Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Art Competition – National Capital Model Soldier Society (NCMSS)

Hot on the heels of the NOVA Open is the annual NCMSS show, local here in Northern Virginia.  NCMSS marks the end of my competition season for the year (the beginning of the season being the Crystal Brush in March/April timeframe).  After NCMSS, I need to scramble to produce brand new work, in time for next year’s Crystal Brush!

As an associate judge for the NCMSS show, I learned last year that the day goes by very quickly.  I have to plan my time carefully so that I have enough time to set up & tear down my own entries; view the other entries; shop in the vendor hall; do my portion of judging; and fit in a run back home at lunchtime to walk the dogs.  Last year, I only viewed those models that I was judging!  On top of that, I made it into the vendor hall just as they were closing, and I barely had time to snatch up some new plinths, just as they were packing them away.

This year, I managed to fit in everything, along with a decent amount of socializing and even a chance to rummage through the one-only stash of old-skool Warhammer blisters in the vendor hall.  More orcs to add to my 3-year-WIP orc army!

The vendor hall.
The NCMSS Show uses “open-format”, where entries are judged to a standard – as opposed to competing for only 3 top slots per category, i.e. podium-format, which is what Capital Palette and Golden Demon use).  Open-format allows every participant to earn a certificate, Bronze, Silver, or Gold award, depending on the standard of quality present at the show. 

Some of the fine NCMSS members/volunteers who make this event happen, year after year.


Open format is a nice way for every person to be recognized for their hard work, no matter what their skill level is or how they rank against other people.  The format tends to be more relaxed and community-oriented.  Artists view one another more as associates, rather than competitors.  Folks are more inclined to share techniques and ideas with one another, creating a learning environment and a more social event.

You can probably tell that I prefer the open format.  So why do I maintain the Capital Palette as a podium format?  One reason is so that Capital Palette offers something different than the other art shows in the region, those other shows being NCMSS and MFCA.  Another reason is that Capital Palette fills the void left by the departure of the Golden Demon, a podium-format competition which used to be at the Games Day in Baltimore.  

I should mention the Jumpmaster competition, another fine, podium-format competition, held at Dropzone Games in Glen Burnie.  Like Capital Palette, Jumpmaster is a Crystal Brush qualifier.  Since I can’t compete in Capital Palette, it’s nice to have Jumpmaster, so that I can compete for a free ticket to Adepticon!

My entries.  Too bad it's the worst photo of the bunch!

Speaking of Jumpmaster, my Sapo bust, which earned Best of Show for Fantasy at Jumpmaster (but not Best of Show overall – that went to the well-deserving Mr. Marc Raley), also had a good showing at NCMSS.  I’m very pleased to say that Sapo earned Best of Show for Fantasy/Sci-Fi at NCMSS!


  1. Congratulations on the best of shows! And thanks for posting all the NCMSS photos. Wish I could have been there for the it

  2. Thanks, David! Yeah, I wish you could have been there, too. It would have been nice to have some more volume in the Fantasy/Sci-fi Division. And I would have been happy to cede BoS to your hobbit diorama in order to see it in person!

    For next year, I plan to promote both the NCMSS show and the Capital Palette to the painting community at Dropzone Games, in hopes of attracting a lot more fantasy/sci-fi artists. The community up there is huge. Just need to convince them to cross the river!

    1. Yeah, I wanted the NCMSS to do more outreach/advertising with the local game stores (especially since they added that wargame category). As you're well aware there are plenty of people who enjoy the painting side of the hobby just as much as the gaming. I think I mentioned it at one of the post-show meetings but don't think anyone ever followed up. Could be something as simple as posting flyers at the hobby stores in the area.

      As for the hobbit dio, it's too bad he's ineligible for Crystal Brush. I'd really like to see how he'd do there (although that diorama category is always one of the toughest). The group out here, SCAHMS, is having their show in April and I'll definitely be entering him there. It's a long trip and doesn't help that it's right after Adepticon, but I thought I'd mention it nonetheless!


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