The NCMSS show is held annually in Northern Virginia. This year, it was held on September 14th, and the show had a solid turnout. There was a downturn in fantasy figures, but that was largely due to a competing show in New Jersey, which stole at least three of the NCMSS's regular fantasy painters. Still, attendance was strong, and we saw a great variety of high-end painting and creative modeling.
Last year, I served as an apprentice judge for the NCMSS show. Since then, I've accumulated even more experience in organized competition painting -- as a participant, as an event organizer, and as a judge. This year, the NCMSS invited me to bear the mantle of a full-fledged judge. One thing that has surprised me since I began judging, is how time-consuming and intense it can be. This particular exercise, beginning with the judge's organizational meeting and following through with team walk-through's, individual scoring, and special awards scoring, consumed three-and-a-half hours! That left very little time throughout the rest of the day to study pieces in detail, take photographs, and peruse the vendor hall. I ended up rushing through all of those other activities. Still, I like being involved in the organizational side of the hobby and helping it carry on its traditions and reach out to new enthusiasts.
In no particular order, here are some highlights that I managed to capture.
The following two entries were neck-in-neck to earn the special award, Best Ancient. The Greek hoplite barely squeezed out the win over the Roman cavalryman. On the bust, the textures on the woods and metals were superb. I also liked all of the extra added-on details on the inside of the shield, like the scuffs, tassles, and loose cord.
The photo doesn't show it very well, but the base is an incline that is suspended in air. Note the powdered snow on the horse's legs. I like the dull colors -- makes it realistic for the period and helps sell the illusion of a cold winter day. The shield design is freehand.
A diorama that tells a lighter story. Nice to see, compared to the next one!
This was a phenomenal piece. So realistic
This one shows how much you can expand the scene, when you use a smaller scale. Excellent groundwork. Really puts your head in a wintry, ankle-spraining field.
This is a close-up view of Joy Schoenberger's St. Patrick. This piece won a Gold at the NOVA Open two weeks before, and it won another Gold at NCMSS, along with two special awards: one for Best Medieval and one for Best Irish or Irish-American! Note how the floor and hem of the robe show the effect of light coming in off-frame through a stained-glass window.
Freehand clovers. This figure is probably true 25mm.
A fine piece by Kevin Townsend. I first saw this one at the MFCA show. I was glad to see it again under better light. The tavern section has so much character, it's practically "the 4th Minstrel".
Another fine piece by Kevin. Now do it in 28mm, Kevin! ;-)
My jab at Kevin reminds me of an amusing aside. I was chatting with a fellow after the show, about how I've slowly moved from painting game figures towards dipping my toe in display/competition painting. I remarked how display painting is typified by those "larger-scale 54mm figures", which I have yet to do. He laughed and said that was the first time anyone has ever referred to his miniatures as "larger-scale". That was an interesting eye-opener, about one of differences in these flavors of the hobby.
Speaking of smaller scale, check out the sunflowers, the poker cards, and the dog in guy's shirt!
Check out the footprints in the sand.
This piece was amazing. Had all sorts of moving parts. The propeller was spinning all day long.
Look at the tile floor on the bathroom.
This piece might have had the best weathering, rust, and dirt effects I've ever seen.
This was a really cool forced-perspective piece. Never seen something like this before. It took you off-guard at first, because the far tank crew used smaller-scale models. The scene made sense only if you looked at it from this viewing angle. It worked even better if you closed one eye.
A similar idea. This artist is having a blast, ha, ha.
This is a great off-beat piece by Tim Stormer, the NCMSS's very hard-working Adjutant. I think he said he did this using pastels like weathering pigments.
Here's the latest work by Kevin Townsend. This won Best of Show for Fantasy.
Here's another stunner by Kevin, which I first saw at MFCA.
Two more by Kevin...
Here was a favorite of mine. I think it got a Silver, but I think it deserved a Gold. Mounting it on the machine nut is a great touch!
And finally, here is Rhodes Davis' Wolverine -- a better photo than what I captured at NOVA Open.
Ah, I almost forgot. I won Gold awards for my Alkemy and Malifaux figures, my "Border Dispute" diorama, and the Wargaming special award for my Freebooter Pirates and Dystopian Wars Prussians. Yay!