Monday, July 16, 2018

Back from Historicon 2018!

The Historicon 2018 Dealer Room, as seen from the small balcony where several more dealers were cubby-holed
 It was a spur-of-the-moment trip to Historicon, this summer. My friends and I had already made our "big" trip outside our area to Little Wars, in April. However, my friend Jason from Columbia, SC, couldn't make it, so had made reservations for Historicon - which returned to Lancaster, PA, this year. He invited me out to share his room. My parents were doing much better medically, so I felt things were calm enough for me to hitch a ride East and join him. A fellow Great Lakes member, Chris, was heading that way and kindly let me ride along with him.

I have attended many Cold Wars conventions in the often-belittled Lancaster Host Resort, where the convention was being held. Some of the guest rooms had indeed been upgraded, and looked nice (like Chris's). Others, I heard, were still not renovated. The rooms in which the games were being played had definitely NOT been updated. The air conditioning worked well in nearly all of the rooms, which was good -- considering it was summer! Otherwise, the hotel is still in pretty sad shape, and is a lackluster location for a convention. The dealer area, formerly the Tennis Barn, had been completely rebuilt. Inexplicably, the entrance is on the opposite end, facing away from the hotel. The walk there was down a steep asphalt drive -- which shouldn't be something to complain about on the sunny (but hot) days. However, I can't imagine what it will be like in icy or snowy weather, or in the pouring. Very strange design thinking by those who are upgrading the facility.
Another look at the dealer room -- one of every Historicon attendee's favorite places to visit
 Speaking of the dealer room, I may as well go ahead and talk about my purchases. Shopping in the dealer area is always a fun part of the convention for a wargamer. Historicon historically has the best shopping of any convention in the U.S., so it is a highlight. I wasn't extravagant, though -- by any measure. Plus, $50 worth of my purchases occurred AFTER I had sold the five DBA Ancients painted armies I had brought along to the convention to try to sell.  So, here is what I bought, for those interested (with links to the companies).
4 Eureka Miniatures 28mm Chimpanzees
Ideally, I was looking for Baboons to go along with the three I had already painted up for Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago. The only ones I found were the same three I had purchased from North Star Miniatures, which honestly, I am not crazy about. So, when I saw Eureka Miniatures had four chimpanzee poses, I snapped them up. My first purchase of the convention.
Miniature Building Authority Clothes Lines from their 28mm Shanty Town line
Miniature Building Authority Scenery
My next purchase came at the Miniature Building Authority booth. They have a 28mm Shanty Town line which has all kinds of nice city terrain odds and ends. Even though my modern Africa games are in 20mm, they usually work for the scale, too. I had previously purchased their Jersey Barricades -- and who is going to argue about how tall a concrete barrier should be? Similarly, with my first purchase from them: Clothes Lines made to string between two shanties. The picture above is from their website -- no, I did not get them painted up that quickly! In fact, all the product images are from the manufacturer websites. Two Clothes Lines come in a package for $6. MBA stuff tends to be a bit on the pricier end of the scale, but it is good stuff, and they are loyal supporters of our hobby. So, I support them with purchases, as well!
Miniature Building Authority Weapons Cache - Medium
Another item in their Shanty Town line of scenics was a Weapons Cache. They had two sizes, and I opted for the medium one. This could either be a good objective, or simply some atmospheric scenery in a lawless, third-world town. This appears to be in resin, too.
Miniature Building Authority 28mm Dumpster
My third MBA purchase was one of their 28mm Dumpsters. I had won a $5 gift certificate playing in their game one evening. So, I picked both this and the fourth purchase up the next morning. The dumpster is in resin, and has a removable roof -- in case you want your players to go dumpster diving in a scenario!
Miniature Building Authority Police Barricades in 28mm metal
I felt it would be cheesy to use a $5 gift certificate to buy a $6 item, so through in another pack I could use for my Modern Africa games. These Police Barriers will complement the Jersey Barricades I've owned for awhile. These are in metal - not resin, and come with four in a pack. They are about 2 1/4" long.
A new company I had not seen before - I purchased two packs of "2 Coiled Snakes"
Windsword Accessories
This was a new company for me. I asked the guy working the booth, and they said they had been going to Cold Wars recently, but not Historicon the last several years. That explained why I had not seen WindSword Accessories before. Someone told me that many of their products are made using the Hirst Arts molds, which people can buy and cast their own walls and such using plaster. I don't own any of them molds themselves, but generous friends of mine (Zeke and Tim) have given me what they've cast up. I bought four items from them. The first was two packs of Two Coiled Snakes for only $2 each. These will make great things to affix either side of a temple entranceway, or something (or creating an altar). Each snake is just a bit over one inch tall.
WindSword Accessories - two Toothy Skulls
There was lots of cool stuff at their booth. I have a feeling if I had sold my painted DBA armies earlier in the convention, I would have ended up buying far more from their booth. My second purchase was a pack of two Toothy Skulls. These will make great things to decorate the walls of a temple of an idol. They are flat on the back side, which should make it easy to affix them to a wall. Each skull is about 2" tall.
Sold at the convention booth for 50 cents each, these skulls will also come in handy as temple decoration
My final WindSword Accessories purchase came from a tub of simpler skulls for 50 cents each. I picked up four of them, and they will similarly decorate the walls of a temple or altar, one day. Each skull is flat on its back like the Toothy ones above, and is about 1.5" tall.
A 28mm Sarissa Precision building (City Block), which will see action in my modern Africa games
One booth I kept going back to over and over to decide what I wanted to purchase was Wargame Tools. They carry both TT Combat and Sarissa Precision laser-cut, MDF buildings and accessories. This is where I bought my Cargo Container Ship two years ago at Historicon, and used in last year's "That's My USAid" modern Africa games. This year, I was looking for some city buildings to do a scenario set in the capital or large town in Africa for my rules, Wars of Insurgency. The buildings are VERY affordable. The first I purchased was from the Sarissa Precision line that they carry, and was called City Block 64, Style #4. At only $20, and with two interior levels (that come apart), and a flat roof that could easily accommodate models, it is a perfect gaming piece. I am not normally a huge fan of MDF buildings, as they appear too flat and two dimensional to me.
"Apartment A" from TT Combat, a laser-cut 28mm MDF building with lots of decoration
Wargame Tools was the booth I returned to after I sold my DBA armies, with money apparently burning a hole in my pocket. I had been deciding between a few different styles of buildings from the TT Combat line they carry, as well. I ended up deciding on either Apartment A or Apartment B. When I sold all five armies, I said, "Heck with it!" I splurged and bought both...ha, ha! I have some plans on how to disguise the MDF trademark notch and tooth method of attaching pieces together. It is definitely one of the things I like least about MDF.
"Apartment B" from TT Combat's line of 28mm laser-cut MDF buildings
This entry has gotten long enough that I think I will do a second one to talk about the games I played in and saw. So, stay tuned for Part Two of my Historicon 2018 report!

1 comment:

  1. So you did go back through the dealer area after you finished at the flea market!