I do have to admit that this is a good point. I also want to add something that I think may have been unclear earlier, which is that none of what I'm saying currently was really in reference to characters whose masks we simply do not know (like Orde, Zaria, etc.), just for characters whose mask shapes are undefined. I thought it would be a little too complicated if people were submitting a bunch of Helryx MOCs with various 3D-printed placeholder masks, as voters might be confused and vote for the mask they thought was best, rather than the MOC, only for the mask they voted for to be overridden by the canon mask shape. That's why I thought it would be easier to have the mask contest first.
Again, I think we're at a bit of a disconnect. I'm not suggesting that we add an extra month or two between contests, only that we wait an extra month or two for the contests to officially begin. Essentially, take the point where we are right now and push it back until September, perhaps, just so we can see if everyone's a little more free to get the parts they need to get. It's mostly for the benefit of the first couple of contests, which I'm worried might not be as fruitful if everyone has a lot on their plate.
I'm referring to this:
I italicized the part I'm referring to. For these characters, the MOCs being entered won't have a mask (or perhaps they will be allowed to have a placeholder one, but with the knowledge that it'll be changed later on). That's what I meant when replying to your point about creative freedom being limited, because the rules already stipulate that those characters will "have the same face..."
There actually is a way. I didn't mention it before, but my idea was that either MOCs could be entered with a 3D printout of the "official mask," or with no mask at all, whereupon, once the winning entry is chosen, the MOC could be provided with a model of the mask to take an "official picture" of it.
Is it feasible? I don't know, but like I said to @Gilahu above, I'm less concerned about this particular point. The current rules do basically adhere to what my stated ideal is, except that the stages are reversed, so though I might think my solution is more unbiased, I can admit that it will all basically result in the same outcome, so I'm fine with that.