Success! And, failure…

Yeaterday was “Granitecon”, the annual IPMS show in Nashua, NH.  I had been pushing to get three new projects done for Granitecon – my Takara 1:35 Scopedog (originally started for the July, 2007 MMC), my 1:144 Queadluun Rau (originally meant for the February 2008 MMC), and my 1:144 Zaku “Death Face” (actually completed for the March, 2008 MMC – but I felt like it could use some scenery and weathering…)

Anyway, I pulled an all-nighter before the show to finish things up.  Fortunately I had already made enough progress on the models that this could work: the Queadluun Rau was basically done already (I decided not to weather it – I like its current, fairly vibrant look), the Scopedog just needed some weathering and scenery – so most of the night was spent making a display base with rocks and little patches of grass.  At this point I also decided not to do any further work on the Zaku – there was enough time to make one display base, but not two.

So I made it to the show sometime after 11AM with three good entries, and the sci-fi category was surprisingly full of good entries.  Nice stuff, most of it – so I wasn’t counting on a win…  And, as it turns out, I didn’t place.

“Best Out-of-box” went to a gaming miniature – arguably it shouldn’t have been in sci-fi (it’s a figure) but it was nice work.

Third went to a Fine Molds Y-Wing, I think – I thought the shading was a bit on the heavy side (recessed areas were black), but it’s a gorgeous kit and the model was a nice build.

Second, IIRC, went to a Turok diorama – some Native American-looking types hunting velociraptors.  This is the one that, honestly, surprised me that it made it to the top three.  The figure work seemed maybe marginally better than my (admittedly poor) figure work…  I didn’t think much of the scenery – the one thing it had going for it, IMO, was the handful of in-scale feathers on the raptors…

First was a Star Wars Droid Tank.  I honestly didn’t get a good look at it – the subject doesn’t interest me and I kind of overlooked it for most of the show…  I took a look and some photos just before the modeler removed it – it seemed to have nice metallics and some good wear effects but I didn’t have time for a real appraisal of the work.

To me the lessons to learn from losing are: First, build for yourself, not to win. This is pretty basic information, really, but I have found it especially meaningful when it comes to decisions, for instance, like “should I put off my favorite big project so I can work on something for this contest deadline?”  Second, use the loss to learn how you can improve your work.

So it’s a bit disappointing to have not placed, and damn frustrating that the judges don’t give any kind of feedback that would inform a modeler of what went wrong with their entry.  Isn’t that the whole point of bringing a model to a show?  I have a hard time seeing my own work with an impartial eye – especially after spending all night working on it.  A show represents a fairly unique opportunity to have the work appraised by other modelers.  At least when you win, you’ve gotten the message that, yeah, you did good work.  When you lose, you don’t know if your work was bad, if there was some specific flaw the judges observed, or if it was merely mediocre.

I really haven’t done a lot of weathering in the past (none since my early Wing kits in 2001, really) – and I had never done scenery before – so the Scopedog was a bit of an experiment for me – that being the case it would’ve really been nice to know specifically what the judges thought of it.  I guess I’ll just have to rely on the internet for critique…

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