Model Horse Shows

There are so many “live” (as opposed to online or snailmail) shows within driving distance that I have to pick and choose only a couple each year. My support (donations, awards, entry) is greatest for ceramics-only model horse events, followed by regular shows that at least separate Custom Glaze from OF ceramics (OF china). I’m sad to say, it is hard to support shows that continue to judge OF and CMG together, or put CMG in with plastic customs, or worse, have no ceramics classes at all. It is not snobbery, it is solidarity with my collectors. I understand that the showholders cannot justify separating out chinas if too few show up, but at the same time, as a ceramics producer, if I enter a show that doesn’t separate, it is an endorsement of that classlist. That may also be a message to that show, and other shows, to continue “lumping”. I’m not all talk, I also host an all-ceramics competition, Clinky Classic.

Translation for model kit hobbyists: A model horse show is vastly different from a model kit show in philosophy, not so much in division structure. The vast majority of show horses are factory prepaints, followed by customs by hobby artists. Anyone can buy finished model horses made by others, and compete them under their own name, as the owner. Seldom does anyone try taking credit for another artist’s work. The owner can also enter the same horse at the same show every year, as many years as they want. They can even bring horse models back from “retirement”. Further, some horses get shown in multiple classes on the same day, judged separately on breed standard, collectibility/rarity, or dioramas (“performance”).

Model Figure and Vehicle Shows

The other side of the modelling coin is the model kit/historical model hobby. I have been competing at least once a year in this realm since 2003. I have learned so much from fellow artists, and grown with the different supplies and tools available in that world. The modeling styles have stretched what I expect from myself, and the open system of judging gives a fresh perspective on competition with one’s own work. Model horse showing was born in mimicry of the tradition of showing living animals, which involves handling livestock acquired from a breeder (model analog: artist or factory). The model kit shows stem from do-it-yourself products and their factories’ contests, so the idea of buying a finished model to show in one’s own name is pretty much taboo. Likewise, livestock showing has first, second, third,  etc., hierarchical placements, so that is the same for model horse shows. The model kit shows, however, have either this or the open system. The open system does not have a guaranteed first place in any given class; if there aren’t any first-place-caliber models entered, no first place is awarded. Each entrant is judged and scored on its own merits (model horse people: as in a dressage test, or the former RESS challenges). The open system shows I know of use Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards. Some classes may have no Gold winners, some may have multiples. It depends on the quality entered each time, and a model can only show once ever at that particular show.

The sort of models I enter at model kit shows are figures: dinosaurs, fantasy, and historical. That’s only the tip of the iceberg of a huge hobby that encompasses all subjects in miniature. Paul’s specialty is machinery, and mine is organics, so we occasionally scratchbuild (sculpt) a collaboration, like Pacal’s Journey.


I love these! I attend and teach workshops at both kinds of shows. The video technology that the Wonderfest show offers workshop attendees is awesome. They have a live videographer up close on the artist’s hand, and a giant display screen for the whole room to see.