One of my favorite parts of KublaCon is the painting area set up just outside the dealers room on the edge of the foyer. I really like the location. Something about being tucked under the stairs adds to the industrious feeling, the Paint and Take tables being almost always full certainly doesn’t hurt either. Will really have to get photos of some of the hard working apprentice painters next year. It is inspiring to see so many people of all ages tucking in and trying their hands at minis painting as well as artists sharing their skills.
Friday found me entering the first of the Speed Painting contests as I was there and I like to maximize my opportunities to get into the final round. Always a fun way to spend time with creative people as we all have the same figure, the same paints, and the same lousy brushes. Other than the final round one never knows what figure will be handed out. If one places first, second, or third in any early contests then they can sign up for the Masters Round held Sunday night.
My first piece was a Rivet Wars figure I had never seen before. I don’t play the game but am vaguely aware of the visuals. Since the figure came with a stat card showing this color scheme I decided it was easier to match what I saw rather than create something from scratch. Fortunately I had just enough time to add the tartan to the kilt and crowns to the ammo belt. I think those were some of the details that took it over the top, placing first in the round. That meant I was eligible for the final one Sunday night. Now, there is no rule saying one can’t enter multiple times but once I’ve earned a spot in the final contest I’m done entering qualifying rounds. I’ve got games to play and friends to catch up with after all.
So this year’s mascot is a Dwarf Cleric version of Kubla and as has become tradition, the final round’s figure is that year’s Kubla mini. While I love dwarfs he is a VERY small figure whose finest detail is difficult for me to discern with my fifty year old eyes and the brushes we have aren’t very good. Since one isn’t allowed to use an Opti-visor in the Speed Painting competition it is obviously becoming a young person’s game. I will keep doing my best to represent the oldsters in the painting community but only time will tell how much longer I will last. While I was able to do some nice, basic color blending as well as pick out some fine detail there was a gem on his forehead I couldn’t even see and I was disappointed in my handling of the mace head. It is supposed to be a ten sided die but I just went with a straight (boring) metalic scheme. My hard work and patience did pay off as I won the Silver Medal in the final round for the second year running. The winner did a great job on his figure, painting the tiny jewel on his helmet and making the weapon look like the head was made out of a sapphire. I felt fortunate to be right behind him in second place as the rest of the field were quite good. That’s what happens when twelve winners sit down together I guess.
Next was the actual KublaCon Painting Competition 2015. I find the name to be a little misleading as it is really more of a miniatures painting Exhibition. Each entry is judged on it’s own merit, whether it meets certain criteria and awarded a medal if it reaches them. If five painters enter pieces that earn enough points to qualify as Silver then all five painters win Silver Awards or badges in the case of the Draconic Awards. This year saw KublaCon’s volunteers teaming up with the Draconic Awards adding yet more national cred to our little local convention. We are already a qualifier for the Crystal Brush competition so this seems a logical next step. Before I go any further I’d like to take a moment to thank the previously mentioned volunteers. The Painting area is hugely successful every year due in no small part to the excellent people who give their time and talents over the weekend. A huge Shout Out and hearty thanks to Wayne, Meredith, and all their volunteers for running a wonderful part of KublaCon.
I have mentioned the Beholder miniature from Reaper Bones in an earlier post. I love the sculpt and despite having no real use for him in any games I currently play, he was the first one out of the rewards I painted. His face is just so expressive and the details fun to paint that I wanted to show him off. I also think he came out quite well for squishy plastic. Turns out I was right and he earned a Silver. Maybe it was his hypnogaze.
Maelee, by Bombshell Babes is another figure with an expressive face who was fun to paint. Honestly, I find the majority of them to be entertaining and well sculpted. I coupled her with a Malifaux base because her massive wrench needed some massive pipes. I was delighted, upon entering her, to discover that there is a limited edition, alternative sculpt of Maelee battling robots. The three winners of the Final Speed Painting Round each won a limited edition figure from various manufacturer and first place was the alternate Maelee. As luck would have it he really preferred the resin vampire thing I had and we happily swapped. Thanks, Jordan! Back to this Maelee and my luck held out landing her a Silver despite her refusal to wash up before the competition.
My fondness for dwarfs is no surprise to any who know me and when they are mounted and highly mobile it’s just bonus. I showed pictures of my Berserker Lord on Brock in an earlier post but I enjoyed painting both him and the base so much I wanted to show him at KublaCon. I think it was the old school mushrooms I made out of milliput and toothpicks that tipped him to Draconian Gold.
Since I’ve just had a ball assembling and painting unit bases for Mantic’s Kings Of War I wanted to show off a couple of them. Besides being my current favorite, the Hasslefree Bulwarkers unit are an attractive grouping, carefully painted, and all those hand drilled spearheads and dwarf hands deserved to be in a display case at least once. The decorative Scibor bits really add a sense of narrative as well. So pleased when they won a gold as after the first two silvers I was worried nothing else placed because I’ve been a solid bronze and silver winner for years. Well I needn’t have worried.
Just like the Bulwarkers, the second edition Bugman’s Rangers are some of my favorite minis, ever. It was my college room mate’s paint job, with a tiny stein on each shield, on this unit that caught my imagination and made me not only want to play Warhammer but collect my own dwarfs. The Oldhammer, chunky stunties of the eighties are so different from Kev White’s anatomically logical work that I wanted to show something from both examples. I was floored when they also won Gold.
Okay, Slayer Girl, as I’ve come to think of this female slayer by Hasslefree is a wonderful sculpt that (I even have the scifi version of) has been off and on the painting table for over a year. As soon as I’d decide on one part of her I’d run into the massive force that is my own indecision on the next part. Once a section was done something would happen and she would get chipped or spilled on so I kept starting and stopping her. When everything was fixed I couldn’t decide on the tattoos. Finally, right before the con and after a base swap I felt she was finished. I have struggled with flesh tones and worked to get hers right. The miniature really inspired me to keep coming back to make things better, to push my comfort zone and work on new techniques, not accept “good enough” like she were a bulk trooper. It is also helpful to have Necron99 pointing out the obvious when I’m too close to see it (the previously mentioned base swap for example). Truthfully, I was really hoping she would place and felt she was my best chance for maybe a gold this year. Turned out she was one of four golds but she came in third in the Journeyman Class. Which is truly humbling because there were amazing pieces this year done by talented painters that I was just proud to be showing with so to place at all was more than I had even considered. To top it off, I won a full set of twenty-four Militiare transparent paints. Talk about exceeding any and all expectations.
So, I always said if was able to win another gold, especially in Single Miniature, I would move up to Masters Class the next year. When one enters six pieces, wins two silver and four gold then it is time to run with the big dogs or as Necron99 puts it,”enter the wasteland of no trophies”. Honestly, I’m so stunned by this year’s amazing results I’m sure the buzz will carry me through a few years of hoping for Bronze in future. Until then I have skills to sharpen, pigments to master, bases to create, and an airbrush to dig out of my garage because I know as long as I keep trying to learn, to improve, I will keep loving this art form. Hope to see you all at the KublaCon painting cases next year.