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Where should "Panzer '46" fit in model shows?
panzerbob01
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Posted: Friday, July 06, 2012 - 04:10 AM UTC
All: Here's a question... Where should all these new "Panzer '46" kits get placed in model show competitions?

There is an increasing diversity of "Waffentragers", "E-xx" and other hypothetical, planned-but-never produced, and "maybe 1 prototype which may have participated somewhere - or not" kits out, in both 1/35 and 1/72 scales (And not only German. There are, or will be, Japanese things, Allied types, etc.). And folks do scratch one-offs and hypotheticals. I am sure many want to compete them in model shows. But "how" or where?

"Conventional" IPMS categories, such as "All 1/35 closed-top tracked through 1945" and "1/35 closed-top tracked post-1945 to present" are good for historical production stuff, with an implied division of pre- and WWII versus post-WWII. Neither of these would be good for most of those Waffentragers, any E-series tank or "StuG", or Panther II... planned and in a few cases partially-built but never completed nor in service by war's end, and no Nazi Germany in 1946, so... On the other hand, they were really continuations of the technology of the time - most actually just took extant weapons and combined them with other extant bits into very conventional vehicles.

And modelers probably build these following their usual approaches as for "historical" tanks, et al. - painting, add-ons, etc.

On the other hand, those who are more interested in building and competing historically- used and in-service stuff by type and by era are often less interested in having these "what-ifs" and never-seens in a historically-defined categ... and I for one can respect that - there's certainly argument to be made for "barring" the wide range of what-if from those tables.

Some shows push these Panzer '46 over to the Sci-Fi tables, where they are competed against space-aliens and star-ship stuff - stuff done very differently. Both casual viewers and show judges are often confused and unsure how to handle a dirty E-10 stuffed in among the starships and space tanks. Few - audience, contestants, judges - are comfortable with this. Waffentragers seem rather closer to custom cars than to rocket-ships with lasers.

I'm pushing for a "Panzer '46" (and, as all this also applies to end-of-WWII aircraft - a possible "Luftwaffe-'46 - neither restricted to German stuff, of course) category or sub-cat within Armor (or aircraft) in order to accommodate this historic set of developments which never actually materialized nor served.

What do you think?

Bob
afv_rob
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Posted: Friday, July 06, 2012 - 04:32 AM UTC
Well i've never been to a show where they categorise models by period (seems like a good idea actually), but i'd say as long as its nothing too far fetched, i.e an e-panzer it should just go in the standard WW2 class. If its one of those walker tanks (never understood the appeal of those) such as from Mig or Dust then in my opinion it should go in a sci-fi class, or some specially designated class for such subjects. I think the line should be drawn between fairly sensible reality and totally fictional subjects, I mean theres no way anyone would be operating some giant walking tank post 45 or any time after.

ninjrk
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Posted: Friday, July 06, 2012 - 04:33 AM UTC
It's an arbitrary line but if it were totally up to me I would keep 1946 what-ifs in with the WW2 category. Mostly because it would prevent creation of another category which would dilute out the competition for these models. In addition, where do you draw the line? If Amusing Hobby releases their Lowe, where would it fit? Had it been produced it would have been fielded before 1945. If some enters a Maus and swears up and down it represents the one fielded outside of Berlin (which might have happened, might not have), then where does it go? I predict some nasty fights there/

If a new category would be helpful, might I suggest a What-if/prototypes category? Expands it to include, say, an IS-7 or M1A3 tank and makes it clearer where a WW2 prototype would go.

Matt
centurionmkv
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Posted: Friday, July 06, 2012 - 05:30 AM UTC
Simple, just create a new sub category for existing categories: "Prototypes, Concepts and One-Offs".

So, you can have this sub category for WW2 vehicles, this encompasses all the waffentragers and E-75s, M6 Heavy Tanks, etc... .

You can have this sub category for Modern vehicles encompassing the Centurion Conways, T54 US Heavy Tank, Objekt xyz.

This way, all the vehicles are competing against their kind in their own category. They will not be competing against that painstakingly made Sherman Firefly or Type 97 Chi-Ha that actually saw action. And you don't have to worry about the vehicle being a concept back in 1942 or 1946!

Cheers,
+Y.C.
SdAufKla
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Posted: Friday, July 06, 2012 - 06:40 AM UTC
AMPS has a standing category, XII - "Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Hypothetical" for these kinds of subjects.

However, in our IPMS club's recent R-12 Regional Convention contest, these models were indeed relegated to the Miscellaneous class and its Hypothetical category (since the Sci-Fi categories were actually reserved for "science fiction" subjects and not "alternate history" subjects).

IMO, much of where a contest or show organizer will fall on this issue has to do with the philosophy of the judging and competition.

In the AMPS shows, since all of the models (except figures, dioramas and vignettes) are judged against the exact same criteria, the category grouping is more about display organization. In this case, it makes sense to me to have these subjects grouped together and not with the strictly historical subjects. The exceptions, are, of course, those vehicles that can be documented as representing prototypes that were actually produced. (Those are displayed with their historical / nationality category.)

In an IPMS show, separate categories is usually about "spreading the wealth" with the awards - the more categories the more awards and the less competition in all the other categories. In this case, adding a "Crypto-Panzer" category would in essence, create three more awards and remove those models from competing against other models in other categories. Ultimately, this becomes a mattter of logistics and reources. The number of categories and awards in most IPMS shows is limited by the funds available to purchase them.

(Interestingly enough, in an IPMS show, models of restored military aircraft with civil registration markings are entered in the applicable civil aircraft categories. I've yet to see a model of a restored military vehicle with a civilian license plate, but presumably, it would have to be entered into the applicalble automotive category. But I digress...)

In the end, I would argue aginast putting these hypothetical subjects in categories with other "historical" subjects. The way that models are grouped and displayed usually has a logic and viewers that are not experts can usually understand that all of the models shown in a single category are somehow related by time, nationality, purpose, etc. Adding models of hypothetical subjects mixed in with historical subjects would be needlessly confusing and, at worst, could even be considered nonsensical (detracting from the historical legitemacy of the other models displayed in that same category.

But beyond that, if some model builders don't feel that they're getting a fair deal in actual competition against other models, then they should make the case for adding special categories to cater to their interests so that they can win the awards they feel that they deserve. However, the decision to do so or not would usually come down on how many categories a hosting club could afford.

(Again, in an AMPS show, I don't really believe that any of this is an issue. The models stand or fall on their own individual merits - earning awards or not regardless of the other models shown and entered or their subject.)

My .02 as a guy who's spent a lot of time and effort organizing and managing model contests - IPMS and AMPS.
panzerbob01
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Posted: Friday, July 06, 2012 - 07:38 AM UTC
Mike;

Quote[...In the end, I would argue aginast putting these hypothetical subjects in categories with other "historical" subjects. The way that models are grouped and displayed usually has a logic and viewers that are not experts can usually understand that all of the models shown in a single category are somehow related by time, nationality, purpose, etc. Adding models of hypothetical subjects mixed in with historical subjects would be needlessly confusing and, at worst, could even be considered nonsensical (detracting from the historical legitemacy of the other models displayed in that same category....]quote

I think you pretty squarely hit much of what I am angling at. I've only been around and participating in (IPMS) shows for about 3 years. From these I've seen quite a bit of folks being confused by "paper panzers" being in "true historical" groupings / categs. The term "legitemacy" (or maybe illegitemacy...) seems to capture much of what folks are expressing - these paper panzers didn't actually show up and putting them in with those that did seems to detract, in at least some eyes. And certainly vacates the "logic" of apparent groupings. Both viewers and judges are often not expert about what they are looking at and confusion can distract!

@ Matt: Shows don't need more categs to further dilute things and reduce competition! Perish that! Actually, I think there could be useful contraction of categories in most IPMS shows - i.e., why separate 1945 and earlier from '46 to present tracked stuff, as shows often do (unless there be lots of entries, of course)? While I have "singled out" end-of-WWII in my note, actually a broader time-scale of hypotheticals and prototypes would really be pleasing, IMHO - certainly an "all eras" collection - to include the one-offs and mock-ups from 1900 (heck, hey, Mr. Da Vinci...) to present - seems appropriate. I'd have no qualms about competing my E-10 against someone's IS-7 or a scratched "Levavasseur Project" (1903 concept tank) - there's a lot of these experimental machines (but maybe not so many kits...) to draw from. And they don't belong in any "sci fi" categ, unlike those walking tanks, anti-grav tanks, and such.

And you have hit on a good point: "nasty fights" about whether something can or should be in categ X. This is a hobby and supposed to be FUN. A prototypes / planned / hypotheticals categ may well help diffuse that contention - and such a clearly-labeled categ would also quell some of the confusion amongst viewers and judges...

Bob
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Posted: Friday, July 06, 2012 - 08:31 AM UTC
Put them in the science-fiction category. If it can't be proven that a vehicle was operational what other category can you put it in? What-if (IMHO) is the same as Sci-Fi.The same should be done for aircraft and ships.
SdAufKla
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Posted: Friday, July 06, 2012 - 01:23 PM UTC
Hey Bob,

Really, if you're directing your thoughts towards IPMS-style competitions (i.e. each category with its own 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners), then specific subject area aside (in this case, "Panzer '46" or as I like to call 'em, "Crypto-Panzers"), the arguments for new and expanded categories is a well-traveled road.

You can see the effects of this "Balkanization" of subjects and categories in any large (and many small) IPMS shows. Simply note the numbers of categories in, for instance, the aircraft class and how those categories are divided up.

To many non-aircraft modelers, this often seems rediculous - large scale, medium scale, small scale, smaller scale, even smaller scale... each further divided up by "one propeller, two propeller, three propeller, more..." (Really!? You really have to divide up your class into such fine divisions to make the judging fair? Really?)

Another good example is the automotive (civil) class. Each of these two classes, aircraft and automotive, can easily have almost 20 separate categories.

(As an example, our last R-12 show had 19 aircraft and 17 automotive categories, and these were split even more during the actual contest!)

The divisions between these categories often seems like just an excuse to give out 3 more awards in order to satisfy "sour grapes" from past shows who didn't win and were looking for an excuse for their poor showing. Often better to give them their own category than to listen to them grouse about how un-fair it is for "right-handed-single engine-prop-planes" to compete with "left-handed-single engine-prop-planes" in any scale.

On the the other hand, the more categories there are, the easier the judging is, since it's much easier to pick three winners from a field of, say, 6-8 models than a field of 15-20. (Or even easier, from a field of only 1 or 2 models. Or, even easier still, from a field of 1 entered in by the only guy in three states who builds that subject and who has now won 1st place for the last 10 years in a row!)

As a Chief Judge and Field Judge, I would much rather have more than fewer categories to make the judging easier and consequently faster. But, as a Contest Chair or hosting club officer, I would rather have fewer categories and consequently fewer awards and a lower overall cost to run the show resulting in a greater net profit.

As an entrant, if my concern is winning, I want more categories which creates less competition in any given category that I might enter and consequently increases my chances to win. (Categories with only 1 or 2 models entered in them are fairly common.)

So, these are the various competing interests that drive this debate (which is continous and never-ending in IPMS-land).

The real "bottom line," though, is that every IPMS show is free to organize its classes and categories as the hosting club sees fit. Therefore, it really doesn't matter what any of us here thinks about adding (or not) a "Panzer '46" category. The only thing that matters is what the guys who are going to host the next IPMS show that YOU want to attend think. Because more categories makes the judging easier and faster, the tendancy is to add as many categories as can be afforded.

If they agree and have the money, then they might add the new categories. Even if they agree, but don't have the money, then they can't add the category unless they cut out someone else's "sacred cow" category.

Here is where it can pay off for you and your friends in the area to note which categories at a show only had single-digit entry numbers and let the hosting club know that you want them to drop one of those in favor of your new "Panzer '46" category. If you can fill that new category at the next show, then the odds are good that it'll stay on the category list for the next year.

But, if you only have single-digit entry numbers in your new category, then look out! The guys building "left-handed-single-engine-prop-planes in 1/144 scale" might get your category dropped in favor of theirs!

In the end, it really all does boil down to the money.
panzerbob01
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Posted: Friday, July 06, 2012 - 03:49 PM UTC
Quote[In the end, it really all does boil down to the money.]quote

I'm sure you are right. But like many other tempests, this one, too, touches on some fundamental questions! For instance, why have any categories at all? - after all, they are all models. How many categories should a show have? Is one category actually "inherently better", better-justified, or just more-effectively lobbied for than another? More categories means more awards at greater cost, but more awards means more contestants get one, which may mean greater fun (and for some winners, a trinket indicating their relative success as competitors), which may lead to greater participation / entries and revenue to the club. The cheapest contest would be to have one uber-category of "models" with perhaps 3 awards - certainly saves on award costs, and keeps the award ceremony short and to the point, so avoids boredom and excessive fidgeting, but there may be little contestant interest in such a scheme, so little revenue for the club... choices, choices, choices!

Crypto-panzers... hmmmm. Crypto-zoology deals with the hidden and hard-to-see animal world. So, are crypto-panzers hard to see or find?

Bob
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Posted: Friday, July 06, 2012 - 08:01 PM UTC
Bob as someone who has never as yet entered a competition I believe I can look at this from the outside without fear or favour. I do believe it makes sense that paper panzers that were at least on paper do belong in the WW2 German/Axis category, those that have just been plucked out of the air are another matter and should belong in Sci-Fi/make believe whatever suits the hosts needs. The other alternative is that models of this type will not be accepted into competition.
SdAufKla
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Posted: Saturday, July 07, 2012 - 03:17 AM UTC
Hey Bob,

Your "fundamental questions" go right back to the point I made in my first reply about the philosophies of judging and competition.

As mentioned, AMPS really has no categories except for display purposes. So, there's one approach or philosophy. The categories that AMPS has are only to organize the models for display so that, for instance, WWII armored vehicles that were on the battle field together are displayed together.

In the AMPS system of organization, sf-fi, fantasy, and hypothetical vehicles of all strips are displayed together because of their common characteristic of never having actually existed as real vehicles.

Prototypes by their nature of having actually been manufactured (in at least one example) are displayed with the other "real" vehicles organized by historical time periods. For other vehicles, if a model-builder can document the actual (or likely) existance of the real vehicle, it will go in the appropriate historical (or technical) category for display. If not, then the model will be considered to represent a totally hypothetical vehicle, and then it will be displayed in that category.

There are some other display groupings (categories), but this is the over arching idea - category organization has little or nothing to do with competition and everything to do with allowing the viewer to compare and contrast historically (or technically) related subjects.

Again, as mentioned, AMPS really has no "competition" in the sense of winners and losers in the regular categories. The hypothetical AFV is judged against the exact same criteria as the historical AFV and has exactly the same opportunity to earn a medal.

IPMS, on the other hand, approaches the model show as a true competition, with winners and losers in each category. Therefore, as I also mentioned, the more categories, the more winners. Of course, for someone to win, someone else must lose. So, to reduce the numbers of losers (a subtile but important distinction) you make more categories.

As I also mentioned, the desire of most (if not all) IPMS contest organizers is to have as many categories as they can possibly afford. As you observed, this makes for more "fun" and participation. The fewer people who go away un-happy (i.e the fewer losers), the better.

Unfortunately, those same IPMS contest organizers run into a wall when it comes to how many awards they can afford, and so they also have to make the hard choices between which groups of model-builder-entrants they want to please with categories (and awards) tailored to their particular, narrowly defined interests.

Most IPMS contests already have well developed and tried category lists. These are based largely on pleasing the largest number of potential and likely contest entrants as possible.

It really is a zero-sum game for most IPMS clubs when it comes to adding and subtracting categories. For a new category to be added, an older category must be dropped. I can tell you from first hand experience, the discussions and decisions about which categories to keep, which to drop and which to add takes place before each contest and is something that is agonized over.

There is a saying that "all politics is local," and the same is true with most model contests. Hurt feelings, egos, pride, animosities, personality conflicts, etc, etc, etc, are buttons that are easily pushed by the wrong decisions and choices. Those hard feelings can (and often do) also last a long time and poison the local modeling scene for literally years.

(I can tell you some true stories about animosities between model clubs and individuals that would blow you mind! Yes, it's a hobby, but that doesn't mean that some guys don't take it to extremes...)

Therefore, these category decisions are considered very important, and changes are usually approached very conservatively and with care. Entrenched special interests and local preferences can and do inhibit change.

In the end, the best chance that you (or anyone) has in getting a category change in an IPMS show is to become involved in the local IPMS scene. This is where the decisions are made and where individual modelers can (and do) influence things. Volunteer to judge when you attend any show, become a member of a local IPMS chapter, and get involved in helping to run the local shows.

The same applies to AMPS - join AMPS and attend and participate in AMPS shows as a judge, runner, table captain, etc. If there's an AMPS chapter in your local area, join it.

Model clubs and contests are first and foremost social events - You really have to be involved first hand if you want to influence things like category organization. Just showing up, registering, and paying your entry fees is not really the kind of participation that has much influence.

Attending the local club's meetings, month after month, and volunteering to plan, organize, set-up, and run a contest on the other hand, will give you some say in how that contest is run.
AFVFan
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Posted: Saturday, July 07, 2012 - 06:44 AM UTC
I'll throw in my 2 cents here. I feel that if a design was built or thought up pre-'45, or uses elements from existing pre-'45 vehicles, they should go into the pre-'45 category. Most any confusion could be avoided by it being clearly labeled as a production vehicle, prototype, what-if, or whatever, on the info sheet that goes with each model. After all, it's all about the quality of the build, isn't it?

I think IPMS has already gone a bit category crazy with their seemingly infinite divisions in some areas. I mean, what's next, categories for cars depending on the number of wheel lugs? Face it, the biggest reason anybody really screams for a new category is to cut down the competion. It seems to me that IPMS might want to think about instituting a graduating skill level, ala AMPS, to alleviate the problem, instead of adding yet more categories to an already overburdened system. (...getting ready for all the boos and hisses...)
nooplwb
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Posted: Saturday, July 07, 2012 - 07:10 AM UTC
Sci-Fi.
panzerbob01
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Posted: Sunday, July 08, 2012 - 09:28 AM UTC

Quoted Text

I'll throw in my 2 cents here. I feel that if a design was built or thought up pre-'45, or uses elements from existing pre-'45 vehicles, they should go into the pre-'45 category. ..... After all, it's all about the quality of the build, isn't it?

I think IPMS has already gone a bit category crazy with their seemingly infinite divisions in some areas. I mean, what's next, categories for cars depending on the number of wheel lugs? Face it, the biggest reason anybody really screams for a new category is to cut down the competion. It seems to me that IPMS might want to think about instituting a graduating skill level, ala AMPS, to alleviate the problem, instead of adding yet more categories to an already overburdened system. (...getting ready for all the boos and hisses...)



Bob;

I think it would be great if folks could accept those prototypes and concept vehicles based on using extant weapons combined with extant or re-worked chassis and tech into the usual "WWII armor" show categs - and parallel for this stuff in non-WWII era categs. Sure would be a fair start! Alas, posting ones' claims about the "true" one-off, prototype or concept nature of the build often leads to more fuss and stress and argumentative unpleasantness than a fun show experience. I'd love to step around the conflict that erupts when folks don't agree on the status of the model owing to un-equal knowledge, etc.

As to "quality of the build" - we all hope that show judges are focused on the build instead of what categ it is in! IF it was only about build quality, without recognition or acknowledgement of historical context, subject, etc., that would be the argument for having no categs at all! I doubt there would be much "vote" for this.

I'm with you on the trend towards ever more categs! Me? I would love to contract stuff down a bit... I am NOT suggesting simply to split out yet another show categ so that more folks can get awards. IF I had my druthers, I would consider dividing all "historical - in-service armor" into either tracked or wheeled all-era x 1/35+ and smaller then 1/35, and create an all-scales hypothetical / prototype / concept wheeled and tracked+ armor 1900 - present categ, or something like. _ so, maybe 3 1/35 armor cats! (Depending on the show, one might see 1/35 categs of tracked - open-top thru 1945, track-closed thru 45, tracked open 46-present, track-closed 46-present, several parallel wheeled 1/35 cats, some break-down among 1/48 stuff, 1 or more 1/72 + smaller scales, etc. etc.). In the interest of avoiding hiss and boo-noises, I'll refrain from offering my ideas for cars, planes, etc...

It's very interesting that you raise that notion of instituting some skill levels into IPMS shows... (assuming beyond what many do with "juniors"). I've had some ongoing discussion with clubs down around the Gulf Coast for awhile on this one! But of course, that "just" builds a cross-layer of divisions and prizes...!

Cheers!

Bob
panzerbob01
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Posted: Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - 02:35 PM UTC
Thanks, All for your very interesting and enlightening responses!

Bob