THIS is the reason why Monte San Savino has consolidated as the most important miniature painting annual show.


Monte San Savino is the mandatory miniature show of the year. Many say that in Monte San Savino they have found their other great family, one they have chosen. And like in every proper family, when there is trouble ahead, their members meet up and talk about solutions. Last year we talked about the unprecedented participation and quality levels reached, especially in the Fantasy section. The contest had turned 10 years old and it seemed like the organization and venue where not going to be able to sustain such growth of participants and entries. Monte San Savino, GastArt and the people of Legio, with Francesco and Luca as their most visible heads, were aware and have acted accordingly.

#SanSaviners at the theatre, Sunday during the award ceremony.

They have come up with a new lighting system that is destined to be the new standard in the way pieces should be showcased in events.

As usual, it all started this year on Friday at the central plaza of Monte San Savino. There, new members of this great family were initiated in the alcoholic baptism, the classic idromele ritual, brewed every year by our friend Fabio. This time, there was some kind of touble with the drink and they opted instead for a tasty sweet wine served on a chalice, as if we were attending the Last Supper. Sad to miss the idromele, but the chalice was a great detail and the wine was awesome. Will the cup formula live on to next year? We’ll see.

Kyle, Alfonso, Jack. Enjoying the best of Monte San Savino.

Participants of the contest seem to agree not to deliver their pieces all at the same time. Slowly but surely, miniatures populated the stands, and by lunchtime on Saturday everything in the contest was on show. The numerous jury was ready to start discussing winners. Regarding participants and trophies, two very interesting topics come to mind.

And from the beard of Tue Kaae himself, the true vagrant hat! The sensation of Monte this year.

Doesn’t seem like there is a new generation in their twenties stepping up, except for the limited exception of kids from those SanSaviners that have become parents in the last few years.

The first debate is around demographics and renovation. Year by year we see new faces in Monte San Savino, not many, but enough. These are usually people close to other years attendees (family or friends). Once they become SanSaviners, they seem to be loyal to the annual date, even if they have nothing to show for their painting that year). The organization makes a huge effort to invite every year new faces that have still not made their way to Monte San Savino. Some of them are already classic characters in the miniature world that for some reason did not yet enjoy the experience.

Part of the Spanish Armada. Maybe 20% of it?

These new faces are therefore not as new as one would expect. The group seen from a goblal perspective still remains the same, a nurtured group of amateurs and professionals of outstanding modeling level, slowly ageing alongside the contest. Doesn’t seem like there is a new generation in their twenties stepping up, except for the limited exception of kids from those #SanSaviners that have become parents in the last few years. This is a disease not exclusive of Monte San Savino, but rather of the whole miniature modeling world. Just a few days ago we learned about the death of Euromilitaire in Folkestone. This Historical miniatures show, counting more than 30 years in existence, could not adapt to modern times and preferred to die. Very bad news because among other things, this speaks about the awful demographical renovation of the miniaturesphere. In Historical this is already a real drama. Is Fantasy walking the same path?

Bronzes, Silvers, Golds, in this order. Master Fantasy Painting.

The second debate is around awards. The event gathers the best of the best in the figure modeling world, in particular in the Fantasy miniaturesphere. Everyone expects fierce competition, where only outstanding geniuses take home trophies, and all miniatures are pieces of authentic art. And this is what happens mostly, no doubt. However, there is growing unease that there are too many awards given, and that the criteria to choose them are quite unclear. Every year there are more ‘Best of’, and people ask if so many of these ‘Best’ are necessary. It would seem like some of them are only there to cover up for those names that could onlye manage a medal. In the end, the show is about a contest, and as such, it would be desirable that the format was consistent, coherent, and that people would know what to expect. It would seem like trophies are like chewing gum, stretched as required. So stretched that the event can risk running out of physical medals to give (as it happened this year in Monte San Savino 2016). Are trophies that important? Or are they just and excuse for the show? Maybe Open competitions should consider moving out of medals and become just mere exhibits. I think this would make for an excellent public discussion.

Masterminds of the lunch. THAT one.

What is clear is that Monte San Savino continues, this was already the 11th edition. We have been surprised this year with more space for miniatures, additional facilities for new activities during the event, and what is more important, they have come up with a new lighting system that is destined to be the new standard in the way pieces should be showcased in events. Definitely, and as it has already been repeated many times on the internet, for us the Best of Show this year goes to the new lighting system. We have never seen such great lights in a miniature show, and after so many years, it is a huge pleasure to come back from an event and have absolutely nothing bad to say about illumination, quite the contrary actually. Hurray for Francesco, Luca, and all the people behind the organization that excels every year to be the best miniature show in the world. Next year, our letter to Santa Claus talks about a bigger and more open commercial area, a real one. Would it be possible?

And the Best of Show Monte San Savino 2016 goes to…

Be as it may, we are sure that we will be there next year, family. Like Santa for Christmas.

Miniature painter, sculptor and huge enthusiast, established 2005. Very passionate about community, events and conventions, has won plenty awards in contests worldwide. Miniature art devotee, engineer, contest judge and teacher, focused on spreading the word of what we do in the miniature world!


  1. Excellent as always.
    Offers a very deep prespective of the whole process and helps to rise points to move forward.
    Thanks Rafa and as you said the lightning was the winner for sure.
    Thanks to the organizer and keep it going as ypu always pay attention to what the “comunity” says!
    I will like to take the oportunity to plug a show that looks like is the future and that is FigureWorld, an exposition show with no competition that brings towether miniature modelling aficionados por the shake of it!.
    More MSS next year for sure!!


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