Thursday, April 10, 2014

Adepticon 2014 Recap - Part I

Thursday I had been working a ridiculous amount of overtime at work (at well as moving to a new shift for the first time in fifteen years) and was really ready to get away from work for a while.  I spent Wednesday night frantically packing, and Thursday morning lars4life showed up bright and (unusual for him) early, and we loaded up the car for the drive to Adepticon 2014.  Right away, we had to fend off a hitchhiker:

No Adepticon for you. Felix!

The drive was fairly uneventful, save for thunderstorms so strong we had to stop and buy new wiper blades.  The Westin had sold out of rooms at it's Adepticon rate, so we stayed at the TownPlace Suites.  (If you're familiar with the area, it's just behind the Target that's next to the Westin).  While it was slightly less convenient to not be in the same hotel as the con, the upside was that the room had two private bedrooms + a full kitchen for a cheaper rate, allowing us to grab some groceries at the Target (and save our money for new models!)

After checking in, we headed to registration to pick up our badges & swag.  The highlight of the swag bag this year was a Warmachine starter box & a novel from the Black Library:

Other highlights of the swag bag was a sample of Badger's new Stynylrez primer, a limited edition model from Victoria Miniatures, and the usual assortment of bitz, coupons, etc.  The swag also came in a cool drawsting backpack this year instead of a plastic bag, which was a nice touch.

Lars4life went off to check out the dealer room, since he bought the fancy Very Important Gamer badge that got him early access.  I was checking some stuff out when I noticed people starting to line up at the Forge World booth:

It turns out VIG's were given early access to the Forge World booth, but the staff at the con was letting us filthy casuals line up too, as long as we let the VIG's cut the line.  After about a 40 minute wait, I was able to grab my pre-order:

My main purchase was the Stompa kit with all the resin goodies, a couple pairs of Dreadnought arms, and various Dark Angel and Khorne bits.  (I don't have a Dark Angels or Khorne army, you say?  Hmmm, more on that to come...)

At this point it was pretty late in day on Thursday, and we were pretty tired from the drive, so we grabbed a bite to eat and headed back to the hotel to get some sleep.


On Friday morning, we headed to the convention to attend our first class, Two Brush Blending with Meg Maples:

Basically, Meg taught us her technique that she uses to achieve beautiful blends, as shown on these examples of her work:

It's an interesting technique - I don't think I'd call it a "shortcut" exactly, but it's definitely less labor intensive than the blending technique taught by Mathieu Fontaine, for example.  It depends a lot on having your paints thinned exactly right and working fast, which gave me a bit of trouble.

(The cloak is the only thing I attempted to blend on the above model).  

Overall it was interesting to learn, and I'll be giving it a try on my next paintjob.

After class, I made another run through the dealer hall - I picked up the Dreadball: Extra Time expansion from the Mantic booth:

(Lars4life & I bought Dreadball: Kick-Off last year without realizing that it was a "lite" version of the game - Extra Time expands it to the full game).

My next "must buy" at the con was the complete set of Badger's Minitaire paints:

I've really been looking to use my airbrush more, but a big obstacle for me was mixing & thinning paints - especially because I'm not particularly loyal to any one brand of paint, and Citadel paints need to be thinned differently for airbrush use than P3 paints, which are different than Reaper, which are different than Vallejo, etc.  I've had good luck with Vallejo's model air line, and considered buying the complete set of those, but 1.) it's crazy expensive, and 2.) I've had mixed results with Vallejo in the past regarding consistency, shelf life, etc.  The Minitaire paints are relatively new on the market and were developed with input from amazing painters who are known for their airbrush work, such as Les Bursley and Mathieu Fontaine.  On top of that, they're much cheaper than Model Air for bigger bottles, and Ken from Badger was offering a generous discount on top of that at the show.  At the end of the day, I was able to get the complete range of Minitaire paints (84 bottles) for about a third of the price of the complete Model Air line (111 bottles).

After dropping off my purchases at the hotel, I headed to my next class, Object Source Lighting (OSL) with Victoria Lamb of Victoria Miniatures:

If you're a student of painting miniatures, you've probably noticed a huge increase in the use of Object Source Lighting in the past few years - while she didn't invent the technique, Victoria's Slayer Sword-winning diorama The Rescue of Sister Joan is widely credited as starting the trend in the Fantasy/Sci-Fi mini painting world.

Victoria's class was pretty much half lecture / half hands-on - while classes with a long "lecture" session usually annoy me, lars4life & I both agreed that it worked very well in Victoria's class.  She used a slide show that gave examples of OSL using everything from miniatures, Dutch Golden Age paintings, and theater sets to demonstrate the effect.  After the slideshow, she gave us minis & paints to have a go at it ourselves:

Victoria's on the left, my (only just basecoated) model on the right

Overall, this was a great class, but the technique is really hard for me to duplicate.  I have a feeling that if I try much OSL in the future, it'll be with the airbrush.

After class, with met up with a friend of ours who luckily just happened to be sent to Chicago that weekend by his job for training.  We usually budget for one "big" dinner at Adepticon, so we headed to Claim Jumper:

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel to relax & hang out.

Next time: Part II!

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