- Basic work is the first thing the judges will check. There should be no seams visible. Joints, etc. should be filled where necessary. Glue marks are considered a flaw, and sanding scratches should be eliminated.
- Scratchbuilt or modified parts are looked upon favorably (though good out-of-the-box work is not discounted). Additions should be correct in scale and uniform. If the entire entry is scratchbuilt, overall appearance and symmetry will be examined.
- Decals, if used, should have a finish that does not show any film around the edges. Also, decals applied over flat paints can get a “silvered” appearance, and this is judged poorly. If a flat finish is the result you’re after, apply decals over gloss-painted surfaces and then flat-coat the model.
- Weathering should not be overdone when used. Weathering should be in scale. Too much can make for a sloppy-looking finish.
- Painting should be smooth with no visible brush strokes. Fingerprints, runs, smudges, cracks, etc. will all detract. While colors can vary due to the fantasy subjects one should keep in mind which colors complement one other. Models from movies or television should try to match on-screen appearance.
- Skin tones are also important. Few modelers use flesh tones straight from the bottle. Usually skin tones are mixed from two or three different colors. Be careful of hard lines when doing washes. Dry brushing should be subtle when doing highlighting.
- One big consideration for a winning figure is the eyes. Human, monster, or dinosaur—get the eyes right and your kit will come alive.
- Overall presentation is also very important. The base and mount for any kit should enhance its appearance rather than possibly detract from the model. A model can also have a “WOW” factor. Judges are human, too. Kits that make them look twice because of dynamics and presentation may receive better marks—and a dynamic kit may be more easily “forgiven” for minor technical errors.
Finally, remember that judging is a subjective exercise. Some things may appeal to some judges that may not to others. At Katsucon, we strive to put the right judges with the right subjects.