...so Thursday morning I swung by lars4life's house, picked him up, and we headed out to Adepticon. The plan was to leave late enough to miss morning rush hour, but get to Chicago early enough to avoid afternoon rush hour. Little did I know that there isn't a time in Chicago when it's NOT "rush hour", at least compared to any other city in the Midwest. Luckily lars4life had some experience driving through this area, and successfully navigated us to the hotel.
We checked in to our room, dumped our bags and headed downstairs to check things out. We walked up to the registration desk and asked for our badges, they told us "We're not quite ready yet, check back in an hour". We wandered a bit, went back to the room for a while, and headed back down an hour later. We were again told "We're not ready yet, it'll probably be another hour or two". I asked the guy, "We have classes tonight - how are we supposed to know where they are"? This resulted in the guy staring at his shoes, mumbling something, and slowly shuffling away. Needless to say, lars4life has very little patience for poor customer service - he caught the attention of the nearest worker and very firmly asked for our registration materials now. They gave us our badges and swag bags, which of course resulted in a stampede of gamers lining up behind us to pick up their badges, and basically sent the workers at the registration desk into a panic, so... sorry guys! I guess that means lars4life & I were registrants #1 & #2 for Adepticon 2011! We went back to the room to dig through the swag bags and check our event listings.
I had heard rumors that there was going to be some very cool swag for people who pre-registered - we dumped out the bags, and there was a Warmachine Battlegroup!
Adepticon 2011 swag bag contents
...on top of that, there was a con-exclusive miniature from Gale Force Nine, a couple issues of Game Forces magazine, a Warmachine quick-start rulebook, a mini-copy of No Quarter magazine, a "teaser" book from the Black Library, a sprue of minis from Warlord Games, a bag of magnets from Amazing Magnets, a bag of bitz from Spikey Bits, a cinematic effect from Armorcast, a mini from Full Borer Miniatures, a badge holder & lanyard, an Adepticon luggage tag & deployment marker, and even some cookies! Overall, an amazing amount of swag - easily worth twice the price of admission to the con! The only bad part was that I got the Khador Battlegroup, and I had just bought it a few weeks earlier.
We headed back downstairs and I made my first purchases - a copy of the Grey Knights codex and an Arachnarok Spider:
After grabbing some dinner, we headed back for our only event of the evening: Moving Forward: First Steps to Advanced Painting with Mathieu Fontaine. I had taken a class on airbrushing with Mathieu last year at GenCon, but that was a much more "lecture-oriented" type class - this was a hands-on workshop focusing on blending, zenital lighting, and color theory (although Mathieu has a whole separate class on color theory that I hope to take this summer). Mathieu gave us models, showed us how to make a wet palette, then would call us up in small groups, demonstrate a technique, then watch us attempt it ourselves. Overall it was tremendously helpful, and I was able to achieve effects that I never would have thought that I was capable of. Here's a few pics (keep in mind these were taken on-the-fly without a light box, so it might be hard to make out the subtleties):
Model w/ tunic basecoated
Dark tones shaded
Light tones highlighted
After chatting with Mathieu a bit (lars4life swapped Warmachine Battlegroups with him, and he was nice enough to give me his unwanted con-exclusive mini), we headed back up to the hotel room. We were both pretty beat, so we decided to hit the sack early and get some sleep - this proved to be harder than expected, as lars4life had been having a severe allergy attack due to something in the Chicago area, and wound up snoring like a rusty chainsaw all night! I even ventured downstairs to see if the hotel store was open and maybe would have some earplugs, but no such luck. While I was downstairs, I saw the guys from The Eternal Warriors sitting in the lobby talking and almost stopped and said hello, but I looked & felt like a wreck so I passed. When I got back to the room I had the bright idea to search the Android Marketplace for a white noise generator app for my phone - I found a free one, installed it, dug a pair of earbuds out of my bag, and was able to salvage a bit of sleep.
Friday was actually the only day we didn't have any events scheduled. We woke up and grabbed breakfast at a diner in the mall just down the road. On the way back, we stopped at the Target by the hotel to get some earplugs for me and some Breathe-Right strips for lars4life to solve the problems of the previous night, then we headed back to the con check things out. Entering the main ballroom, one of the first things we saw was an amazing diorama of the Siege of Terra put together by the guys at Opposing Forces:
My pics don't even come close to doing this display justice - it was simply fantastic. There was even a "sub-level" under the display with details like the Emperor's throne room, a motor pool with Techmarines & Servitors repairing vehicles, etc. We chatted with one of the guys from Opposing Forces for a bit, then I headed off to do some shopping. I saw the Forge World line and decided to jump in it, figuring that it wasn't going to be any better on Saturday. I wound up waiting for the better part of two hours, but while I was in line I got to chat with some fellow gamers. The second half of the line put us squarely in front of the Blue Table Painting booth, and I chatted with Shawn and his wife. It was nice to check out their work - I have heard mixed reviews on the Internet, but everything they had on display looked great (Shawn readily admitted that it was "Level 3" -and higher stuff). As I neared the end of the Forge World line I came to the display cases with their new & upcoming models in it - by far the coolest was the new Eldar titan:
I finally got to the end of the Forge World line and picked up my pre-order:
Copies of Imperial Armor 9 & 10: The Badab War Part I & II, Model Masterclass Volume I, a set of Black Templar transfers, a set of Black Templar etched brass, a set of weathering powders, and a Gretchin Crew set. I also ordered a couple of the MkIII Armoured Boarding Marines, which the guys told me sold out in the first ten minutes of the booth being open. While the cashier was ringing me up, one of the guys working the booth came over and pointed to my Badab War books and, gesturing to the cashier, said "Open those up before you leave so he can sign them". The look I gave him must have made it obvious that I was wondering "Why would I want the cashier to sign my books"? He said, "This is Kenton Mills. He's responsible for a lot of the art in those books". Kenton was mobbed, however, and asked me to stop back when things weren't so hectic. I ducked back in to the booth later and he was nice enough to sign the books for me:
Next I stopped by the vendor booth on the concourse and got most of my Warmachine shopping out of the way:
I picked up the Prime Mk. II rulebook, the Khador faction book, a Kodiak warjack, the last Man-o-War Shock Trooper I needed, and a Butcher of Khardov warcaster. Still no luck finding the Widowmakers I need, though...
It was around dinner time at this point, so lars4life & I headed back to the room to drop off our stuff. We decided that as long as we were in Chicago, we really should get a Chicago-style pizza - we called down to the desk and asked for a recommendation, and they told us to get Giordanos. We gave them a call and less than an hour later we had a ridiculously thick pizza arrive at the door:
I was firmly in a pizza-induced coma and ready for bed, but lars4life wanted to run around some more and headed downstairs. He asked me what faction I wanted to trade my Khador Battlegroup for, and I told him "Protectorate of Menoth". He grabbed it on the way out the door, and when he returned later that night he had indeed swapped it for a Protectorate box...
More to come!