World Expo 2011

29 08 2011

I’m finally back from Switzerland! And as I promised, I bring you a brief account of what, for me, has brought this new edition of the World Expo. You can find the link to the photo gallery at the end.

We start with the location and organization. This edition was held in the Swiss town of Montreux, a beautiful city on the shores of Lake Léman, on August 19th, 20th and 21st. The place chosen was the Montreux Music & Convention Centre, an impressive site and very well equipped for this type of event. With good lighting, large spaces and services such as bar, air conditioning and open WiFi network.

Regarding the organization, I will say that this is only my opinion and impressions as a participant of the event and I can understand all the effort and work necessary to make possible a contest of this caliber. So my words are with all the due respect , no offense intended and I hope that it serves to improve the next World Expo.

First, the country of choice I think it hasn’t served to promote wider participation so the number of participants was clearly below the previous WE in Girona. To choose as host one of the most expensive country in Europe, where you must stay at least three days doesn’t look very attractive and even less in the global economy crisis. A competition involves travel expenses (plane, train, gasoline), accommodation, food, etc.. (Where average prices are 12€ a McMenu or 20€ for a pizza at any place). So you can estimate what that can mean in three days in Montreux … I understand then that this may have deterred more than one and two participants.

Another issue has been the web. In my opinion a chaotic site where was extremely difficult to find some information, just in one language (French) and the only help of Google translation. I think something like a world expo deserves a more serious web and at least two languages: the venue and English. And may be clear, concise and easily accesible.

Regarding the registration, has been much talk about whatever it was too expensive. I understand that this is relative and that there should be consistency between what you pay and what you offer… and in this way it seems too expensive. Such was what I found since I came to the reception of figures until the contest ended.

I recived an envelope with the stickers with my participation numbers, a pin, an accreditation card, a neck strap and a figure of your choise (in my case, the historical). Looking more closely I see the differences between the card of this year and the previous one. In Girona, the accreditation card was laminated, with your name and a flag indicating your nationality, which was good, because you knew whom you where talking to… this year was the cardboard and plastic without protection and the word “participant”… that’s all…. This, at first glance may seem silly… but it’s one of those little details that make it to become a high-end quality event. Another thing that we miss in the envelope was a program of talks and activities during the days of the contest. No information in this regard.

From there we went to the exhibition hall, accompanied by someone from the organization to tells us where to place our displais. One of the things I like was the possibility that you place your own display because you can place what you think what way will be better to show your work, plus it has two levels and being a continuous surface. It doesn’t occurs as in the cabinet displais, if your miniatures are on one shelf and other display over yours this could block the light. The downside to that is that the display tables were covered with a semi-transparent white cloth and colored paper over them that define the space of your display.

Then I saw that there were some displais whose owners had brought everything for a beautiful presentation (like black velvet cloth and blocks to raise the figures) while the vast majority, completely baffled, we find that we had to leave our figures on a yellow, green, blue or red paper that shattered the harmony of the whole. Some of us just make do with our own shirts, scarves neck and tobacco boxes or books to improved that …

In my opinion, there are two solutions for this. The first and logical one ; to announced in the web what was going to be the basic display area and advice about the participant’s possibilities for display so they can carry the props for this. But as I already mentioned the quality of the web, I think there is little more to add in that respect. The other option and see what is charged for participating was to replace that sad white cloth with a black one and limit displais for example with spaghetti …. well at least the overall presentation would be more harmonious for all.

An example about the coloured papers and the white cloth over the miniatures

Regarding the safety of the figures during the event, I guess it has its good side and bad side. There was no clear or limited separation between the public and the figures, so anyone could even put his hands between them. This is fine because it helps with potography and observation of the models, you can zoom in and see almost all the details of the figures. But there was a risk, despite the private security staff guarding, of accidents. I saw people put their digital cameras between the miniatures to photograph them, leaving the strap dangling with the consequent risk of it catching somewhere on the models and causing these to be damage. This is just an example I observed on several occasions. Just as I saw unauthorized people turn figures to photograph them and even hold them in hand for a better view. So is it better to enjoy the figures in a manner so close and be at risk for trouble? I guess this is a matter of personal choice and there will be much dabate among fans.

Exposition surfaces

Another issue that struck me was that the organization allowed us to leave on the displais our personal cards. And I say that take my attention because it’s assumed that in a contest the figures must be unidentified, to ensure greater fairness in the jury. Although something that I personally don’t care about, after so many years in this hobby, I understand that place personal cards on the displais may help the professionals to publize their work, but you’re someone starting on this “world of competition” can be annoying if not offensive.

The theme of the jury also deserves detailed attention. And I want to make clear that it isn’t about the jury, but the lack of common sense of the organization in this regard. And, how can the jury judge the same categories in which they participate? Luckily I know most of the jurors and I didn’t question their ethics and as they arrive they found themselves drawn, by the organization, to judge categories in which they have place entriest. But thepicture that situation gives… can you imagine? How the organization can not foresee these issues?

And looking at the participants who do not know the jury personally, but know this situation, what image are given the competition? Besides it doesn’t being a comfortable situation to be one that people who already have the difficult task of judging a world no less!

And finally, the awards’ ceremony … entirely in French (naturally) but without the aid of any simultaneous translation, albeit in English. People were confused and except for French speakers, nobody learned anything. The winners were read quickly, with people applauding was not possible to hear the name following. It wasn’t clear whether the award was to display a figure in general or specific. Only projected photos of the winners of gold, which you didn’t know who had been award …

With every medal it was delivered a special edition magazine of the event… in wich was all the info about talks and master classes! A bit late, huh? Also I noted in a corner of the cover: “prix de vente: 10 fr“.what suggest to me that these magazines where sold somewhere at the event . If you wanted to know the program you’ve to spend another 10 francs. But as the might  have some left over they dicided to give it to the winners… in short, a disater in my opinion.

On the overall the competition level. Well, it’s a world wide event and there was the very best from each house. Although they have missed some of the great have been the majority and the level has been really crazy. There were works that left you with my mouth open. A real marvel.

About the historic Best of Show for a member that was responsible for World Expo … well, little more to add except the general picture in this situation.

The Best of Show in fantasy category, however, was clearly recognized by all participants from the outset as the best. The magnificente display of the greek M. Kontraros.

Kontraros’ display

The atmosphere, the best of the competition. The chance to see old friends from other countries and meet new people. Talk, exchange ideas, strengthen ties … It gives methe grand prize contests.

And note especially the new twinning with the Legio pictorum family, is that these crazy Italians have more in common with us than anyone else in the world! I’m not going to name them all, because you know who you are … cabezas!!!

With "crazy" Max and Francesco

And I can not leave my ape family of course. Thank you for making this competition one amazing week and congratulations on your deserved medals!

The shopping zone … a little bit small and with few offers. There’s something I’ll never understand, what sense does it that I buy for the same thing that I can buy any day in store or online and maybe even cheaper? In my opinion, these events should have great new offers to encourage purchases. Anyway the Pegaso’s cabinets was simply stunning.

About my participation, I’m extremly happy with the three medals I have achieved. Especially with the historic, that it taste for me as a gold. I leave then the list of figures that formed the displais and medals they received. Click on the name to see the picture!

Fantasy Master, Painting: Silver

Somewhere beyond the sea

– Capricorn

Fantasy Master, Open: Gold

– Skaven Warlord For sell

– Eastern Promises

– Old Glory

Historic Master, Painting: Bronze

– La Hire

– The Waiting

– Alatriste

And a little more to add, just two stories. My participation in the Spid Painting Competition that I’ll post another day and when we went to collect the figures … we had to return the tape of the neck to hold the card!

In short, a great contest with the highest level and an organization with many things to improve.

Now wait for the appointment of the next city for three years from now and see if it is viable to go again.

You can check the photo gallery HERE




2 responses

29 08 2011

Thank you for this write up. It seems the event still has a long way to go to become a true international event.

29 08 2011

There is a high painting-modeling level for it, but not a good organization. A pity …

Thanks for comment!!

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