Yes, our annual model contest is AMAZING!

AFM logoThe WonderFest “Amazing” Model Contest is focused on all types of science-fiction, horror and comics models. It’s the biggest contest of its type in the world, and it’s fun to look at even if you don’t build models yourself!

The contest is sponsored by Amazing Figure Modeler magazine, which presents a $300 award for the Most Amazing Figure!

With an incredible 780 entries in 2021, it took up the entire ballroom and featured some of the best modeling we’ve ever seen.

Photo of contest ballroom

Pay for two entries and enter up to 8 more free!

Back in 2019 we blew the doors off the contest with 823 entries! Let’s beat that record in 2022! So show off your beast, er best, in Louisville!

Entry Hours:  Saturday, June 4th, from 8 a.m. ’til Noon

Viewing hours:  Saturday Noon-5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Entry Fees:

  • $10.00 per first 2 models for adults, up to 8 additional entries free
  • $8.00 per first 2 models for teens, up to 8 add’l entries free (ages 13-19)
  • Free for ages 12 & under

NOTE:  $5 additional charge for oversize entries; see rule #3 for size limits.

Entry forms will be sold on Friday night and Saturday morning at the conference center, and the entry period is from 8 a.m. ’til noon on Saturday to allow everyone more time to enjoy the contest entries during the weekend.

Awards Presentation – Sunday afternoon at 3pm.

We will not be having the customary packed room awards ceremony due to COVID. Instead, we’ll have an alternative method for recognizing the winners. Stay tuned!

Judging is still based on the “Open” System. Awards will be: Merit, Bronze, Silver, and Gold awards. There are a number of special sponsored awards from some great sponsoring companies that will be presented.

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  1. SF / Fantasy Figures (includes robots)
  2. Horror Figures
  3. Vehicles
  4. Super Heroes & Super Villains
  5. Mecha (mobile suits)
  6. Anime Figures
  7. Dinosaurs
  8. Kaiju (giant monsters)
  9. Props
  10. Dioramas
  11. Humor & Super Deformed
  12. Original Sculpt / Scratchbuilt (any subject)


Includes all categories listed above; for modelers age 13-19.


Includes all categories listed above; for modelers age 12 and under.

The Official Contest Rules:

Our mission: Encourage the hobby and create the ultimate showcase for modeling excellence!

Exclusions: Winning models from past WonderFest model contests may not be re-entered. WonderFest staff, contest core personnel, judges and sponsors are prohibited from entering contest.

Proxies: Model must be built & painted by modeler entering contest. Entries by proxy are allowed but must be declared to Contest Officials in advance (violators will be disqualified).

Size: Entries may not exceed our size limitation of 18″d x 24″w x 24″h. Oversize models may be entered for an additional $5 fee, but no entry may exceed 48″d x 48″w x 36″h.

“Mature” Subjects: Due to the family nature of the WonderFest experience, it is show policy that models depicting nudity and those containing violent or “adult” subject matter will not be accepted for entry. Figures are subject to review for content by the Contest Chief.

Entry of models: Modelers must neatly print all information on Entry Form (please ask questions if you do not understand). Modeler is allowed to place their own model on contest table, but MUST be accompanied by contest usher, who will give you a claim check. Modeler MUST immediately exit contest area after placement of entry.

Removal of models: Once entered, models cannot be removed from contest early. Early removal automatically disqualifies entrant. After the awards presentation, proper claim check must be shown to usher who will accompany you to remove model (no exceptions.)

Disputes: All Judges’ decisions are final.

Liability: WonderFest assumes no liability or responsibility in case of accidents involving models or for property lost, stolen or damaged. Entries unclaimed after 6 p.m. on Sunday will be turned over to the hotel’s Lost & Found desk.

How a Model is Judged:

Most model contests are judged on a 1st, 2nd and 3rd system—a WonderFest contest is not!

The Open System: Every model entered is carefully scrutinized by the judges and judged on its own merit.

WonderFest judging is based on the open system. This means each and every model is judged on its own merit, based on our established criteria for gold, silver, and bronze…not on a comparative scale with other models. There can be more than one of each type of award per category.

For example, if there are three models of equal merit in a category and the judges agree that all are gold material then all three models will be awarded golds. On the other hand if the judges feel there are no gold-caliber models in a category then none will be awarded. That goes for silver and bronze as well. There can be multiple awards or no awards given in a category depending on the judges’ discretion.

WonderFest feels the open system is fairer to modelers. In a large contest having single categories with more than 60 models, this frees the judges from being forced to recognize only three winners. Models entered in figure categories will be judged primarily on the figure alone even if displayed on a scenic base; models entered in the diorama category will be judged with emphasis on the entire scene. It is the modeler’s option to choose the category at the time of entering the contest.

Helpful tips for contest entrants

Here’s what our judges look for:

Basic work is the first thing the judges will check. There should be no seams visible. Joints, etc. should be filled where necessary. Glue marks are considered a flaw, and sanding scratches should be eliminated.

Scratchbuilt or modified parts are looked upon favorably (though good out-of-the-box work is not discounted). Additions should be correct in scale and uniform. If the entire entry is scratchbuilt, overall appearance and symmetry will be examined.

Decals, if used, should have a finish that does not show any film around the edges. Also, decals applied over flat paints can get a “silvered” appearance, and this is judged poorly. If a flat finish is the result you’re after, apply decals over gloss-painted surfaces and then flat-coat the model.

Weathering should not be overdone when used. Weathering should be in scale. Too much can make for a sloppy-looking finish.

Painting should be smooth with no visible brush strokes. Fingerprints, runs, smudges, cracks, etc. will all detract. While colors can vary due to the fantasy subjects one should keep in mind which colors complement one other. Models from movies or television should try to match on-screen appearance.

Skin tones are also important. Few modelers use flesh tones straight from the bottle. Usually skin tones are mixed from two or three different colors. Be careful of hard lines when doing washes. Dry brushing should be subtle when doing highlighting.

One big consideration for a winning figure is the eyes. Human, monster, or dinosaur—get the eyes right and your kit will come alive.

Overall presentation is also very important. The base and mount for any kit should enhance its appearance rather than possibly detract from the model. A model can also have a “WOW” factor. Judges are human, too. Kits that make them look twice because of dynamics and presentation may receive better marks—and a dynamic kit may be more easily “forgiven” for minor technical errors.

Finally, remember that judging is a subjective exercise. Some things may appeal to some judges that may not to others. At WonderFest, we strive to put the right judges with the right subjects.

Want to know who won awards in the past?

We’ve kept an archive of past winners dating back to 1999. Just follow the link and return to the contests of yore.