Ok.. so I am still recovering from what was an epic show of hobby related activities. Above you can see the line up that was already in the making at 845 am! I thought with leaving at 620 am we would be closer to the front of the queue, but guess others had the same idea! Shouts out to local gamer Les for the ride! Without him, I think I would have arrived much later, and been a lot more tired in the end! So Kudos to him!
And where we got to line up was in ANOTHER hanger actually! Which was epic just in its own right, and began to give me an idea of how large the event was truly going to be!
Shots above can show the line behind me, and how large the hall really is. Wow! I was already at this time calculating how much time it would take to get from one end to another in order to secure certain pieces from specific vendors. Quite large!
But of course there were some class act like people standing in the line with us..
And many conversations ensued about what to expect inside. And some asking me why I have a large wooden box with me. Which when I opened it to show the models, the next questions was "Are they for sale or something?" or "Are you an artist or something?". There were others, but I don't feel comfortable writing them here :)
So yeah.. we waited, chatted, obtained free products from roaming vendors, played some Valhalla on a test board, and generally complained about so much waiting to get in ( though looking at how long the line was getting, I am OK with how much I waited prior to the event. Was better than waiting after the event was already opened! ).
But once inside.. I was really not prepared for this..
Rows of vendors, and even when I got inside ( which was at about 1010 am ) you could already see the place getting packed. And the bigger stalls were already swamped! Forgeworld stall was already at 3 people deep for people to buy things ( and when I did get there by 1030 am it was now 5 deep and certain items were already SOLD OUT!!!! ).
I did my mad dash to Infamy for their larger Uncle Sam bust. My run over to Etchmasters for some of their fantasy etch brass sheets. And Forgeworld for some new t-shirts ( am such a swag whore at times ). And then at this point I was able to relax a bit more.
Though I did make a trip over to Modelmates at this point to do a secret Massive Voodoo quest... so.. wearing my finest MV shirt, and a smile that can stop a cow in its track.. I stumbled gracefully over their stall to declare... "I am Kyle.. Massive Voodoo sent me!"... which then prompted a few stares.. a couple "WTFs?".. and a glazed look on the poor lady behind the counter.. Not a good start..
Thankfully though the gent ( I assume Owner ) took over the situation and moved me to one side. Handed me a bottle of Rust and began to explain that he was just in the middle of finding the email concerning this awkward meet/greet that was to be :)
I really wish I remembered his name, as he was super nice and really excited about showing me how to use the bottles of Rust for my upcoming private lessons with MV next week ( and who has just posted a Tutorial of how to use it today on their blog! ). Amazing stuff though, and although he gave me one for free ( Love free swag! Refer to previous comment about Swag ) I also picked up a yellow and copper rust versions to play around with it. More on that later though as it is top shelf stuff and even with my pre-MV tut, I think it has the ability to be super epic!
Now that my main shopping list was completed, I was off to go and enter my entries to the painting competition. With the likes of Tommie, Stefan, Redrum, Adam, Gus, John, Chris, and many more artists that I just cannot think of at the moment entering.. my hopes were not high. But the experience is what I go for, so that is what I aimed at also! And seeing what some people were entering, I was really enjoying the lot!
I have to say that I was quite chuffed when people kept asking me about Giorgos's Sci Fi Alien bust. Although not fully finished, many people had many comments on it and asked about where to get it! And many have taken photos of it and posted it online as well!
After all this though, it was time to get to what I normally do at events.. take a lot of photos and soak it all in!
There were quite a few games in play throughout the event ( 100 if I remember correctly! ) and I was doing great at trying to take photos of them all up until I ran into Adam painting a Privateer model!
So I made the mistake at this point to sit beside him and give it a go myself. Thinking I was doing well throughout the process also... up until the end where since I wasn't there for the full 30 minutes I don't qualify for being placed in their little comp? Hogwash I tell you! I paint a fantastic little model ( that I won't show :) ) and Adam beats me out! FOUL! BRIBES! TREACHERY!! Or maybe Adam paints better than me.. it could happen.. he did go on to win the grand prize for best speed painted model out of the day, so kudos to him for that!
But as stated, this was my mistake.. as from here the rest of the day went downhill.. well.. in so far as me trying to see everything as it seems everyone was then showing up to say hi to me! Little 'ol me?
Probably didn't help any that I joined up with other fellow Bloggers for a meet and greet at 1 pm and stuck around there for 1.5 hrs! Great chats with some great bloggers!
The ones that I can remember include Fran, Ray, Postie, Clint, Mike, and Falk. Many more were there as you can see from the photo above, but it was very difficult to actually chat with everyone in such depth! Something that I hope to remedy next year when I go back!
From here I had some chats with others on some of the demo boards.. like Iron Forest Games a table top gaming group.
A smaller group of gamers coming together to try new gaming systems. What made them really cool however is that their built their board, and their transport, in only 6 weeks time! Which included over 200 models ( I caught them still setting up it seems ) and the table ( showing only the 4x6 foot version here ) and the huge wooden transport for it to take on the train!
What makes this group awesome is that they were so willing to chat about what they did, how they did it, but also to ask for advice on how to improve it! Something that is not seen at a lot of the other tables that I visited and got sucked into conversations with. Definitely a group that I want to keep an eye on, and get in touch with more in the future!
Other main things that caught my eye was the Hawk Games wartable, and obviously their showpiece spaceship. Showing off what the scale will be in comparison to their flagship game Dropzone Commander, and to say that this new game is coming out soon.
I had to steer clear of this stall ( and many others ) for fear of unloading more money at this event at cool models that I probably don't need but oh so much would love to have!
But at this point of the day I was exhausted. I spent most of it just wandering around, picking up a few more randoms ( like the robot and Capt Canada girl from SmartMax )..
I was going to go back and take photos of all the entries, or at least the majority of them, but everytime I went near the center of Salute it looked like a mosh pit at a Nirvana concert. And the award show was no different!
I was pretty much exhausted and tired by this point and not in the mood to fight my way through the crowds just to get shots done. So I wander off in search of food ( and then remembering that Clint gave me fudge cakes! So much yum!!! ).
Overall a great event.. but one that if I wanted to report or do a proper review of ( like previous events ) than I really need to plan my time better. On the flip side.. did I have fun? Oh hells yes!! Will I go back next year.. just try to stop me!!!!! But I will be planning out the trip a LOT better for next time and be setting myself up for driving myself potentially even ( hopefully with some friends in tow? ).
Thanks again for everyone who stopped and said hello while at the show! Many recognized me with the Massive Voodoo shirt on, that glazed look in my eyes, or the fact that I was already chatting with the painters within the environment. Really wish I could have spent more time with many of you to chat and get your thoughts on things. But for now.. I need a lay down.. just remembering how epic the event was is making me tired!
More photos below.. enjoy!