I am going to be doing an Out of the Box (OOB) build for a local contest coming up in October. The rules for this particular category say that they will go by the IPMS judging rules… which I needed to look up. In doing so, I came across the IPMS Competition Handbook. It’s a collection of helpful information to understand how judges at model events will be looking at your competition models.
I thought it was worth sharing. Even if you don’t plan on entering contests, it’s a good checklist of things to watch during your build process.
- Flash, sink marks, mold marks, ejector-pin marks, provisions for motorization eliminated.
- Seams filled where applicable, especially on cylindrical parts such as gun barrels, wheels, and auxiliary equipment.
- Contour errors corrected.
- Gaps between upper and lower hulls blanked off to prevent a “see-through” effect.
- Gap/overlap at point where track ends join eliminated.
- Machine guns, main guns, exhausts, vents, etc. drilled out/opened up.
- Cylindrical cross-section of gun barrels maintained.
- Track pattern (cleats) facing in the proper direction on both sides of vehicle.
- Road wheels on tracked vehicles (along with idler, drive, and return rollers, if any) at the same distance from the lower chassis centerline.
- Road wheels sitting flush on the track.
- Tracks vertical (not leaning in or out when viewed from the front or back of the vehicle) and parallel (not toed in or out when viewed from top of vehicle).
- All wheels/tracks sitting firmly on the ground.
- Vehicle components square and aligned.
- Gun(s) (on most turreted vehicles) parallel to turret centerline when viewed from above.
- Items positioned symmetrically on actual vehicle (e.g., headlights and guards, fenders, mud flaps, etc.) positioned symmetrically on model, unless represented as damaged.
- Parts that are thick, over-scale, or coarse should be thinned, modified, or replaced.
- Weld marks should be simulated where applicable.
- Extra parts should be added if practical, with references used to confirm their existence on the actual vehicle. Such parts should be as close to scale as possible.
- Add (especially on conversion or scratch-built models) the small detail parts (rivets, nuts and bolts, etc.) usually found in standard injection-molded kits.
- Add tarps, bedrolls, chains, fuel cans, etc., but be sure to also add some method by which such items are attached to the vehicle (hook, rope, tie down). Jerrycans are not attached to real tanks with superglue.
- Aftermarket parts (photo-etched, white metal, resin, etc.) should integrate well with the basic model. Photo-etched parts that require forming should be precisely shaped, and any surfaces that require building up to a thicker cross-section should be smooth and uniform.
- Molded-on parts such as axes and shovels should be undercut or removed completely and replaced. This is especially true of molded screen, which should be replaced with real screen.
- Track “sag” on tracked vehicles should be duplicated where appropriate.
- Windshield wipers should be added where appropriate.
- Headlights and tail lights should be drilled out and have lenses added.
- Cable and electrical lines should be added to lights and smoke dischargers.
- Valve stems should be added to tires.
- Instrument faces on dashboards should have detail picked out and lenses added.
- Gas and brake pedals should be added to open-wheeled vehicles.
- Road wheel interiors should be detailed (this is especially necessary on the Hetzer).
- Molded grab handles and hatch levers should be replaced with wire or stretched sprue.
- Underside of model, if viewable, should be given the same attention to detail as the top; e.g., motor holes filled, paint applied, weathering on the inside of the road wheels consistent with that on the outside. If the vehicle being modeled was weathered, normal wear and tear to the bottom of the hull from riding over the usual rocks, brush, and other obstacles should be visible on the model.
Painting and finishing
The model’s surface, once painted, should show no signs of the construction process (glue, file, or sanding marks; fingerprints; obvious discontinuities between kit plastic and filler materials; etc.).
Finish should be even and smooth, unless irregularities in the actual vehicle’s finish are being duplicated. Exceptions such as zimmerit or non-slip surfaces should be documented.
Paint edges that are supposed to be sharp should be sharp (no ragged edges caused by poor masking). Edges that are supposed to be soft or feathered should be in scale and without overspray.
- No brush marks, lint, brush hairs, etc.
- No “orange-peel” or “eggshell” effect; no “powdering” in recessed areas.
- No random differences in sheen of finish caused by misapplication of final clear coats.
Weathering, if present, should show concern for scale (e.g., size of chipped areas), be consistent throughout the model, and be in accordance with the conditions in which the real vehicle was operating. Be careful to distinguish some of the purposely “heavy-handed” paint schemes from over-zealous weathering. Extreme examples should be documented. Weathering should not be used to attempt to hide flaws in construction or finishing.
Colors: Paint colors, even from the same manufacturer and mixed to the same specs, can vary from batch to batch. Different operating environments can change colors in different ways. All paints fade from the effects of weather and sunlight, and viewing distance alone can change the look of virtually any color. Poor initial application and subsequent maintenance compound these problems. Therefore, color shade should not be used to determine a model’ s accuracy. Models with unusual colors or color schemes should be accompanied by documentation.
- Aligned properly. (If the real vehicle had a markings anomaly, the modeler should provide documentation to show that he is deliberately duplicating someone else’s error, not inadvertently making one of his own.)
- No silvering or bubbling of decal film. Decal film should be eliminated or hidden to make the markings appear painted on.
Let’s also take a look at the Figures content too.
The underlying premise of a miniature is that it should look like a small version of a real person. The closer the figure comes to that goal, the better the figure will appear to the judges.
- Flash, mold seams, sink marks, and similar molding flaws eliminated.
- Mold seams removed.
- Construction seams filled in where appropriate (e.g., where arms meet shoulders, legs meet boots, etc.) and creases that cross these seams restored.
- Equipment properly attached, e.g., holsters not hanging in space, canteens attached to belts.
- Straps hanging properly. Rifle slings, horse harnesses, etc. hanging/sagging properly to depict their weight.
- Feet touching the ground/surface properly.
- Straps should have proper thickness.
- Gun barrels should be drilled/hollowed out.
- Accessories and equipment should be in proper scale for the figure.
- Ground bases should show footprints.
- Foliage should harmonize with the figure (e.g., no flowers present when figure is in winter clothes).
- Lapels and collars should be slightly raised whenever possible.
- Slings should be added to weapons where necessary.
Painting and Finishing
Cloth should have the proper sheen, e.g., a matt finish for wool.
Leather should have a slight sheen except for dress shoes and polished belts.
Finish should have an even texture. Brush marks should not be present.
Dry-brushing should not be apparent as such.
Blending of highlighted and shaded areas with the basic color should be smooth, gradual, and subtle. No demarcation lines should show.
Shadows should be present when two surfaces meet (e.g., belts over tunics) and on undersurfaces (e.g., between legs and under arms).
White should not be used in eyes in order to avoid a pop-eyed look.
Eyes should be symmetrical; figure should not be wall-eyed or cross-eyed.
Figures shown on ground should have feet/footwear slightly indented in the earth to depict weight.
Weathering of feet or shoes, if depicted, should be appropriate to the ground cover.
Equipment being worn by, or slung on, the figure should be given an appearance of weight, e.g., by indenting straps slightly into the shoulder.
Headgear shadows should show on the figure’s face.
Equipment such as swords should have a shadow shown on the figure.
Flesh tones should reflect the climate in which the figure is depicted.