Thursday, May 24, 2012

Reaper Con! (Part 1)

I got back from Reaper Con 2012 late Sunday night. I think I've just about recovered, and I'm more or less back on my normal schedule. This first post will hopefully provide a taste of what went on at Reaper Con. I'll try to post some more, along with pictures of the game tables and painting contest entries soon.

This was my first trip to Reaper Con, and I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I've been to gaming conventions of all sizes in the past, but Reaper Con is, not surprisingly, much more heavily oriented towards the craft of miniatures painting and sculpting. Sure there is plenty of gaming, if you want it, but the main event is the massed gathering of a one to two hundred miniatures fans, hobbyists, and professionals.

When you drive up to Reaper's address, it's easy to miss the signs, but a keen eye will get you there. As you turn into the lot you can see that you are in the right place.

On the other hand, looking past the sign, things are a bit less promising. You might start to wonder if this is some kind of a hoax.

Do not lose hope! Reaper's factory and game store are, indeed, located in this small industrial park, and it's easy to spot, as long as you show some faith and proceed past the first couple of buildings.

Inside, you arrive in Reaper's clean, modest sized game store. Most of the convention is held out back on the factory floor. Reaper did an impressive job moving their racks of molds, inventory, bits and other things aside to provide plenty of space for the main event.

The event kicked off Wednesday evening with the Reaper "Meat & Greet". (sic) They brought in a whole mess of Barbecue from Treadway down the street. I was certainly not going to let good Texas Brisket go to waste. The event lets the attendees mix and mingle in a casual setting. The Reaper crew made a few announcements and welcomed us all there. All things considered, it was a good way to start the weekend.

For the rest of the weekend, people circulate in and out of the main factory room. Classes are held in smaller spaces around the facility. Gaming is crammed in pretty much wherever it will fit. Anybody who wasn't in an event spends most of the time socializing and painting in the main space shown above. Reaper generously supplies whole bunch of paint to work with, and you will have no shortage of lead to work on. The convention swag bag comes with a panoply of cool stuff.
The background is actually the large bag that the swag comes in. The three paint droppers are the three promotional paint colors mixed specially for this year's event: "Clouded Sea", "Powderburn Brown", and "Pirate Gold". If the swag bag does not keep you busy, pretty much every painting class comes with at least one pre-primed figure to practice on.

Reaper also managed to keep some amount of production going through the whole weekend. If a part was out of stock, you had only to ask, and they could spin up the appropriate mold to get you what you need. Perhaps the best way to take advantage of that service is with Reaper's metal trade-in program. Reaper will take just about any piece of metal that is made of hobby-type high tin pewter in trade and exchange it, based on melt weight, for freshly cast Reaper parts from their bits supply. By the end of the con, the melt table is covered with parts of all varieties.

The people digging through the melt are searching for old minis and discarded gems to exchange for their scrap. I managed to snag a few handy items myself, even though I only had a small amount of metal with me to trade.

To put it succinctly: I had a blast! Reaper attracts a fun and welcoming bunch of people. The classes are run by phenomenally talented artists, and cover just about any topic you can imagine. On the off chance you can't find what you're looking for, all of the artists are available to hang out or answer questions throughout the con. If anybody from Reaper should happen to read this: Thank you! I loved every minute, and I am already planning for next year!

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