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Battles Contest 2009 Winners Announced!

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Re: Battles Contest 2009 Winners Announced!

Postby Ye Olde Republic » Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:48 pm

....if you're feeling pressured by deadlines, you could, you know, sit a contest out....er, *cough, ahem* After reading your results as posted by Bruce, I have decided not to type out my newest opinion Sly, because it would seem to me that you are doing just fine in these contests. Be careful when you say publicly that you are constantly passed over when all the while people see your name all over the results.
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Re: Battles Contest 2009 Winners Announced!

Postby SlyOwl » Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:15 pm

Bruce N H wrote:Sorry for not doing my normal CCC feedback this year. That always takes a lot of time and life got in the way. Would people be interested if I did a feedback thread even at this late date?

I had interpreted Tony's thread as the equivalent this year (albeit a more condensed version), but missed out on the chance before it was closed. Essentially I would be interested in feedback on my entries (in particular Wot's a Wock?), but if there isn't widerspread demand (the feedback-on-request system of the previous Battles Contest seems to work better, maybe, than going through every entry), then I understand. My CCCVI performance was a factor in giving me the impression that "routine" builds work best for contests.
Bruce N H wrote:Hard to say you repeatedly lose. In the CCC you had one win and four honorable mentions from your six entries.

Repeatedly lose without knowing how to improve (with "repeatedly" meaning a fair few occurences, not "always"). In many contests I know exactly what the problem was, having been aware of it myself, or been told it in feedback from the judges. It's the not-knowing that bugs me, not the losing itself. Job Mullers is a good example of where I was anticipating to do better than I did. With Seb's feedback it was wholly understandable, and is the sort of "technicality" I referred to earlier: it could be rectified with a single grand-dwarf-supervisor with a steampunkish control-board in front of him.
Aliencat wrote:Ah I can finally comment on this, now that we're done judging for the contest.
I must say this really is an incredible MOC. It's very well built and full of action, details, and nifty building techniques. Excellent job on... well... everything really! :D
This scene really makes an outstanding stand-alone MOC, but I must honestly admit that as a contest-entry, I was having trouble seeing the actual "guy doing the job".
But don't think for a second that this didn't end up one of the winners because it's not a grand MOC, the building style of this is awesome, even for your standards. I could even be cheesy and say you've outdone yourself :)

Bruce N H wrote:BTW, I didn't think Estrelaron was a rehash of Tirachinas at all, except maybe in the most trival of senses that there was a wall, a moat and a battle. Estrelaron has so many more details and the sense of action is much better.

Perhaps not in the finished product, but I had originally had the duck-men going through a drain (inspired by Hippotam) and there was a half-built area behind the wall (ran out of time) of a similar style to Tirachinas. With Tirachinas I had also intended to put in a grassy/muddy area with a catapult on it on the far side of the bridge (hence the MOC's name, which I never got round to changing), but ran out of bricks. So they came from the same rough idea, but executed differently - in my mind, they're the same (the fort in Estrelaron was an evolution of that in Tirachinas too - biger gatehouse, tower, more architectural details, silted up moat banks) :wink:
RichardAM wrote:This is just my thoughts, but if Josh was to re-look at every entry and give reason as to why they didn't qualify, would require a huge amount of work on his part, and one without gain. He's devoted his time into the contest already, the contest is over, his role is complete. The discussion and review, I feel, is ours.

There's no harm in asking for feedback - after all, he provided it after the last Battles Contest, and it was very helpful. I looked it up when building my entry this year, and tried to incorporate it (no half-bodies this time :lol: ). Conversely, if he's too busy to do so, then it's totally understandable.
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Re: Battles Contest 2009 Winners Announced!

Postby Bluesecrets » Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:18 pm

Repeatedly lose without knowing how to improve (with "repeatedly" meaning a fair few occurences, not "always"). In many contests I know exactly what the problem was, having been aware of it myself, or been told it in feedback from the judges. It's the not-knowing that bugs me, not the losing itself. Job Mullers is a good example of where I was anticipating to do better than I did.


You seem to be ranking yourself against the other entries in contests, determining based on your standards where you will fall. But you aren't one of the judges. That being said, how do you think that you know exactly how you compare to the other entries? You don't know what the judges are looking for. You don't know what is in their mind.
So you are basically ranking yourself, and when you don't do as well as you believe you should, you push for feedback. This is confusing to me. Because well it seems like you are determining yourself to be a better judge of the entries, than the judge(s) who in fact are running the contest.

Now, here is the thing about being a judge for a very popular contest. You've bought a prize, you've set up rules, you've explain those rules over and over until you want to scream, you monitor the entries, and then you set yourself in for the long judging process...only to have people question the way you judged. You've given away your money, and your time. And then people start demanding you give up more time to tell them what they did wrong? It makes one feel like something they did for fun and out of the kindness of their heart is now a job. Why would they ever want to do it again? Especially when people start questioning their decisions.

I've been both a contest winner and loser here at CC. I guess the difference is...I build for my pleasure and fun. I build to relax and enjoy building. I do not build to win a prize, a contest, or a title. When I lose..no problem..because I adored building in the first place. When I win, that is just an extra sweet surprise that is special just for me. I don't need to go around shouting from the top of the mountain "I WON!" because I won when I built something that I truly enjoyed. I don't feel the need to go asking what I did wrong, because I didn't do anything wrong.

Maybe you should build for enjoyment and stop worrying so much about contests.
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Re: Battles Contest 2009 Winners Announced!

Postby Suvied » Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:27 pm

Hey cool, I won.

Congrats to all the entrants, there are some very nice battle scenes this year.

I would appreciate feedback on my MOC if anyone wants to give me some.
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Re: Battles Contest 2009 Winners Announced!

Postby jens » Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:42 pm

SlyOwl wrote:Jens' entry was also a lovely piece of work - the mumakil are superb, although I'd have liked to see the tusks filled in somehow.

I decided so, because the tusks completle filled with the gears don't look better in my opinion. I try to take a picture in the next days.
And that's the biggest problem I have: My new camera don't take pictures like for example your camera. I used almost more time to take the pictures than building the entry. I think my images are to blury. Maybe I should invest in a new camera than in bricks... :wink:

Bruce N H wrote:Sorry for not doing my normal CCC feedback this year. That always takes a lot of time and life got in the way. Would people be interested if I did a feedback thread even at this late date?

Without your contest-feedback-thread something is missing. I think it belongs to the contest like the announcing of the winners. It is much easier to cope with the defeat, if you can read some kind words :wink: particulary you don't wrote to the entry-thread during the contest (of course) and after the deadline the thread is gone...

SlyOwl wrote:
jens wrote:You put it out, it is Josh's contest, so he choose the winner. You prefered SlyOwl's entry. It was well-built, a lot of Figs and action and comparatively big sized. Maybe that was the "mistake". If you have a big baseplate you have to fill it. A bag full of Orcs is the one, but Figplacement and compensation of action at the whole area is the other :wink: .

I'm not sure I understand that last sentence, but I guess you're saying that the action is not condensed enough.
Argh, it is difficult to give constructive critism in a foreigen language... it's already not easy in german. No, I don't want to hurt anybody, and I think the action on your entry was well. I wanted to say maybe your entry isn't one of the top three because the baseplate is to large for the figcount. I know the scene you build (only out of the movie) and you compensate all the action on a little area to show with your entry. But compared to the top 3 there are some areas without action.
That's why I wrote of the bag of Orcs... I collected over years, and I think it is one of the biggest armys out there, but I didn't win. Last year I didn't win either. But my goal is to build an entry the people are pleased/happy/lucky (are these the right words?) to see. And if the judges are impressed enough I get a honorable mention or maybe a price. You have reached the goal, the people like your entry.
At CCC I build 2 months at my best castle up to date (my opinion) and first I got 4 responds on the thread. That was devastating for me, I can tell you.

To proof for next time, I look at the winners and try to find out what they did and I forgot. Than put a big number of orcs to it and enter next year :wink:
Maybe the people don't want to see another moc with an gigant orc-army (my style) or another moc with outstanding SNOT-work from SlyOwl. But it is your style and it is fine!

So keep head up and prepare for next contest!

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Re: Battles Contest 2009 Winners Announced!

Postby SlyOwl » Tue Jul 14, 2009 1:11 pm

Bluesecrets wrote:You seem to be ranking yourself against the other entries in contests, determining based on your standards where you will fall. But you aren't one of the judges. That being said, how do you think that you know exactly how you compare to the other entries? You don't know what the judges are looking for. You don't know what is in their mind.
So you are basically ranking yourself, and when you don't do as well as you believe you should, you push for feedback. This is confusing to me. Because well it seems like you are determining yourself to be a better judge of the entries, than the judge(s) who in fact are running the contest.

It is natural to mentally compare yourself against the competition as the contest progresses, and make adjustments to the MOC accordingly, until it stands the best chance possible. I am fully aware of the numerous faults in my vignette, but cannot find the equivalent "mistakes" (in terms of fig placing and landscaping, the criteria mentioned in the rules, the closest thing I can find to reading Josh's mind. I also looked back at Rocko, Chris and Adrian's entries from last year, and tried to emulate aspects of them, which, to my mind, is a fair way of setting the standard for private speculation/anticipation/expectation.) in Aslan's How. I had not expected for my vignette to do well, and my hopes of winning something rested on Aslan's How. Is there anything wrong with private speculation? Anticipation? Expectation?
Bluesecrets wrote:Now, here is the thing about being a judge for a very popular contest. You've bought a prize, you've set up rules, you've explain those rules over and over until you want to scream, you monitor the entries, and then you set yourself in for the long judging process...only to have people question the way you judged. You've given away your money, and your time. And then people start demanding you give up more time to tell them what they did wrong? It makes one feel like something they did for fun and out of the kindness of their heart is now a job. Why would they ever want to do it again? Especially when people start questioning their decisions.

No-one was questioning the way Josh judged. I am seeking to improve my MOC, and as Josh is the person who has looked at it in most detail (besides myself, and I have a naturally biased viewpoint), his feedback is valuable. Asking for feedback is by no means being critical of the judging. In the past, it has been offered voluntarily, which has been appreciated to the extent that I was hoping for it this time.
Bluesecrets wrote:Maybe you should build for enjoyment and stop worrying so much about contests.

A lot of the stuff I build is purely for fun, and I never "publish" it. Contest MOCs only constitute a small amount of my building as a whole.
jens wrote:
SlyOwl wrote:Jens' entry was also a lovely piece of work - the mumakil are superb, although I'd have liked to see the tusks filled in somehow.

I decided so, because the tusks completle filled with the gears don't look better in my opinion. I try to take a picture in the next days.

Perhaps a load of 2x2 round bricks/plates (white or tan) with some flex-cable down the middle, so they can bend, with a cone on the end. Some chains between the tusks would be awesome too :wink:
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Re: Battles Contest 2009 Winners Announced!

Postby Sir Nelson » Wed Jul 15, 2009 3:09 am

All this talk about comments and constructive criticisms is moot. I blame Bruce for setting a false expectation of having to comment on every "good" contest entry with his review threads from past CCC's. Quite frankly, I think it's a waste of time, since the entries that are good are obviously good, and stand out against the rest. Furthermore and more importantly, the rationale on what constitutes a good MOC and/or contest entry is subjective, hence the courtesy for contests thread. Oh, and don't expect to see any such reviews for contest entries on Forbidden Cove contests.
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Postby Robin Hood » Wed Jul 15, 2009 3:28 am

SlyOwl wrote:It is natural to mentally compare yourself against the competition as the contest progresses, and make adjustments to the MOC accordingly, until it stands the best chance possible. I am fully aware of the numerous faults in my vignette, but cannot find the equivalent "mistakes" (in terms of fig placing and landscaping, the criteria mentioned in the rules, the closest thing I can find to reading Josh's mind. I also looked back at Rocko, Chris and Adrian's entries from last year, and tried to emulate aspects of them, which, to my mind, is a fair way of setting the standard for private speculation/anticipation/expectation.) in Aslan's How. I had not expected for my vignette to do well, and my hopes of winning something rested on Aslan's How. Is there anything wrong with private speculation? Anticipation? Expectation?


See, this here is your problem, if I understand you correctly. You altered aspects of your entry based upon various entrys that were already submitted. You also based your entry partly on previous winner's entries. You are making your MOC based upon things others have done. This goes against the very spirit of these contests, which is get people to build new and unique things. You've just admitted to making your MOC, in part, a copy of others works. Trying to emulate what others have done will not win you anything, and certainally will not make your MOCs interesting or worth commenting on.

Now, I may have misunderstood your last post, and if so, I do apologize.

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Re: Battles Contest 2009 Winners Announced!

Postby SlyOwl » Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:46 am

Sir Nelson wrote:I blame Bruce for setting a false expectation of having to comment on every "good" contest entry with his review threads from past CCC's.

That's a tad unfair. Many other contest hosts have voluntarily provided feedback aswell. In fact, it was Josh's thread last year that prompted me to ask.
Robin Hood wrote:See, this here is your problem, if I understand you correctly. You altered aspects of your entry based upon various entrys that were already submitted. You also based your entry partly on previous winner's entries. You are making your MOC based upon things others have done. This goes against the very spirit of these contests, which is get people to build new and unique things. You've just admitted to making your MOC, in part, a copy of others works. Trying to emulate what others have done will not win you anything, and certainally will not make your MOCs interesting or worth commenting on.
Now, I may have misunderstood your last post, and if so, I do apologize.

You may well have done :wink:
I was saying that using past entries and judging styles are the most fair way of privately assessing the prospects of your MOC. I wasn't trying to copy past winners' MOCs, just emulate the things they did well (e.g. landscaping). I'm not good at doing buildings - they're always far too small and the roofs don't stay on. Now, Rocko's buildings were outstanding, and the other two entries didn't have any significant buildings in them. Thus, it seems that perhaps buildings are something to consider important. So, I didn't include any in my entry (in my original sketch I included a couple of shacks, which weren't present in the film).
In regards to altering my entry in comparison to others, I didn't mean adjusting it according to each and every entry as it is entered. If I felt I stood a poor chance, I would spend another couple of hours adding some more touches to it, instead of going to bed. If I felt I stood a better chance, I would leave it as it is.

Ach, I'll leave it as it is.
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Re: Battles Contest 2009 Winners Announced!

Postby JoshWedin » Wed Jul 15, 2009 2:44 pm

Okay, wow. I leave for a weeks vacation and...wow.

I will give my generic take on this whole discussion.

Feedback threads:
I have no problem with other people doing them, in other contests. However, I hate doing them. I tried it last time, and while I am happy that some people thought it was valuable, it was a horrible experience for me. Some people can take constructive criticism, but many people cannot. I can't tell who can from who can't. So I'm not going there again. It's a lot of hard work and this contest is over, as far as I am concerned. I really enjoy running this contest, but the last two years have turned into some incredible drama. Last year that was centered around the feedback thread. Therefore, no more feedback thread.

Why the winners won:
This contest is about two things. First, posing of figs and creatures. Second, good landscaping. But the posing is primary. I have said this many, many times and I am very picky about fig posing. The winners won, because they have the best fig posing, hands down.

"The Hooligan Brawl" had some of the most unique fig posing that I've seen in a long time. It was packed with action that flowed seamlessly. The arena served as a perfect frame for the action and the angle of the photography directed the eye right into the action.

"Defending the Village" has an incredible sense of flow. The entire scene feels like a wave of figs pouring down the street. There isn't a fig out of place. One can imagine how each and every fig got to where he/she is and why. The buildings, while simplistic, serve perfectly to funnel the action. This scene was probably the most believable in the contest.

"Defense of Iron Oak" has some of the best fig posing of any entry in the contest. The flow of action was smooth and seamless. Each fig had a reason for in its location. Every time I looked the pictures, I discovered a new nugget of fig posing that I had missed. The landscape was a bit distracting or it probably would have placed higher.

"Sir Wunstud" was the most original vignette I have ever seen. This wasn't the first "one-stud" but it was an incredible feat of posing.

The Battle of Beruna:
I'm not sure how my contest thread got turned into a discussion of one builder's entry, but it did. So I will talk about it. Obviously, many people were shocked that this didn't win first place and were upset that it didn't place at all. Well, that's unfortunate. Since it has become such a public debate, I will give my reasons. This is the only entry that I will critique publicly.

I am a big Narnia fan and have been for most of my life. I enjoyed this entry a lot. However, the landscaping was a major distraction from the action. There was decent action in there, but it was hard to pick out. Obviously, the landscape is what is most apparent in this entry. Those enormous cliffs are what stand out. Unfortunately, there is nothing unique about them. They are the same cliffs that this builder has been making for some time. Yes, they are very well done. Yes, they are big, impressive, and "epic". But they didn't jump out at me. There was nothing new there. Definitely no risk taking.

As for the action, it was decent. But it wasn't special. The flow of the battle was off. Many of the locations of figs didn't make sense. But it was the gryffens that ended this entry's chance of winning. They are nicely built, but they both look like they are standing in the air. They weren't posed in any sort of action stance at all.

So, anyway. Those are my thoughts. I will leave this thread open for people to reply, even though I don't think much more can be said. I don't want to lock this thread, but if it continues to wander about, I will lock it tonight.

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Re: Battles Contest 2009 Winners Announced!

Postby SlyOwl » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:06 pm

Thank-you so much for that Josh :D
I hadn't realised that there had been a problem last time, and had I done so, I wouldn't have asked for feedback.

You're right about the cliff - it was big and plain. However, I wouldn't say it was my normal style - this was a mound of cuboid stone blocks over the Stone Table - which I tried to realize in bricks, as opposed to a natural cliff formation.
The gryphons I also agree on - they were very fragile and difficult to position. I'd have liked to improve upon that, and will rework the gryphon design in future accordingly, if I want to use it.
Battle-flow was something I worked on since last time, and thought I had improved considerably, but there's still work to be done there.
And voila, I'm satisfied.
Thanks again :)
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Re: Battles Contest 2009 Winners Announced!

Postby Blueandwhite » Thu Jul 16, 2009 12:05 am

Congratulations to the winners and all of the participants for making this contest what it is. Also, kudos to you Josh for setting this up year-after-year. Once again the bar continues to be raised.



I think it's important that people (both participants and casual observers) step back for a moment and think about the time, effort and expense that is invested in these contests. Slyowl certainly is aware of this as he's been involved in several contests himself over at Eurobricks. At the end of the day, contests will always be subjective and inevitably there will be a few bruised egos in their wake. Everybody has their own subjective standard of what makes a MOC great. Just because a MOC doesn't win (or doesn't even place) doesn't mean that the MOC is bad, or even that the winner's MOC is in any way superior. It simply means that certain MOCs resonated more with the judges than others.

Josh, I think your observations and explanations as to why the contest winners won were fantastic. Your rationale was clearly laid out, and you've done a great job cleaning up a discussion that was perhaps a bit too heated. I look forward to next year's contest.

Thanks again to Josh and all of you who took the time to participate.
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