Saturday, October 9, 2021

Armorcon and feedback on my models

After the IPMS National Convention a couple of months ago there was the typical cluster of conversations about judging, with modelers picking sides on the never-ending IPMS vs GSM debate. I see the value of both, albeit with tweaks to improve them, but that’s not my intent with this post.

What I’d like to do is share the value of the feedback that the GSM method (sometimes) provides. Last weekend I attended Armorcon in Connecticut, a show that I regularly attend. I took a few photos, but my photography skills are down there with my rigging skills, so I won’t embarrass myself by sharing them. Instead I’ll point you a great collection of photos that my neighbors at IPMS New Jersey shared on their Facebook page.

I entered three models in the contest, and I want to share the judges' feedback. (My thanks to IPMS NJ for allowing me to use their photos of my models.)

This is my Dragon 1/35 T-34/85 in Croatian markings. As points of reference, I used Voyager photoetch, an Eduard barrel, Kraya cables, a Hauler M2 machine gun, and Friulmodel tracks.

The judges' feedback:

  • Right front track sticks out past the fender, and bigger gap on the right than the other side of tracks.
  • Great paint finish.
  • Track alignment way off.
  • Decent build. Keep up the good work.
  • Three wheels float on left.
  • Rear left track crowded.
  • Nice screens.

Next is my Trumpeter 1/35 BTR-80 in Ukraine markings. I used Miniarm wheels, DAN Models sandbags, and a Master KPVT machine gun.

The judges’ feedback:

  • Left rear tires off the base.
  • Back left tire is towed out and not touching the ground.
  • Nice build.
  • Right front and left rear wheels don’t touch.
  • Small glue spots on hatch hinges.
  • Lens not in housing completely.

Finally my Italeri 1/35 L6/40 Carro, which has only a Greif lens and Friulmodel tracks.

The judges’ feedback:

  • Left idler wheel not attached to track.
  • Some missing paint.
  • Love those Italian tiny tankettes!
  • Nice paint overall.
  • Beware. Unpainted surfaces.
  • Friuli tracks not sitting.
  • Tracks not tight on idler.
  • Seam upper hull back.
  • Missing paint in spots.
  • Good decals.
  • Nice consistency on weathering and chipping. 
  • Friul not easy to deal with.
  • Paint looks a bit spotty and slight seam visible on upper hull.
  • Ejector pin marks on inside of bogey frames.

When I got home I looked at the feedback vis a vis the models, and each comment was fair and on point. With the exception of the compliments, each item is objective; there were no opinions that I could debate. Most importantly, it confirmed what I already know about my modeling, that I struggle with alignment. That information motivates me to be more diligent as I assemble my models, particularly the hull and running gear. 

What I find mildly amusing are the things that I don’t like about these models that the judges didn’t pick up on. For example, my self-made sandbags on the T-34/85 are, in hindsight, terribly executed; the judges said nothing about them. On my BTR-80, I’m disappointed in my painting of the aftermarket resin sandbags, but the judges either didn’t notice or thought they look good.

Ultimately contests are not about the competition. I know that’s strange to say, but I believe it’s true. I enjoyed looking at a couple hundred models and finding inspiration in others’ work. That I got some feedback on my models is pretty cool, too, so it was a day well spent.