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Real good thread on Nats judging over on HS


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Thanks for posting this, Jim. This just reinforces how important it is to nail the basics, which is one thing I am working on with my own efforts.

Stew

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My D.520 didn't win anything.

I got home and unpacked it, set it on the mirror and decided to see if I could find any problems.

One of my gear struts wasn't glued in tight and had shifted :thumbsup:

I didn't notice when I had set it on the contest table.

It would have been a very simple fix :doh:

There were other nice models in its' category but I think I would have stood a pretty good chance if not for that strut...

Oh well, I had fun regardless!

As for Nats judging...

I've been doing the IPMS thing for almost 30 years now.

I've judged lots of contests though never at the Nats.

I completely understand the rules and judging criteria and why it would be difficult to change things, but I personally wish that other factors were taken into consideration including complexity of paint and construction, presentation and the 'wow factor' or overall appeal of a model.

I've beaten some incredible models that had a few minor flaws and honestly I didn't feel good about it...

:doh:

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The part about the finish is the strange part to me. Now, I have never entered any large contest, a couple of local and one regional, and won a couple of things. In the one contest we were told that they were using the IPMS standard for judging, which meant nothing to me at the time. A model of an Israeli Merkava won the 1/35th modern category, which really surprised me, as it had a totally wrong paint job. Instead of the correct gray/greenish tan that they early Merkavas had, this one had something bordering on what you would see applied to a German Afrika Korps tank. That is, sort of yellowish tan. When I asked about this afterward, one of the judges stated that the IPMS criteria for judging didn't take into account if the color applied was the correct color, but only how well it was applied. He said 'correct' color was too subjective. I was stunned. So I asked, if the kit had been unpainted but built well, or well painted in a pink tone, if it would still win over a model that was well painted in the correct color but perhaps had a small flaw in the build. He said that it would win, that basic build quality was weighted more than the finish, as long as the finish was applied in a manner that didn't detract from the overall quality of the model. I guess I figured that if a person is qualified to be a judge, they would be able to determine if a color was in fact 'correct', and be able to weigh that just as they would the other criteria.

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^ If you can point out the 'correct' colour used for Olive Drab on WWII US hardware, I'll give you a gold star.

And after that, determine whether the colours used on the Haitian P-51 and Thai Spad are more or less accurate than the Battle of Britain Spit entered in the same category. Then you can judge the accuracy of colours.

Unless and until you can say for absolute certain whether the particular colours are accurate, and that if they're not accurate for the typical example, that the specific subject modelled never, at any point in its history, carried an atypical paint scheme which the model might depict, and that you can do this for every single model you are judging, then you're tilting the playing field with an unfair bias for the subjects you know.

And *if* you're going to ding models for having unrealistic interpretations of paint, then it's a very slippery slope to dinging them for unrealistic interpretations of weathering. After all, it's all part of the finish, and the overall look of the model. If an F-15 is 'wrong' because you feel the Gunship Grey is too brown, then it's similarly 'wrong' because it's been pre-shaded, or post-shaded, and heavily washed.

At which point, all semblance of objectivity disappears. It's all subjective - what do the judges 'like' most. And if you think there's a lot of bitching and moaning about contest results *now*, just imagine how much there'd be if it was three guys picking whichever model struck their fancy.

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To each their own I guess. If we want to take into account the possibility of anything that could have been done once under a blue moon, then you're right, there is a chance at one time, some place a P-51 was painted plaid with lime green stripes. As long as the model is well painted, that would be completely acceptable I guess. Perhaps it could be stressed that something so odd ball would require some photographic proof to be considered something other than a "what if".

It doesn't have to be the "correct' shade of OD, it just has to be something that most reasonable people familiar with the subject would immediately say "thats a shade of OD green, thats plausible". Painting it emerald green and claiming it to be OD would require some common sense on the judges part to determine, but I figure they can do more than look for pin marks and 1/10th of a mm out of alignment landing gear. I guess I would be asking too much or giving them too much leeway. And who's not to say there wasn't one D.520 that had a slightly canted landing gear, like Zactos?

How are the figures and other 'non-mechanical' entries judged, strictly by if the joints are filled satisfactorily or if the head is turned at an angle that is 1/2 of a degree beyond what is humanly possible? To me, those categories would be COMPLETELY subjective. Please don't tell me that a beautiful figure, well painted and looking like it could walk off the table, will lose out on an award because the judge has no concept of what figure painting is all about, and finds that the shoulder joint has a tiny flaw on it. Its like looking at a piece of art, and judging it by wherther its framed correctly of if there is a wayward brush stroke up in the corner. Its missing the point (at least to me )of why we build models.

Basically, then, creating a model for an IPMS contest has come down to a by the numbers "check the joints, check for ejector pins, check for mold seams. The entire WOW factor, which is to me a huge part of any model, is an afterthought, if a thought at all. Judging is actually not 'judging' at all, but checklisting.Personally I would much rather go see models that wow me and inspire me to do something more than refine my filler putty application skills, but I guess if thats what it takes to win an award, thats what it takes.

Edited by JasonB
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If we want to take into account the possibility of anything that could have been done once under a blue moon, then you're right, there is a chance at one time, some place a P-51 was painted plaid with lime green stripes. As long as the model is well painted, that would be completely acceptable I guess.

You suggested accuracy should be a judging criteria. Accuracy is a black and white thing, not shades of grey. Either something is accurate, or it isn't. The problem with this is, if the judge doesn't *know* that there was a P-51 painted plaid with lime green stripes, he'll toss it from the competition because it's inaccurate. He might be completely wrong, maybe those were the personal markings of some obscure Belizian ace... but if he doesn't know, he will unfairly decide that it's wrong, and the model will be shut out.

A somewhat more realistic example... British F-4Js. They were originally painted in an American approximation of BSC spec paints. Except the colours were 'wrong'. They were later re-painted in actual BSC paints. Which leads to three potential problems. A judge who doesn't know better might ding an FS-equivalent painted model because it's the wrong shade: "that shade of Medium Sea Grey is completely wrong!" Or they might ding a model painted in BSC paints as wrong: "that's painted in accurate BSC colours, where the US equivalents were actually completely different!" Oooorrrrr you might get a judge who dings the model because the paint used is wrong for the markings used on the model.

Or even more likely, a judge simply won't know any better, and will instead ding the F-4J painted in the 'wrong' shade of gull grey.

(and there's loads of similar examples - the various TPS schemes phased in over the years - did that F-15 wear those markings with that paint scheme? Norway's solid-color F-16, when most users have gunship grey backs. Two-tone vs. three-tone F-16 schemes - when the 2-tone scheme was first introduced and little known, a model could well have been tossed for 'missing' one of the camo shades. For that matter, the varying demarcation lines on F-16s. Different units/wings have different standards, some have the upper fuselage demarcation line forward, in the middle of the canopy, some have it aft, some have it asymmetrical, or with a 'finger'. If colour fidelity is an issue, shouldn't the basic camo pattern be as well? So which camo pattern/demarcation line did that particular F-16 carry? What about camo patterns on -109s? Those are widely varying: high on the spine, mid fuselage, low on the fuselage... DO judges have to know? Then there's the many WWII paint schemes that are still a source of academic debate. Should the -190 with the striped lower fuselage be tossed because it's red? Black? What colour *was* used behind the glass on P-40s? Was it broken down by factory, and if so, which factory did the subject depicted come from - did the version modelled have OD or grey paint? What shade is Malta blue? Heck, even Showtime 100 often comes up for discussion.)

It doesn't have to be the "correct' shade of OD, it just has to be something that most reasonable people familiar with the subject would immediately say "thats a shade of OD green, thats plausible". Painting it emerald green and claiming it to be OD would require some common sense on the judges part to determine, but I figure they can do more than look for pin marks and 1/10th of a mm out of alignment landing gear.

Except.... what if the real thing *was* painted in emerald green? Most reasonable people familiar with the subject would immediately say "that model is completely inaccurate." And they'd be wrong. So because the judges are less familiar with that particular subject than another entry on the table, the emerald green plane gets tossed, and another model which most people might think is 'wrong' gets gold. Or else you're *requiring* modellers to be less accurate, for fear of being penalized by judges for perceived inaccuracies. Don't do anything weird, different or obscure, because the judges will assume it's wrong, and you'll lose. Don't build that F-4 that got zapped by the Royal Navy, because the judges may not know and will ding you for screwing up the insignia. Don't build an F-14 in bright green temporary paint from a training exercise, because the judges will assume it's wrong and you won't medal.

Besides which... looking for pin marks, alignment issues and other similar faults is remarkably effective at separating the wheat from the chaff. It's easy to knock a large category down to three or four entries that way, then it's just a matter of sorting out those remaining entries. When judging the basics, the *vast* majority of awards don't go to the best models, but simply the least bad. Who has the fewest faults. There are precious few perfect models out there.

Not to mention, 'reasonable people familiar with the subject' is itself problematic. Use the Merkava as an example. Mk.1s were actually painted in a (relatively) sandy yellow. It wasn't until the mid-production of the Mk..III in the mid-90's that they switched to the darker/greener khaki-er shade. (I've also seen discussions suggesting that vehicles stationed in different regiouns had different shades of paint to blend with the differing ground cover)

Mk.1:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Merkava-1-latrun-2.jpg

which is actually closer to an Afrika Korps Yellow:

http://soltor.de/Photogallery/munster/images/p3_front.jpg

than the late-production green-brown:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Merkava4_MichaelMass02.jpg

A little darker and more orange, but really not a million miles away. Frankly, it's not really any farther away than many "Olive Drab" model paints are from the real shade. Now obviously, not having seen the model in question, I can't say just how bad the paint really was. Maybe it was a lurid yellow and looked absolutely terrible. But if we limit things to 'early IDF Armor sand', 'Late IDF armor sand' and 'Afrika Korps yellow', I can see your average bystander not seeing anything terribly wrong with painting a Merkava in A.K. paint. It's certainly closer to being accurate than using the dark, current IDF shade.

Which, again, raises the problem of expertise. A judge with a little knowledge might ding a Mk.IV for being wrong, since Israeli armoor is painted in a yellowy/orange-ey sand colour. Or might ding a Mk.2 because he knows that all Israeli armour is painted in a dark, greenish-greyish-brownish shade. Or... *should* the Mk.III be dinged for its paint - is it an early build with dark paint (that should be light), or a late build with light paint (that should be dark)?

It all boils down to having a level playing field. If *every* judge doesn't have an encyclopoedic knowledge of *every* subject on the table, then it's not fair to use what knowledge they do have to the benefit (or detriment) of a portion of the entries. They may *know* that the Merkava is painted the wrong shade of sand, but unless they also *know* whether the Bophuthatswanan tank on the table next to it is right or wrong, then the Merkava would be unfairly penalized; they're not applying the same rules to every entrant. Maybe that Bophuthatswanan tank is even less accurate - it's painted sand when it should be green. But because the judges don't know, it gets a pass, and an unjustified win. Or worse still (and more typical), the judges will *think* that a model is painted inaccurately, when in fact the modeller had it right all along. We all know those sorts of know-it-alls - the guys who love to nit pick every fault they think they see in your work, but are wrong themselves more often than not. In which case, the modeller who spent hours researching accurate colours and finding the perfect match, gets penalized because of the judges' ignorance.

So rather than adding all that speculation and subjectivity, because every judge *can't* be expected to know every subtle detail about every single subject - and more importantly, because they'll often know many subtle details about some specific subjects - they remove that sort of nit-picky accuracy from the equation. I may know (or think) that this aircraft never wore those markings or used that piece of ordnance... but because I can't judge each entrant on those same criteria, I can't judge *any* of them with that criteria.

How are the figures and other 'non-mechanical' entries judged

The IPMS Competition Handbook lists the judging criteria for figures:

http://www.ipmsusa.org/competition_handboo...02.html#figures

Yes, it does come down to the same sort of nuts-and-bolts criteria of any other genre. Different nuts and bolts, but the same basic philosophy.

(and the full handbook, with all categories: http://www.ipmsusa.org/competition_handbook/CH_index.html )

Basically, then, creating a model for an IPMS contest has come down to a by the numbers "check the joints, check for ejector pins, check for mold seams. The entire WOW factor, which is to me a huge part of any model, is an afterthought, if a thought at all. Judging is actually not 'judging' at all, but checklisting.Personally I would much rather go see models that wow me and inspire me to do something more than refine my filler putty application skills, but I guess if thats what it takes to win an award, thats what it takes.

Yes and no. Yes, 9 times out of 10 it comes down to basics. As mentioned above though, this is remarkably effective, as there are precious few 'perfect' models out there. As Vojtek's F-15, which started all this, shows: even the best make mistakes. And the IPMS philosophy is essentially, that if you've got enough skill to scratchbuild a 1/72, functioning jet engine, then you've got enough skill to properly sand the seams on said engine, so judging must start with the basics.

The result is that judging is actually a fairly soul-crushing experience. Look at a table full of beautiful models, and clinically dissect them, searching for every minute flaw. Casually toss aside something a modeller spent months on, because they forgot to sand a bit of putty, or had a decal silver.

*However*, that doesn't mean there aren't impressive models at contests. Again, as John Vojtek's F-15 demonstrates. Category judging is a fairly simple process of 'fewest flaws'. Judging special awards - best aircraft, judges choice, etc. is more difficult, and modellers going after those awards tend to go for more 'wow factor'. That's definately the case with people's choice. THe IPMS has been using the exact same judging rules for decades, and yet as the pictures from the latest Nats shows, there's still plenty of eye-candy and model ********* entered. And just because an entry doesn't win an award, doesn't mean it's not amazing to look at. At the last local contest, probably the single most memorable model (for me), the one I most wished was my own... was tossed almost immediately when judging that category, because of seam filling issues. It was still an amazing looking product, though.

I'm not saying, at the end of the day, that IPMS style judging is perfect, or the absolute ideal. It does have its faults, though it also has many positives. I'm simply saying that it's an attempt to create the most objective method of judging possible, and that adding the complexity of aesthetics, accuracy and personal taste would damage that objectivity, turning it into a far more subjective affair - and as a result, more prone to controversy and abuse. At the end of the day, it's kind of like Churchill's famous quote about democracy: it's the worst system of government in the world, except for all the other systems of government.

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I don't have the energy in me to continue to debate point for point something thats not going to change anything or anyones mind, but to me, models are like pieces of art. I look at them for the aesthtic, whether it "pops" and if it stands out from those around it. Whether it has some sort of effect on the viewer. I dont look at a model and say "oh look how well he filled those seams, or how straight that gear is. Its presentation and appeal would be my first criteria, then I would move on to worrying about the nuts and bolts of how it was constructed. For me, a model that looks like a piece of art, but has a few minor construction glitches, is far more deserving of an award. Anyone can can fill and sand, and fill and sand,and get a seam smooth, and its proves nothing to me as far as their modeling skills go. But not everyone can bring a model to life. Thats whats important to me, not some by the number method that allows the judges to point out flaws while ignoring the artistic quality.

To judge a figure by that criteria is IMHO just insane, but I guess thats the mindset of modelers and not figure painters, which is the truest artform (again IMHO) in the hobby. I guess thats why they have figure only shows, where the quality of the painted figure is paramount, and judges are allowed to use their, well, judgement.

I am well aware of the colors of the Merkava, having modeled many in my armor building years. The first pic is of a museum machine that may well not be in its original colors, which though they did vary, I don't think any looked anything like Afrika Korps yellow. The model I referred to was night and day from any picture of a Merkava I have ever seen. But again, I am looking at it from my opinion on what a model is supposed to be, compared to a criteria for judging that takes any real judgment out of the hand of the person doing the judging, and reduces it down to a checklist. If that makes it fair, I guess thats what people want, but a souless "well built" model will, for me, take a back seat to one that makes me want to actually go and build one for myself.

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Personally I would much rather go see models that wow me and inspire me to do something more than refine my filler putty application skills, but I guess if thats what it takes to win an award, thats what it takes.

OK Jason lets take your thought though to it 's logical conclusion. If I as an entrant decside to enter my model I should know what ther rules are correct? And now knowing what they are I can then enter and know what the judges will look. I then can for I can expect a fair outcome correct? Well How as an entrant am I supposed to know what will WOW or Inspire a certain judge on a certain day. I suppose if I know who was going to judge my catagory a year in advance I could contact them and see waht they like so I could build to there WOW factor or whatever inspires them.

Personally I prefer to build what I like and aim for a standard thats accepted society wide then to take a chance with a judge who picks out what they like, mistakes be damned. We as judges are not there to pick out favorites, anyone can do that as seen with the Peoples choice award. And I'll say it again, if somnone can spend thousands of hours on the fancy stuff why or why can't they spend 5 minutes to fill some holes or seams ????

But not everyone can bring a model to life.

True!!! but the real thing does not have seams and crooked gear and injector pin marks and glue blobs and frosted canopies and dust and roughly applied paint. That's why the basics are judged before anything else. As for inspiration goes I left the Nats very inspired, thats one main reason why i go but if there is to be a competition then we need rules, you can't have any kind of competition wihtout them.

Jim

Edited by Hornet78
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I surrender. Where is the white flag emoticon when you need it?

I'm just glad I don't build for contests, it would take what for me is a creative and artistic pursuit and turn it into assembly line drudgery. Make sure this screw is tight, now make sure that seam is filled, make sure that pin mark...

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Hey Jason

I don't think were looking for a white flag, and it's probably good that you don't build for contests, I think any and every modeler should first build for themsleves!! thats why It's important to build what you want and thats what I was refereing to in my responce about not building to judges personal favorites or inspirations. How would you feel if you got that new Sufa conversion knocked out and looking all stellar and you brought it to a Nats only to have someone show up with a 32nd scale Sabre done up in a Natural metal paint scheam which the judges prefered since Natural metal is harder to do and looks better to that judges eye? You are allready at a disadvantage to no fault of your own. Thats all I;m saying, in any sport game or competition you need rules.

Now get back to the Sufa, I'm eagerly awaiting more progress updates as to what needs to be done!

Jim

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I would actually be OK with that, because I think 1)the Sabre is wicked cool 2) NMF IS much harder to do and 3) I don't think this Sufa conversion is going to be ready for any public appearances with me doin' the buildin'. As I shared with another ARCer, I have met the enemy, and its name is "Vac Canopy".

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Good points mentioned from all. I decided after learning the IPMS judging rules, that it basically makes sense. At the National level, each team is selected from different chapters to avoid "Buddy" issues. The team is typically responsible for judging numerous builds.

To put all the entries on an equal and fair basis the ground rules must be followed.

Simple formula is to know the rules if you plan to enter a kit to win. Best way to learn is to be a judge. Any National member is eligible. Not only do you learn the rules, but you become a better builder!

A builder would Most likely spend the time keeping everything as accurate as they can (close colors, etc.) if they are spending the time aligning gear, etc. If you build something for a particular reason, fine. It might not be a competitive build that's all. It doesn't mean it isn't a good build right? As long as you make it for the purpose you intend, fine.

If you don't care to apply building basics, then don't expect to beat someone that does when those are the very things you are being judged on by the contest you enter.

Again, the best way to figure all this out is to volunteer to judge at the next IPMS Nationals. I was unsure the first time I tried, but I will tell you I will ALWAYS judge from now on! Not only is it the best way to stay on the show floor Thursday after the public leaves, but there is usually food provided, you get to bond with other builders from all over the states, get to see the models close up, and learn the Hot Spots of each category. If you mostly build 1/48 aircraft, learn what it takes for the Armor guys to win.

Now, if there were any change to be made, I feel an "Asthetics" award could be possible. That is, the best entrant in the category that didn't place, but had the strongest application of accuracy of Paint, weathering, and subject matter. And remember, if your entry didn't place, it would be good to know why with feedback from the judges (as a simple issue like Zactoman's) because you could fix it and bring it next time. If I build to compete, I use the guide lines. If not, then I don't expect to place, but still like to show my work. Been enjoying the shows ever since.

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  • 1 month later...

FWIW, back in my R/C days, those entering scale contests had to provide documentation, including three-views, color plates, etc. of the aircraft represented in order to substantiate the type and scheme modeled. I'm not saying that this should be a critera for the average contest, but perhaps a "Master Class" criteria could be developed that accounts for documentation.

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Some interesting stuff here.

I jusdge at the UK nationals and it can be a minefield. I had to disqualify the best model by far in one of my categories last year, purley because the modeller had not read the rules and included something he should not have.

I did try and find the modeller to explain this but had no luck.

Julien

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I entered a couple figures into a contest this weekend. Sadly, the contest only had categories for "single figures." OR, the "collection" category was for 3 or more models. SO, my scout/sniper team was left without a category. There were better figures than mine at the contest, but I wonder if that figured into anyone's decision.

At this contest, I also decided what I'm going to do from now on at contests. Since I feel like I'm getting dirty looks from the judges when I try to eavesdrop, and I never get any kind of feedback or reasons for winning/not-winning, I'm going to leave a little pad of paper and a pen next to my models from now on. I WANT feedback on my model! If there's something I missed, TELL ME! If there's something that makes you go "OMFG that's EFFING AWESOME" I'd like to hear about that too.

Edited by RedHeadKevin
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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Recently, I was watching "the Next Iron Chef" competition on the Food network, and the finalist that was chosen to be the Iron Chef was chosen not for his flair and gusto, but rather for his mastery of the basics. So, the Nats was not the only place where somebody won over the glitz an glitter of another competitor.

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This might not be the best place for this question, but hopefully someone can assist.

Would a model be disqualified (per IPMS rules) in the OOB catagory if the panel lines are sanded off and rescribed.

I can't quite figure out if that is legal or not. The rules state that you can sand down rivet detail, but can you add the detail back? It also states you can rescribe lines where lost to seam repair, and it also states "no major surgery." I'm just not completely clear on it I guess, and have no experience with this as I am about to enter a model for the first time coming up on February (local IPMS event). Just want to make sure my kit would qualify.

Thanks in advance for the help.

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In my experience Judging critera will vary quite wildly when going to smaller shows. In some shows they will interpret rescribing as being allowed into an OOB category, where others will not. I don't believe you could enter a rescribed model in the nats (or even a regional) and have it be considered OOB (unless the work was rather minimal).

I'm still not sure how they deal with something like an Eduard Mk 22 spitfire - which is essentially the Airfix Mk 22 with some Aires resin and eduard etch tossed in the box. Can you build that one "OOB"? If you buy the airfix kit, add the aires resin and eduard etch it most certainly wouldn't be considered for OOB, but if you buy the eduard kit it does? This doesn't go with the spirit of the rule, even though it might technically be an OOB build.

This might not be the best place for this question, but hopefully someone can assist.

Would a model be disqualified (per IPMS rules) in the OOB catagory if the panel lines are sanded off and rescribed.

I can't quite figure out if that is legal or not. The rules state that you can sand down rivet detail, but can you add the detail back? It also states you can rescribe lines where lost to seam repair, and it also states "no major surgery." I'm just not completely clear on it I guess, and have no experience with this as I am about to enter a model for the first time coming up on February (local IPMS event). Just want to make sure my kit would qualify.

Thanks in advance for the help.

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In my experience Judging critera will vary quite wildly when going to smaller shows. In some shows they will interpret rescribing as being allowed into an OOB category, where others will not. I don't believe you could enter a rescribed model in the nats (or even a regional) and have it be considered OOB (unless the work was rather minimal).

I'm still not sure how they deal with something like an Eduard Mk 22 spitfire - which is essentially the Airfix Mk 22 with some Aires resin and eduard etch tossed in the box. Can you build that one "OOB"? If you buy the airfix kit, add the aires resin and eduard etch it most certainly wouldn't be considered for OOB, but if you buy the eduard kit it does? This doesn't go with the spirit of the rule, even though it might technically be an OOB build.

Frank

You could not buy the Airfix kit and add the Aires and Eduard etch because you have to supply the instructions with the kit when you enter it. If you bought the Eduard kit with all the resin etc you can enter it in OOTB as all of the "aftermarket" is included and on the instructions. :D

Cheers

Mike

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Frank

You could not buy the Airfix kit and add the Aires and Eduard etch because you have to supply the instructions with the kit when you enter it. If you bought the Eduard kit with all the resin etc you can enter it in OOTB as all of the "aftermarket" is included and on the instructions. :monkeydance:

Cheers

Mike

AAh - so if I took my airfix kit, my aires resin and eduard etch build it's not an OOB kit unless I go to www.eduard.com and download the instructions ?

I see - makes perfect sense :whistle:

Frank

Edited by FrankC
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AAh - so if I took my airfix kit, my aires resin and eduard etch build it's not an OOB kit unless I go to www.eduard.com and download the instructions ?

I see - makes perfect sense :whistle:

Frank

well there is THAT!! LOL.... touche'

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  • 2 months later...

I keep coming back here..

......so MY question is can the Judges tell the differences between the different makes of parts used and if they are OOB OR not....

I am sure they can but just wondered about that for a long time..

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