But in a subsequent comment in the same thread he continued to perpetuate a huge myth about contests when he said, "Too many people are too heavily invested in chasing those little plastic pots,” by which he means awards.
He’s wrong. In my 30 years attending contests I've found that the majority of entrants are not driven by winning awards. They simply enjoy building models and sharing them with others, which is among the most important reasons why you should enter contests, too. That so many modelers don’t “win” yet continue entering contests year after year is evidence that most of us don’t place great value on awards. Of course we like winning, but putting a trophy on the mantel isn't the reason we build models.
I’ve known only two men who chased awards, who were “heavily invested” in winning. One, I’ll call him Michael, is very talented, building models with a high degree of that technical competence mentioned in the Hyperscale discussion. I attended the IPMS Nats with him many years ago, and when his models didn’t place as highly as he believed they should have, he was dejected, and I had to listen to his grumbling on our six-hour drive home. Mind you, Michael is an outstanding modeler by any objective standard, but at that one show, the judges deemed other models better than his for one reason or another.
The other modeler, I’ll call him Richard, is one of the best in the country. He scratchbuilds amazing models with a high degree of detail and fidelity, and often with functional components. He’s won his fair share of gold and bests of show. Fortunately he takes losses with more grace than Michael; however, he's entered models in local and then regional contests before taking them to the Nats in an effort to learn about their weaknesses and fix them before competing at the national level. Richard, I think, likes winning awards.
I don’t judge either man. Competition drives them in their respective pursuits of excellence, and I’m glad it does, because both men inspire me. On a personal level, I can’t identify with that; I’m not a competitive person at all. But they engage in the hobby in a way that meets their needs, even if they experience a degree of disappointment when judging doesn't go their way.
The vast majority of modelers don’t care about contests, so IPMS contest rules have little effect on how most of us build our models. It’s time we admit that contests aren’t about competition.