On the 1st and 2nd of October it was time for the annual event I look forward to most: Scale Model Challenge. Now that I’ve had a week to digest all the inspiration, information, excitement, meetings, and spendings it is time to share my experiences during this wonderful event.
This year, SMC was celebrating their tenth edition, and for the first time it was a true two-day event. Like in previous years, a number of international guests were present that gave workshops to those who registered for them. Unlike last year, the number of demo’s given at retailer and club stands was immense so there was always some place to go and watch someone paint or build. The organization also decided to spread the contest over two days, meaning that all pieces had to be entered on Saturday and remain in the competition area until after the award ceremony on Sunday.
Unfortunately, I did not go to any of the workshops organized by SMC, so I cannot say anything about that. But I heard very positive responses from guests that did attend, so I think it must have been a great success.
The convention was split up in several areas: the trader area, the club area, the contest area, and the expo zone (with also some traders). As I was giving demo’s myself, at the Scenery Workshop stand (which was a real beauty!!), the trader area was where I spent most of my time…and money ;). This area for me is always a bit of a hit and (slight) miss. Some of the stands are a wonder to the eye, and they have a great representation of everything they have for sale. Other stands are a bit all over the place, and my mind cannot see the good stuff through the rest. Overall, there was a good variety of traders present. Some that sold figurines (both in fantasy and historical genre), others that sold military vehicles, basing supplies, display plinths, and hobby gear and materials.
In the club area a large number of clubs were represented by their members, and displays could be seen of their works. Unfortunately, this year I did not manage to browse through their displays, as there was just so much to be seen!
In the Expo Zone, there were displays of renowned painters and the contest judges. My work was also displayed there, in a cabinet with the lady painters of Facebook group “La Peinture en Rose”. I just love looking at all the works displayed here and spent much time there. In the Expo zone, there were also a number of exhibitors, many of whom also gave demo’s by renowned painters. The traders in this area are among my favourite traders, so obviously I had a lot of fun browsing through their offers. It is also very great to be able to have a look at the original box art figures, which were shown at many of the stands.
Finally, the contest area was of course very popular. Because the entries were displayed for two days, the number of people looking at the same time was lower than in previous years, making it much more pleasant to look at all the wondrous entries. This year, the number of entries was simply mind-blowing. But not only in terms of quantity, also the quality of the pieces took a giant leap forwards. I spent most of my time looking at the entries in the Figure painting contest, and it was simply a wonder to everything presented there. This year it was noticeable in this category that there were several painters who entered a large number of miniatures as a display and I thought it was great to see a large repertoire of those painters in the contest. Another trend, that was already noticeable last year, is that the number of 28-30mm miniatures is decreasing significantly, and many painters seem to be gearing towards the larger scaled (mainly 75mm) figures.
For the first time, that I know, the award ceremony was held in a special room where there were seats available (for those who came early) and everyone was called to a stage. For me, this was a great improvement to previous years when the ceremony was held in the main area of the convention. This year it felt a bit more meaningful and cozy. Sadly, it was a bit too cosy, as the organisers did not expect such a big turn-up. Next year they will hold the ceremony in a separate area again, but with more space J. As always the ceremony takes a long time, which is to be expected with so many categories (26 I believe). I was lucky to have a chair, but at some point all the clapping and enthusiasm tones down a bit. Perhaps a suggestion would be to split up the ceremony based on the categories in the contest, and have several ceremonies instead of one. Overall, the ceremony was done very nice, and I think bringing all the winners up to the stage and making pictures of the groups that were awarded with prizes really adds a nice touch to their accomplishments.
Of course, there is always some discussion on how the prizes were distributed and which pieces won. I think the judges did a great job, especially considering the incredibly large number of entries. Still, I think many more pieces deserved a prize, but I understand that you cannot award everything. At the end of this post you can find some of my personal favourites in the contest.
Because of the anniversary edition of SMC, a commemorative book was made by the organisers, to be purchased at the event. In the book, a large number of tutorials and stories can be found written by different hobbyists, accompanied by galleries of their works. I had the great honour of writing a piece for this book as well, and of course it was really nice to see the finalized book. I think that they did a great job of combining different aspects of the hobby and of the different people involved in the hobby. The tutorials are very clear and the texts are very well written. The book is available at the Scale Model Challenge Website.
It was clear already before the weekend of the event (through a huge amount of Facebook posts) that many people were going to join the event, and that there would be more international painters than ever. To me, that was really incredible! This finally gave you the chance to look at some artworks that you previously only saw online, and the chance to finally meet those wonderful people in real life. For me, that was also the highlight of this year’s SMC, and the most important reason for me to attend the show. Meeting new people, re-uniting with friends and chatting about the hobby!
Because the event span two days, the number of visitors never became too high and even in the contest area it was never too crowded. It was really nice to be able to visit some stands more often than once, and that you could visit several short demo’s. The atmosphere this year was simply amazing, perhaps because of the two days, making people feel that they had some more time to see everything. But I also think that the atmosphere was caused by the incredible organization, and the fact that there was something for everyone.
For me, this year’s show has been the best of all I attended so far. I simply had an awesome time! I think the inspirations and enthusiasm of everyone there will keep me fuelled for quite some time to come. Of course, I also entered the contest (I will share pictures of my entry soon), but my figure did not win anything. In hindsight, I think this is a very good thing as because of this (and through great conversations with awesome people) I have learned some very valuable lessons during this weekend, of which I will tell you more soon!
All that is left to do is thank the organizers of the Scale Model Factory club for organizing an amazing event, with special thanks to Robert and Margot Crombeecke!
I hope you enjoyed this little write-up! Did you also go to the SMC? What where your experiences?
And if you haven’t gone to this awesome event yet, perhaps this post can persuade you to go next year ;).
Here you can find some of my favourite pieces of the show. But I loved many more!! You can find all the pictures I took of the contest HERE