Wednesday, March 18, 2015

My opinion about Leganés 2015

This weekend the V Encuentro de Modelismo Estático Ciudad de Leganés took place. As most of you know, this year it has been very special for me because I had the honour of being invited as judge for the Fantasy section. A privilege but also a great responsibility, and I must say that in the end it also proved to be very exhausting work. I have been judge on many other occasions, but I think I have never had to do a job as hard as this time, for many reasons! I'll give my opinion below.

About the event itself, I am under the impression that it is blooming at the moment. It is a very big event for what we modellers are used to. Thousands of people visited the venue throughout the weekend and there is a feeling of constant activity. The event is organized by the association Model34, which concentrates mostly in classic models and vehicles and not on static and artistic figure which is what we usually work with. So this year they had the invaluable help of the Association of Historical Models Alabarda, which as its name suggests, focuses on Historical figure. With these premises we can understand why Fantasy, which is so fashionable lately, has been somewhat neglected (as in previous years) in the Leganés contest. And that to me seems very normal, as many different disciplines are mixed in the same event, and preparing and organizing something like this proves to be very complicated while ensuring that everything runs smoothly.

I say this because I heard some complaints about the lack of organization and/or mistreatment of the Fantasy section. About the lack of organization I can give my opinion because I participated with them (as a judge of the Fantasy section). I think it is somewhat unfair to denounce lack of organization in an event of this nature. It can be better organized? Sure. We already know how complicated the delivery and collection of figures and awards is, and how much they can improve on that. But when an association organizes an event like this, it does it for pure passion and hobby, and although criticicism is good and positive, the best way to criticize is proposing and supporting, if possible, so that future editions are better. It is a contest that is promising for the future, it is doing many things well (many!), it's already being consolidated, but needs improvement and for that it needs support from us.

Certainly there are many things that have been quite annoying for our colleagues in Fantasy. Among the complaints I've heard, let me highlight the following:

  • Problems to deliver and collect figures, endless queues (I fear that this is a problem that endures for several years now, and it is difficult to solve because of the high volume of participants).
  • Figures that were placed in different categories that they had been presented in (I know this for a fact, Emuse and I had to change a lot of them while judging). This does seem very relevant, since it's almost disrespectful to the participants.
  • The category of dioramas (where most were Fantasy I believe) did not have the same treatment as other Fantasy categories (apparently there are complaints about the judging, but I do not know who judged that section).
  • In Historical figure, the criterion is too traditional, where there is no appreciation to ambitious works about light, color and composition. This is not something that happens only in Leganés, of course, but I think it is important to gather this feeling, hoping that someday this will change for good.

As for the part that I was involved in, which is being judge of Fantasy, I think Enrique (Emuse) and I did a good job. The task was quite stressful, we spent more than three hours seeing miniatures, deliberating, deciding, rethinking, deciding again, deliberating again... the truth is that it was a hard task and possibly the hardest judging I've had to face so far. The quality of the miniatures that we saw is on standards that one could hardly have imagined a few years ago, which shows that Fantasy is in top shape and that it is the great source of modeling creation at the moment. Of course we must have made some mistakes (we are human) and there might be some left dissatisfied with our decisions, this is normal. We wanted to keep the number of medals short to give great value to the awards, and I think that we did that well. The work was tremendous and those of you who saw us there in the event know of what I speak.

Yes, it is true and I have to admit that the Fantasy category was somewhat neglected by the organization. As an example, Fantasy judges did not have a dedicated sheet to write the winners as the other categories had. It's a minor detail of course, but it perfectly illustrates the feeling. At the end there was much slippage, which categories that were separated to be judged as different ones and the participants were not told that they were, confusion, last minute complications... But it's normal because as I said before, the organization has no experience in this field (Fantasy). I think that people who understand and care about Fantasy should get more involved in the coming years (maybe with some new Fantasy association in Madrid, or maybe new members into the existing ones...). From here I will try to reach out to them to help in any way possible that I can in the future. I think Leganés can be a great competition and a future reference event, and we have to care for things like this in the future.

Personally, I had a great time as always. :) A pleasure to see the classic, the new and the not so new. I could not spend the time I normally spend with everyone precisely because of the work I had to do, but I know I can compensate that in other events this year. I was specially happy to finally be able to coincide with Angel Giraldez, a painter that I have followed for many years and that for one reason or for other I had never had the chance to meet! We did not talk much because I had no time but I hope that in the future we can fix that, provided that we do not have to wait for another ten years! XD

Congratulations to all participants in Leganés because you have set a very very high standard. To the winners, of course, because you have done an amazing job and you have deserved our humble recognition. To the organization also, for trusting the judging of Fantasy section to us, and for organizing another great Leganés contest. And to the 501st Spanish Legion because I love seeing their Star Wars costumes every year (I want a Stormtrooper one for myself, someday!). To all, see you next year in Leganés!

But do not rest easy... Torrent will be here very soon and we'll be there too. :) And I will be judge again (as if Leganés were not enough), this time with my good friend Diego Esteban (Dieguete) and Luca Baldino (Monte San Savino) to decide your fates in the Fantasy section. See you there!

PS: The photos you see were made by Beatriz Mercader from Bei Mercader Photo. Thank you so much!

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