I am planning on highlighting blogs or artist websites each week. It will just be a brief overview of the site as well as my humble opinion. I would like to start with the one site that has provided more inspiration to me than any other; Massive Voodoo. The site is run by Roman Lappat and Raffaele Picca and I am sure if you are reading this blog, you are familiar with these two gentlemen! If not, then I strongly encourage you to head over to Massive Voodoo and check it out. They have a passion for the hobby that is second to none and are so willing to share their knowledge. I hope on a small scale to recreate their passion in my hometown. They regularly provide tutorials on various techniques and will occassionally provide other sources of inspiration they have found elsewhere on the web.
Now, a bit about ReaperCon. Reaper is a miniature maker here in the United States, based in Denton, Texas and has been in the miniature business for quite a while. They have a broad range of miniatures in the 28mm size and cross a number of genres--fantasy, sci-fi, steampunk, pulp, and a bit of the historicals. They also have a couple of miniature games, the most supported of which is Warlord. Each year, Reaper opens its doors to the public and has a convention. I have been twice and thoroughly enjoyed myself both time. The most recent trip to Denton was a little over a week ago. What a blast! I've not been to the larger conventions like GenCon or Adepticon, but ReaperCon is almost more like a reunion than a convention. It is smaller in size and I think many of the participants come on a yearly basis to get together for some gaming (both RPG and tabletop miniature gaming) as well as painting. Artists the are employed or freelance for the company often come for the weekend and it is a nice opportunity to meet the painters and sculptors in a more intimate setting. There are usually a few vendors there as well. Each year, there are a number of classes taught on various painting techniques, from the basics to intermediate/advanced topics. The artists employed by Reaper are top shelf and are well recognized within the hobby.
For me, the main draw of the show is the paint contest. ReaperCon has a dual system for their paint contest; there is an open component as well as a competitive component. This is one of the things I really like about the Con. They have an appreciate for the hobby as a whole--you are encourage to bring whatever you would like to be judged in the open component, no matter the size or the producer of the model. If you want to participate in the competitive component of the competition, all you have to do is paint up a Reaper model and viola' you are entered into the competition. And what is at stake? A very nice 12" resin statue of Sophie, the mascot for Reaper.
This year I was fortunate enough to get into 3 classes (they go very quickly!). Painting Sheer Cloth effects with Rhonda Bender (Wren on the Reaper forums), Lighting and Reflections which is a basic primer on NMM with Laszlo Jakusovszky (producer of the Hot Lead series of DVD's) and Water Effects by Jen Kaufmann (Midnight Lurker on the Reaper forums). All the classes were excellent and very informative. My only complaint would be that the rooms themselves were rather chilly and it was difficult to paint when I was shaking!
I entered three pieces this year. The Dark Carnival diorama, the Drunken Pirate, and Bloodmane. I was very fortunate to receive a gold medal for the Dark Carnival piece and a silver medal for the Drunken Pirate. I was also quite stunned to be named runner up for the Best in Show as well the Best in Show for a Reaper piece. It was a moment I'll never forget! I was speechless for quite some time afterwards.
Thank you to all the wonderful folks at Reaper. I hope to attend next year as well. Time will tell, but I'm already making plans.
If you have the opportunity to attend ReaperCon, I hope you take it! It is an amazing experience.