Judging and Voting

2019 Procedure

Judging is based on a combination of methods, which reflects both a traditional model painting competition, as well as the community spirit of CoolMiniOrNot. 50% of the score shall be determined on site by a panel of judges selected by CMoN, Inc. and AdeptiCon.  50% of the score shall be determined by popular vote on CoolMiniOrNot.com.


Onsite Judging

a) Entrants will not be identified to the judges, except by an assigned entry number.

b) Judges will examine entries as a group and make a ‘first cut’ for each category, narrowing it down to a group of entries with the potential to be place winners.

c) Each judge will re-examine each first cut entry individually and assign it a score on a scale of 1 to 10.

d) A total mean score is recorded for each entry.


Internet Voting

a) All first cut entries will be photographed by CMON and/or AdeptiCon staff.

b) Photos will be placed online at the same time. Voting will open on Saturday, March 30, at 3 p.m. EDT, and close at noon on Sunday, March 31.

c) Entrants will not be identified during Internet voting.

d) The order of appearance of entries will be rotated on the web page.

e) Instructions for Internet voting will be made available online nearer the time of the competition. Only registered members of the CoolMiniOrNot forums may vote. Registration is free.


Calculating Final Scores

a) 50% of the final score will consist of the judging panel’s score. 50% will consist of the Internet vote.

b) The combined final scores determine 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place within each category as well as the top three overall winners.

c) In the unlikely event of a tie, onsite judges have the power to break the tie and determine ranking. If judges cannot reach a consensus or a majority vote, the head judge has the power to make the final ruling.


Criteria for Onsite Panel Judging

Each entry will be evaluated on either two or three main criteria, depending on category.  For all categories except Diorama, both Technical Quality and Artistic Quality will be given equal weight in determining the score.  For the Diorama category, Technical Quality, Artistic Quality, and Narrative Quality will be given equal weight.


1) Technical Quality

This includes all the skills used in constructing, painting, basing, and finishing the entry.   An entry should exhibit the best technical work of which the entrant is capable.

  • Preparation and construction.  Visible mold lines, untrimmed flash, excess glue, grainy primer, and unfilled gaps detract from a model.  Conversions and added details should blend convincingly with the original piece.  There should be no wobbly parts or loose bits that fall off the entry with normal handling.
  • Painting.  A model can be painted many ways (from smooth blends to textured brushwork, from bright clean colors to monochrome, from realistic metallics to stylized NMM), but the painting should be competently and consistently executed within the chosen style(s).  An entry that catches the eye at a distance should also look good on close examination.  All individual figures in a unit should be painted to the same level as the leader.
  • Presentation.  Groundwork and scenic elements should be given the same attention to detail as the main figure.  A well painted model should not be standing on poorly finished terrain.  All areas of an entry that are meant to be seen should receive consideration and treatment.


2) Artistic Quality

This includes all the aesthetic and creative decisions made in creating the work.   An entry should demonstrate that the entrant has thought seriously about how best to model it.

  • Painting.  For example, does the color palette complement the subject of the entry?  Do the style of painting and brushwork enhance the form and texture of the model’s surfaces?  Does the entry use contrasts of color and value for emphasis?
  • Composition and design.  For example, does the entry have a focal point?  Does it make use of color and form to draw the eye there?  Does the posing of the model give it movement and life?  Are colors and shapes repeated in a way that creates a sense of unity throughout the work?
  • Presentation.  For example, if the entry is a unit, do color, basing, pose, and details give it a cohesive feel?  Do the groundwork and scenic elements help ‘frame’ a model and give it context, rather than just filling space?  Are these elements modeled and painted in a style that is harmonious with the main figure(s)?  Does a model intended to be viewed in the round have visual interest from all angles?
  • General effect.  This is hard to quantify.  However, a good model has a certain ‘feel.’  Busts have expressive character and a look of life in their eyes.  Weathered models look convincingly dirty or aged.  Fire and light effects seem to really glow.  Viewers feel an emotional response to the entry.


3) Narrative Quality (Story)

The diorama category will be judged on an additional criterion: story.  Good dioramas are more than just multiple figures arranged on a single base.  They must include a narrative element.  The composition of the entry should lead the eye from element to element, engaging the viewer and helping to tell the story.  The figures interact like characters in a play, and their relationships are clear.  The viewer not only sees a moment captured in time, but can guess what is going to happen next.


Not Included in Judging Criteria

Crystal Brush entries represent a vast range of manufacturers, styles, and genres.  Judges are not expected to be familiar with the background or subject matter of so many different models.  Therefore:

  • Conversions of stock models or scratch sculpting of an entry will not be considered, beyond the technical and artistic quality of the work.
  • Historical accuracy will not be considered.
  • Adherence to game rules or canon (such as traditional faction colors or unit composition for wargame models) will not be considered.
  • No preference will be given to models produced or distributed by CMON, Inc. or affiliated companies.