Crucible Con 2018 was the first miniatures gaming con I have attended. I spent the weekend taking painting classes. Here are some pictures of the gaming tables at the con, though. There was row after row of tables with battle fields to play on.

Crucible Con 2018 gaming tables

The painting classes were done by Rick Casler. He is a local firefighter who does miniatures painting commission work and teaching on the side under the business name of Firestorm Miniatures and Painting. He has won international painting competitions in the past, but no longer competes. The classes were outstanding. We had classes, Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday. On Friday night we learned about air brushing, pin washing, and edge high lighting while painting an Infinity miniature. Saturday, we didn't even touch a miniature. We spent the day painting boxes of white and black on little poster board pieces as a way to learn the different techniques of blending colors into gradients. We progressed to painting 3D images of first a cube and then a soda can on our poster board pieces. With those we learned how to make use of light and dark colors to shade images to produce a 3D look. I thought of this day as kind of a Mr. Miyagi wax on wax off day. Then on Sunday we got to apply the techniques we had learned on Friday night and Saturday to a miniature bust of Iron Man. Finally, all the techniques came together, and we saw what we were able to do. Although my miniature ended up looking nowhere near as good as the teacher's example piece, it did show marked improvements over anything I've done before. But most importantly I now have a lot of new techniques to practice on over the coming year that I would have never learned by just watching YouTube videos like I have been doing for the past year. The class was inspiring, and Chris did a great job. He was patient and always positive and complimentary to his students. I have taken two other miniature painting classes from people in the past and they were fun, but there was a tremendous difference between those experiences and the experience of taking a class from a truly world class painter. I'd highly recommend anyone in the Central Florida area, interested in painting, that has the opportunity, to take a painting class from him.

Here are the two example pieces the instructor did, which we learned the techniques from.

Infinity Miniature painted in painting class Iron Man bust example used in painting class

Here are some other miniatures painted by the instructor that were on display in the room. They come from the game Blood and Plunder, which is a historical miniatures game set during the 1600s during the age of piracy.

Here are some other miniatures painted by people at the con that I thought looked cool.

The games that had tournaments running during the con were Warhammer 40K, Age of Sigmar, Warmachine/ Hordes, Bolt Action, Kings of War, Infinity, Blood Bowl, and Aristeia. People were also playing Monsterpocalypse and Shadespire casually.

I didn't see any children or women competing at the con, but I may have missed them if they were there since I spent the majority of my time in the painting classes. The demographic seemed to be men from college age up through the 60s, however. My children are determined that they want to attend next year and compete. So perhaps they will be the only children competitors there.

In my opinion the hobby is an untapped arena for a positive family hobby. Children naturally love painting and building things. And the mental exercise involved in the game part of the hobby is wonderful as well. My children and I have a great time playing the games and painting our miniatures. I would highly recommend it to any parents.

Here’s hoping this hobby continues to come out of relative obscurity and gains the patronage it deserves.