Sunday, May 11, 2014

MFCA 2014

I spent Saturday at the annual art show held by the Miniature Figure Collectors of America.  It's almost a 3-hour drive from Alexandria, Virginia to King of Prussia, Pennsylvania (just west of Philadelphia), but it's worth it to see the top-tier figure-painting there.  This year is the second time I attended, and the show is hands-down the best show in my limited circuit.

MFCA is unique, in that local law firms contribute stipends in order to bring over a good number of European artists.  For example, I had the pleasure to spend much time chatting with the very gentlemanly Ben Komets.  But I forgot to have my picture taken with him, darn it!

But I'll start out my gallery of favorites with a few of his pieces.  Naturally, one of my favorites are Rackham figures...

A rare Rackham bust.  The toad has a lot of subtle coloring.  It was pretty spectacular.

On to other artists.  This sculpt was a limited production run, based off "Jack" by Brom.  I considered buying a copy, but I decided I couldn't come up with anything more interesting than what the top-tier artists were doing with it, and I would just enjoy their renditions.  Case in point!

I love the coloring on this.

Very convincing weight and movement.

The next two were at the show last year, but it was nice to see them again.

A new one to expand on the theme of the Mad Hatter.  This one earned a gold.

Here's the sculpt that Jeremie Bonamant Taboul painted for Crystal Brush.

Generally, I'm tired of seeing Space Marines, but this one is exceptional, because the freehand is just insane.

Some incredible freehand on his shoulder.  This tattoo was miniscule.
This was a really cool concept.

This won Best in Show in Fantasy.

The road sign is hilarious.

Here are some gaming figures by John Meeks, a fella from New Jersey who I hope to see enter his work at the Capital Palette competition for the NOVA Open.  I really like his use of color.  Very chromatic, without going overboard.  I never noticed the gypsy style of the character on the right, until I saw his rendition.

John and I were the only folks showing gaming figures, so it was nice to have some company!

Of course, my interests are predominantly in the Fantasy category, but I really enjoyed the Historical category, too, which is really the dominant part of the MFCA show.  Here are some of my faves.

This is on the cover of Scale Model Handbook #1.
Neat display.
Tiny freehand!

And finally, here is what my humble display looked like, in the midst of all this finery.

A quick little story.  I noticed a group of folks at my display, and one of them was handling my figures, picking them up and turning them around and what-not -- a big no-no for a show like this!  I approached them and requested that the gentleman not handle the miniatures.  He looked at me like I was out-of-line, so I explained that the figures were mine.  He then informed me that his group were the show judges, and they were in the process of judging my figures!

In spite of that embarrassing misstep, I am proud to say that I earned a Silver.  The judges pick what they consider to be the strongest piece from each artists' display.  For mine they picked Sapo, the frog-guy bust on the right.

Wendy, one of the judges I know, informed me later that it was a toss-up between Sapo and the Rat Fiend on the left.  That was satisfying to hear, because I'm pretty pleased with that figure, and this is the first competition I've entered him in.  Same for Sapo.  I couldn't enter them in the Crystal Brush, because they've appeared in on-line challenges.  But earning a Silver at MFCA is as much the honor it would have been to earn a Silver at Crystal Brush -- really, more, given the level and volume of competition at MFCA.


  1. Good pictures and congratulation on the award. I think you have every right to have a blight word with whoever is handling your pieces. I have heard horror stories of judges breaking figures and witnessed a judge dismantled a magnetised model by accident.

    I think all artist should have a written notice so observers are aware the delicacy of the models.

    1. Thanks for the support, Naiconn. Funny thing is, every entry slip that you see littered around the display includes such a warning. ;-)

      To be fair, I can make it easier on myself by magnetizing my display plaques, so that my gaming figures aren't mounted loosely on the wood bases. I've been on the opposite side of the fence myself, administering figures for Capital Palette and contending with top-heavy miniatures, loosely placed on wobbly bases like bark chips. So, yeah, both participants and judges (and handlers) bear some responsibility, IMO.

      I've magnetized one or two of my display plaques, but I need to do it for all of them. Even then, though, the magnetization is often weak, thus providing a false sense of security. This might be one lesser reason why most figures at this level of competition are mounted on plinths. Most of these painters aren't playing with these figures on a Warhammer table, after all!

  2. Congrats on the award! Having seen Sapo in the flesh, I can assure you that it was well deserved! Really great to see all the images, looks like quite the visual feast.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.