Yesterday it was brought to my attention that the 2017 Categories for the Crystal Brush painting competition run by Cool Minis or Not in Chicago at Adepticon had been posted, and apparently had been since December. For Crystal Brush 2016 there were 11 categories that you could enter.

  • Science Fiction Single Figure
  • Science Fiction Unit
  • Science Fiction Vehicle or Monster
  • Fantasy or Steampunk Single Figure
  • Fantasy or Steampunk Unit
  • Fantasy or Steampunk Vehicle or Monster
  • Historical Single Figure
  • Large Scale
  • Chibi
  • Diorama
  • Bust

This year from the announcement dated December 13th 2016, in 2017 there are only 8 standard categories.

  • Sci-Fi/Modern, Single Figure
  • Fantasy/Steampunk/Historical, Single Figure
  • Unit
  • Vehicle/Monster
  • Large Scale
  • Bust
  • Diorama
  • Young Talent

They trimmed the categories primarily by merging. Historical became part of Fantasy/Steampunk, they merged Scifi and a Fantasy Units together as well Vehicle/Monster. What is missing entirely is Chibis.

I went to the Chibi Painting group and posted a heavy handed warning of the removal, since there is a severe lack of communication about the merging and cuts when the announcement was first made. I know for a fact that Mark Maxey of Models Workshop started on his piece the day after Adepticon and worked over 2 months on it, as well as requested time off from work to enter the Chibi competition.

My post from Chibi Painter

I hope none of you where planning on going to Crystal Brush for the Chibi Painting category, they released the schedule in December, very quietly apparently, and dropped Chibi from it completely. They went from 16 to 8 categories this year.

So for those of you who bought Arcadia Quest from Cool Mini Or Not, they don’t think you’re important enough to have your own category. #slowclap

Apparently Jen Haley saw or heard about my post and responded this morning

Screenshot_20170201-144845

Kudos to her for opening the floor for discussion which you can find here: Crystal Brush 2017 Facebook Discussion

The big argument for the cutting is the fact that the chibis can just be entered in other categories, which is true, but there also lies a problem. There is a recognized bias against chibis and the standard way they are painted. They are very cartoony, which is offset of the appeal of then to some people, but others just find them garish and downvote just because it is a Chibi, discounting or dismissing the actual skill used.

To quote Mark Maxey:

Since online voting is still very prevalent, being 50%,  there is still a huge biased toward chibis. Ive heard it from online to other judges at competitions, they just don’t like that style and it did influence them. As a judge you should remain neutral, but the online community can vote without reservation.

As for the category description, it was open, I know that what ever idea popped in my head I used. Big or small, I went with it because there was no limitations. So if that is a concern be descriptive about it this year.

Thanks for hearing us out. I know I was sad about it being cut altogether.

So like Mark mentioned under the new category breakdown, they are not only having to go up against other models, but also an undeserved prejudice.

My last point against the cut of Chibis is the fact that the Crystal Brush is run by a company, Cool Minis or Not,  that produces one of the largest Chibi games around, Arcadia Quest. A game that, via Kickstarter alone has grossed almost $5m. As a painter and gamer the removal of the Chibi category feels like a slap in the face to your own fan base. If you’re not going to support your own product, why should everyone else?

In closing I want to say thank you to Jen Haley for addressing this issue quickly, it actually means a lot and shows your amazing character. Regardless of the final decision, we know that you actually listened.

You can make your voice hard here: Crystal Brush 2017 Facebook Discussion