The Scale Model Challenge is an annual convention organized by the Scale Model Factory, a hobby club for scale model enthusiasts. In 2012 the event took place on October, 14th in the NH Convention Centre Koningshof in Veldhoven near Eindhoven in the Netherlands.
Highlights of the event – next to the large area for vendors and hobby clubs showcasing their works – were painting workshops and demonstrations by hobby legends like Adam Wilder or members of the Massive Voodoo team. The main highlight however was the painting contest for which the event is named – the Scale Model Challenge. During the last few years the contest grew into one of Europe’s premier events for scale model builders and for the last few years has also seen a growing influx (and influence) of figure painters, historical as well as fantasy/sci-fi.
The perfect venue to showcase some BattleTech miniatures J
As the main attraction of SMC the whole day revolved around the painting contest. A big event attracting most of Europe’s premier hobbyists, the contest featured 25 categories – ranging from traditional scale model ones like “military vehicle” or “planes” to figure categories like “historical”, “fantasy/sci-fi” or “busts” – and several hundred exhibits. The overall quality was very high and the field included many winners of past events with several Golden Demon and even Slayer Sword winners competing in the figure categories.
What makes this contest special in my opinion is the “melting pot of styles” at a very high level. As a fantasy/sci-fi painter looking at all those historical and scale model entries is very inspirational and really makes you think outside the box. My mind was racing all the time trying to figure out ways to incorporate some of the effects I have seen into my BattleTech painting. A scale model challenge indeed J
In the single figure categories painters entered displays of their work, with a display consisting of at least one miniature. A panel of judges then selected the best miniature of the display and awarded points based on certain criteria. Based on the points and pre-defined thresholds Bronze, Silver and Gold medals (or none) were awarded. A very rewarding format in my opinion with interesting results – categories couldn’t only have several medals of each color, but none as well if no miniatures were awarded enough points.
The setup of the contest was also of note. The exhibits were displayed on spacious tables, with a plethora of daylight lamps making for excellent lighting conditions (not always a given even at the biggest and best events). There was also enough room between the tables to move freely without having to fear accidently knocking over some miniatures.
That funny thing called “real life” prevented me from finishing anything new specifically for this contest, but I still entered a display of my works – including a few of the Mechs found in my gallery here on CSO – in the fantasy/sci-fi category. At the end of the day I was awarded a Gold medal with the Iron Guard Cicada (the one from the weathering article) selected as best miniature of my group. I was shocked and couldn’t believe it when my name was called, but it was very nice to see a picture of the Cicada being shown on a big screen on the stage J
All in all SMC 2012, my first time attending the event, was a blast. The setup and organization, not just for the painting contest but in general, were very professional – from the plenty and easy to spot parking signs near the venue to the many helpers around the contest area and the well moderated (if a bit lengthy) award ceremony. Having some of the best hobbyist from three worlds so to speak (scale modeling, historical painting, fantasy/sci-fi painting) in one place means instant inspiration and creative overflow. But with an open minded approach it helps to broaden the horizon whether by marveling over the exhibits or looking over Adam Wilder’s shoulder as he explained his method to paint realistic looking steel. SMC was a great place to catch up with old friends and make new ones. Having a Euro Militaire winner on the one side and a Golden Demon winner on the other makes for interesting conversations. And of course winning a medal didn’t hurt either … ;)
With the growing influence of fantasy/sci-fi miniatures Scale Model Challenge is quickly becoming one of the most comprehensive contests in Europe and definitely a “must” for 2013. October, 13th 2013 – the date for SMC 2013 – is already marked in my calendar. See you there?
Some impressions from the painting contest can be found here: https://plus.google.com/photos/118203695185228511539/albums/5799832681786553105?authkey=CPXSwLf_pKvAZQ