This edition was the very first DUZI I visited. I heard a lot about the event, that it was more historical oriented in the past, but in the last few years fantasy & sf miniatures are on the rise. Overall it's a very nice: good location, wide selection of traders and a good painting competition.
Speaking of the painting competition, the three miniatures I took with me were really up to par with some of the better entries in their category. To my amazement my Han Solo even won gold in his category! But let's start this story from the beginning...
Wesel is quite close to the border, so for me the drive was only a good 2 hours. Jasper joined me for some company, and also to enter a figure into the competition. Not long into the drive we were faced with fog, but apart from that the trip was very pleasant.
We arrived at DUZI close to 11:30h, so we quickly entered our figures into the competition, which closed at 12:00h. After that we took a walk downtown to see the city center and find a quiet place to pick-nick. Wesel has a big, car-free shopping street (very quiet as well since it was Sunday) at its center and there are plenty of things to see, mainly artworks but also buildings like this monument where the original city gate was located:
After this sight seeing we returned to the Niederrheinhalle, where the event was taking place.
Apart from the main hall, where the shops and painting competition (on the stage) were located there were some smaller rooms as well with demo games and tournaments and of course a place to have a drink and a snack. This is what the main hall looked when we entered just after midday:
What did not immediately occur to me when I entered the room at first, but what I think is very striking now that I see this picture, is that it was not at all crowded. There were plenty of visitors, but when I see the pictures now it seems that there were more traders than visitors. From what I heard afterwards it was very quiet at the event with a lot less people than last year. This also showed in the painting contest (more on this later). What caused this drop is unknown to me at this point, maybe bad promotion?
Anyway next to the entrance was this huge historical display table, with literally thousands of figures.
The rest of the main hall was filled with various sorts of traders, most of them focusing on the smaller scales: 28mm and 1/72.
At one side of the hall is a stage where the painting competition was held.
The painting competition is very well organized. It's free and the registration process was quick and painless, you were allowed to put your own miniatures on the display. In total there were 17 categories. The figures were displayed behind a glass screen.
This year there were almost 100 entries. From what I've heard there were about double that many entries last year. But the overall level was very good.
There are three major categories: "first choice" which is the beginner category, "rising master" the regular category, and a master category. Those categories have the usual sub-categories: single mini, diorama, etc. And then there's youngbloods and a free-to-enter display category, in which the minis do not compete (a great initiative I think).
Scoring was done using a points-system. In each category thresholds will be set for each prize. So it's perfectly possible to have no winners at all in one category or to have several gold medals.
I decided to enter my figures in the single fantasy/sf category of "rising master", and they seemed to fit in quite well. It was also the most crowded category with 25 entries.
There was also a separate display section by Jürgen Wagner (aka Crackpot).
The single fantasy/sf category of "rising master" level:
That's my Han Solo there in the back, the only gold winner in this category:
My Tau Air Caste:
My Bregan, Apostle of Darkness:
The entries of the master category:
Around 15:30h it was very well visible that a lot of people already went home. The shopkeepers even started packing by then. The judging of the painting competition was completed around 16h. When the winners were announced most people not taking part in the competition were already gone.
The award ceremony itself was a bit lengthy and unclear to me (maybe because I hardly understand any German :), but it was great to be on stage with the other "golden DUZI" winners.
I'll surely be back next year to defend my prize. DUZI is a great opportunity to do some shopping and meet people. But I sincerely hope that the crowd will be bigger next year and that there will be more entries in the painting competition.