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Debrief: NOVA Open 2019

Debrief: NOVA Open 2019

A week or so ago I attended my local wargaming con, the NOVA Open. It’s a huge con, offering tournaments and organized play events for most of the mainstream miniature games, RPGs, and board games.

It was especially cool this year because it was the 10th anniversary of the con. So, true to form, they had a dinosaur with lasers on its head as the logo accent art.

Like you do.

They also produced this guy as a model!!!

My visit this year was heavily impacted by a critical work project. I consider myself lucky that I was actually able to attend some seminars and spend time with friends.

Let’s talk about it.

Painting X-Wing Miniatures

I thoroughly enjoyed the class by Eddie. We did some basecoats, some details, made “pew pew” noises. It was a blast hanging with buddy Brian, and giggling along with the class as we made fun of ourselves while we hung out, painting spaceships.

We were painting some of the 3D printed NOVA Open space ships from last year. They were surprisingly well made.

Clearly, this needs more work, but it’s a fun start on something I wouldn’t normally pick up and paint.

I’ve got some spaceships in the works. Stay tuned, rebel scum.

How to Tell a Story with Only a Bust

Taught by Erik Swinson, this class was mostly lecturing with discussion points. I’m a huge fan of these classes. They get your mental juices flowing, which is just as important as learning a new technique.

Erik presented his approach to how he puts together a narrative with a bust, and we studied some examples. We looked at busts that do a good job of telling a story, and others that don’t do such a great job.

There were busts that succeeded by only showing the environment’s effects on the character, and others that had a whole setting draped around them to great effect. It was great practice at using what we’d just learned to analyze some existing pieces.

It was inspiring. I have a few busts in the closet, and I’m excited to work on (at least) one this year.

Corvus Belli Lead Developer Breakout with Gutier Lusquinos

Gutier is a class act.

He knows the lore and machinations of the Infinity universe like no other, and it’s evident in how he speaks about the new campaign, models, and events happening in the setting.

He also loves answering questions and is honestly tickled when he hears that people enjoy playing Infinity.

If you get a chance to see him speak, take it.

I was lucky enough to have him sign my core rulebooks last year, and they’re now a treasured possession. He… doesn’t *just* sign them…

He’s their loremaster for a reason.

Advanced Weathering

This was a fantastic class, led by Wes from Stiff Neck Studios. Not only is SNS a great group of guys, most of which are military, they’re a consistent contributor to the NOVA Open Charitable Foundation (NOCF). For the past several years, they’ve donated a painted army to be raffled off to benefit charity.

Wes was asked by NOVA to put this class on with very little time to prepare, and the results were amazing. We covered paint chipping, rust, grime, and a whole slew of effects on some Rhino doors.

Here’s what mine looked like after the two-hour course:

Such an amazing class.

I’m super excited to use these techniques and products on some models soon. Wes made a great point during the class that you need to practice and use the new skills you get in a seminar in order to really hone them and lock them in.

I plan to do just that.

Capital Palette Painting Competition

The turnout this year was amazing. Apparently, there were 300-ish entries.

A few years ago, the competition moved from a podium-style event to an open-style event (where there could be zero or many golds, silvers or bronzes for a given category). This year, they also separated the competition into three levels: Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master.

It’s a pretty exciting change. Now, not only is the judging easier for the crews that usually have to pull an all-nighter, but your entry is judged against a tighter field of your peers, and you have a more granular measure for improvement over time (not only can you go from bronze up to gold, you also can advance up the skill levels).

I didn’t enter a model last year, and I almost didn’t enter a model again this year.

Two years ago, the competition was still an open format, but there were no skill levels. My entry, the Father Knight from the Infinity Operation: Cold Front box brought home a bronze.

This year, I decided to bring my concept model for the Crimson Fists army idea I have and work on it a bit on Saturday. For an hour or two, I hung with buddies in the Hobby Haven (a dedicated painting space at the con) and I added some light scratches on the model, just to add some extra texture.

In the end, I’m glad I entered it. The Journeyman Single Figure category was the largest field of all of the sections of the competition, with over 180 entries. In the end, the judges gave out just over a dozen medals, and I was awarded a bronze. That puts me in the top 10% for the category which is high praise.

It also goes to prove: You can’t win if you don’t try.

Competitions aren’t about winning though, it’s about testing yourself and seeing if you can grow. It’s about forcing yourself to try new things, experiment, and learn what you’re capable of. They’re also a great way to meet other artists, talk shop, and make new friends.

Try it sometime.

PS: Shout out to buddy Zac for winning Best Painted at the Malifaux event!! Way to go, dude!

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