AMPS is all about armor modeling and the preservation of armor and mechanized heritage.

The AMPS Judging System

AMPS created a unique system to both judge the model and honor the modeler for artistic achievement and historical accuracy. It is a peer evaluation and mentoring and not a performance critique by experts. The system groups modelers that have similar skill levels and talents and rates the model in relation to the ability of the modeler rather than against the work of another modeler. The skill levels are Junior, Basic, Intermediate, Advanced and Master.

Each model is reviewed and evaluated on its own merits and never compared to another one. Established criteria determine the scoring of the model and qualify the modeler for Bronze, Silver and Gold awards. Each model is judged by a team of judges that score the model independently and the lowest score among the team is dropped. Constructive feedback is provided that sets a path to becoming a better, more skilled modeler.

 

AMPS Rules for Competition Judging
Last updated on 3/1/2017 by Mike Petty

Introduction

The Armor Modeling and Preservation Society (AMPS) supports the use of organized modeling competitions. Competitions provide a collegiate forum for modelers to discuss techniques, improve their skills, and share information about the real vehicles that are of common interest. AMPS created a unique system which both judges the model and honors the modeler for his artistic achievement and historical accuracy.

The AMPS system rates the model in relation to the ability of the modeler, rather than against the work of other modelers. It looks at what the modeler started with, what he finished with and what he did to get there.

The AMPS system also acknowledges that judges are human and some judging calls are subjective, not objective. Thus, each model is judged by a team of judges, with the lowest score eliminated.

The AMPS system groups modelers with other modelers of similar sill levels and talents, rather than against acknowledged masters of the hobby or everyone else who enters in the same category.

 

Mission and Intent

Each model is judged fairly, thoroughly and completely. The builder is provided with feedback that's as comprehensive as the time for judging allows. Models are judged and feedback is provided with the intent to help each builder become a better, more skilled modeler. The judging system is designed to reward the builder for the good work they have accomplished. Each model is reviewed and evaluated on its own merits, never comparing it to any other entry.

AMPS' judging is a form of “peer evaluation and mentoring” and not a performance critique by a panel of experts.

 

AMPS Judging Philosophy

Models are not just technical scale miniatures of their prototypes, but also artistic representations of historical, hypothetical, or imaginary subjects. While mechanical precision and fidelity to detail are highly desired, there are few other absolute rights or wrongs with most of the aspects of our builds. There are many different construction and finishing techniques and methods that can be employed to create the artistic representation of our subjects. These combine to create each model-builder's unique "style." Although judges are expected to assess and score the models, they are also expected to do this within the context of the individual modeler's style and not their own.

 

Overview

These rules are for the use of AMPS chapters, affiliate clubs, members, and organizations who wish to apply AMPS standardized judging rules to their shows and local contests. These rules are designed to make the benefits of the AMPS system available to as many modelers as possible.

The modeling contest of the AMPS International Convention is just a small portion of a collegiate gathering of modelers and military enthusiasts. There are also seminars, military vehicle museums, a large vendor area, and, of course, the opportunity to meet and interact with hundreds of other armor modelers and enthusiasts.

The judging system is designed primarily to have each entry viewed and evaluated by a group of fellow modelers. This provides an opportunity to give the entrant's work formal, structured feedback from fellow modelers. The judging system is set up to reward the modeler for the good work he has done. Each model is reviewed and evaluated on its own merits, never comparing it to any other entry.

One of the most positive aspects of the AMPS system is that a large number of modelers and attendees can get involved in the judging system. Many attendees at past AMPS International shows have commented that the best part of the show was participating as a judge.

 

Competition Skill Levels

The AMPS system uses five competitive levels which groups modelers with similar skills. The criteria for these five skill levels are:

JUNIOR - modelers age 17 or younger who do not wish to compete in one of the other categories. Modelers who are 17 or younger are free to compete in other skill levels but are not compelled to do so.

BASIC – modelers new to the hobby or with basic modeling skills. The BASIC level is the introductory level to the AMPS system. Modelers at this level generally build their models with minimal tweaks, and often have never competed before or are new to the hobby. It allows members who are developing their modeling skills to be evaluated and encouraged through the feedback provided by the AMPS judging system. As with all other entrants, BASIC Level entrants are encouraged to volunteer for judging.

INTERMEDIATE – modelers with average to above average skill. Modelers at this level generally make some modifications or conversion to their work or use commercial upgrades. INTERMEDIATE modelers may have been promoted from BASIC, won awards at other shows, or chose to enter at this level from the start. An INTERMEDIATE modeler is someone to whom some or all of the following apply:

  • Adds photo-etched and/or resin details
  • Uses aftermarket conversion kits
  • Scratchbuilds details and makes modifications to actualizing kits
  • Uses reference material for actualizing ideas
  • Improves models by cross-kitting
  • Builds full resin kits
  • Displays models on complementary bases or with figures

ADVANCED – modelers with more highly-developed skills, whose entries are heavily reworked, actualized, or include non-commercial parts or modifications. The evaluations of this class are more strenuous. An ADVANCED modeler does most of the things expected of INTERMEDIATE level modelers plus some or all of the following:

  • Scratchbuilds, using references
  • Casts own replacement parts
  • Builds and paints at a high skill level
  • Presents models on elaborate bases, sometimes with accompanying information
  • Uses materials and space artistically

MASTERS - modelers who have won ‘Judges’ Best of Show’ at the AMPS International Convention. These modelers consistently demonstrate themselves to be the very best in all aspects of armor model building.

Advancement of Skill Levels. Advancement of skill levels occurs when a modeler achieves a Gold medal in their current level in an AMPS International Convention. BASIC skill level modeler advances to the INTERMEDIATE skill level upon winning a Gold Medal in the BASIC skill level of competition and INTERMEDIATE skill level modeler moves to the ADVANCED skill level upon winning a Gold Medal in the INTERMEDIATE skill level of competition. ADVANCED skill level modelers can reach the MASTERS skill level by earning the "Judges' Best of Show" award at the AMPS International Convention.

When a modeler first enters an AMPS International competition and is unsure of his status, the Chief Judge or his designated representative will examine the model entry to ascertain the displayed skill level of the modeler. Based on this examination, the Chief Judge or his representative will suggest a skill level. While this recommendation should be heeded, the modeler is free to enter at any of the three main skill levels (BASIC, INTERMEDIATE, or ADVANCED) desired as long as he meets the conditions for that skill level.

 

Categories for Competition

Categories are quite broad. Most categories contain three skill-levels. The exceptions are those where major conversions or scratch building is required; these are not basic skills, and it is unfair to both the modeler and to the judges to expect one to be so entered. Current categories:

  1. Closed Top Tracked and Semi-tracked Vehicles 1899 to1934 (based on markings)
  2. Closed Top Tracked and Semi-tracked Vehicles 1935 to 1945, Axis (based on markings)
  3. Closed Top Tracked and Semi-tracked Vehicles 1935 to 1945, Allied (based on markings)
  4. Closed Top Tracked and Semi-tracked Vehicles 1946 to 1991 (based on markings)
  5. Closed Top Tracked and Semi-tracked Vehicles 1992 to Present (based on markings)
  6. Open Top/Open Hatch Vehicles (all eras)
  7. Wheeled Vehicles (all eras)
  8. Ordnance (Towed only, emplaced or with Prime Movers) (all eras)
  9. Major Conversions
  10. Scratchbuilt
  11. Figures – 1899 to the present
  12. Dioramas (figures, or figures, vehicles and landscape combined with story line)
  13. Vignettes (figures, or figures, vehicles and landscape combined without story line)
  14. Fictional, Futuristic or Proposed Vehicles
  15. Juniors
  16. Masters
  17. Display Only -- All levels

Scale is not a factor in these categories. If a large number of entries of a specific scale are present, the categories may be administratively divided up for display purposes as the Chief Judge sees fit. Such separation is purely for display and has no bearing on judging or scoring of any model.

 

Category Definition Clarifications

Categories I, II, III, IV, V and VI:

Determination as to whether an entry should be placed in Categories I, II, III, IV, V (closed top) or in Category VI (open top) depends upon whether the interior is plainly and clearly visible to the judges. All vehicles with closed hatches and turrets or casemates will be placed in either Categories I, II, III, IV or V based on era and markings. Self-propelled guns with open or barbette mounts will go in Category VI regardless of hatches being open or closed unless the fighting compartment is covered by a tarp or otherwise completely obscured.

If the model has open hatches, and the interior is plainly visible, the entry will go in Category VI (Open Top/Open Hatch Vehicles). If the modeler uses figures to fill the hatches, the model may be placed in either Categories I, II, III, IV, V or VI at their option. The interior is judged if the model is entered in Category IV, but not if it is entered in Category I, II, III, IV or V. If there are figures present but hatches are opened for reasons of showing the interior, the entry should go in Category VI. Vehicles with no figures and open hatches will be judged in Category VI, but if the interior is unfinished, the entrant should lose points for the lack of details.

Category VII, Wheeled Vehicles: This category includes all truck type tank transporter vehicles, with or without a vehicle loaded. When carrying a vehicle or other object, the judges will judge both as one project distributing the points between similar areas of both vehicles (example: markings, running gear/drive train including tracks/wheels).

This category also includes railroad subjects other than permanently mounted railroad guns, for example: fully armored closed-top rail wagons, flatbed wagons with vehicles or artillery pieces carried for transport, or armored rail cars.

Wheeled vehicles without opened hatches or doors properly belong in Category VII, but transparent or open windows and folded or dropped canvas tops mean that whatever is plainly visible will be judged.

Category VIII, Ordnance: This category is defined as towed ordnance and other towed or stationary military equipment. There are several special cases that have come up in this category. The following guidelines and exceptions are provided to cover questions dealing with projects falling outside of AMPS’ usual requirement for a model to be “relating to ground forces since 1899”.

Because many artillery subjects used in the 20th Century were produced before the 1899 cut-off date this category is open to any “cannon” or “gun” with closed bore tubes using a chemical charge to propel a projectile. Pieces using spring power or counter weights, unless plainly being military subjects built after 1899, are ineligible. For example, ballistae or catapults from the Roman era are ineligible. By contrast, WW I bomb-throwing catapults, PIATs, or air pressure mortars are eligible.

In keeping with the ground forces theme, projects including physical parts of naval vessels (portions of decks, turrets etc.) or aircraft are ineligible unless they are clearly a ground forces weapon temporary mounted. Examples of eligible subjects include:

Vietnam era US 105mm howitzer on river barge or pontoon

German FlaK 38 on a ferryboat

Examples of ineligible subjects:

US 37mm cannon w/o wheels lashed to PT boat bow

German 20mm FlaK gun on shipboard mount.

Rockets and missiles: In order to be eligible the rocket or missile must be on a ground or vehicle-mounted launcher or in a transport cradle. For example, a German V-2 (A-4) missile shown in flight would not qualify, but a V-2 deployed for launch on its launcher or in travel mode on a carrier trailer would qualify.

Judges Note: This category is for towed ordnance. With the exception of some modern artillery pieces, missiles or trailers with small auxiliary power units, subjects with driver controls and engines belong in other categories. Ordnance that is typically disconnected from the prime mover for use such as towed AT guns, the US "Atomic Cannon", the Soviet SA-2 missile on its transport trailer, Patriot missile radar, ammunition trailers or German Flak searchlight are eligible for Category VIII, even with the prime mover connected. Some examples belonging elsewhere are: SCUD missile transporter-erector-launchers or Katyusha rocket launchers (Category VII, Wheeled Vehicles);US M12 155mm or German Panzerjager 38(t) self-propelled guns (Category VI, Open Top/ Open Hatch Vehicles); Sturmmörser Tiger or Soviet ISU-152 (either Category II, III, or IV as with other tracked or semi-tracked vehicles).

Since this category is designed to present towed ordnance or military equipment, disconnected from the prime mover or in their emplaced position, details presented in proximity of the model to represent support items used by or carried on the equipment may also be judged and counted within the Construction Group under Hull, Chassis, and Turret Detailing.

Examples of these types of items are artillery ammunition, ammunition crates, ramming staffs, aiming posts (collimator), fuse cans. Section chests, artillery tools, generator or items put to the side normally used in towing such as covers tarps or towing wheels. Example of items that do not qualify are common military position improvement items such as sandbags, camouflage nets, crew served weapon positions.

Category IX, Major Conversions: A "Major Conversion" is defined as a model which requires a considerable change in the base mark or version of the vehicle or equipment from that provided in the base kit which results in a new mark or version of the vehicle or equipment. This conversion results in a new mark or version of the vehicle or equipment which is not be produced as a single kit in any medium. Conversion work may be performed from scratch by the modeler, a commercially available conversion kit, kit-bash of other kit parts or combinations of any or all of the above. Neither cosmetic changes in external details, nor changes in markings or paint schemes constitute a ”Major Conversion”; any such models shall be entered in the appropriate regular category. It is the responsibility of the modeler to provide the judges with details of the conversion work he has done on the entry. Judges should carefully consider the higher degree of difficulty when reviewing the model for degree of difficulty points.

Category X, Scratchbuilt: A "Scratchbuilt" model is defined as a model where no more than 25% of the finished model consists of commercial model kit components. Aftermarket accessories are considered to constitute part of the 25% of kit components. It is the responsibility of the modeler to provide the judges with details of the scratch building work he has done on the entry.

Category XI, Figures: This category is limited to figures relating to either troops who crew AFVs and ordnance, support AFVs and ordnance or serve alongside AFVs and ordnance. Therefore, any force acting in a ground combat role from 1899 or later may be entered. No figures from before 1899 may be entered. Figures from other branches of the armed forces may be entered if a case can be made for them supporting AFVs or ordnance, for example, landing craft crews could be entered. The burden of proof is on the modeler.

Category XII, Dioramas: A diorama is a story based display on a landscaped base. It is a type of landscaped display that is built specifically to "tell a story" or convey a message by the builder to the viewer. The strength of the story or message along with how well it is communicated are critical considerations for the diorama.

The purpose and intent of a diorama is for the builder to communicate with the viewer. The models used on the diorama are the medium that the builder uses to communicate that story or message in much the same way that an author uses written words. The diorama is story-centric, and the story is the most important part of the work. Therefore, those elements of the diorama that contribute to the telling of the story – the models, their composition, and the landscape – are judged, assessed, and scored according to how well the builder has used them to communicate their message.

Category XIII, Vignettes: A vignette is a model-subject based display on a landscaped base. It is a type of landscaped display that is built specifically to show off its subject model(s) in their historical and/or environmental context and which makes that context part of the modeled subject(s).

The purpose and intent of a vignette is for the model-builder to show off the aesthetic and/or technical characteristics of its subject model(s), either vehicles, figures or both. The vignette is model-centric and not story-centric. The models themselves are the most important part of the vignette.

Category XIV, Fictional, Futuristic or Proposed Vehicles: This category is limited to fictional, futuristic or proposed vehicles and/or equipment that are meant to operate primarily over solid terrain. Vehicles or equipment that fly or float or are designed to operate primarily in the air, space or on water are not acceptable. As an example hover or surface effect vehicles are acceptable, hydrofoils and helicopters are not. Vehicles or equipment by major fictional or fantasy cosmetic changes in external details, or changes in markings or paint schemes would also qualify for this category.

Some examples of vehicles or equipment that would qualify under this category:

  • Actual experimental vehicles with fictitious marking (for instance, as if they had gone into full service) will be placed in this category. Actual experimental vehicles marked as they were actually going to be used will be placed in the appropriate non-fictional category.
  • Futuristic vehicles and equipment are covered here. A walker or laser cannon from Star Wars would be entered here but an X wing fighter would not.
  • A proposed vehicle or item of equipment is covered here if it never left the “design” phase. If the vehicle or equipment were built for testing even though it did not enter service would be in the appropriate non-fictional category.
  • Models of actual vehicles which have been modified to represent some fictional or notional vehicle or military unit (as used in movies, TV, or for actual military training) should be entered in the appropriate category for the base vehicle which has been modified.

The burden of proof is on the modeler to show a proposed item was not built or an experimental vehicle was not marked as presented.

Category XV Juniors: This category is limited to entries of modelers age 17 and under who do not wish to compete in other categories.

Category XVI, Masters: This category is limited to entries of those modelers who have achieved MASTERS skill level.

Category XVII, Display Only: This category is for models whicht the builder does not want judged or past winners which are placed on display for the public. It is the only category where models are not judged.

 

Dispute Resolution

Any disputes over model eligibility, modeler's skill level class, or final model placement are to be referred to either the Chief Judge or the Assistant Chief Judge on duty at the time. The Chief Judge's decision will be final.

 

Best of Selections

The judges will select one ‘Best Of’ overall winner from ADVANCED Gold Medals in a number of genres that cross over all of the categories with the exception of Best Figure, Best Diorama and Best Vignette.

The 'Best Of' categories are:

Best German - this includes all German-marked entries, regardless of time period

Best United States - this includes all U.S.-marked entries, regardless of time period

Best Russian/Soviet - this includes all Russian/Soviet-marked entries, regardless of time period

Best Commonwealth - this includes all of the British Commonwealth-marked entries, regardless of time period

Best Small Army - this includes entries marked for all other armies, regardless of time period

Best Figure - this includes only the entries in Category XI. Entries in this category will not be eligible for any one of the other category “Best of” Awards.

Best Diorama - this includes only the entries in Category XII. Entries in this category will not be eligible for any one of the other category “Best of” Awards.

Best Vignette - this includes only the entries in Category XIII. Entries in this category will not be eligible for any one of the other category “Best of” Awards.

Best Junior - this only covers the entries in Category XV.

Best Master – this award is based on the Masters voting on which of their pieces is considered the best on the table at the time of our International Convention. If there is a tie in the votes, the Chief Judge will make the final decision on the “Best Master.”

Best Theme Award. This is given to the model that most appropriately represents the theme selected for the convention. It may be given to either an INTERMEDIATE or ADVANCED skill level entry. Note: Category “Best of” Award winners are also eligible for the Best Theme Award.

Dave Lockhart Judges Best of Show Award. The "Dave Lockhart Judges Best of Show Award" is selected from each category "Best of" winners.

 

Special Awards

The "Andy Smith Best Basic Model" award should be given to the highest scored BASIC skill level entry in the manner of the other "Best of" awards

Additional special awards may be established by individual show committees and shall be awarded only at that show.

 

Establishing a Judging Corps

The Chief Judge will select a team of judges. At a minimum, the system requires people in the following positions: Chief Judge, Assistant Chief Judge, Table Captain, Field Judge, Scorer, RamRod and Runner. The numbers of each vary depending upon the size of the show and number of teams needed, but each judging team must consist of one Team Captain and three Field Judges; each judging shift should have from 3-6 teams and two Assistant Chief Judges. One Assistant Chief Judge is the “pit boss” who runs the judging; the other is responsible for sorting out paperwork and preparing entries to be judged.

The Chief Judge is selected by the AMPS Executive Board. The Chief Judge must have successfully completed the AMPS Judge’s and Table Captain’s Certification process and trained in the administration of the AMPS judging system. The Chief Judge will select Assistant Chief Judges to help run the competition. Assistant Chief Judges must have successfully completed the AMPS Judge’s and Table Captain’s Certification process and trained in the administration of the AMPS judging system.

The job of the Chief Judge is to organize and supervise the competition. He will assist the Assistant Chief Judges in selecting the Table Captains, Field Judges and Scorer, set up a judging area for records keeping, monitor judging and evaluations, assist in tabulating the lists of winners and oversee the presentation of awards. The Chief Judge is also arbiter of the rules, classes, and eligibility of any entry or entrant. Assistant Chief Judges assist the Chief Judge during the competition, ensuring the smooth running of the competition. The Chief Judge is responsible for overall organization of the judging teams and shifts and bears the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that the AMPS judging rules are successfully implemented.

Table Captains are judges who have successfully completed the AMPS Judge’s and Table Captain’s Certification process and trained in the administration of the AMPS judging system. They are the team leaders of the individual judging teams. A Table Captain’s duties include organizing the table and his team, ensuring that they have sufficient materials for judging, and keeping the table policed at all times (i.e. no sodas, food, cigarettes, etc.). He will personally verify the scores given, as well as ensure that the individual Field Judges have made comments on the appropriate paperwork to return to the modeler. The Table Captain also is responsible for dropping the lowest score and adding up the point total.

Field Judges are the judging team members who, in addition to the Table Captain, actually judge the models. Field Judges usually are Intermediate or Advanced level modelers. They will adhere to the AMPS standards and award points for the level of achievement present in an entry. There will be a varying number of Field Judges, three per team being the minimum, but the number of judges and teams will be based upon the size of the show. One Field Judge on each judging team may be a Junior or Basic modeler who wants to learn more about the system and improve his skills by engaging in careful evaluation of the work of others.

The Chief RamRod must have successfully completed the AMPS Judge’s and Table Captain’s Certification process and trained in the administration of the AMPS judging system. Ramrods are the “Face” of the AMPS judging system. They should have an intimate knowledge the AMPS contest rules, in particular the competition skill levels, categories of competition and the model entry forms. The RamRods will accept models during registration. They should ensure the entrants paperwork is correct; make recommendations and answer the entrant’s questions on competition skill levels and categories of competition.

The Chief Runner must have successfully completed the AMPS Judge’s Certification process and trained in the administration of the AMPS judging system. Runners are a critical part of the judging team. Runners, preferably with a small cart to minimize the possibility of dropping a model, will be used to transfer the models from the storage area to the judging tables, and then from the judging tables to the display tables, in their correct categories.

The Scorer will tabulate the results and monitor input from the Table Captains to determine that all entries have been judged fully. He tabulates the scores, notes those that are winners and their levels of achievement and prepares an awards list for the Chief Judge. The Scorer also will assist the Chief Judge in preparing a preliminary list of entries under consideration for "best ofs" in specific categories. One scorer is required, but two are preferred.

The judging team will be prepared and briefed on show standards prior to judging. The Chief Judge will cover the standards, requirements, and ensure that each Table Captain and Field Judge is set to judge the required number of entries.

Historical data indicates that a judging team can reliably judge 8-10 models per hour. The number of teams formed and rotation periods for members to rest and enjoy the convention also need to be considered. Thus, for the international convention with over 500 entries, six teams of four judges each are formed to work in two-hour shifts. Roughly 80-90 models can be judged in that period, so approximately 16 hours total time would be required to judge the preliminary results for the show if all teams are at full strength. A normal judging set for the International Convention is eight to nine full judging periods (one on Thursday, four on Friday and three or four on Saturday). Judging begins as soon as the doors open, and is normally complete shortly after registration closes on the second day.

Minimum team numbers for a small show should include one Chief Judge, two Assistant Chief Judges and three to four judging teams of four people each. The International Convention has used up to three Assistant Chief Judges (shift bosses) and six teams of four judges each plus two to three dedicated runners per shift. This amounts to a total of up to 240 judges and runners for the course of the show. The more judges, the better the rotation and the more experience is garnered by all involved.

 

Method of Judging and Operation

Judging will be conducted with an "open" room (show in progress). Judges will attempt to be as inconspicuous as possible but will take all necessary steps to ensure complete and fair judging of entries. The judging area should be isolated from the display area, to prevent modelers from listening to the teams judging their models and to encourage the judges to engage in frank and open discussions. If possible, judging should commence with the beginning of model registration and models should be taken to the judges first before being placed on display. This will require runners to carry the models to the judges and place the models on the display tables in the proper areas.

Judges will read all accompanying materials to ensure the entrant receives due consideration as to his desired effect, achievement, level of skill displayed and any unique characteristics of the entry. Often, one judge will read the accompanying materials aloud to the other judges, as they begin examining the model.

Each judge will award points to an entry according to show standards (see Individual Model Judging Criteria for specific points and areas of consideration). After judging an entry, the judge will mark his score on the judging sheet, along with his initials and a constructive comment. Judges are expected to make constructive notes on the score sheet of all models, suggesting areas for improvement or acknowledging particularly well-done aspects of the model, and should not write anything they would not be prepared to discuss face-to-face with the entrant after the competition is over. These notes will be handed to the scorer for later return to the entrants.

The Table Captain will look over the Field Judges’ tally sheets and drop the low score, then tally up the total of the remaining three scores and mark it down on the entry form. The Table Captain also ensures that each judge has made constructive comments, providing useful feedback to the modeler.

Once scoring is complete, the Scorer will enter the results on a tally sheet or in the computer for each entry by number. Once all scores are received, the scorer will print out the preliminary awards list for the use of the Chief Judge in assessing possible “Best of” and “Best Theme” awards. Scores to be used are as follows:

For the JUNIOR Level:

Gold Medal -- a score of 26.0 to 30.0

Silver Medal -- a score of 21.0 to 25.5

Bronze Medal -- a score of 16.0 to 20.5

For the BASIC Level:

Gold Medal – a score of 26.0 to 30.0

Silver Medal -- a score of 21.0 to 25.5

Bronze Medal -- a score of 16.0 to 20.5

For the INTERMEDIATE Level:

Gold Medal -- a score of 27.0 to 30.0

Silver Medal -- a score of 23.0 to 26.5

Bronze Medal -- a score of 19.0 to 22.5.

For the ADVANCED Level:

Gold Medal -- a score of 28.0 to 30.0

Silver Medal -- a score of 25.0 to 27.5

Bronze Medal -- a score of 22.0 to 24.5.

For the MASTERS Level:

Gold Medal -- a score of 29.0 and above.

Notes: Each entrant is eligible for a maximum of one standard award per category entered. For example, if a modeler entered two models in Category V, Wheeled Vehicles, one of which was judged Silver and the other which was judged Gold, the modeler would be awarded a single, Gold Medal.

AMPS International Convention medal winning entries may be limited in competition at subsequent local or Regional AMPS shows, at the discretion of show organizers.

 

Special Judging

The Masters category (Category XVI) is judged by all AMPS Masters present at the International Convention. The Chief Judge will provide each Master with a judging packet. This packet will contain a scoring tabulation sheet for each Masters entry. Each Master will score each entry and provide their comments. When each entry is scored the Master will return their judging packet to the Chief Judge who will tabulate the scores for each entry. The final score for each entry will be the sum of the highest three scores.

The Figure Category (Category XI) is judged by a team of three lead by an Assistant Chief Judge. At least two of these judges shall have a very high level of expertise with figure painting, figure sculpting and judging.

The Diorama and Vignette categories (Category XII and XIII) are judged in place on the diorama/vignette table in the viewing hall. The team will be made up of an Assistant Chief Judge, together with two other judges, preferably with at least one judge having very high level of expertise with figure painting and diorama judging.

The Junior Category (Category XV) is judged by a team of four lead by an Assistant Chief Judge. All Junior entries will be judged after the competition closes.

 

Judging Criteria

Each judge, upon assessing the model, assigns it a score of up to 10 points, including half points (but no fractions smaller than half points), in accordance with the judging criteria. These scores should reflect the individual judge's assessments of the model and not an agreed upon or 'team' score. The Table Captain adds up the individual scores, dropping the lowest, to get the entry's final score. This number is used to determine if an award is merited. Accuracy is important, so the Chief Judge or an Assistant Chief Judge is responsible for double-checking all math before the scores are entered into the computer. The breakdown of how points are awarded is:

 

Construction Group – 5.0 points

Basic hull, turret, and body work: 2.0 points

Running gear/drive train, including tracks/wheels: 2.0 points

Hull, chassis, and turret detailing: 1.0 point

 

Finish/Weathering Group – 4.0 points

Finish and markings application: 1.5 points

Weathering: 1.5 points

Finish continuity: 1.0 point

 

Degree of Difficulty Group – 1.0 point

Degree of difficulty: 1.0 point

 

Total possible score 10.0 points

Optional research bonus – 0.5 point

 

Individual Model Judging Criteria

Construction Group (5.0 Points)

Basic hull, turret, and body work (2.0 points): The judges will look at how the hull parts go together; this includes the top of the hull, bottom, hull rear, glacis plate, hatches, grilles, etc. Of equal importance will be how turret halves meet, alignment of hatches to mounts, etc. Judges will look at the parts of the vehicle that make up the hull and turret only. They will look closely to ensure that seams are clean, kit weld marks are not sanded off, any filling that is required is clean, etc.

For ordnance the judges will look at the barrel, equilibrators, breech, recoil system, recoil sled, or in the case of non-artillery the upper operating portion of the equipment, radar dish, light, etc. The judges are looking at the operating portion of the equipment only. As with the above, look closely to insure that seams are clean, kit weld marks are not sanded off, any filling that is required is clean, etc.

Running gear/drive train including tracks/wheels (2.0 points): The judges will look at how the suspension and running gear is assembled. Do the tracks/tires sit on the ground and are the tires/road wheels aligned? Are the major attached suspension components installed cleanly? Is there a problem with toe-in/toe-out?

For ordnance the judges will look at the towing chassis to include trails or yoke, towing base, wheels, or on a trailer the base towing section and tires. If a trailer/weapon includes a separate set of towing limber (like the 155mm Long Tom or towed 8 inch howitzer), this is also judged under this group. As with the above, do the tires sit on the ground and are the tires/road wheels aligned? Is there a problem with toe-in/toe-out?

Hull, chassis and turret detailing (1.0 point): The judges will look at how the modeler has corrected, modified, or enhanced the model, using detailing parts regardless of the source. (Note: Detailing parts can be provided from the kit or from aftermarket or alternate sources). These parts can include but not limited to, pioneer tools, tow cables, tool boxes, grab handles, lights and cables, towing clevises, weapons, tarps, photo–etched or resin accessories, weld seams, rivets and bolts, barrels and track. These detailing parts must be properly cleaned, aligned and installed without glue marks. It is incumbent upon the modeler to provide the judges with a description of their extra work. The format or style of this information is not to be judged. Only the information is important and only as far as it presents the detail work done by the modeler. Judges are not expected to know things the modeler does not tell them.

Finish/Weathering Group (4.0 points)

Finish and markings application (1.5 points): The judges will look at how the modeler has applied paint and/or markings. Paint should be applied in a smooth, even coat with no drips, splotches or uneven areas. Markings and decals, if applied, should be viewed for edges lifting, silvering etc. Hand-applied painted markings should be viewed "in scale," i.e., the marking must not be too heavy-handed or thickly applied.

Judges Note: The absence of markings shall not result in a penalty or "point shifting" in the Finish/Weathering Group. Markings are simply part of the model's finish. Issues regarding the accuracy of markings are properly considered as part of the Research and Reference Bonus evaluation.

Weathering (1.5 points): The judges will look at how the vehicle is weathered. The term ‘weathering’ does not necessarily mean action-related mud, peeling paint, and the like, but refers to treatment beyond the basic finish required to achieve the desired effect. For example, a factory-new vehicle would still have a certain amount of rust on the tracks, or wear on the track teeth. Judges cannot hold it against a modeler if he chooses not to show wear on a shovel. The judges should score the model as the modeler presents it. A model shown as new should be viewed and scored as such.

Judges Note: What is important in judging weathering is how the modeler has improved the finish of the model. No technique is mandatory; it is the final effect that counts. The use of washes, powders, dry brushing and paint chipping might be perfect for a vehicle, but if these weathering techniques do not improve the finish of the model, points should not be awarded. A model with no washes or dry brushing could still obtain points depending on possible subtleties in the applied paint.

Finish continuity (1.0 point): The judges will look at how the modeler has blended the finish and weathering together to create a visually balanced and homogenous arrangement. Examples that do NOT show a sensible and logically finished model would include a vehicle with muddy road wheels and clean track or mud on the track and suspension with a clean hull. Finish continuity does not mean a vehicle must be equally weathered over its entire surface, but it does mean the vehicle must be logically weathered. A full point awarded here means the modeler has considered reality, consistency and presentation.

Degree of Difficulty Group (1.0 point)

Degree of Difficulty (1.0 point): Degree of Difficulty is a combination of complexity, extent of the work, and the amount of labor required of the modeler to create a realistic scale model of the original. These three elements are not required to be equal for a technique or task to be difficult. This allows room for such things as extensive parts counts to be assessed as difficult as well as tasks such as building working PE hinges and tool clasps. This also allows for finishing tasks such as multi-color camouflage paint jobs and using stencils to paint markings. Some work might not be very complex, but the extent and amount of labor involved makes them difficult. On the other hand, some tasks might not involve very much labor but are very complex and are also difficult. Judges should evaluate the difficulty of all the techniques used by the modeler not how well any of these techniques are applied. How well these techniques are applied is covered under the Construction and Finish/Weathering Groups. Judges should also consider the skill level of the modeler in assigning a Degree of Difficulty score. For example, some tasks are more difficult for a lower skill level modeler to perform.

It is the responsibility of the modeler to provide the judges with a description of the kit(s) and various techniques they used to create a realistic scale model of the original. This is where photos of the work "in progress" would help the modeler document the degree of difficulty involved in building the model. Judges are not obligated to provide a score for this element if the modeler does not provide a description of their work or only indicates the model is built out of the box.

Judges Note: Judging for Degree of Difficulty is a big part of what separates AMPS judging from all other systems. Judges should look at what the modeler started with, what he finished with and what he did to get there.

Optional Research Bonus (0.5 point)

There is an additional bonus of 0.5 points for Research, which may be awarded by the judging team. To obtain this 0.5 point bonus, the modeler must document to the judging team the link between the research they performed and the finished model. This documentation need not be extensive (two pages or less), but must address, at a minimum, the following areas:

Description of Research: The modeler should provide a short description of the research they performed to build the model. The modeler must describe in his presentation how or why his model looks, either directly or indirectly, like the vehicles mentioned in the research. The model could look like the research by applying some of the following: similar paint schemes, markings, weathering, stowage, field modifications, or by using technical drawings to create the model displayed. The modeler can use pictures as part of this description.

Research References: The modeler should list the research references they used while building the model.

If the modeler provides a brag book or other description of how they constructed the model, without providing a description of their research in the format above, they will not be awarded the 0.5 point bonus. The link between the research and the model is established by replication and presentation of one, all or some of the following on the model being judged: paint schemes, markings, stowage, weathering, historical context, descriptions of similar vehicles or the use of technical drawings to create the model – based upon the research documentation provided.

Examples of acceptable research format are attached at Appendices 1 thru 3.

Judges Note: Based on the information provided by the modeler, the judging team should ask the following questions:

  1. Does the model, either directly or indirectly, match or look like the description(s), text explanations and/or pictures provided in the research? (paint schemes, markings, stowage, weathering, historical context, descriptions of similar vehicles or the use of technical drawings). {THE LINK}
  2. Is the research documentation format requirements met? {THE FORMAT}

If the answer to both questions is YES, the judging team will award the 0.5 bonus. The Table Captain will add the 0.5 point research bonus after the total score has been determined. This score then becomes the official score for the model entered into the AMPS scoring system.

 

Diorama Judging Criteria

Introduction

A diorama is a story based display on a landscaped base. It is a type of landscaped display that is built specifically to "tell a story" or convey a message by the builder to the viewer. The strength of the story or message along with how well it is communicated are critical considerations for the diorama.

The purpose and intent of a diorama is for the builder to communicate with the viewer. The models used on the diorama are the medium that the builder uses to communicate that story or message in much the same way that an author uses written words. The diorama is story-centric, and the story is the most important part of the work. Therefore, those elements of the diorama that contribute to the telling of the story – the models, their composition, and the landscape – are judged, assessed, and scored according to how well the builder has used them to communicate their message.

Craftsmanship in construction and finishing determine how convincing and realistic the diorama and its message can be perceived and understood. However, the intangible aspects of composition and story carry great weight in judging, assessing and scoring.

The following is a presentation of the 10-point breakdown as it applies to diorama judging.

System for Diorama Judging

Proper diorama construction requires a mastery of related but diverse modeling skills and the artistic talent needed to compose scenes and tell stories. Because of this, the diorama is one of the most difficult forms of modeling to execute successfully. Judging dioramas in competition is also difficult. Judges must have a keen appreciation of all of the facets required of diorama construction from the obvious, tangible modeling skills, such as construction and finishing, to the more abstract categories, such as composition. In addition, the same research bonus criteria used for models applies to dioramas. If awarded, the head diorama judge will add the 0.5 points to the total score of the judging team. This score then becomes the official score for the diorama entered into the AMPS scoring system.

Above all, the diorama judge should be fair and objective. Judges will use the following process to judge dioramas:

Construction Group - (3 points total)

Vehicles/ordnance: 1.0 point

Figures: 1.0 point

Groundwork: 1.0 point

Judge’s Note: If the diorama has no vehicles or ordnance, the 3 points are split as follows: Figures – 1.5 points, Groundwork 1.5 points. If the diorama has no figures (rare but possible) the points are split as follows: Vehicles/ordnance – 1.5 points, Groundwork 1.5 points.

Finishing and Weathering Group - (3 points total)

Overall finish: 1.0 point

Overall weathering: 1.0 point

Consistency of finish throughout the diorama: 1.0 point

Story and Composition Group (4 points total)

Storyline: 1.0 point

Composition: 1.0 point

Attention to detail: 1.0 point

Degree of difficulty/overall feel: 1.0 point

Judge’s Note: The same criteria which make up the bulk of the individual model judging have been reduced to 6 points total when applied to judging dioramas. The third Group, “Story and Composition”, is worth one more point (4 total) than either of the other two groups. The reason for this is simple: without a story or good composition, the diorama is not successful. Perfectly built vehicles, perfectly painted figures and beautiful groundwork will only yield a maximum of 6 points. If the diorama elements are not well composed to properly tell a story, the diorama will not score well. Likewise, if the construction and finish of a diorama are not skillfully done, the entry will not do well no matter how well a “story” it presents. Achieving a consistency and balance of all the skills needed to plan and build dioramas is the cornerstone for successful diorama construction.

Considerations for Dioramas

The third group, “Story and Composition” requires a good understanding of the intangibles, or “abstracts”, of diorama construction. Below are some of suggestions on this subject. These comments are meant to help both diorama builders and judges.

Story and Composition Group (4.0 points)

Storyline (1.0 point) - Regardless of whether the storyline is simple or complicated, can it be easily understood without any accompanying text other than a simple title? If the viewer can’t understand what is happening without having to read a lengthy treatise on the subject, the diorama has failed to tell its story successfully.

Composition (1.0 point) - Composition refers to the arrangement of all diorama components in relation to each other -- everything placed on the diorama base from the largest building to the smallest piece of ground work either adds to or subtracts from the story. Composition is the single most important part of diorama building. A story cannot be told properly without good composition. Composition includes the following considerations:

  • Balance - Are the diorama elements distributed around the base in a way that supports the story? Are they too close, too far apart, or bunched at one part of the base? Is the main idea supported by other, smaller components? Do supporting elements direct your eye around the diorama?
  • The size of the diorama base - Is it too small or too large for the story being told?
  • Tension - Is it obvious whether men or vehicles are moving or stationary? Do supporting elements help to understand this? Does the groundwork support or detract from the level of tension in the story?
  • Clarity - Does the composition help or hinder the clear understanding of the story? Is it immediately clear what the story is? Is there too much going on, with no single focus? Or is there nothing at all going on?
  • Time - Can you tell what just happened, what is happening or what is about to happen?
  • The use of empty space - Does the space between components help or hinder your ability to understand the story and/or emotion of the diorama?
     
    How do the diorama components interact with each other? Do they help to clarify the story or emotion of the diorama or do they distract from it by leading the viewer down too many unrelated side stories and dead ends? Is the path of travel realistic and logical?

Attention to detail (1.0 point) - The modeler needs equally good research about uniforms, small arms, buildings, combat conditions, weather effects on men and machines etc. as on the vehicle or ordnance. In addition to the obvious, physical details, the intangible details such as facial expressions, body positioning, or the sizes and arrangement of cargo loads in vehicles also are important. Following are some detailing highlights:

  • Figures: Weapon slings, web gear, buckles, small arms, small arms ammo, personal gear, poses, facial expressions, emotion, condition of uniforms and weapons.
  • Groundwork: Realistic building construction, realistic rubble and landscaping, attention to weather, season, natural-looking texture and color of ground, plants, and other objects. Each component of the groundwork should be as detailed and as well-painted as the vehicles and figures.
  • Vehicles/ordnance: How do they sit in or on the groundwork? Like figures, vehicles leave a trail during movement. Tracks or tires leave marks in soft ground or mud on clean pavements. Like figures, the path of travel for the vehicle/ordnance should be logical and realistic and the level of vehicle/ordnance detail should be consistent with that of the figures, e.g., straps, tie downs, realistic stowage. The groundwork, figures and vehicle/ordnance should exhibit a uniform level of detailing, finish and weathering. This attention to detail helps support the overall composition of the diorama.

Degree of difficulty/overall feel (1.0 point) - Criteria for this point category include:

  • Does the diorama successfully tell a story that is difficult to tell because of its subtlety and/or complexity?
  • Has the modeler constructed an elaborately-detailed base that supports the story?
  • Is the action or arena of action portrayed in the diorama difficult to express successfully?
  • Is the climate or time of day being represented unusually difficult to portray successfully, e.g. night time, water, rain, snow, ice etc.?
  • Is the level of detail required for the story being told difficult to compose successfully?

This list is by no means conclusive. It is meant to convey the level of planning and detail that one expects to see in a well-constructed diorama.

 

Vignette Judging Criteria

Introduction

A vignette is a model-subject based display on a landscaped base. It is a type of landscaped display that is built specifically to show off its subject model(s) in their historical and/or environmental context and which makes that context part of the modeled subject(s).

The purpose and intent of a vignette is for the model-builder to show off the aesthetic and / or technical characteristics of its subject model(s), either vehicles, figures or both. The vignette is model-centric and not story-centric. The models themselves are the most important part of the vignette. Any story that can be divined by the viewer in the vignette is irrelevant to the vignette's purpose and is not judged, assessed or scored.

The following is a presentation of the 10-point breakdown as it applies to vignette judging.

System for Vignette Judging

Vignettes are similar to dioramas and are scored in the same manner. The key difference is that vignettes do NOT have to tell a story. This category is designed and intended for modelers that have expanded out from pure armor modeling to include figures, groundwork and/or scenery, or for figure modelers who wish to set their figure(s) into a landscaped scene. It allows the modeler in this category to have his entire work judged without being put in the diorama category where storyline plays a key role. For example, a tank crew sitting on a tank or a soldier nearby a vehicle adds interest but does not necessarily tell a story. It is up to the modeler to decide if they think their work is a diorama or a vignette. It is also up to the modeler to determine if they want to enter a regular model category or the Vignette category. Like dioramas, vignettes require diverse modeling skills and the artistic talent needed to compose scenes. Judges must have a keen appreciation of all of the facets required of vignette construction from the obvious, tangible modeling skills, such as construction and finishing, to the more abstract categories, such as composition. In addition, the same research bonus criteria used for models applies to vignettes. If awarded, the head vignette judge will add the 0.5 points to the total score of the judging team. This score then becomes the official score for the vignette entered into the AMPS scoring system.

Judges will use the following process to judge dioramas:

Construction Group - (4 points total)

Vehicles/ordnance: 1.5 points

Figures: 1.5 points

Groundwork: 1.0 point

Judge’s Note: If the vignette has no vehicles or ordnance, the 4 points are split as follows: Figures – 2.0 points, Groundwork 2.0 points. If the vignette has no figures (rare but possible) the points are split as follows: Vehicles/ordnance – 2.0 points, Groundwork 2.0 points.

Finishing and weathering Group - (3 points total)

Overall finish: 1.0 point

Overall weathering: 1.0 point

Consistency of finish throughout the vignette: 1.0 point

Composition and Difficulty Group (3 points total)

Composition and attention to detail: 2.0 point

Degree of difficulty/Overall feel: 1.0 point

Judge’s Note:

The emphasis of the judging is on the craftsmanship exhibited in the construction and finish of the model-subjects and groundwork. Composition is assessed in the context of how well the builder has arranged the elements to show off the technical, historical, or environmental context of the model-subjects. Attention to detail contributes to the effectiveness of the overall work in creating this context. Degree of Difficulty is assessed in the same manner as the regular single subject categories.

Considerations for Vignettes

The first two scoring groups, "Construction" and "Finish and Weathering," are assessed and scored using the same basic criteria as are used in the regular single-subject vehicle and figure categories. The addition is Groundwork, which assessed and scored on how realistic is appears which includes considerations of construction, landscaping, attention to the weather, season, natural-looking textures and colors of the ground, plants, and other objects. Each component of the groundwork should be as detailed and as well painted as the vehicles and figures. Does the groundwork depict aspects that are more or less difficult to model, such as, water, snow, changes in elevation, etc? How well as these aspects constructed and finished? How much or how little of the groundwork has been created from scratch by the modeler? Has the majority or entirety of the base been created from a commercial casting or ready-made base?

The Composition and Difficulty group is where the judges assess and score how well the model-builder has depicted their model-subjects in some particular historical, technical or environmental context. The depiction of the model-subjects in some particular context is the purpose of building a vignette instead of simply displaying the model-subject alone. The measure of how effective the model-builder was in creating a realistic, interesting and aesthetically pleasing context is found within this scoring group. Judges should remember that the purpose of the vignette is to show off, to best effect, its model-subjects in their historical, technical or environmental context.

Composition and Difficulty Group – (3 points)

Composition and Attention to Detail (2 points) addresses those aspects of how the model-builder physically arranged all of the elements they used on the vignette in order to show the model-subjects in some particular and specific context.

Everything placed on the vignette, from the smallest bit of ground work to the largest building, either adds to or detracts from the viewer's appreciation of the model-subject(s). The principles of artistic composition apply here. Composition determines if the model-builder has created a realist, interesting and aesthetically pleasing work that shows off the model-subjects to their best advantage.

Attention to Detail specifically addresses the compositional principles of unity and harmony. Details should help tie the elements of the scene together. They should convince the viewer that what they are looking at is a small part of the real world.

Details should appear in scale and contribute to the historical, technical, or environmental context of the model-subjects. They should help the viewer to understand and appreciate the context that the model-builder is attempting to portray.

Degree of Difficulty (1 point) should be assessed from both the point of view of how hard the particular model-subjects were to build and finish (normal single-subject considerations) and the point of view of how difficult it was for the model-builder to create the historical, technical or environmental scene that he or she has chosen to show off those model-subjects, i.e. how hard was it to build the vignette itself?

Thus, the judges should include into their assessment and scoring aspects of the groundwork, the posing of the figures, the interaction between the various model elements (figures and vehicles/ordnance) and what aspects of those model-subjects the builder has selected to highlight, emphasize or show off. Examples of these other aspects could include such things as hard to model environments (snow, water, elevations, etc), dynamic physical features of the vehicles/ordnance (suspension deflection, steering articulation, interiors, recoil, crew duties and actions, etc), major figure conversions, hard to depict camouflage or other finishes (on both the figures and vehicles), etc.

A unique consideration for Degree of Difficulty assessment of the groundwork depicted in vignettes and dioramas is how much or how little of the base and groundwork has been created from scratch by the builder and how much has been created from a commercial base or other products (building or street castings, etc.)? Overall finish on the supporting structures, such as plaques, frames, bases should also be a consideration for the judges and included in their overall scoring. In the end, the Degree of Difficulty applies to the totality of the work displayed.

 

Figure Judging Criteria

Judging Process

The Figure judging team is comprised of three judges. Figure judges gather at the designated judging competition area on Saturday of the international convention. Judges should have score cards and pen. The team then goes thru the entire category together discussing the overall merits of each entry in each figure category.

Judging Philosophy

Because we are asking our judges to evaluate a wide range of subjects, it is important to remember the strength of the AMPS system is not a competitive one, where no piece wins an award at the expense of another. Each work is evaluated and receives the level of award which the judges feel is appropriate based on its own merit. Remember, finding flaws is only half the job – the other half is finding the good things and the score and comments reflect a combination of both.

Figure Definitions

Stock: Commercially-cast figures, including resin, plastic or metal, all scales. The judging will be based on simple construction and painting quality.

Conversions: Minor conversions of commercially available stock figures which consist of small changes in poses or uniforms. More elaborate conversions which consist of extensive rework of poses or uniforms will be evaluated on degree of difficulty and anatomical scale likeness. Conversions may also leave practically nothing of the original design except face and hands, which may also be altered.

Scratch builds: The sculpting of complete figure by the modeler with components they’ve created from non-kit sources. Generally, scratch built figures are the most challenging and highest degree of difficult. Judges should look at the anatomy of change, muscle structure (e.g. is one arm longer than the other), scale and draping of clothing and equipment. Photo documentation is most helpful for the judges

Busts: Commercially available cast, resin, plastic, metal, all scales. The judging will be only based on painting quality

Judging Criteria

Each judge, upon assessing the figure, can award up to a total of three points. These points are awarded in 0.5 point increments in accordance with the figure judging criteria. Each figure may be awarded a maximum of 9.0 points by the judging team. In addition, the same research bonus criteria used for models applies to figures. If awarded, the head figure judge will add the 0.5 points to the total score of the three judges. This score then becomes the official score for the figure entered into the AMPS scoring system.

Assembly: Judges will look for correctly-treated mold seams, sprue and casting vents, components properly assembled, absence of glue marks, assembly areas properly filled and finished. Additionally, on conversion and scratch built figures the judges should look for mismatched or out of scale components (anatomy), unfinished areas between components, putty or sculpted areas, rough sanding or smoothing, fingerprints in the putty. The judges should also look at how the figure is attached to the base. The figure should be posed appropriately on the base with an appearance of correct scale weight, neither floating above the ground work nor sunk into it (exceptions would be mud, snow or other soft ground).

Painting: This is the most important element of judging, as the judges will look for application of paint for shading and highlighting, with no brush strokes and no areas of primer showing. Some figure modelers allow for artistic impression in color choices, but unless they are trying to duplicate specific lighting situations (nighttime or firelight) the uniforms’ colors should be reasonably accurate. However, judges should remember that due to differences in material no two uniforms or pieces of equipment may look exactly alike. The painting of faces is the most difficult and most challenging for most modelers, especially in the bust category but it is of utmost importance, as it brings the figure to life from the viewer’s point of view. For example, eyes should be accurately located level with each other, and lacking the suggestion of the “pop-eyed” look.

The judges will evaluate how the modeler has rendered shadows and highlights both technically and compositionally. Technically, shadows and highlights should be painted with proper shades and blending. Compositionally, shadows and highlights should be where they belong on the figure. The judging team should carefully look for innovative or adventurous painting. This will include reflected lighting and color, creating the effect of moonlight or artificial lighting sources.

Groundwork: Judges will evaluate how the groundwork enhances the overall figure composition of the piece. The modeler should use the ground work to stage the figure. Groundwork can be simple or elaborate; the groundwork and vegetation should be realistic in effect, appropriate to the geographic setting, and painted in a style commensurate with the figure(s). The figure should be tied to the base artistically, for example, a dusty figure should be posed on a dusty base; a muddy figure on a muddy base.

Degree of difficulty and scope of effort: The more detailed and difficult work the modeler executes, i.e. heavy conversion/scratch built or elaborate integrated base and/or groundwork. the more credit they will receive. Judges need to always keep in mind the basics of assembly and painting.

Figure Scoring Breakdown

Stock Category

Assembly – 20 %

Painting – 60%

Groundwork – 20%

Conversion/Scratchbuilt Category

Degree of difficulty and overall scope of effort – 50%

Painting – 30%

Groundwork – 20%

Bust Category

Painting – 80%

Base – 20%

Scores to be used for figures are as follows:

For the JUNIOR level AMPS Scoring System Conversion
Gold Medal        7.5 – 9.026.0 – 30.0
Silver Medal5.0 – 7.021.0 – 25.5
Bronze Medal2.5 – 4.516.0 – 20.5
 
For the BASIC level:
Gold Medal7.5 – 9.026.0 – 30.0
Silver Medal5.0 – 7.021.0 – 25.5
Bronze Medal2.5 – 4.516.0 – 20.5
 
For the INTERMEDIATE level:
Gold Medal8.0 – 9.027.0 – 30.0
Silver Medal5.5 – 7.523.0 – 26.5
Bronze Medal3.5 – 5.019.0 – 22.5
 
For the ADVANCED level:
Gold Medal8.5 – 9.028.0 – 30.0
Silver Medal6.5 – 8.025.0 – 27.5
Bronze Medal4.5 – 6.022.0 – 24.5
 
For the MASTERS level:
Gold Medalscore of 9.0 or higher29.0 and above

 

Conclusions

Judging Notes and Clarifications

This year we’ve made two revisions to the AMPS contest rules. The following is a summary of these revisions:

  • Added to and revised the Competition Categories: Roughly three years ago there was a push from within the membership to split Category III, Closed Top Tracked and Semi-tracked Vehicles Post 1945 (based on markings) into two categories based on Cold War vs post-Cold War. At that time, we decided not to make the split. Over the ensuing years conditions in the hobby have changed so we decided to revisit this decision and also consider the addition of another category which would encompass the lead up to World War I through the interwar years end as well.
  • The following are the Category revisions:
    • I. Closed Top Tracked and Semi-tracked Vehicles 1899 to1934 (based on markings)
    • II. Closed Top Tracked and Semi-tracked Vehicles 1935 to 1945, Axis (based on markings)
    • III. Closed Top Tracked and Semi-tracked Vehicles 1935 to 1945, Allied (based on markings)
    • IV. Closed Top Tracked and Semi-tracked Vehicles 1946 to 1991 (based on markings)
    • V. Closed Top Tracked and Semi-tracked Vehicles 1992 to Present (based on markings)
  • Closed the loop hole in the Contest Rules which allowed a Figure, Diorama or Vignette to be considered in multiple Best of categories as AMPS already has specific Best of awards for these categories.

 

Pointers and Suggestions for Successful Show Judging

The judges should have preprinted forms. While the judging system works best with a computer for more precise scoring, it can be used without difficulty with minimal paperwork and without a computer. However, every judge must have a tally sheet for each model, and the Table Captain must have the entry form accompanying the model to log in the official score and comments.

The entry form must list the number of the entry, its class and category and provide a spot for points awarded by the judges, their comments and their initials or symbols.

Judging Comments: The purpose of the judge’s comments are to provide the modeler with constructive feedback on their work. Each judge will provide at least one comment on each judging sheet. The judges must initial the individual Tally sheet when they have completed judging an entry

An example of a finished card would look like this (for a hypothetical Tamiya Tiger with lots of extra detail work).

Entry: Nr. 187A

Level: Intermediate

Title: "Snow Tigers in the Ardennes - December 1944"

Kits Used: Tamiya, DML figures Accessories: VLS, Show Modeling, On the Mark

Category X

A -- 8.0 Nice work on the tracks, but guide teeth should show similar wear! JRG

B -- 8.5 Good job of weathering, watch track alignment. NBF

C -- 10.0 Best Tiger I I've seen in years ABC

D – 6.5 Zimmerit was not used on this unit's tanks after August 1944, and not in Belgium. BRR

Score 26.5

The "expert" who slams it for not living up to his standards has his score thrown out; thus the model earns a SILVER medal. Judges are expected to make notes for the modeler on their entry sheet and then initial these notes. Judges who award less than a perfect score are expected to offer positive constructive criticism, as well as encouragement and compliments. This is done to help the modeler to improve his modeling skills and should never be worded in a petty or aggressive manner.

Comments should be to the point and tactful. They should directly relate to the scores given to the model. Remarks like "junk", "crap," or "folk art" have no place on a judging sheet. Remember that these are your peers and friends and be considerate of their feelings when you make comments.

Judging sheets are returned to each modeler following the award ceremony. This is the modeler’s opportunity to see why he got the score he got and what he needs to do to improve. Entrants are encouraged to carefully review the notes and scores for each of their entries, and use this feedback to improve their modeling in the future. Judges, especially the Chief Judge and ACJs are strongly encouraged to engage in dialog at the request of entrants, at any time, in the hopes of transmitting modeling tips and ideas from the judges to the modeler.

 

Appendix 1 - Examples of Research Documentation

Example 1 – Type 3 HO-NI III

Kits:

Fine Molds Type 3 HO-NI III

Fine Molds Type 3 75mm barrel

Friulmodel Type 97 CHI-HE track

MV Lenses LS409

Warriors WWII Combat Cameraman

Warriors American Soldier

 

References:

Japanese Tanks 1939-1945, Steven J. Zaloga, Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2007.

Japanese Armor Vol 5, Andrzej M. Tomczyk, Tankpower, AJ Press, 2006.

 

Research Description:

In 1943, the Japanese Army modified some existing Ho-Nis with an enclose superstructure and rearmed them with the Type 3 75mm gun. The superstructure was a heptagonal welded structure with sloped sides and three roof hatches. The Ho-Ni III was based on the later Type 97 Chi-Ha chassis. Fifty seven Ho-Ni IIIs were ordered from Hitachi; however, somewhere between 31 or 41 were completed. These were assigned to the 4th Tank Division and did not see combat. The US Army captured all known Ho-Ni IIIs at the Hakata Army base on Kyushu.

These are some of the few photographs taken of HO-NI III after World War II. The picture on the left was taken 14 October 1945 at Hakata Army base. The picture on the right was provided by a source in Japan. The time frame of this picture is unknown.

 

Construction Description:

This model was built using the Fine Molds Type 3 HO-NI III. This kit comes with a small photo-etched fret, which provides muffler covers. This model is detailed with brass wire grab handles, Friulmodel Type 97 track, Fine Molds 75mm barrel, 0.10 Plastruct round and MV lens for the headlight (LS 409). This model was given a base coat of Tamiya IJA Green with a cammo pattern of Tamiya Khaki and Flat Brown.


Example 2 – M4A3 in Color M4A3 76W - 14th Armored Div. - December 1944

Image #1 - Original: Image from US Tank Battles in France 1944-45 by Steven Zaloga, page 63. Color: Author’s interpretation from the same book as image #1, page 40. References:

Image #2 - Color: Author’s interpretation from the same book as image #1, page 40.

 

Description of Research:

This model represents an M4A3 of the 14th Armored Division in the Alsace area of France late in 1944.

Image #1 shows sandbags on the glacis and at least 4 colors on the hull.

The model displays fittings seen on other 14th AD tanks and few markings due to fresh camouflage.

 

References:

US Tank Battles in France 1944-45 by Steven Zaloga, Concord Publications Co., Hong King, 2003


Example 3 – M10 at ANZIO M10 mid-production 601st TD, Anzio, Italy 1944

Image #1 - Markings: Allied Tank Destroyers by Bryan Perrett, page 10 Osprey Vanguard 10, Osprey Publishing Ltd, London, 1979

Image #2 - MG Mount: Allied Tank Destroyers by Bryan Perrett, page 12 Osprey Vanguard 10, Osprey Publishing Ltd, London, 1979

Description of Research:

This model represents a mid production M10 in action February 1944 at Anzio with the 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion.

The vehicle is dug in as per image #1 and uses similar markings, being the last TD (12) in Alpha Company.

Image #2 shows a field mod Anti-Aircraft MG mount also photographed in Italy during 1944.

 

References:

  • Allied Tank Destroyers by Bryan Perrett, Osprey Vanguard 10, Osprey Publishing Ltd, London, 1979
  • Allied Tanks Italy: World War Two by Bryan Perrett, Tanks Illustrated No. 20, Arms and Armour Press Ltd, London, 1985
  • U.S. Tank Destroyers in Combat 1941-1945 by Steven J. Zaloga, Concord Publications Co., Hong King, 1996

A Modeler’s Guide to the AMPS Contest Rules
Last updated on 3/1/2017 by Mike Petty

Introduction

This year AMPS is holding its 23rd International Convention on 20-22 April 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Danbury, 18 Old Ridgebury Road, Danbury Connecticut, 06810. This is the largest armor modeling event in North America and draws participants from all over the world. All competition entrants must be AMPS members in good standing. If you are not an AMPS member or need to renew your membership you can do so through the AMPS web-site: http://amps-armor.org/SiteMain/AboutAMPS.aspx#Join. In addition, you can join or renew you membership through our combination show entry/membership special on the show portion of the AMPS web-site.

The armor modeling competition is a part of the International Convention. This competition provides a forum for modelers to discuss techniques, improve their skills, and share information about the real vehicles that are of common interest. AMPS created a unique system which judges both the model and honors the modeler for their artistic achievement and historical accuracy.

The judging system is designed to have each entry viewed and evaluated by a group of fellow modelers (peer evaluation). The AMPS system acknowledges judges are human and many judging calls are subjective, not objective. Thus, each model is evaluated by a team of four judges, with the lowest score eliminated. Our system provides an opportunity to give the entrant's work formal, constructive feedback from fellow modelers. The AMPS system is designed to reward the modeler for the good work they accomplish. Each model is reviewed and evaluated on its own merits with no comparison to any other entry. The AMPS system evaluates the model in relation to the ability of the modeler, rather than against acknowledged masters of the hobby or everyone else who enters in the same category.

The following are a few tips you can use as you prepare your entries for this year’s competition:

 

AMPS Judging Philosophy

Models are not just technical scale miniatures of their prototypes, but also artistic representations of historical, hypothetical, or imaginary subjects. While mechanical precision and fidelity to detail are highly desired, there are few other absolute rights or wrongs with most of the aspects of our builds. There are many different construction and finishing techniques and methods which can be employed to create the artistic representation of our subjects. These combine to create each model-builder's unique "style." Although judges are expected to assess and score the models, these assessments are expected to be done within the context of the individual modeler's style and not those of the judges.

 

Know the rules

The AMPS Contest Rules are found on the AMPS web-site by clicking here.You can also view the AMPS Contest Rules through the AMPS 2017 International Convention portion of the web-site. Just click on INFO and The AMPS Judging System Rules and Guide. A basic knowledge of the criteria used to evaluate entries is helpful in preparing your models for competition.

 

Select your skill level

If you have participated in an AMPS International event before then you will likely know your competition skill level. If you are a first timer, here’s some advice – many modelers overestimate their skill level. As a result, they do not always do well in an AMPS competition and walk away disappointed. To address this, the show will have experienced RamRods checking in your models before they are judged. If you are unsure, ask them for help in determining your skill level. These folks are trained in the AMPS Contest Rules and they will guide you in the right direction. Also, for those modelers who received a Gold Medal in the Basic or Intermediate skill levels at last year’s AMPS International Convention – you automatically move up to the next higher skill level.

 

Construction

Up to five points can be awarded in the construction category. Surprisingly, many modelers miss being awarded points on the basics. Here are a few things to watch:

  1. Suspension. The area where I see modelers have the most trouble is in the construction of the vehicles suspension system. Military vehicles weigh a lot, but you’d be surprised at the number of entries with floating roadwheels and track or wheels not all touching the ground. While on suspension, check the alignment of track, roadwheels and wheels. Spending a little extra time building the suspension system will pay dividends during judging.
  2. Those pesky mold seams and injector pin marks. They seem to jump out when you put a coat of paint on the model. Take some time to remove mold seams and fill those pesky injector pin marks.
  3. Flattened gun barrels. Even with today’s slide molding technology, many plastic gun barrels still have mold seams. Go easy - as the tendency is to sometimes use a wood rasp instead of a flexi-file or fine sand paper to remove these seam lines resulting in noticeable flat spots on the barrel.
  4. Glue schmutz (a technical modeling term). No matter how careful you are in building some excess glue will get on your model. After you’ve finished your build, take some time to give your model a good look over. If you see a glue spot hit it with a bit of flat coat and it might just disappear.
  5. Magnetic stowage. AMPS encourages modelers to build personalized models which present the “lived-in” look. However, each year we see models with personal gear and stowage held on with no visible or logical means of attachment (e.g., straps and tie-downs), but appear to be magically stuck on the model. Take a look at military vehicles in the field. A majority of the personal gear and stowage is affixed to the vehicle in some fashion and in areas which would not endanger the crew or impede the vehicle’s usage.
  6. What’s in the hatch? We get questions about the closed versus open hatch categories. Simple answer – if the hatches are open with or without interiors the model is placed in the category VI (Open top/open hatch vehicles) and judged accordingly. If you use figures to fill the hatches, the model may be placed in categories I, II, III, IV or V at your option.

 

Finishing and Weathering

Up to four points can be awarded in the painting and weathering category. This is where the modeler gets to apply some artistic techniques. Here are a few hints:

  1. Is it the right color of OD? Please! What matters is that your paint should be applied in a smooth, even coat with no drips, splotches or uneven areas. If you apply markings and decals look for edge lifting or silvering. Some modelers hand-apply markings. If you do, the markings should be viewed "in scale," not be too heavy-handed or thickly applied.
  2. Artistic versus natural weathering. Artistic weathering is applied by the modeler to enhance the finish. This does not necessarily mean action-related mud, peeling paint, and the like. Weathering should be logical for the scene presented by the modeler. On the other hand, natural weathering is household dust, cob-webs, animal hair and assorted other stuff which accumulates on models as they sit on the shelf. Please look your model over and give it a quick dusting before the competition.

 

Degree of Difficulty

"If it's from Tamiya it's not a difficult build." Let's debunk this urban legend! While Tamiya provides us with some well engineered and generally well detailed kits there’s always room for additional detailing. Up to one point can be awarded for the effort a modeler puts forth to add additional detailing to create a model that is something special. Degree of Difficulty is a combination of complexity, extent of the work, and the amount of labor required of the modeler to create a realistic scale model of the original. Judges are instructed to evaluate the difficulty of all the techniques used by the modeler, not how well any of these techniques are applied. How well these techniques are applied is covered under the Construction and Finish/Weathering Groups. Judges will also consider the skill level of the modeler in assigning a Degree of Difficulty score. For example, some tasks are more difficult for a lower skill level modeler to perform.

Please note: It’s the responsibility of the modeler to provide the judges with a description of the kit(s) and various techniques they used to create a realistic scale model of the original. This is where photos of the work "in progress" would help the modeler document the degree of difficulty involved in building the model. Judges are not obligated to provide a score for this element if the modeler does not provide a description of their work or only indicates the model is built out of the box.

 

Optional Research Bonus

The judging teams may award an additional 0.5 point bonus for documented research. While most modelers do research for their builds, historically only about 15 percent of entrants provide the judges with any research documentation. The submitted documentation should link the research performed and the finished model. Examples of documentation formats at provided in the AMPS contest rules. It continues to amaze me that more modelers don’t take an opportunity to go after the Optional Research Bonus as it could mean the difference in the award they receive for their model.

 

What’s new in the Contest Rules for 2017?

There are no revisions contained in the Contest Rules for 2017. We review the Contest Rules on a continual basis, but found that we are just about at the right point for this year. We’ll review the Contest Rules after AMPS 2017 International Convention to see if anything comes up during the competition which needs to be addressed.

 

Other points to consider

  1. Road warriors. Most of us will be traveling over some distances to get to this year’s convention. Traveling can take a toll on our models. We’ll have a first aid station set up at registration for you to make minor repairs. However, if there is travel damage you can’t repair add a note on your entry form that the model was damaged during travel. The judges will take this into consideration.
  2. Flying tanks. Each year we have a few models damaged because the show staff was not warned the models were not attached to the base. Please note on your registration forms if your model is not attached to the base.
  3. That darn paperwork. Each entrant will complete one registration form for each entry and one Master Administration form. I encourage you to pre-register through the AMPS web-site by clicking here. On-line pre-registration closes 13 April 2017. If you do not pre-register, forms will be available when you register at the convention.

 

A final thought

It's no secret the AMPS judging system needs a large numbers of judges to evaluate the entries during the show. Whether you are visiting the convention for the first time or the twenty-third, I personally invite you to “donate” some of your time to be a judge. Your experiences at judging models (which will range from basic to advanced skill level) will make you a better modeler. You will also leave the convention with a highly coveted AMPS Crew T-shirt, suitable for creating jealousy among your modeling buddies. As a new feature this year you can sign-up for judging shifts through the AMPS web-site by clicking here.