Tuesday, September 15, 2015

NOVA Open 2015 - Part 2

So this was the highlight of the convention for me.  Painting alongside the Massive Voodoo team, Raffaele Picca and Roman Lappat.

Photo courtesy of CJ Kinder and Silly Pineapple.

This moment was a wonderfully serendipitous opportunity that presented itself on Thursday afternoon, when the fine German gentlemen had no obligations on their schedule.  I suggested we pass some time and enjoy ourselves painting -- and that we paint at one of the demo tables as a way to invite anyone else to join the fun.

Roman and Raffa picked up a Dark Age 'Brute' miniature each at the Cool Mini Or Not booth and painted the whole thing from scratch over the course of the afternoon.  I had the great pleasure to watch both of them as they went along.  Unfortunately, I missed the critical step where Raffa painted the skin highlights on his figure.  I definitely wanted to observe that step, and it just happened so fast, I couldn't believe it when I glanced over and that part was done!

A couple of folks joined us, and we had a great chat with them.  Roman and Raffa really enjoyed the experience, because it was a rare opportunity for them to just enjoy painting again as a hobby, with no pressure or obligations to paint for a client or endure other professional constraints.  I hope we can carve out time in their schedule to do it again next year and invite more people to join us!

The eye-candy at NOVA Open becomes more spectacular every year.  Here is an 11-foot Star Destroyer that was made simply to blow peoples' minds.  It was on display at the X-Wing tournament, naturally.

Another eye-catcher were the phenomenal terrain boards used for the Lord of the Rings events.


Goblin town.

Goblin town detail.

Port city of Umbar.
Huge kudos go to the D.C. Hobbit League for producing these fantastic boards and whipping up support for this excellent game.  They were tremendously successful, generating participation that was on-par with the Malifaux national championship, occurring beside them!

It is this kind of terrain that most excited me about the gaming side of the hobby, when I attended my first Games Workshop Games Day in Baltimore.  The 3-dimensionality, the character, the texture, the "stage"....  I wanted to bring the miniatures alive in these scenes.  I am seriously considering learning the Lord of the Rings Strategy Game, just so I can participate in this event next year and play on these boards!

Here are some shots of some of my peeps.  This, too, was the highlight of NOVA Open for me -- to spend quality time with my D.C. friends.  The gentlemen below recently launched the Tactical Gaming Society, a gaming club devoted to narrative-style, scenario-driven gaming -- sporting high-quality terrain boards and high-quality painted miniatures.  I wish I was there!

Steve Carey and Owen Beste -- 'in character', running the 40K Narrative.
Photo courtesy of CJ Kinder and Silly Pineapple.
John Stiening, expert painter, strutting his stuff at the Grex airbrush speed-painting competition.
Photo courtesy of CJ Kinder and Silly Pineapple.

John Stiening's Death Korps of Krieg army.
John's army bombarded and assaulted other tables during the 40K Narrative event, wreaking random havoc and destruction.

I spent a chunk of this past weekend learning how to use Audacity, which is an audio editing tool.  I made some course edits of the interviews that I conducted at NOVA Open, and I submitted the audio files to Combat Phase.  Unfortunately, I submitted the files just as co-host, Robert, was putting the most recent show in the can.  I was hoping to make it in time for the show this Thursday, but Combat Phase is a little off-schedule at the moment, since co-host, Kenny, just moved to Sweden, and Robert is confronting the same learning curve that I am with the technical aspects of the show, until Kenny gets settled in.

But be sure to be on the lookout for the next episode.  I interviewed Mike Brandt, the NOVA Open founder; Owen Beste, NOVA Open board-member and a co-lead for the 40K Narrative event; Aaron and Laini Bostian, organizer and player respectively for the Age of Sigmar event; Devin Smith, organizer for the D.C. Hobbit League's Lord of the Rings events; Aaron Darland, designer for Wyrd Miniatures; and other interviews, including vendors and players.

Also, be on the lookout for the next issue of Figure Painter Magazine.  I'll be submitting an article with even more photos, professional ones by CJ Kinder of Silly Pineapple, including the winners of the Capital Palette!

In the meantime, enjoy another photo dump by this amateur photographer.

A sculpt by Raffaele Picca.
From the Cool Mini Or Not display case for Dark Age.

I had to buy one of these!

More pics from the Capital Palette display cases:

Another one of my favorites by Caleb Wissenback.
By Melissa Powell.
By Jennifer Wojcik.
By Todd Sherman

By Richard Rush.
By Angel Giraldez.

Oh, and I almost forgot to add, this was another highlight of the trip! 

1st Place - Fantasy/Alternate Collection
 I was surprised to earn 1st place, given that the competition level was so high.  I will display this trophy with pride.  It was hard-won, and I was honored to have it selected by Roman, Raffa, and Justin.


  1. Congrats on your placement Mike!

    "I hope we can carve out time in their schedule to do it again next year and invite more people to join us!"
    At adepticon last year, they had an entire "artist hangout" area with LED bright lamps for anyone to just sit down and paint. It was really awesome, as they situated it between the main classroom area. So inbetween (or while waiting for a class), you could hang out with james wappel, victoria lamb, and other incredible artists. Quite the treat! Would love nova to have something similar, as it kinda of forms a base for artists to hang out (which is quite possibly my favorite part of this hobby)

    1. Thank you, Greg! I greatly appreciate it. And, hey, that artists hangout suggestion is exactly what I would like to see set up for NOVA as well.

      Justin McCoy raved about how ReaperCon set up a similar facility, with circular tables set up throughout one of the ballrooms, where the artists could camp out with one another. As a matter of fact, that "event" was one of the primary attractions for the con. So much so, that I'm considering trading Adepticon for Reapercon next year.

      I haven't decided on Adepticon yet. It depends on: 1) how well the game offerings match the games I happen to be playing by then; 2) how many of my friends are going there next year; 3) how many entries I can prepare in time for Crystal Brush; and 4) as always, how much vacation time I have available.

      In any case, please mention this idea to Bob Likins and Mike Brandt. I'll do the same, and I'll spread the word at the Hobby Hangout. Also, add the suggestion to your NOVA Open survey, if you haven't submitted it yet.


    2. Oooh reapercon. I should check that out. I do like playing 40k, but hauling all those orks across the country is a PITA (I have to check them in a massive black label case, and pray the entire time). I loved the classes at adepticon which was my main reason for going next year. If reapercon is anything like that, I'd probably squeel with delight.

      Dang reapercon is pretty close to the adepticon time frames. That might be hard to swing. Choices choices! I need to practice my butt off in order to have a decent entry. I'd love to make it past the round 1 no's at crystal brush. Then maybe try for a 3rd place in something at nova next year. Tiny steps! Gotta reign in my ambition some, it's all over the place.

      I think I already added that suggestion to it, but might have missed that one. (I was primarily pushing for narrative during the day, as I missed hanging out with friends in the evening!)

  2. congrats on the win shades! that's awesome!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.