Welcome to the in-depth results of the WTC 2017 painting competition.
Let’s start with a word on the process. First up, the painting competition is split up into 3 categories: Guild Ball WTC, Warmachine & Hordes WTC and Warmachine & Hordes Solo masters.
The competition is only open to complete armies. Alle models of the roster (in the case of Guild Ball) and all models of BOTH armies (in the case of Warmachine & Hordes) are taken into account (even the old ones you would rather not show).
In every category, a shortlist is made of all the armies that we like at first sight. It’s mainly a gut feeling of “wow, this army looks cool.” This year, there were 9 Guild Ball WTC teams that made that cut, 9 Warmachine & Hordes WTC armies and 3 Warmachine & Hordes Solo masters armies.
All of the armies on the shortlist were then each judged in depth by a team of 5 experts: The head painting judge (Tomas Mennes), The 2 head judges for the Warmachine & Hordes WTC (Jason Enos) and the Guild Ball WTC (Kim sent his second-in-command Steve Herck) and 2 painting and modelling experts (Christoph Van Der Schoot and Jan “Baffo” Ivancic).
Then, each entry was judged on 5 different criteria.
- Overall look: how striking does it look on the tabletop?
- Painting skill: how much technical control does the painter have?
- Conversion: how expertly were the models altered?
- Basing: how much care was put into the base of the model
- Continuity: does the army fit together nicely?
Every judge scored each criterium with a score of 0-4. All the results were added up, giving an end score of maximum 100.
Guild Ball WTC
It was the first year judging Guild Ball models. Our standards were a bit higher for these than they were for the Warmachine armies, simply because there are less models in a team, which means you can take more time for each model. The more models, the harder it is to keep a continuously high standard. What immediately surprised us was the very high quality of teams.
Third place: Hunters by Goupil (64 pts)
We loved the contrast on the models. They were dark, but without becoming drab. The white furs really popped, making the models a lot more bright than you would have expected from the muted color palette. On pure painting skill, this was one of the best teams entered, with gorgeously smooth transitions and excellent brush control. Sadly, not all models were completely finished and we did find that the muted palette made it jump off the table less than some of the other entries.
Second place: Morticians by Charles Nurser (65 pts)
Charles’ Morticians were the opposite of Goupil’s models. His painting skill was nice, but not as high as our third place, but the models really drew our eyes towards them. The black, white and gold bases were very striking and really drew our eye to the models. The yellow-to-red blending on the feathers and on the birds immediately enamoured us. We also liked the attention that Charles put into the bases, making every model look like a bit of a vignette instead of just a model on a base.
First place: Alchemists by Pär Ardin. (70 pts)
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: If this competition would have been purely on painting skill, there were better armies in the running. But those conversions! The level of detail that Pär put into every single model is astounding. The conversions look effortless, like they are sculpted that way. And that takes as much skill as painting the models. What’s more, this team oozes character. It’s the kind of creepy circus that looks fun on first sight. Until you take a closer look. The mechanically enhanced weight lifter, the angry clown. Even the trained snake with a tiny topcoat. They are all gorgeous.
Warmachine & Hordes WTC Solo Masters
3 out of the 36 players of the solo masters made the shortlist. I have to admit that this makes it the smaller cousin of the WTC painting competition, but that didn’t mean those armies didn’t look really nice. Because of the limited number of players, we only award first place to the solo masters competition.
First place: Retribution of Scyrah by André Valentim (73 pts)
We loved the chosen color scheme and how he used the bases to tell little stories. We did miss a bit of highlighting on the armour plates. A blend on the edges towards a lighter color would have made the army pop better on the table. Now, we felt like the edge highlights weren’t enough to take the flatness of the models away. Once again, we were fans of the conversions though. The Eldar parts and the Retribution models go together so smoothly. We loved it!
Warmachine & Hordes WTC
This is the 5th year of this painting competition and the quality was really high this year. So high that the top 4 were less than 10 points apart.
Honorable mention: Retribution of Scyrah by Filip Zingmark. (69 points)
Just outside of the top 3, this army really jumps out because of the conversions and paintwork on the warjacks. The bones together with the dark olive freehand on the armour makes it a properly creepy army. What let it down was the infantry, though. Most of the judges found the contrast of the bright pink infantry with the moody olives of the jacks too much. The paint quality of the jacks also wasn’t carried over into the infantry, sadly enough.
Third place: Retribution of Scyrah by Kasper B. Larsen. (72 pts)
This was absolutely one of the most striking color schemes of the competition. The dark blue and bright orange contrast very nicely and really draw the attention. We also liked how consistently those colors were applied throughout the entire army. The bases could have done with a bit more attention, but the conversions were beautiful in their subtlety. Especially, check out all those masks! The greatest part about these models was the weathering and battle damage, though. Some of the judges found it too much, some found it could never be enough. But we all loved the obvious skill that went into it and the striking contrast it provided.
Second place: Convergence of Cyriss by Ludek Cerny (74 pts)
Now this was a difficult one. Yes, it looks nice from a distance, but not exceptionally so. Until you come closer. The standard metal look of convergence is nicely executed, but what really carries this army is the beautiful blue edges, with the gorgeously freehand-painted filigree lines. We even spotted some hand-painted convergence symbols in there as well. And it was consistent throughout the entire army, making every model unique (which is not an obvious task when painting an all metallic army). We also love the attention that Ludek put into the bases. The warm, red earth contrasted nicely to the cold metal of the models. The fact that every model had a unique base also broke up the possible monotony of the army. With extra points for the gorgeous display.
First place: Protectorate of Menoth by Paul de Geus (77 pts)
Where do we even start? Paul has taken a Menoth army and completely made it his own. The conversions are fantastic, combining PP models heavily with parts and models from other ranges. The color palette is minimal, but works. This is the kind of army that makes you do a double take when you pass by a table. It oozes atmosphere. If we have to nitpick, we thought the bases and the greens on the ghosts could use a bit more attention. But then we saw the freehand writing on the banners. And on the cloaks. And the bases. And all the glowing Menoth symbols on those black cloaks. And we knew this was our rightful winner.
Congratulations to all. The quality was high and we look forward to seeing what surprises we will see next year!