Wednesday, August 26, 2015

DLBlog 2: GenCon 2015 The Other Story

My first trip to GenCon was last year with Matt. We finally made the decision to attend late into summer, and by that time any event that didn't accommodate hundreds of people (none of which I was interested in) was completely booked. So most of my time was spend in the vendor hall, which was a perfectly good experience for me. I had only recently gotten into the miniatures and board gaming hobby and everything I saw was new, interesting, and shiny; it was a total blast. On the drive home from Indianapolis we had already decided to attend the next year.

Flash forward to 2015. We procrastinated with our hotel reservations so we didn't get a room within walking distance of the main event, but we were ready at our computers when it came time to sign up for events. We each had about a half dozen events on our wishlists and clicked 'Submit' the second it let us. About 45 minutes later, after entering the line about 4000 spots back, I ended up getting just one of the events I was excited about attending.

Well, that was disappointing. Down 3 of the 4 painting tutorial classes I was most excited about (airbrush class with Angel Giraldez, freehand class by Marike Reimer, and a true metallic metal class) and the True Dungeon Matt and I wanted to try, I was in the same situation as last year through no fault of my own. No worries, I'd hang out around the vendor hall again where I had so much fun last time.

This year I also brought along one of my miniature dioramas. It wasn't specifically built for GenCon (but for an online contest earlier in the year) but it was decent enough that I wasn't ashamed to enter it into a big contest.
It ended up placing in the Bronze category, which I was pretty pleased with considering my time invested.

'Professional' pic of my entry
Entry in the final Bronze category. Got me a pin!
After entering in the painting contest, I had all the time in the world to explore the Con; Three entire days to wander the halls. With just the single painting event and not being one to nose my way into open gameplay scattered throughout the con, the vendor hall was my spot. But, different than last year, I wasn't a newbie to the scene and wasn't going into this wide eyed and inexperienced. I frequently watch preview videos and reviews of new games and keep up with gaming news. I knew what I was interested in and where to find it so I quickly picked up the games and miniatures I wanted and skipped by those that didn't interest me. A few games I was on the fence about and wanted to try them out, but hovering around demo tables for up to an hour while the current group wrapped up wasn't my idea of a fun time. So back to wandering it was.

After about a day and a half I had seen all I initially wanted to see. Luckily, after meeting up with Matt between his MtG events, we spent time in Artist's Alley where I had never paid much interest before. There is some really amazing artwork to be had and I picked up a few pieces by NEN which are by far my favorite buys from the con.

NEN's booth
Amazing Harley Quinn and Daenerys Targaryen watercolors by NEN
The rest of my time was spent between looking for gifts for others, lounging in the auction hall (where I bid on some Harry Potter memorabilia that quickly shot out of my price range) and some last minute entries into speed painting competitions.

This was my first time entering any kind of speed painting event. if you're not familiar with the concept, you typically have 45 minutes to paint a surprise mini to the best of your abilities with just a crappy brush and a limited range of paint colors. This is where I had the most fun of the entire con, in part due to being not placing too shabbily in most of them.

Dark Sword, Wyrd part 1, and Wyrd finalist speed painting minis
The first mini is from a Dark Sword competition. I didn't place in that one but did come away with a pretty cool mini. Second is a Wyrd Rail Golem. A $35 mini, not bad for the $2 entry fee. This is a huge model, so it was a challenge to base coat the whole thing evenly, let alone focus on details. Went for a bronze color with oxidation effects, red glow from the boiler vents (disappointed in how those turned out) and a blue base, as I paint the rim on all my Malifaux minis according to their faction (much to the chagrin of Matt). Painting the base last also leads to the judges getting their grubby mitts also over it, hence the terrible splotchy look. I placed 2nd with this mini which qualified me for the Wyrd championships.

Dark Sword judging

Wyrd round 1 judging
The third mini is an alternate sculpt of Kaeris, also from the Malifaux line. This was a limited edition mini, another $35 freebie, this time for no entry fee! Same brass w/ oxidation for the wings, and a purple cloak and brown pants. To make it hopefully stand out from the rest of the pack I did a blue fire effect rather than red/orange, pink streaks in the hair, and some color splotches on the base that look like grass and flowers if you squint hard enough. Got third place and scored a Games & Gears brush set and some Wyrd plastic lampposts. Quite a haul for the measly entry fees and quite a boost to my painting self esteem as well. I considered stripping the models down and painting them a bit better, I decided to keep them as is to commemorate the experience.

Wyrd finalist lineup
At the end of the con I came home with an armful of Malifaux stuff (my preferred skirmish game and miniatures-for-painting line), some art pieces, the speed painting haul, and Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn (excellent card game I was able to demo).

Overall I had a great time at the Con, but I'm not sure if I'd like to attend again. Not getting into my preferred events left a bad taste in my mouth right off the bat. When 60,000+ attend this thing its understandable, but its grown a bit too large for what I'm most interested in doing. By keeping up with board game releases throughout the year the vendor hall isn't as exciting as it used to be. With the speed painting events being by far my favorite thing I've done at the con, and my hobby interests shifting more from playing to painting, I plan on looking into different conventions that focus more on the hobby aspect. Adepticon or ReaperCon may be on my radar for next year.

Bonus! Things I forgot to talk about during my first memory dump:

Fantasy Flight In-Flight Report. Sweet to be the first in the know about their new releases!

Dice Tower Live Podcast
My favorite of the cosplay parade. Guy dressed up as the buff 'Shame!' nun from Game of Thrones. Ringing his bell and shouting "Shame!' the entire time. Brilliant!
Some shiny uncut Magic cards. Always cool to see.

Stay tuned for next time (shooting for every Wed) where I'll chat about what's on my painting bench, some laser cut wood hobby organizers I've begun using, and a cool pickup I scored while at the Lake of the Ozarks!

1 comment:

  1. I definitely think speed painting is your hidden talent! The Kaeris is really impressive for the amount of time given, great job! To achieve the fire glow on the rail golem, going to pure white as the hottest part of the vent, blending to yellow, and then to red would be the ticket. Granted you had 45 minutes, he's well painted, and an overlooked variable is the frenzy you're in and the effect it can have on your decision making process. haha


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