Polar Vortex’s inaugural Miniature Painting & Modeling Competition!

The Butch O’Hare Chicago Chapter for the International Plastic Modelers’ Society is hosting our first event and meets on the second Friday of every month at:
St. Paul’s United Church of Christ
5739 Dunham Road,
Downers Grove, IL 60516

Competition Rules and Regulations:

  • Entries must be made in-person by the painter and must be the sole work of the individual whose name is represented on the entry form.
  • No more than 2 entries per painter per category.
  • $5 per entry
  • Any entry painted by anyone other than the entrant will be disqualified.
  • You cannot enter winning models from other contests, conventions, or online competitions.
  • You cannot enter painted models published prior to Polar Vortex and this competition in any professional print media, i.e. manufacturer magazines or gaming material. Online publication of your painted entry prior to Polar Vortex is acceptable only if done so in the spirit of receiving feedback on your work from the hobby community.
  • Disqualified winning entries forfeit all prizes, titles, awards, and the painter is barred from entry in future Polar Vortex competitions. If an entry is disqualified, awards are given to the next winning entry. Information dealing with an entry in this competition that may result in disqualification should be brought to the attention of Polar Vortex management immediately.
  • Entries will be photographed and entry registration indicates permission for Polar Vortex to show them in all public media, including online and print media.
  • Polar Vortex staff, Painting Competition Volunteers, and Competition Management cannot be held responsible for damaged or lost miniatures. We treat all miniatures with respect and will do our best to keep them safe.
  • Polar Vortex Staff, Polar Vortex Competition Volunteers, and Polar Vortex Competition Judges are not eligible for entry.
  • All decisions of the judges and management are final.
  • Entries must be received by 11 pm on Saturday of Polar Vortex.
  • Entries and Prizes must be picked up by 5pm Sunday, or the entrant will pay shipping and handling for their entries and prizes to be mailed to them. If we receive no replies to our attempts to contact you by phone or email by February 30th of this year, prizes will be forfeit and entries still in our possession will be auctioned.


While these rules are specific to IPMS modeling competitions, this criteria will apply to all categories but may not apply to all entries. Each category—except Basic Skill—will offer Bronze, Silver, and Gold level awards which will be presented to each entry which meets the standard for it’s corresponding award. In addition, the best three entries for each category will also receive an additional prize and one winner will receive our Best in Show award!


  • Basic Skills
  • Science Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Modern
  • Diorama

Judging Criteria:

Judging Criteria are given in order of precedence for each category. When determining the difference between close entries, they are considered in the given order of precedence. An exhibitor with questions about the judging of their model is welcome to discuss them with representative judges after the Awards Ceremony.

  • Technical Quality – defined as the technical proficiency used in the painting and modeling of the entry. Obvious technical faults are mold lines, sloppy joins, rough primer, or sloppy paint.
  • Artistic Quality – defined as the artistic effects of the piece, including color choices, detail work, and the overall effectiveness of the artistic choices made.
  • Unit Cohesion – defined as the unifying theme that indicates these figure belong together. This can be done, for example, through effective use of uniforms, insignia, basing of the figures, including unifying display base if offered.
  • Presentation of Story – emphasized for the Diorama Category, though always encouraged for all entries, figures and basing should present to the viewer a clear and enticing story shown as a single scene. This criteria is used to determine how well the modeler has created their storytelling scene and how dramatic or how well it pulls the viewer into the diorama.

Basic Skills

This category is for beginner/novice modelers. Basic Skills are considered the minimal criteria of a good model and are considered the essential building blocks towards creating skilled works of art which are applicable to any type of model. All models will receive an award that meet these criteria:

  • Seams filled
  • Mold lines and release seams removed
  • Sprue tree nubs removed
  • Mold ejector pin marks removed
  • No sink marks present
  • No gaps between surfaces
  • Clear pieces not marred or fogged
  • Surfaces finished smoothly
  • Glue marks or excess glue do not appear
  • Paint applied smoothly
  • Decals applied with no silvering
  • Manufacturer’s logos, copyrights or other molded in identification removed.

Bronze Award

To be awarded Bronze, the model must meet the criteria of the Basic Skills. In addition Hull seams must not be apparent. Any Wings, Horizontal/Vertical Stabilizers must be positioned correctly. Landing Gear must be straight and not misaligned. Wheels/Tracks must contact the display surface. Gun Barrels must be round with no flat areas along the Barrel where a seam was removed. Individual Track Links or Continuous Track is applied correctly. Tracks applied facing in the proper direction and Track tension appropriate for the subject. If Engine Grilles are open for venting or filled with screening than they shall be engineered by the exhibitor to prevent light or interior parts of the subject from being noticeable.

Silver Award

To be awarded Silver, the model must meet the criteria of Basic Skills and the Bronze Award. In addition Dry-Brushing and Weathering techniques are considered in the execution of detail and the exhibit’s finish. Detailing, Aftermarket Parts (Resin, Photo-Etch, etc.) if included must be applied following the same Basic Skills criteria. Attention to detail such as Main Gun(s) or Cannon Barrels drilled out, Antenna attached, any details added to enhance the model is judged on its execution. The addition of Aftermarket Parts, or extra detail does not automatically qualify the exhibit for a Silver Award.

Gold Award

To be awarded Gold, the model must meet the criteria of Basic Skills, Bronze and Silver Awards. Conversions and Scratch built items are judged on the execution of skill and how well they are incorporated into the existing pieces of the model. The addition of Aftermarket Parts, Conversion or Scratch built items or additional detail does not automatically qualify the exhibit for a Gold Award. An entire Scratch built exhibit does not automatically qualify for a Gold Award.