Adepticon / Crystal Brush, Chicago 2013 - Review

by Roman aka jar

posted by roman, jarhead, kong

Hello Jungle travellers,

it is pretty hard to find words about the trip Raffa and I were on during the last 10 days. I will try to sum it all up and tell you our impressions on five days of Adepticon madness, these days have been such a blast, just A-C-E.

 A little overview for you on what this sum up will focus:

1. Adepticon
2. Crystal Brush
3. Chicago
4. Friends
5. Travel Impressions

Chicago Skyline by night

First, before anything else is written I want to thank the crew of CMON for inviting me as their head judge of this years edititon of the Crystal Brush. I feel still very honoured and I am deeply thankful that I was granted this opportunity. Thanks to the staff of CMON and the Adepticon for helping me up front with the travel plans and all the hospitality we recieved on sight.

Maaaannnnnn, this event is a blast! The biggest Gaming Event I ever been so far. The whole hotel was crowded with gamers, gaming tables, tournament areas, Sale rooms, nice people, classes, parties at night, awesome painted armies and kind people all around. We were able to meet and greet so many nice people and were lucky to make many new friends that will have a place in our heart for the future.

Compared to german tabletop events that I have experienced so far (which are indeed not many) I can just say the US gaming scene is sooooo huge. There were tournaments of Warhammer Fantasy, 40K, Warmachine, Hordes, X-Wing and many, many more. All organised with perfection. All people were so kind to us and to eachother - there was no feeling of a competition in the air at all - it was all about fun and you really could feel this mood everywhere. The staff was so helpful to us confused germans and it was such a pleasure to experience the whole event in Lombard, a city close to Chicago.

Some Impressions we made, these pictures just give a small impression on what really happened there. There have been 4 big gaming rooms, no, not rooms, halls. Great army displays all around, awesome gaming athmosphere with a lot of fun buzzing in the air, vendor hall, a big hobby class schedule for the whole weekend and much much more ...

You can find a Adepticon diary with a lot of photos on Mini Mayhem!

Screaming Heretic

For those interested in a podcast about the show (with included Massive Voodoo Interview) I can only recommand the Screaming Heretic podcast to you. We've meet Joe and Jen at the event and were lucky to spent a cool time together. Screaming Heretic will be introduced by its own posting here on the blog in the upcoming days, but so far, enjoy the show here:


Crystal Brush

Crystal Brush
CMON's Crystal Brush was also held at the Adepticon, a big painting event that brings the painters in the US together. It was the third year of the contest and I was happy and honoured to have been invited as their head judge this year. Again I want to thank the team of CMON for having me. It was my pleasure to work with you and even more get to know you in person.

Good news which really made me happy was that the number of contest entries doubled compared to the year before. That is indeed good news as the contest is still small compared to Miniature Shows we are used to over here in Europe. It is growing and more and more painters from the US answer the call of the Crystal Brush. That is just awesome and I wish for another "double last year's entries" next year.

The area of the Crystal Brush was located in the lobby area of the hotel where a lot of people walk and so everyone was able to check the great cabinets and their content. There wasn't a time where no one was looking into the cabinets. The team of CMON worked with the figures really professional. Everybody who had to touch plinths of figures wore gloves, the light in the cabinets was delicious for showing figures - really a great team and set up behind the Crystal Brush.

Used to see and also judge european miniature painting contest I have to be honest: The contest is still in his kid's shoes when it comes to the number of entries. While I looked through the entries while judging I also found a lot of high end gaming table figures, not so many high end display pieces like I am used to see in Europe. No offence here to anybody, that was just my impression. I think the reason for that is that the US hobby scene does not have a big miniature painting show every month, like we have in europe since years. As I told you in the beginning my impression was that most of the people are into gaming there. I think the US painters scene is growing strong in the future as I really saw very, very nice pieces that already made the jump from gaming figures to display pieces and I took my time to judge every single piece with respect and credits as the painter who brought it put heart and soul in his brush by preparing his entry. That is why I am so happy about the doubled entry numbers and I was also very happy to be able to shake hands with two little girls during the prize ceremony.

My judging part made 50% of the overall score and I for my part would say I was happy and fine with the judging I did. The other 50% of the judging was done on photos of the entries via the webpage of CMON. If I would judge the contest again I would love to have more influance of the photos taken (different angles, most important angles, etc.) to even help here with showing everybody who votes online all entries with similar chances. At this point I want to thank everybody who voted online during the limited time window. You helped me to do my job as a head judge.

The prize ceremony was a blast too - very professional set up, a lot of nice people around and many laughters, but with too many lamps around for me so I was thirsty all the time.

Congratulations to all people who entered the contest this year. You made the contest what it was this year and I hope to see more of you entering next year. Congratulations to those who took home one or even more Crystal Brush trophies. Congratulations to the cash prize winners (Overall Best of Show) from my side again: Raffaele Picca, Enrique Vezasco Sanchez and Jeremie Bonamant Teboul. Your pieces were just blasting me away and for me it was really hard to sit down in private with your pieces and search such beautiful pieces for mistakes and errors to be able to compare them.

Thanks again to CMON for the opportunity to be your head judge and for everything you helped me with.

David Doust and Chern Ann and me

Thanks to Jonathan for sending me those pictures for the review!

3. Chicago
On Friday Raffa and I were able to head down to Chicago Downtown for some hours and check the city. Man, another blast. Those skyscrapers are huge, like everything else in the US. Even it was a cold and windy day (what else to expect in the Windy City :D) we walked for 4~5 hours and had our cameras with us - some impressions for you out there:

Chicago Skyline - view from our hotel room

tinted windows in the train to Chicago, that was scary, looked like a movie!
Wrroomm!!! Run!!

a warm coffee after hours of walking in the cold

 4. Friends
For us - I assume - that is the most important thing about the whole trip. We've met so many nice and kind people and made new friends. First I want to say sorry if I might forget anyone by name, no offence here, just a brain that looks like cheese. Many thanks to everyone we were able to meet and spent a cool time together.  Thanks to everybody who took part in my classes, thanks for the nice time we did spent there. 

Thanks to Victoria Lamb for nice chats and the spontaneous breakfast we had at our first morning! It was great to meet up with a lot of painters for some cool chats, like Matthew and his charming wife, Matt Dipietro (Studio Painter of Privateer Press), Sam from Samson minis, Matt Cexwish, Jeremie Bonamant Teboul, the spanish painter gang, Christoph (who is a german living in Chicago), Conrad Mynett from the UK, Jonathan, Curtis, Wendy and many, many more.

Special Credits goes out to Magic Josh who saved our souls!

It was great to finally meet MrJustin from SecretWeapon, the famous dude around. We already miss you man! Check the Secret Weapon Kickstarter!

Derek, the one and only (CMON staff)
... if I would be able to name my personal superhero: Derek-Man! 

 Celso, Damon, Rich and me 
                                                  (I was pretty tired here, that is why I look so strange!)

Joe, Jen and Erin from Screaming Heretic. 
Thanks a lot for everything you did for us! Thanks for the great time at your place!

 Raffa went mad again...

While staying at their place Raffa and I were happy to finally see some brushes again and we
painted a figure for Joe in about 3~4 hours:

Not to forget: 
Miranda and her family. I have been to the US before for an student exchange to Toledo, Ohio back in 2001 and really found friends and a family there. Now it was time - after the Adepticon - to jump the train to see the whole family again, after eleven years and it was just too cool to see you again - even the new members of the family. I am so thankful to know you  and you will always have big place in my heart. Thanks for the nice days of vacation we shared, only the rain gods were not so humbled by our presence :D

We already miss everyone of you!!!

5. Travel Impressions
Just some more photos for everyone. Made during our trip. Raffa is preparing a video during the next weeks, as I was the guy with the camera and he did mostly videos. That will be so cool! You'll see!


Thanks for the brilliant time! 
This goes out to everyone we meet!

Roman & Raffa 

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