PUBLISHED: Thursday, December 1, 2016 by Fran Casselman

Hi, I’m Fran Casselman, the staff miniaturist here at Hobby Builders Supply/miniatures.com, and welcome to Small Talk!

I’ll be posting here from time to time and today I want to talk about the Creatin’ Contest. As you know, this year’s entry deadline is right around the corner on December 16. Last year’s contest drew 115 total entries and, so far, the number of entrants is a little ahead of this time last year. So we may be looking at an even larger field, which means more work for the judges, but we love seeing your amazing creativity.

Postal entries are fine, but more contestants are entering via email every year and it’s really easy. You may think you aren’t computer-savvy enough for that, but you probably know someone who can help you through the simple process. Here’s the link for the online entry form. The printable mail-in entry form is here.

We acknowledge every entry, whether email or postal mail, in the same form as the submission. If you haven’t heard from us but you did send your entry, please get in touch so we can track it down.

While the 2016 contest is coming to a close for you, I’ve been busy working on the kit for next year’s challenge. We love coming up with these unique kits; it’s a lengthy process each year, but once everything is finalized and we have a pre-production sample in house it’s time for me to go to work. I’ll put the kit together twice: First for the catalog item photos (carefully, with tape where it won’t show) and then a second time, as my version of the finished project.

Many of the projects I do here are to showcase new items or highlight a seasonal setting, but the contest kit is my chance to really get creative, just like you. Unlike you, however, I only have about six weeks to get it done! While I don’t have time for the major “renovations” some contestants achieve, I do get to try new techniques and products and modify others to suit my scene. And, sometimes, if I need an item we don’t already have, we’re able to track it down and add it to the catalog. I get to play with a new kit and new stuff! Best job in the world.

We don’t want to give away too much just yet, but we think you’re really going to like this one. It’s about the same size as the 2015 kit but has features we’ve never offered before: There are four full walls and a removable roof that can keep everything safe from dust and curious fingers (or paws) but with a skylight and plenty of windows to show off the scene inside. (And don’t worry; if that fourth wall is just too closed in for you I’ll share an easy bash to keep it removable.)

The Winter edition of our catalog has all the details; it goes in the mail December 16 and live online about the same time. We hope you’ll enter!