As I mentioned in my previous post, no, my minis didn't win the Golden Demon, but they did make the first cut, which in itself is exciting!
However, for anyone thinking of entering the contest another year (or any contest for that matter) here are a few things I think make the Golden Demon winners stand out from the rest of us:
Things I did wrong - My wraithlord had some areas that were a little rough due to the crazy posing I did. Also, my style is a little bold, with evident streaking at times. This is more of an art "look" rather than a "real life" look. Golden Demon is more about incredible realistic paint jobs.
Things they did right -
First off, faces. Faces are an opportunity to show off some serious detail and really bring models to life. This goes well beyond letting a wash fill in the lines and highlighting. You need to make the face come alive with clean highlights and shadows done in a tiny area. I can't imagine creating detail that small, but I know I'm going to have to figure it out, since I've got some faces in my Space Hulk set.
Secondly, shading. I'm not sure if these guys washed anything. The shading was an incredible continuous blend from shadow to highlight with no visible steps of colour. We're talking grade A natural paint jobs.
Light sources also looked natural. As if the light on the model / scene was coming from a specific location and all parts of the model were shaded appropriately. This goes beyond just shading and highlighting. This means that if the light source were above the model, all shadows and highlights are where they should be. (Aka, look at anybody in real life and see where shadows belong, instead of just shading cracks and crevices)
What was something the Golden Demon models had in common? Character - they seemed to have a life to them. This usually meant some form of action shot or mid-motion freeze-frame, but sometimes just simply a life of their own. Generally speaking, while you can take any model and paint it, something that'll make it stand out is how alive does the model look?
Take a look here to see what I'm talking about. The first three are the winners of the 40k Single Model. All your questions about what makes a winner will be answered.
Finally, I'm kicking myself for not asking the judges for tips for next year and comments on my figures. (It was a little crazy in there at the end) But I think personally, my Terminator stood out really nicely in the cabinet. I'm not saying I should have won, I just want to point something out to anyone entering this contest:
When I looked into most cabinets, everything was very dark. This is certainly the style of Warhammer and 40k, but when everyone you're competing with paints their models in that dark style, something to make yours stand out from the rest can't hurt.
View all of the 2010 North American Games Day winners and first cuts here: