Sunday, September 6, 2015

When the wife's away... a convention to play! NOVA Open 2015

NOVA Open 2015 

NOVA Open is a fantastic convention in Arlington Virginia. This is a tournament focused convention for wargamers. There are a series of tournaments for the typical games (Warhammer 40,000, X-Wing, Infinity, Malifaux, etc.). The convention has a charitable foundation associated, so there is a lot of gamers doing good for others. This is a great place to meet and talk with lots of great painters, industry professionals, and fellow gamers.

Seminars

Raffa Picca and me
NOVA Open offers a series of workshops that are a mix of demos and hands-on. These courses are taught by some of the industries best. This year's instructors included Justin McCoy (Secret Weapon), Roman Lappat and Raffaele Picca (Massive Voodoo), Dan Cotroupe (Tectonic Craft Studios), Eric "Terrain Guy" Cacace (11th Company Blog/Podcast), Justin Gibba (Malifaux E2), Chris Michaels (PoweredPlay Gaming), Gutier Lusquinos Rodriguez (Corvus Belli), Caleb Wissenback (CK Studios Painting), and the host of it all Mike Brandt (NOVA Open CEO/Whiskey & 40k). Seminars cover a wide range of areas including terrain building, clay modelling, painting techniques, air brush techniques, object source lighting, and LEDs. The weekend pass is affordable at $40 for the four days, games/tournaments are affordable priced and each seminar runs around $20 on average to cover supplies and instruction. I only attended one of the seminars, Sculpting Conversions, taught by Raffaele Picca. I'll have a separate write-up on that class and my attempts to sculpt some conversions coming soon.

Vendors/Demos

This Is Not A Test Demo Board
A few local vendors come into the hall to support modelers and hobbyists. Grex had representatives who supported a speed airbrush contest, but also had new product demos available. Tectonic Craft Studios had some very nicely done laser cut terrain pieces. I picked up a a bunker that will be reviewed soon, Dan also through in some laser cut base mounts which are pictured. Fallout Hobbies, who recently had a successful Kickstarter campaign, offer a wide range of decal sheets and also offer custom decal design and production at very reasonable prices. A custom sheet is $35 with additional at a reduced cost. These sheets were $15 each or two for $25. Potter Whimsy had a lovely set of hand crafted wood products (bowls, wine stops, mugs) which make for perfect gifts to the spouse who was abandoned on kid duty for the weekend. This Is Not A Test, Star Wars Armada/X-Wing, and Halo were available all weekend. I spent the weekend helping Joe McGuire out with This Is Not A Test demos all weekend. I'll have an additional post about a 4-person This Is Not A Test Demo soon.

Swag

NOVA Open Swag
Gamer Grass sheet
For the lucky 400 who register first (I was number 395), you get a nice little swag back. This year the swag bag was a NOVA Open branded lunch bag that contained a bottle of water, small bag of chips, some Air Heads, a granola bar. Additional NOVA Open swag included a pen, shot glass, tape measure, and coasters. Fallout Hobbies provided a sheet of small flame decals with a coupon to get a free sheet with the purchase of two others. I'll have a review of those coming in the near future as well as my foray into applying decals. Kromlech provided a sprue of bits which included a couple of shoulder pads, an orc head, a bolt pistol, and an Egyptian style head. Gamer grass provided a small set of grass tufts, which will be added to some miniatures very soon. Secret Weapon included a sewer works base with a 15% off coupon. Army painter provided a a quick gaming guide with an insane detail brush. Corvus Belli provided a printed quick start rules booklet for Infinity with a pin. Some tiny rare earth magnets were provided by Amazing magnets. Some other companies provided coupons; Bombshell miniatures (15% off), Greenman Designs ($5 voucher), PoweredPlay Gaming ($5 voucher), Systema Gaming (20% off).

Capital Palette

The main painting competition is the Capital Palette. This is an open style painting competition, so model brand and style are not restrictive. There are a wide range of categories and entries include individual models, busts, units, and dioramas. The instructors (Massive Voodoo and Secret Weapon) provided a number of busts, painted figures, and dioramas for display. Pieces were entered throughout the weekend and voted upon Saturday evening. Each attendee is able to cast one vote for the fan favorite contest.

NOVA Open Charitable Foundation

Maverick single shotOne of the greatest components to the NOVA Open is the NOVA Open Charitable Foundation. The organizers and gaming community have taken a number of charities to heart and support with raffles for an few armies (Alatoic Eldar, Sons of Orar Space Marines, Flames of War Battalion Piechoty, and Seven Malifaux Warbands). Roman Lappat (Massive Voodoo) provided one individual model (Zeta the Barbarian Babe) and a bust (Forever Young) and Corvus Belli Studios provided the studio model for Maverick from the new USAriadna Army Pack release. A series of silent auctions were also available, which included painted units, individual special models, artistic prints, some fantastic coasters, and some premium instruction video access. All auctions and raffles are support the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Doctors Without Borders, and the Fisher House Foundation. All models for the armies are painted by a consortium of professional painters who donate time to provide amazing pieces.

*UPDATE*  Silent Auction Wins! 

Astra Militarum Cadian Shock Troops
Cadian Sergeants
I completed this post before the results of the silent auction. I had bids for a set of Astra Militarum Sentinels, a set of Cadian Shock Troops, and a Grey Knight Interceptor Squad. Unfortunately, I didn't win the sentinels. I did though win the others. Since I am building my Guard army, I decided to bid on those two components. This set of Cadians is painted at an tabletop level. The color scheme is fine, but there are no painted eyes, some of the details are not painted, and there is a very basic set of washes applied. I am happy to have them and may do some additional touch up work to them, but at the price and for the charity it is all fine.

The Grey Knights have a much better level of detail and though I don't play this army and probably would not, the paint job and look of the squad made them enticing. The level of detail is quite good on the models and they are at a better tabletop levels. The levels of wash is pretty heavy in some places, but the highlighting on the lettered shoulder pads is good and the gold counters with the steel armor well.