Grey Seer miniature painting competition - report

Grey Seer 2011 – miniature painting competition report

We’re back from Grey Seer and must admit we had a terrific time there! The event is still pretty new but it already managed to make Gorzów an important city for every miniature painter in Poland, and hopefully also for foreign painters in the next editions.

Grey Seer – miniature painting competition

On August 13th we went to Gorzów Wielkopolski to participate in Grey Seer – a miniature painting competition being a part of Polish Team Championship in Warhammer Fantasy Battle. It was only the second edition of the painting contest, so we were prepared that something could go wrong and that the staff could be unable to arrange everyting right. So we were willing to forgive them some shortcomings, but fortunately our tolerant moods proved to be unnecessary.

Photo: Grey Seer 2011 miniature painting competition report

The first edition of Grey Seer was not very popular among painters, and many entries were entered by gamers who participated in the Championship. This year many popular painters declared they would be coming to the event, which showed that the contest managed to earn its place in Polish miniature painting community. Obviously painters were satisfied with the first edition and either decided to return for the next edition or even recommend it to others. This year only a few entries came from gamers, and most entries came from miniature painters. Does this advent a change in profile of this competition?


We (I, Ańa and Kacpero) arrived shortly before the noon and immediately met our friends from Warsaw. We recognized Camelson (and congratulated him on his success at the German Golden Demon), Smok, Edwin, Mr. Denial and Przemo. Maybe there were more of them but these are the ones that come to my mind now. A moment later we were greeted by Sławol, who organized the whole event. Then we went to say hi to the rest of people who were already there, including Gildor, KeraM, Bizon, Szary and Nameless. Most entries were already there so I immediately started to take photos of entered miniatures for the puropose of this report, while Kacpero and Sławol took care of all the people submitting new models for the competition.

Later we went to see the gaming tournament and it was pretty impressive. There were like 180 players playing Warhammer Fantasy, and some of them entered their miniatures for the contest. They received special card placeholders to stand in for the miniatures they submitted, so they could continue their games in the tournament.

Categories and entries

There were five categories: Fantasy single model, SciFi single model, Large model, Diorama or Unit, Open. There was also an additional prize for the best junior. The nice thing was that there were not only diplommas and trophy plates/badges but also models and bases for the winners. Not that it wouldn’t be good without them, but they surely were a nice touch and I know that the winners really appreciated them.

Eventually we received like 40 entries. Of course it’s not the same number that you can see on an important competition like Golden Demon, but compared to other Polish miniature painting contests the number was really satisfactory and larger than a year ago. Bearing in mind that it was only the second edition of the contest and the first was not really popular in the miniature painting (not: gaming) community, receiving this number of entries was a very nice surprise. There was also one historical model: Sahariana, that you will be able to see on a photo later.

Photo: Grey Seer 2011 miniature painting competition report

In comparison to the previous year’s edition, this time the overall quality was much higher, which was confirmed by both the participants and the judges. It was nice to see that the entries attracted attention of gamers who had a break between their battles. The only problem at this stage was the lack of protection for miniatures (glass cases, cabinets, or at least glass screens), which had one advantage: people could see the painted miniatures better, but at the cost of increased risk of damage to the entries.
Fortunately no disaster took placeplace and models survived the competition undamaged.

Judging and winners

Judging was done in two stages: the first cut which separated the finalist from the rest, and the finals during which the winners were chosen. Then the best junior painter was chosen and the grand prix was assigned to one of the winners of all categories. As you will be able to see in a moment, some of the entries were really impressive and it wouldn’t be a shame to enter them even at large international contests.

Here are photos of all the winning entries:

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And here are the remaining entries:

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Painting classes

During the competition painters could participate in miniature painting classes run by Ańa, Camelson and Przemo. Przemo explained his take on color theory, Camelson showed how he paints (focusing on painting skin) and Ańa made a presentation about painting and designing freehands. She used a computer to provide additional examples and demonstrations. It was a great chance to meet experienced painters, learn from them and ask them questions.

The atmosphere at the event was fantastic. I am very envious that others managed to spend more time together when we were judging, but it doesn’t mean we didn’t have a good time. Man, we did! And we even managed to sneak to the back of the school in which the event was held, to taste some delicious food served there by a little barbecue crew. Thanks guys!


    Two biggest surprizes of Grey Seer were:

  • Neuroshima Tactics miniatures are actually much better than we expected. Guys, you really have to do something with the way you’re trying to present and sell your miniatures. It can be done so much better. On our forum we constantly thought the miniatures are no good, but it’s not true. We saw one of them in person and it was much better than we could ever expect. So Neuroshima Tactics miniatures are not bad, just terribly presented.
  • Fantasy single model winner (Wurzag) was painted by KeraM, who’s only 14 years old. Guys, you will really need to try harder if he continues to improve at the speed he did so far. Not long before he was less than a mediocre painter, and now he’s not only beating adult painters in a normal painting competition (not a “youngbloods” category) but also becomes the best of all awarded junior painters I’ve seen so far on all Polish contest. Keep it up, KeraM, and don’t stop improving. You will soon give older painters a sweat if you keep entering such good works in miniature painting competitions.

Awards ceremony

The grand prix went to Ańa for her fantastic group of Tzeentch characters. We’ll try to provide official photos of these models which still haven’t received studio photos, but believe me, each of these models could easily be a serious entry (and possibly a winner) as a single model, and here we received four of them. It was really well deserved win here, which gave Ańa this nice trophy:


Now here are photos of all the winners and finalists:

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When the award ceremony was over, we helped Sławol clean the hall in which the competition took place. We talked and laughed a lot, and the painters exchanged honest and in-depth comments about their works. It was a fantastic chance to see the works of others and to get some first-hand feedback on your painting from some of the best miniature painters in Poland. The discussions continued later during the walk that we took to the restaurant in which we had our afterparty. We found Gorzów a very nice city, and will surely try to return there to spend some more time sightseeing.

Photo: Grey Seer 2011 miniature painting competition reportPhoto: Grey Seer 2011 miniature painting competition report

The afterparty was very entertaining and relaxing. We spent the evening in a Turkish restaurant, eating delicious food and drinking, talking and joking with our friends. Our friend Irkuck joined us during the party even though he wasn’t present at the competition. He was responsible for those nice trophies that were awarded to all winners, and everybody liked the trophies. My personal favorite was the one which went to the best junior painter, as it had a nice steampunk or post-apocalyptic feel.

Photo: Grey Seer 2011 - miniature painting competition report

The man behind it all

I must say that Sławol amazed us all with his ability to organize such a great event. He organized the painting contest almost single-handedly, and the only problem I could see was the lack of protection for entries. On the other hand there much more positive aspects of his work: great coordination, arranging sponsors, announcing the event in the internet, preparing the awards, participation in judging, arranging perfect place and equipment for the painting classes, booking the place for the afterparty, and much more. He was our host there in Gorzów, too, and he did his job really well. He even managed to give certificates of gratitude to everyone who helped him. Huge thank you, Sławol!

Could anything be improved? Sure. There could be more painters and more entries. But with so well prepared second edition of the contest and so satisfied participants, there will surely be the next edition and even more people will participate. There could be awards for random participants – it always encourages more people to enter, even if only because they hope to win the random award. There could be some kind of protection for entries. Not necessarily closed glass cabinets, but at least PVC screens to stand before the entries and visitors. Fortunately this time nothing bad happened, but you can never be sure. Additionally, there could be some foreign painters participating in the contest…

Going international?

But can I have your attention for one more short moment? Thanks!
I was told that in 2012 the European Team Championship is to be organized in Gorzów! It’s going to be a huge event, with players from whole Europe playing Warhammer. It’s a great opportunity to come there and enter the miniature painting competition. So maybe you could come to Poland in the next year? I can wholeheartedly recommend coming to the Grey Seer contest. Even if it’s not a huge competition, it’s a very friendly and interesting event.

And what are your thoughts on this event? So who’s coming to the next edition in 2012? Who’s still thinking? What are the pros and cons? What are your doubts? Don’t be shy and come to Grey Seer 2012! 🙂

If you noticed any mistake in this report, if you are (or know) the author of some unsigned works here – just leave a comment and we will amend the text. Thanks for reading!

— Mahoń

7 thoughts on “Grey Seer 2011 – miniature painting competition report”

  1. sounds great, it Would be nu first time in à competition like this, so any brand of miniature is possible?
    Where is à great place ( hotel ) to stay?

    1. It would be fantastic to meet you there!
      The rules allow any miniatures (any scale, genre or manufacturer) as long as they’re painted by the person who enters them. We will surely announce the rules in English in advance if there is interest, so people will have time for preparations. Generally the rules are not very restrictive, as the idea is to encourage creativity and fresh ideas.

      Regarding hotels, Sławol posted links to 10 hotels in the thread on our forum. I know it’s in Polish but you will easily find the word ‘hotel’ or use an online translator.

      Thanks for asking!

  2. Ah, excellent Report, Mahon… Thanks for Shareing, I have linked this to a couple of forums…

    For 2012, please count me and a couple of Monkey Brothers in…;)…

    1. Thank you very much, Matt. Presence of your minkey crew will be a real honor for us and a huge attraction for the event.

      By the way, are you coming to Poland on October 22nd for Hussar 2011? We hope it’s going to be the biggest mini painting contest in Poland. We’ll be announcing it in public very soon, but I thought it’s a good idea to let you know a bit earlier.

      And are there any cool mini-painting events in Berlin? It’s so close from us that it might be possible to pay you a visit, while Cologne is still a bit far for us and our little Balrog. 😉

  3. The Hussar is indeed interesting (thought that I might have missed it already…)… Do you have a Link…?… I will share it as well…

    In Berlin, we rarely have any Painting Contests… There used to be a “test run” by GW for a Golden Demon a couple of years ago ( the Conflict X…), but it turned out that the Berlin area doesn´t have enough painters participating… It was a huge pity and dissapointment, but explainable if you check the Map of Germany… Most people are living in the so called Ruhrgebiet around Cologne, Dortmund and Frankfurt, the closer you get to the East the less populated the Country gets, Berlin is like a kind of island in between a whole lot of nothing, desolation, etc. … So we basically always end up travelling to Cologne or somewhere in Europe…

    1. I must say I like the “island” especially when it was presented by you as our tour guide 🙂 but I understand that the more to the West a contest is organized the better chances of attracting more participants from Europe (let’s face it, it’s better to prepare for Italian, Spanish, French or British painters than to hope that Poles or Russians come to the event).

      Regarding Hussar, I don’t have a link to the Hussar 2011 website yet (it’s a kind of a sad tradition that the website goes online only shortly before the event – like 1-1.5 months ahead), but you can safely rely on the 2010 rules, which will undergo only minor tweaks (and if you want any official rulings it’s best to ask either me or Nameless). I won’t be in the jury this year because I’m going to look after our boy during the event, but I hope to have time to take photos of all entries and prepare a photo report again.

      What I heard is that in 2011 the whole “Weekend with fantasy” event will be focused more on miniatures than anything else. Or at least that’s the plan of the person behind the whole event. The competition is the successor to Slayer of Daemon, which was organized when we heard there would be no Golden Demon Poland any more. We decided to break the trend of connecting the painting competition with any particular universe, rulesets, manufacturers, etc. and went for a more open format instead.

      In the thread about Hussar 2010 you can find rules from 2010, pictures of awarded entries plus some discussion. If you need any help finding hotels, hostels, restaurant, bars, pubs, restaurants – just drop us a line, and we (plus the Warsaw Team) will try to make it all as easy and convenient for our foreign guests as possible.

      Thanks a lot for all your help, Matt.

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