Hi all, Albert here.
This weekend I took a trip to Elmhurst, IL to visit a gaming convention called Dragon Fall, “The Midwest’s Premier Gaming Event”.
The main focus of this convention was definitely the table-top war-gaming, like Warhammer and others. An entire hall was dedicated to gaming tables. But there was also a giant computer LAN party (where PC gamers bring in their own computers, and set them up in a local network to game with other local players), D&D gaming, and a vendor hallway. The models you’d see at this show consist of mostly 32mm-size figures, and larger monsters, robots, and accompanying vehicles. You won’t really see any Tamiya or Revell-type kits at this kind of show. Most of the models are meant to be handled, for use during the game. Some gamers prefer ‘display quality’ paint jobs. But many paint to a ‘tabletop standard’, which may be more quick and dirty, or good enough to look cool on the table from a few feet away.
I was most interested in their modeling contest, and the hobby and painting classes offered.
The model contest was very small, compared to shows we are used to. I saw only 20 or so entries. And the models are also small, most being 32mm-120mm. But the level of talent is out of this world. Certainly intimidating.
There were a variety of intimate, 15-person classes available, and the attendance was surprisingly low! Classes ranged from beginner painting, to airbrushing, to quick-painting an army. The cost s ranged from $25-40 each. I took a total of four classes:
- Make Your Miniatures Tell A Story – Anthony Wang
- How To Make Your Miniatures Pop – Anthony Wang
- Painting with Metallic Paints – Shoshie Bauer
- Painting Skin Tones – Shoshie Bauer
Anthony is an award-winning painter, and a commission painter from Chicago. Shoshie has a great YouTube channel and streams live painting sessions on Twitch. Each class was 90min-2hrs, and we got to practice techniques as the classes went on. I picked up quite a few new techniques to try. And who doesn’t want to get better at painting skin tones?
I don’t play the games myself. But the tabletop terrains and models are fascinating to look at, and certainly varied. There might be a snowy wooded play area, or a Chinese village, or a fantasy town, or a Blade Runner-style street-scape.
While exploring the vendors tables, I heard someone laughing behind me. And I thought, “That laugh sounds like Jeff Wiertalla from IPMS Livonia.” Turns out, it was our own Jeff Wiertalla from IPMS Livonia! Jeff is a rep for Warlord Games, a company that focuses on 28mm historical and sci-fi games. He pointed me to a table and showed me some of the models and terrain they offer. It looks really fun, and he’d like to introduce our club to the game and more of the models.
I had a great tine in my classes, and I hope to take more. The next show similar to this is probably Adepticon next March. Wow, there’s so many classes at that show, check it out!