I was shocked when I saw there was a tiny piece of left over sprue on his right arm, and twitter came to my rescue and suggested I make it into a band-aid. It's supppper subtle, but you can just make it out. (along with a very slight line from not enough mouldline scraping). Needless to say I was thrilled with him!
Light Sources: Think of the composition as it stands in the display. Where is the light hitting it? How do the shadows fall?
Boost contrast: The light source is all similar across the model. It should be coming from above, so the left wing and left fuselage should be brighter (modulation would help here), helping to bright interest and focus to the model. Additional colors can help break up the monotone nature. Push it!
Weathering all over the place: Dial back the chips. Think about where the chips would form as the plane flies through the air. More chips in the wing edge, less chips as the air moves along the model. Use the chips to generate interest and point the focus to where you want the audience to look (pilot in this instance). Highlight or add interest to particular chips, to bring attention to certain areas.
More types of weathering: Not just chips and soot. How bout ruptured pistons? Leaking fuel? Use to create additional contrast.
Tell a story: Why are these chips here? What is it so battle damaged? Work in a story within the paint to add additional interest to the model (bullet holes, etc)
Focus!: Use all of the above to pull the eye exactly where you want it. Push the contrast, control the weathering, focus focus focus!
Tiny Picks: I had a fingerprint on the window. Oops!
Todd from Sincain40k was also a finalist in multiple categories! Congrats Todd!
Mike Schaefer took home best fantasy collection!
John took home 2nd place in speed airbrushing, best historical large, and best historical vehicle squad. (I think he also got 2nd in large sci fi).
Caleb Wissenback took home Best of Show, Best Large Sci Fi, and Favorite Vote!
More info on winners at NOVA Open's newsletter!