Well, I finally had the chance to get out to the West Coast (the Bay Area to be more precise) to check out the KublaCon show (tagline: The Khan of Cons!)
I was there to cover the first Flames Of War US West Coast Nationals tournament, run by Gamescape North in conjunction with Battlefront. The tournament was great; well-run, friendly gamers, some very lovely looking armies, and a very relaxed atmosphere. There'll be photos going up soon on the Flames Of War website, and appearing later in the year in the pages of Wargames Illustrated.
While I was there, I had the opportunity to enter into the KublaCon Miniature Painting Competition, run by Wayne Rogers. It was a very interesting departure from the "normal" format of mini painting comps that I'm used to. Instead of it being the "podium" format with a wide variety of categories (eg. 10 categories with a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd awarded in each, just like the Golden Demons or Crystal Brush) it was what is known in the wider painting world as an "open" format of judging.
Essentially there were three categories:
You could bring along up to two "single minis", one "squad", one "large", and one "diorama"
Each of your pieces was then judges to a set standard by a panel of judges (I think as many as five, with results being averaged) and determined to be either gold standard, silver standard, bronze standard, or honorable mention.
If you entered your work in either the KublaKids or the Open categories, you were awarded a Kubla Medal for each piece, determined by the quality as judged by the panel.
If you entered in the Masterclass category, all of your pieces were judged, given their "level" and the highest ranking piece was what was awarded the appropriate trophy.
As I was traveling all that way, I figured I'd take all the entries I could, and put them up for consideration in the Masterclass category. I brought the following entries:
• Iconoclave diorama - considered Bronze
• Lamenters Tactical Squad - considered Bronze
• AdMech Combat Servitor - considered Bronze
• Lamenters Dreadnought - considered Silver
• Malifaux Wastrel - considered Silver
This last one was considered by best entry by the judges, and so it was that model that I was unsure about that won me the Silver Kubla bust in the first photo. Pretty pleased with that, and having seen the other Masterclass entries, I can now see what I need to do/work on to lift my game for next year. As there were already entries better than mine in the case when I entered, I knew the pressure for Best of Show was off completely, so I could think about some of the other awards, like...
Apparently the judges had to be told a number of times that my Combat Servitor entry was a conversion. Most of them had assumed it was a stock model, so I'm pretty pleased with that too ; )
There were plenty of other great things at the show (one of the being the very cool family atmosphere, as geeks of all ages (from 1 to 91) were at the event to indulge in a weekend of gaming (be it miniatures, board, card, or both kinds of roleplaying)!
One of the cool things that caught my eye (and will be featured in the pages of Wargames Illustrated sometime this year, I hope) was "Wooden Wars" by Thomas Foss. You can see the "press pack" that Thomas handed me at the show, with a set of rules, along with three packs of wooden "flats", toy soldiers cut from birch plywood with a laser, ready to be assembled, painted, and have little rubber balls bounced at them by kids of all ages as they advance across the floor... err, battlefield!
More on these at a later date as I get some of them painted up, but you can find out more about Wooden Wars at his blog:
The first Public Service Announcement is about a new game store in Rancho Cucamonga, CA -
Dice Of War Games! Owned (in part) by my friend Alec Peters (of the Apocalypse 40K forums and blog fame), the store will open this weekend (June 1-2) and promises to rock your gaming world! Head on over to their Facebook page HERE to check them out : )
PSA #2 today is about a little Kickstarter being run by another mate, this time Rhys Knight from the UK. He and a couple of friends have formed PDC gaming and are running a Kickstarter (HERE) to raise funds for their "Toys for your Toys" range of wargaming accessories (including sprues of plastic weapons, tracked gun platforms, and other fun items). They are currently at 65% funding with 5 days to go. Head on over to their KS page (HERE) and check out their work!