MSP Open and Medals FAQ

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I love the open show format of the MSP Open at ReaperCon,, but how it’s structured is a little convoluted compared to some contests. This article answers frequent questions about medal awards and category distinctions. It also suggests some things you can do to maximize the feedback you receive on your entries.

If you are interested in better understanding feedback you received your miniature(s), I have written articles with explanations and examples of the most common issues that we see when giving feedback. There are a number of articles on this topic, but one important one covers presentation and general issues, and another other discusses purely paint related concerns

If you’re not very familiar with the open show format and/or painting contests in general, I recommend that you read this overview of contest terminology article first. I also want to note that while some of the points I am discussing in this article may pertain to other open show events, many of my answers here are specific to the format of the MSP Open at ReaperCon.

IMG 1868The awards table just before the MSP Opens award ceremony began at ReaperCon 2021. Winners had to supply their own water and clipboards though. ;->

Q: Bonze X entry is notably better/worse than Bronze Y entry.

A: For this first answer, I’m assuming that you’re comparing figures within the same category, like two figures that both received Bronze awards in the Painters category. I’ll address comparisons of medal awards between categories in another FAQ below.

First off, you’re not wrong! In the Bronze medal grouping in particular, there is a fairly wide range of variation. People tend to think of the Bronze – Silver – Gold standards as being like steps in a staircase, or that they are spaced evenly apart like measurements on a ruler. That is actually not the case. Bronze is a gentle slope that covers an array of experience levels, painting knowledge, and approaches. The level of standards required to place at the Silver level is much more stringent, and the standard to place at the Gold level is quite challenging. Note that there are also sub-levels within each medal category as outlined in the next FAQ.

The diagram below shows the rough proportion of the standards for each medal level.

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Q: I am awarded the same level of medal every time, I don’t feel like I’m improving.

A: You may be improving more than you realize. Each medal level actually has sub-levels. If you want to get a more detailed view of your placement, ask someone at the contest registration desk to show you the judges’ scores for your entry.

The judged figure for each entrant is assessed by a team of three judges who award it a numerical score – 1 for Certificate, 2 for Bronze, 3 for Silver, 4 for Gold. If all three judges assess a figure at 2, that is a solid placement at the Bronze level. But sometimes one judge awards a different medal level than the others. This can give you information about whether you’re trending upwards, especially if you keep track of it over multiple years of entering.

Here’s a chart that breaks down the sub-levels within each medal type.

Screen Shot 2021 09 19 at 3 42 08 PM

Another thing to consider is that the saying ‘practice makes perfect’ is a bit misleading. Continuing to spend years painting in the same way you always have is rarely enough to propel a painter at the Bronze level to the Silver (or Gold) level, regardless of how much time they have spent painting. Significant skill improvement generally requires focused study (in person classes, video tutorials, books, personal feedback, etc.), and then deliberate and extensive practice of the techniques and ideas you’ve studied.

It is pretty much impossible to successfully work on getting good at everything at once. It’s also exhausting. You may find you make more progress if you identify one or two areas where your skills are weaker and focus on improving those for a while. As you become more adept with that skill, pick another to focus on.

Another helpful tool for improving your painting is to improve your skills at assessing and critiquing miniature figures and scenes. Study the work of other people, both the talented superstars you admire, and artists of a similar level to yourself. Try to identify specific things they have done that make a figure or effect more or less pleasing to look at. Studying other people’s work can help you understand how to use techniques and colours to better effect. While we can never look at our own work with the same impartiality, the more you practice critiquing figures in general, the more you will improve your ability to evaluate your own work. Only half of painting and sculpting skills relate to craft and technique. The other half comes from developing a better understanding of how to apply that craft to create a more visually striking piece.

On the other hand, always remember that you aren’t obligated to take classes, or work to improve! You aren’t obligated to do anything in your hobby other than what you most enjoy doing. Some people genuinely enjoy learning and constantly striving to improve their work, although even those people will suffer periods of frustration and disappointment. Other people get more satisfaction out of painting in a more relaxing way after work/school, or creating fun, but not necessarily amazing, figures to populate their game tables or share as gifts for friends. Neither approach to the hobby is superior to the other, and I know very happy hobbyists in both camps. The key is to figure out what you really enjoy doing in your hobby time, and set expectations to match that. If you’re someone who prefers to paint/sculpt in a casual, more relaxed manner, but you are also expecting to steadily move up in the medal ranks, you are creating some frustration for yourself by not matching your actions to your goals (or vice versa).

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Q: The painting of a Bronze/Silver/Gold in Open or Diorama seems like a different level than a Bronze/Silver/Gold in Painters.

A: Again, good eye, this is absolutely true! All of the categories in the MSP Open are assessed using the same five criteria: Difficulty, Creativity, Workmanship, Painting Skill, and Presentation. However, the value of each of the criteria is weighted differently in each of the categories. There is a numerical breakdown on the MSP Open rules site, and the judges also reference this breakdown when making their decisions. The ReaperCon website includes an archive of photos of every entry since 2012, so you can scan through entries in a category for the past few years to get examples of what was entered into which, and how that entry placed. (Look for the Painting Contest drop down menu at the top of the page. This may not work on mobile.)


Painting Skill is the primary criteria considered, and is weighted at 70% of the overall assessment of the piece. By contrast, painting skill is only 30% of the consideration in both Open and Diorama. A figure can be be awarded Silver or even Gold in those categories with a more modest level of paint job than the standard expected in Painters. (There is more information on the role of a figure’s base in Painters in another FAQ towards the bottom of this article.)

EXAMPLE: The stock figure on the left has a wand in one hand. I replaced this with a familiar, which also required removing the original base of the familiar. This is a very minor conversion. I constructed a larger base which included mushrooms that I sculpted. I also added some rocks and brass etched ferns on the back of the base. Those construction elements are also pretty minor. The amount of sculpting/conversion/construction on this piece is not really in the spirit of the Open category. This piece does not tell a strong enough story to enter into Diorama. The Painters category is the best fit for this entry.

Tristan combo open


Story and characterization are as important to the Diorama category as painting or sculpting skill. The stronger the story, the better. Creatively compressing the characters and action into a tight scene tells a better story than overwhelming the viewer with a ton of characters and scenic elements. Building only the parts of the environment necessary to convey the story is more interesting to look at than an entire meadow or temple that is mostly empty space.

Think of a diorama as if you are making a 3D movie poster or book cover, or a major story panel in a graphic novel. You need the viewer to grasp your story/vignette within just a few seconds of looking at the piece. Achieving the higher medal levels in Diorama also requires strong workmanship and presentation skills. (Most open format shows do not include a Diorama category. It was added to the MSP Open to reflect the unique interests and focus of the audience at ReaperCon.)

EXAMPLE: For the piece below I had to swap in a hand from another figure (because I lost the original), and I sculpted some rubble. As you can see in the finished pictures below, I later added a second skeleton, and some ground work to mesh everything together. While this involved more sculpting, conversion, and construction work than in my Painters example above, this is still a fairly minimal level of sculpting and construction. If this were entered into the Open category the high standard of painting might push this to a Bronze medal award, but it’s not really in the spirit of the Open category and would not be eligible for higher level medals. However, this piece does tell a story. If entered in Diorama, the painting and workmanship would be considered in light of how well they tell the story. If I already had a more elaborate entry to enter in Diorama, I could instead enter this in Painters, with the understanding that the sculpting/construction would only be minor considerations for its score.

Minx wip combo

Minx closeup combo


The typical Gold medal standard in the Open category is an entry with the following characteristics that has also been competently painted:

* A figure that has been sculpted from scratch or heavily converted on a simple base.

* A significantly converted figure on a complex base.

The Open category is designed to showcase sculpting and construction skills more than painting skills. Workmanship is worth 30% of the assessment, and Painting Skill is worth 30%. The assessment of the other three criteria (Difficulty, Creativity, and Presentation) focuses much more on sculpting/construction than on painting. Swapping out a head or weapon or sculpting a few pouches on a figure is not really in the spirit of the Open category, even if such a figure is presented on a somewhat elaborate base. If you would like your basing skills to receive more significant consideration, we recommend that you construct your base and paint your figure(s) as a story or vignette and enter your piece into the Diorama category.

NOTE: The judges are not familiar with every miniature that exists, nor even all of the Reaper line. It is very helpful to include a work-in-progress picture of the piece after you’ve finished sculpting and construction, but before you’ve primed or painted. If you are not able to do that, please list the figure(s) you used and the changes you’ve made to them on your entry card. If your work is of such high quality that we can’t tell what you added/changed, we may not be able to detect all of the work you’ve done to give you credit for it!

The Open category is truly open. It is usually the best category to enter non-miniature OOAK (one of a kind) entries. Over the years we have had some wonderfully creative entries in open, including a pendant, a constructed/sculpted abstract sculpture, stuffed animals/puppets, a life-size replica sci-fi blaster, a drinking stein, a figure set into a pocket watch, and more. 

EXAMPLE: For the piece below, I did a head swap for the groom, using the head of the figure on the top left and the body of the lower left. I also had to chisel away the hat and then repair that area of the suit. I sculpted a yarmulke onto the groom. For the bride, I removed the belt from the stock figure and sculpted on a sash. I modified her empty hand to appear as if clutching a bouquet of flowers. Both figures had one hand removed and replaced with hands that I sculpted to better appear as if they were interacting together. I stamped the texture patterns into putty to create the floor. The canopy was constructed from beads, skewers, plasticard/styrene and mesh cloth coated in white glue to form it into my desired shape.

This level of conversion and construction makes this piece appropriate to enter into the Open category. Neither the sculpting/construction nor the painting is top notch, so I wouldn’t expect a Gold, but it’s in the spirit of the Open category. Since the piece tells a story, it would also be well-suited for entry in Diorama.

Including a picture like the one below that shows the stock figures and what the piece looked like before painting is the kind of thing that is super helpful to the Open judges. (It also helps viewers appreciate your work more too!) You can include multiple pictures that reveal your components and sculpting/modifications in more detail, or you can write out the changes and additions like I did in the previous paragraph, but something like this is what we need to be able to identify all the work you’ve done.

Ns wip 800

The mesh cloth did not paint up the way I expected, so I later went in and replaced it with tissue paper soaked in white glue. After painting I added flowers to the bride’s hair and gave her a bouquet, and placed crushed glass under the groom’s foot. The judges will consider the creativity and skill of execution of non-painted features like these (or effects like water spray, blood, saliva) in their score for an Open entry. Note that adding some features like these to an otherwise stock figure is not enough to qualify an entry as suitable for the Open category.

Next step front full

EXAMPLE 2: On this figure, I sculpted straps on the dress and shoes on her feet, and added an additional hair decoration constructed from brass etched feathers. I sculpted the candle and wax drips, and constructed the table from wood. I sculpted the wood plank floor base. After painting I added a distressed paper flyer, and a bouquet made from dried flowers glued together and painted.

This piece would be suitable to enter into Open, though I would be surprised if it were considered for anything higher than a Bronze medal. I would want to include a before painting picture like the one on the left with my entry, since this is an older figure that many people might not be familiar with. This piece was designed as a vignette of a scene from The Colour Purple movie. It would also be possible to enter this into Diorama, but since understanding the piece somewhat depends on the viewer recognizing the film scene, I might prefer to enter it into Open. If I did enter it in Diorama and I included the photos, the judges would have enough information to decide whether to move it to the Open category if they felt I would earn a higher medal placement there.

Purple combo


Painting Skill and the Workmanship involved in assembling complex kits and depicting the vehicle/weapon within an appropriate environment (including weathering and similar) are the most significant criteria in this category. Note that any figures or creatures included on an Ordinance entry are essentially considered in the same way as scenic elements would be in the Painters category. Even the most skillfully painted of figures makes only a very minor contribution to the score assigned to an Ordinance entry.

EXAMPLE: The piece below includes a cannon, which makes it suitable for entry into the Ordinance category. If entered in Ordinance, the main element the judges look at would be just the cannon. My work on the skeleton would not have a lot of bearing on my score. While the way I painted it isn’t terrible (I used reference photos for the cannon itself), I would probably get dinged pretty hard on the Workmanship criteria since I assembled the cannon the wrong way around on the wagon. (I haven’t painted any true Ordinance entries to have a better example, sorry!)

Spirit cannon face

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Q: I couldn’t get feedback from my specific judges because they weren’t at their desk when I was looking for them or they had long lines of people. Or I couldn’t get feedback at all because I had to leave soon after the awards.

A: The judges do our best to give feedback to everyone we can, but it has gotten a little more challenging as the attendance of the convention and the number of entries in the contest grows. The judges also have classes to teach or other events they may be involved in, and they’re humans who get tired and need meals. Serving as a judge adds between 5-10 hours of additional duties at the convention.

However, consulting the people who judged your entry is not the only way to get feedback on your work! You also don’t have to wait until after the contest results have been announced to get feedback. Part of the role of all of the artists in Artist Alley is to give people feedback on their pieces. You can start requesting feedback from artists as soon as the convention opens on Thursday morning. Don’t worry whether getting feedback will affect the judging of your entries. If one of your judges has given you such extensive feedback that they feel they can’t assess your piece without bias, they will recuse themselves from judging it. We have alternate judges available to step in as necessary for just this kind of reason.

If you plan to leave on Saturday night or early Sunday morning, asking artists to take a look at your work in advance of the awards ceremony is the best way to ensure that you get some feedback!

Even if you wait until after the awards ceremony to request feedback, don’t feel as if you can only seek opinions from the people who judged your piece. If one of your judges has a long line, look around Artist Alley for someone else who isn’t busy right now. You can continue to try to connect with your chosen judge, but if you aren’t able to, you’ll at least get some feedback to work with.

There tends to be a lot of commonality with potential areas for improvement on pieces awarded Certificate or Bronze medals. If you place at those levels, any of the artists in Artist Alley are likely to identify and discuss with you most or all of same elements that your judges would.

Whoever or whenever you ask, it is helpful to consult at least two or three people if you can. Even if each identifies the same strengths and weaknesses in your piece, they may each have different suggestions for how best to address those, or they’ll have different ways of explaining the kinds of things you can do to improve in the future. Everyone explains things a little differently, and everyone understands things a little differently, so it’s helpful to get multiple viewpoints.

Artist alleyI took this picture on a Saturday morning when many artists were teaching classes, but there are still several artists available to answer questions and give feedback. This is just one of four rows of artists, and in 2021 when we had fewer artists than usual. 

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Q: I had one piece I really wanted feedback on, so I entered only that one in the competition. I marked the rest of my pieces as “Display Only”.

A: I think 2021 was the first year we had people do this, and it was a bit perplexing to the contest administration and judges. For me, the fact that you can enter several pieces in one category instead of feeling like you have to try to game the system and try to figure out which figure or painting style is likely to get you the best placement is one of the biggest appeals of the Open show format! Which piece is chosen for judging is often surprising to entrants, and something we get a lot of questions about. (The answers to which I’ll cover in a separate FAQ below.)

As I outlined above, you can ask for feedback from any of the instructors in Artist Alley at any time during the show, and you can ask for feedback on any of your pieces. If you have multiple figures to show, entering several of them into the competition gives you a better chance for the best possible medal placement. If you want speak to your judges after the awards, you can ask for feedback on whichever piece you want, it doesn’t have to be the entry they judged. 

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Q: Why did the judges pick this piece to assess? I don’t think it is my best work.

A: This is a very common question. And I get it! I have several times been surprised by which of my entries is chosen for judging. There are two aspects to consider here. One is how and why the judges make their choices, and the other is the factors that can affect how artists might feel about their entries.

Our goal when deciding which of your pieces to judge is to pick the entry that will receive the highest score. Discussions about which piece we’re going to judge are often more contentious than any other aspect of judging! When members of a judging team pick different pieces, we discuss all the options. Each judge points out the merits of their preference that the other judges may have overlooked, and identifies any issues that might make them a little less enthusiastic about another judge’s preference.

If the debate continues for more than a few minutes, we stop and ask ourselves this question: would I give piece X a different score than piece Y. Most of the time the answer is no. Most of the time the piece preferred by one judge demonstrates the same level of skill as the piece preferred by another judge.

If all of the judges agree that they would give any of the options under consideration the same score, we end the debate and make a choice. How do we make the choice in that situation? We try to choose the piece that best showcases your work to viewers, or one that has a great title, or one that stands out a little in some other way. We try to pick the one we think you would have liked us to pick, but as much as we’d like to, we definitely don’t always get that right!

The judges are always working to make choices in your favour. Occasionally one of the judges does feel that they would give a more positive score to piece X than they would to piece Y. When that happens, the other two judges agree to judge that figure. On the rare occasion that multiple judges on a team have strong opinions about different pieces, we keep talking it out until we come to an agreement.

If that seems like we’re being cavalier or off-handed, I assure you that is not the case. Remember that we are judging not just your entries, but upwards of a thousand entries from hundreds of artists. We have a limited number of judges, and we have deadlines to meet. The more time we spend debating which piece to judge, the less time we have to do actual in-depth judging of the chosen piece. If it would make a difference to your award, we will keep debating for as long as it takes to make a decision in your favour. If our decision would not change your award, we just have to pick one and keep moving. We need budget our time so that all entrants receive the same consideration and attention.

So that is why the judges do what they do. But it’s also worth thinking about why you may have feelings about their choice. Often people who feel disappointed expected another piece to be chosen because they were trying out more complex and challenging techniques on it – non-metallic metal, source lighting, freehand, something like that. We artists often tend to place less value on something that didn’t feel as difficult to make. If it wasn’t a grueling challenge, then we can’t have been using our very best effort in making it, right? It doesn’t always occur to us that sometimes something feels easier to do because we’re using skills we’ve already mastered. It’s not necessarily that the task is easy, it’s that we’re more practiced and comfortable performing that task. Whereas if we’re trying out new skills and techniques, the first few times we do them we’re beginners again. The skill may be considered ‘higher level’, but maybe our current mastery of that skill isn’t quite yet.

Occasionally you may also produce what I call a ‘happy marriage’ piece. This is one where your style, the techniques you used, the subject matter, and your colour choices all come together to make something that just really works. If you post a piece online and it gets a lot more likes and shares than your usual work and you’re a bit puzzled by why, chances are it’s a happy marriage miniature, and it’s happened to all of us occasionally!

I think the other reason people are surprised or upset about which piece was judged is the difference in experience between being the maker of something and being the viewer of something. 

As the maker of something, you can never really look at it through other people’s eyes. You’ve looked at your piece too long, too hard, and through all its different stages to ever be able to view it with a purely neutral eye. In addition, your experiences and emotions are wrapped up into your assessment of it. Maybe you feel very excited about this piece because it’s the first thing you’ve finished after an period of art block. Maybe you feel protective of this figure because it was made as a gift for someone you deeply care about, or during a very emotional period of your life. Maybe the reason you feel like the piece that was chosen wasn’t worthy of consideration is for similar emotional reasons – it didn’t come out the way you wanted, or it was painted during a tough time in your life.

Viewers can only see the piece before them. Viewers may bring some emotions and preferences along with that, like maybe you used their favourite colour or the figure is a subject they really love. (Contest judges are trained put those kinds of feelings aside to the best of our ability and assess the pieces as neutrally as we can.)

The judges, and viewers in general, can’t know what you know or feel what you feel about the piece or your life circumstances. There often is emotion in our work, and viewers respond to that, but the complex tapestry of feelings and life experiences that goes into the making of a contest level piece (or anything you’ve spent a lot of time on) isn’t always readily apparent to the outside viewer.

I imagine most people who’ve entered an open style contest or who post their work on social media have had this experience. I certainly have! I’ve painted pieces where I felt throughout the process that I was levelling up and addressing the most common critiques of my work, only to have those pieces receive the same old feedback. I’ve had pieces I thought were quite skillfully done that neither judges nor viewers much cared for. I’ve painted other pieces that I believe fail to adhere to basic principles of visual design that have gotten tons more likes and shares than pieces I like better or that I feel have more artistic merit.

Below is a picture of my display at the World Expo open show in 2017. Originally I only planned to bring the four pieces to the right. A friend suggested I add another to have an odd number of figures to make the overall display more visually appeal. I added the figure on the far left. The giantess is covered in freehand and has a much more elaborate base than any of the others. I had expected the judges to choose that one, largely because the viewers and judges of many traditional open shows are accustomed to figures of a larger scale. The figure on the bottom left is still the most popular of anything I’ve posted online, and also has elaborate freehand. The figure on the bottom right won a previous contest that it was entered into.

The judges chose to assess the one on the far left. The one I had painted eight years previous and hadn’t even planned to bring originally. I did have some feelings about that for a bit. Had I really not improved at all in eight years? But I decided not to dwell on it. The judges chose what they did in my favour. Now that some years have gone by and I’ve continued to study and learn, I can see areas where the older piece succeeds over the others. The lighting effect and the contrast of warm and cool colours is more visually interesting than the figures that have fancy freehand but sterile lighting.

World expo 2017

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Q: I was told the base of the figure didn’t matter in Painters, but the feedback from my judges included a lot of commentary about improving my bases. What gives?

A: Painting skill assessment is 70% of what is considered in the Painters category. Workmanship and Creativity are each worth 10%. Difficulty and Presentation are each worth 5%. The base of your figure can factor into the consideration in those four latter criteria, and even give you more scope to show off your painting skills.

These are some some scenarios for how bases can affect scoring in the Painters category.

Base Factors that can Negatively Affect Scoring

* The figure is visibly floating on a pin or has one leg not firmly glued down – lowers Workmanship and Presentation

* Basing materials like sand, gravel, or stones are unpainted – lowers Workmanship and Presentation, also reflects a little on Painting Skill since you could be using the way you paint these materials to demonstrate the ability to paint different kinds of textures

Base Factors that are Neutral to Scoring

* Figure is on a plain black base, clear flying stand, wood plinth or similar with no basing elements added

* Figure is on its integral base or a simple stone/wood/sand texture base that is competently painted

* There are some more complex basing elements and everything is competently painted, but maybe it’s not the most seamless or perfect base construction

Base Factors that can Positively Affect Scoring

* The base is well-constructed and competently painted

* The elements present on the base add additional opportunities for the painter to demonstrate skill in painting different materials and textures, or to demonstrate different kinds of painting techniques or effects. This is particularly helpful if the figure itself is very limited in materials/textures, like an elemental or a statue that is made up of only one or two kinds of material.

Neutral or even negative scoring on a base occasionally affects placement at Certificate or Bronze level. If your judges scored you 2 2 1 or 2 2 2, it is very unlikely that you would have earned a Silver Medal if your figure had had a different base. If your judges scored you 2 2 3 and your base had elements that I listed as negatively affecting scoring, it is possible that you might have been able to earn a Silver with a neutral or more elaborate base.

Hr group fullI entered these as a single entry in 2017. The figures are sculpted with those bases, I just painted them. I was awarded Gold. Many of the figures I’ve won Gold with have been on integral or simple bases.

I have won multiple Gold medals with figures that just had standard Reaper integral bases, or minimal scratch sculpted basing. I even won enough votes for Best in Show votes in 2014 to place second with a stock base. I’m well-known for simple or even kind of bad bases, but I do paint them up as well as I can! ;->

Sophie2014 faceI won second place Best in Show with this figure in 2014. It is also an example of a piece that other people gave me more credit for than I thought I merited (Largely this is because I just followed the colour scheme in Izzy’s design art and there wasn’t any particularly fancy painting other than the base being a lot of NMM. I think its popularity was due as much or more to Bobby Jackson’s sculpting and Izzy “Talin” Collier’s fine design work as to anything I did.)  The judges chose to assess another piece in my display for my medal placement, but the voters chose this one

I can’t speak to all judges, but I am very unlikely award a Silver score to a base with unpainted basing elements, regardless of the quality of painting on the figure. Painting the stone/sand/wood/etc. on the base makes it look in scale with the rest of the figure, and falls under the umbrella of the Painting Skill criteria. I would have no problem awarding a Silver score to a figure on a plain/clear/wood plinth or base. Your judges are mentioning basing factors to you because a competently constructed base and one which offers you additional painting opportunities can help push you into the Silver level, and is pretty much required to place at the Gold level.

Cersei by marikeThis Cersei figure from Darksword Miniatures was painted by Marike Reimer. It demonstrates how even a fairly simple base can expand your painting options. Marike sculpted the back of the skirt to flow over the stones, which allowed her to paint the transparency effect on the dress over an additional material. She also added regal pillows that contributed to the characterization of the figure and the composition of the piece as a whole.

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Q: Why do some people’s entry displays have photos and/or documents next to them?

A: Entrants are welcome to submit related material with an entry. Some share work-in-progress pictures, some talk about their inspirations, and some may share historical or other facts related to their entry. Entrants are also welcome to jot some information like that down on their entry card.

We particularly encourage entrants in the Open category to give us more information about what sculpting changes and additions they’ve made, with before/after pictures if possible. When entrants are very skilled at sculpting/construction, it is possible for judges to miss the changes they’ve made and give them less credit than they deserve! It’s impossible for the judges to know every miniature and what it looks like stock out of the catalog, or even just to be that familiar with all of the many Reaper figures. We try to do some research if we have something to go on to do it, but we just don’t have a lot of time to spend trying to remember the names of figures and looking for catalog pictures of them online.

BessieAt the Atlanta AMFS open show, I included this card with my entry, to give more information on the historical figure Bessie Coleman. (I forgot to take a picture of my display at the show, I took this photo later at home.)

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Q: What is ‘Display Only’?

A: When you set up a display for your entries, you can also include pieces that you designate as Display Only. Display Only figures are available for everyone to enjoy viewing, but they are not assessed during judging. Display Only is a way to show off figures that you entered in previous years, or work-in-progress that you want to safely show off to people. It’s a way for everyone to put out their work to be appreciated in a way similar to how the instructors in Artist Alley put figures out on their desks. If you have a commission service or a miniature-related social media show/page, it’s a way to display more of your work and include a business card with your contact information.

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Figures in this Post

Tristan the Loremistress is available in metal.
The Sorceress was a Kickstarter exclusive from Minx Miniatures and long out of production.
I believe the scenic base was produced by Reaper and is also out of production.
The RPG Geek is available as part of a pack of Townsfolk: Geeks in metal.
Tasker, Henchman is available in metal.
Tinley, Female Wizard is available in metal.
The African Queen is available in metal.
The Soul Cannon is available in metal.
The Frost Giant Queen is available in Bones plastic.
Bourbon Street Sophie is available in metal.
Treasure Rocky is available in Bones plastic.
This version of Tara the Silent was a special addition and is out of production.
Ar-Fienel was a limited edition figure and is out of production.
The High Rollers are available in Bones plastic.
Sheriff Sophie is available in metal.
Cersei Lannister is available in metal.
Tillie Fighter Pilot is available in metal.

2 thoughts on “MSP Open and Medals FAQ”

  1. Dear Ms. Rhonda,
    Thank you for taking the time to explain so much. It answered a lot of questions I have had for a while now. I do have one more question to ask. Does it weigh heavily that a person does not paint nmm and instead used a true metallic paint? I am just curious is why I ask.


    1. Hi Michael. It does not matter whether an entry is painted with true metallics or non metallic. It doesn’t matter whether an entry is painted in more of a comic/cartoon style or a very realistic style, or an artistic interpretation in between. It doesn’t matter if an entry is a Reaper miniature, another brand, or not even a miniature. If it is a Reaper miniature, it doesn’t matter if it is painted and presented in the way it may have been envisioned by the concept artist, sculptor, and studio painter, or a completely different kind of character, mood, and colour scheme.. We’ve awarded high medal honours to OOAK plush toys, a bust from a gum ball machine, and other strange and wondrous things.

      What we consider in our assessment is the degree of competency apparent in the application of whatever techniques or styles the entrant used, and how successfully that approach meshes with the chosen figure, colour scheme, and presentation (basing and so on.) We are judging the piece as created against the best possible version of itself, not a checklist of best techniques or standard colour schemes or anything like that.


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