or placed at “honorable mention” or above in any previous publicized painting competition nor published in any commercial or professional media in print, video, or online including but not limited to hobby magazines, manufacturer catalogs, advertisements, box art, or gaming materials such as character cards and rule books.
  • Complete re-paints of models from pre-painted lines are acceptable, we’ll take your super-detailed X-Wing entries so long as you painted them.
  • Entrants may enter no more than one entry per category.
  • Entrants are responsible for the transportation of entries to and from the competition.  No storage space for transportation materials will be provided.
  • Only one person may be listed and credited as the entrant on any joint effort entries. While painters may work on original sculpts or conversions by other artists, and more than one artist may contribute to an entry if desired, there will be no co-credit given or division or duplication of prizes.
  • Entrants must remain available for judging, queries, and prize awards during the competition.
  • Entrants agree to provide all entries, at their own risk, to CaptainCon for the duration of the competition for the purpose of display, photography, and judging.  CaptainCon accepts no responsibility for damage to or loss of entries during the competition.
  • Entrants agree to have their entries photographed, videoed, or otherwise recorded by CaptainCon, and such recordings shall be the property of New England Privateers, LLC and CaptainCon and shall be used in whatever manner New England Privateers, LLC and CaptainCon see fit without further reference or payment to the entrant.
  • Entry into the competition is consent to use your name and/or your photo on our web page, Facebook page, or Twitter account for promotion or other purposes.

Entry Procedure and Timeline

  • All entries must be submitted in person by the person who painted the entry between 11am and 6pm Friday, February 8, 2019 or between 11am and 4pm on Saturday, February 9, 2018
  • Judging will take place Saturday, February 9, 2018 with awards presented at 9pm Saturday, February 9 or as soon after that as possible depending on time to judge and photograph.  Entries may be picked up after the awards presentation.
  • Entrants must pick up entries on Sunday, February 10, 2019 between 10am and 4pm.  CaptainCon cannot be responsible for storage or shipping of entries not picked up on time.
  • All entrants will complete a registration form for each entry.
  • Entrants will be given a claim ticket with a unique ID matching the entry ID number.  Entrants must present their claim ticket and a valid photo ID to prove ownership and pick up entries at the end of the contest.
  • Entries will be placed in the display cases with a small ID card. Entrant information will not be visible during judging, each entry being identified only by ID number.


  • Single Figure – A single model/group in 40mm scale or smaller, on a single base no larger than 50mm in diameter, with a total height of 75mm or less.  This can include mounted models.
  • Bust – A single model of the head and shoulders/upper torso of a person/character/monster no taller than 200mm
  • Monster or VehicleA single vehicle or large monster in 25 to 40mm scale, on a single base up to 300mm in diameter with a total height of 300mm or less.  This category includes vehicles with riders and figures mounted on large animals such as horses.
  • Unit or Group – A minimum of 3 and maximum of 10 models in 25 to 40mm scale, mounted separately on bases no larger than 50mm in diameter.  The unit or group must be submitted on a movement tray or display base (does not have to be “scenic” and will not be considered in judging) to facilitate handling and photography.  Excessively large trays may be refused entry.  If models from a game, the unit does NOT have to be game legal.
  • Diorama or Scene – At least two models, up to 120mm in scale, mounted on a single base no larger than 300mm in diameter and no taller than 300mm.  Entry must be a single piece or mounted such that it may be moved/handled as a single piece for photography and judging.
  • Chibi Style – Chibi or related caricatural, disproportionate style models may be entered in any of the above categories as normal. This category award is distinct from those categories and recognizes the best such entries from across the other categories of Single Figure, Monster or Vehicle, Unit or Group, and Diorama or Scene.  Examples of model types included in this category are models used for such games as Super Dungeon Explorer, Arcadia Quest, and Rivet Wars.
  • Young Blood – Young artists (age 14 or under) may enter any of the main categories above as normal and compete for top prizes in them.  This category award is separate and in addition to those and recognizes the best entries from across all categories by a young artist.  For example, it is possible for a young artist to take second place in the Monster or Vehicle category and first place in the Young Blood category with the same entry.


  • All entries will be reviewed by the judges with no names attached, only ID numbers.
  • The judges, as a group, will make a “first cut” for each category narrowing it down to a group of entries with the potential to place or win.
  • All entries that make the first cut will be photographed for the CaptainCon website.
  • Each judge will review the first cut entries individually and assign each a score on a scale of 1 to 10 on the categories of Technical Quality and Artistic Quality.  Diorama entries will also be evaluated on Narrative Quality.  Each criteria will be given equal weight.
  • An average score will be recorded for each entry.
  • Scores will determine model placing in each category.  In the event of a tie, the judge panel will determine final placing. 

Judging Criteria

Technical Quality

This includes all the skills used in constructing, painting, basing, and finishing the entry.   This criteria includes model preparation (removing mold lines and flash, visible glue, gaps, grainy primer), conversion work (does it blend convincingly with the model), painting (consistency of style, smooth paint, consistent quality across all models in a unit/diorama), and presentation (basing work, scenic elements, etc.).

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.  This criteria includes painting (color palette, brushwork, contrast, blending, shading, etc.), composition and design ( focal point and color choice draw the eye, posting gives it movement and life, there is a sense of unity and coherence), presentation (there’s a cohesive feel, the basing “frames” the model well, the piece is overall ‘harmonious’ and ‘expressive’), and general effect/feel.

Narrative Quality (Story)

The diorama category will be judged on an additional criterion: story.  Good dioramas are more than just multiple figures arranged on a single base.  They must include a narrative element.  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 play, 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

Judges are not expected to be familiar with the background or subject matter of all possible game systems, model lines, etc.  Therefore:

  • Conversions of stock models or scratch sculpting of an entry will not be considered, beyond the technical and artistic quality of the work.
  • Historical accuracy will not be considered.
  • Adherence to game rules or canon (such as traditional faction colors or unit composition for wargame models) will not be considered.
  • No preference will be given to models produced or distributed by any particular company.


Each entry is scored on a scale of 1 to 10.  Equivalent scoring in a traditional gold/silver/bronze ranking are suggested as:

  • 1-3 — This entry is fully painted and based at a basic level.  Technical and artistic quality could be greatly improved.
  • 4-6 — This entry shows basic to good artistic and technical quality, with some readily apparent flaws or lack of skill.
  • 7-8 — This entry has good to very good artistic and/or technical quality, but lacks in some aspects.
  • 9-10 — This entry exhibits virtually flawless technical quality and exceptionally high artistic quality.