If you’re a miniature painter like me, painting is what you do to unwind, get creative, and make your gaming minis look nice enough (and done enough to be playable). Having the skill to do a basic job is one thing, but having experience painting models gives you an appreciation for the massive amount of skill it takes to paint tiny toy soldiers into complete works of art. For me, the highest level of artistry when it comes to miniature painting is encompassed by the Crystal Brush competition.
Hosted by CoolMiniorNot, The Crystal Brush is one of miniature painting’s pinnacle awards. Each year at Adepticon, North America’s largest miniature wargaming conventions, hobbyists submit their minis for judging and peer into cases full of stunning miniatures some painters have poured innumerable hours into. Not only is the award full of prestige, but it also comes with cash prizes, with Best of Show taking home $10,000, with 2nd and 3rd prize receiving $2000 and $1000 respectively.
They also award a variety of standard category awards (such as single figure Modern/Sci-Fi, single figure Steampunk/Historical/Fantasy, chibi, large scale, busts and dioramas), with winners taking home a crystal brush trophy. Artists travel from around the world to participate in the competition, so the competition also is a showcase of worldwide miniature painting styles.
The top 3 winners of this year’s show ended up showcasing the kind of skill as well as visual storytelling that goes above and beyond.
“Oz” by Francesco Farabi earned the show’s 3rd place. This entry from the Diorama category is a stunning view of the timeless classic that is its namesake. Just remember: the minis in this diorama are no taller than your thumb.
Second place overall went to another diorama, “Tribute.” Artist Michal Pisarski took inspiration from the Warhammer universe, where fans of the lore recognize Nagash, Lord of the Undead, receiving tribute from a vampire lord.
Finally, the Best of Show award went to Sergio Calvo Rubio’s “Space Wolf”, bringing to life artwork done by Paul Bonner from the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
You can check out detailed views of many of this year’s entries in our gallery below.
Do you paint miniatures? Tell us about what you love to paint in the comments below!
All Image Credits: Crystal Brush/CMON (Artists of Miniatures Individually Credited)