In today’s blog we’re handing over to Paul Welsh to announce the winners of our Brush with Death painting competition. Paul is a previous winner of our prestigious painting competition and we asked him to help judge this year’s contest. Before we start, we want to thank everyone that entered (it was our biggest ever) and our co-sponsors, Vallejo and Artis Opus. Without further ado, Paul it’s over to you…

With a fantastic selection of entries, judging proved to be an incredibly tough task but what a pleasure it was to see all of your miniatures. Whatever a person’s level, preparing and executing an entry for a painting completion is a proud and satisfying feeling and every entrant deserves commendation. But, after some tough judging, we do have our winners…

Let’s get started with ‘Best Army’. An incredibly dedicated and time-consuming category to enter but also incredibly rewarding. The army category has different considerations to things such a ‘Single Miniature’, as rather than simply looking at each unit and miniature individually, you need to judge the composition as a whole.

The winner of this category was Jim Cockburn. Jim is well known in the Kings of War UK community for his glorious yellow and black Dwarf army and he hasn’t disappointed with his take on Abyssal Dwarves.

Jim applies an incredibly distinctive ‘comic’ style, called cel-shading, using heavy layering to create strong contrast that looks exceptional on the table-top. Thematic basing ties the whole army together and, even up close, intricate freehand details give these units a fun story. While this style may not win painting awards alone, as an ensemble it is a fantastic spectacle.

Next up we have ‘Best Unit’. Similar to ‘Best Army’, this unit requires the artist to consider multiple miniatures and how they sit together as a single entity. Though, with fewer miniatures, the level of painting techniques needs to be much, much higher.

The award went to Juan Francisco González. Juan’s technical level is of a high calibre. Smooth blending and clean highlights show off his excellent colour choices. The execution of the NMM (non-metallic metals) also demonstrates his understanding of higher-level techniques. A worthy winner of a well-contested category.

Following on we have ‘New Recruits (Under 16)’, one of my personal favourites. I began entering painting competitions myself from around 13-years-old so know how rewarding it is for young painters to be able to compete and improve.

Here we have Torsten Wilkinson’s Nightstalker Warband. Torsten is only 12 (yes, 12) and he’s made a great effort. Torsten has put incredible effort into replicating the studio style and has pulled it off. Blending on the Reaver ‘light to black’ flesh, as well as the Mindscreech’s eye detail, requires a special mention.

Now we move onto the ‘Diorama’ category. This is a tough category to judge. Dioramas need to tell a story. A moment in time captured that demonstrates skill in areas such as scenery building and scenic finishing.

Morgan Finley (aka Baron Von Uppercase) created a fantastic piece that tells the story of a Dwarf and his Mastiff, exploring the sewers oblivious to the fact they are being stalked by a sneaky goblin assassin.

Not only is the composition as a whole focused on interesting, small details such as the spilt paint by the graffiti, the hidden details in the expertly poured resin water and exceptional OSL effects also bring the diorama to life.

Finally, we have the ‘Single Miniature’ category. This was an exceptional category with extremely high-quality entries. After shortlisting the favourites, judging became a tough task of picking specific techniques and how well they had been executed. This proved incredibly difficult but in the end, a winner emerged.

Kenn Mejer took the award with this brilliant Enforcer Peacekeeper. Kenn has demonstrated expert skill on multiple levels. A lovely transition on the yellow shield initially draws your attention while the blue armour blends seamlessly from light to dark, with intricate edge highlighting that delivers the feel of a high polished finish. OSL from the radioactive waste is well executed and the base is high in detail without drawing too much attention from the miniature itself.

What a fantastic Brush with Death this has been. Congratulations to all the winners! Each time the number of entries goes up and up. If you’re on the fence about entering, don’t worry about winning. Showcasing your art is a fantastic feeling and the community want to see it.

Thanks Paul for helping with the judging! We’ll be holding another Brush with Death competition in time for our November Open Day. So start painting your minis now, ready for entry. Thanks again to everyone that entered and good luck for the next Brush with Death.

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