“Contemptor” Kevin’s Adepticon 2024: Return to Adepticon!

Successful Adepticon 2024! Photo Credit: J.D. Reynolds

Adepticon 2024 is done and in the books, and I cannot be happier that I went OR that it is over. Even though I only played one game, Adepticon has so much going on that it can quickly become overwhelming. I think putting things in chronological order is as good an organizing method as any, because the highs and lows are this time around were indeed time-based. 

Preparing for Adepticon

Preliminarily, I was able to obtain a room at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel that I split with my friend Meg. Obtaining such a hotel room helped keep Adpeticon manageable, as the various stuff I kept purchasing could be dropped off. I was also able to register instantly when Adepticon registration opened in January, so I had my pick of badges and activities. As Alice and I detail in our forthcoming comparison of the Big Three, Adepticon has the dubious distinction of being the only con where you can greatly miss out unless you are at the computer at two very specific points during the year. 

Additionally, I brought my hobby supplies with me – brushes, glues, clippers, hobby knife, sandpaper, and more. I cannot stress enough that if you attend a wargaming convention, you need to bring super glue! You will never, ever regret it. I also brought some projects I was working on with me – specifically, Primaris Azrael. I had finished his armor, but still had to do the robes, weapons, banner, and other metallics. 

Day Zero – Wednesday

I flew from DC to Chicago via Midway, because I tend to fly Southwest. I left DC early in the morning, so I have time to work out at my gym, park, and take care of some other business. 

Immediately upon getting to the hotel, I find The Armour of Contempt, aka JD Reynolds, hanging with his crew next to hotel registration. Introductions are in order, and a plan for the day is quickly developed. We would all drop our stuff off in our respective rooms, and then head to Kuma’s Corner for burgers. Kuma’s is something of an institution at Adepticon, as it is a delicious heavy metal themed burger joint. The Schaumburg location has leaned hard into Adepticon over the years. We get to Kuma’s shortly after they open.

Food by Kuma’s Corner Schaumberg. Photo Credit: Kevin Stillman

Kuma’s has leaned into Adepticon *hard* by creating drink and food specials: They offer a drink called the Blood Angel, which is a Vodka mixed with Code Red Mountain Dew and some other stuff. They also offer an “Adepti-Burger”, which is a burger topped with a chicken tender, Doritos, fried pickles, and some sort of dorito-based sauce. Along with a Mountain Dew Aioli. Kuma’s also has two sets of exclusive dice – a set of 6 blue Kuma’s dice available for purchase, and 2 smoky gray dice available only with the purchase of the Adepti-burger. The majority of the table opted for the Adepti-burger, though I asked for them to leave off everything except the chicken tender. I’ve always wanted to try a Kuma’s chicken tender, but never had due to the fact I was always getting burgers. It was OK – chicken tenders are going to be more of an LVO thing anyway. What is excellent is the burger, and what is amazing is the new friendships made over breaking bread. 

After Kuma’s we head back to the hotel. At this point, I run into my roommate Meg and take her upstairs so she can get situated. We then head downstairs to help pack swag bags. This is a fast paced assembly line process, and scores of rager volunteers are there to fill these bags with GW Spearheads/Combat Patrols, Shatterpoint Expansions, and more. We do this for about half an hour until Meg gets sick. Afterwards, we wander over to the Toledo Game Room to dig through the legendary bins of Bitz. I’m able to successfully obtain bits for Genola and Fakie, and after we make our purchases we wander over to the rapidly growing line for registration and bag pickup. 

In 2024, Adepticon offered to mail badges purchased before mid-February for a small premium. I heartily recommend that everyone who attends Adepticon to get their badge mailed – the line to pick-up was long when we got into the combined bag/registration pickup line two hours early, and swiftly got longer. During this time, Meg and I took turns standing in line and then exploring the opening booths – by now Catalyst’s Battletech booth and Elrick’s Hobby had opened. Going to Elrick’s led to a wonderful surprise – they had obtained the remaining stock of Secret Weapon Miniatures’ bases, terrain tiles, and other products and were producing their own. As I base my Heresy Ultramarines and Word Bearers using SWM products, this was extremely helpful. 

We get our swag bags, and then head over to the Schaumburg Ballroom to…immediately get in line for the GW Adepticon Preview. At this point, we meet up with Craig Sniffen, who is the rock upon which wargaming events is made. Seriously, if you are at an event with him, seek out him and his Rainbow Warriors and say Hi! This enables us to get very good seats for the preview. Craig and I also trade the GW box in our swag bags – he trades his Guard for my Flesheater Courts. I trade my Shatterpoint box which has Plo Koon for Meg’s Shatterpoint box which has R2-D2. 

As the GW Preview opens, we are each handed a tarot card. These first showed up at the Grand Narrative: ten different cards from the Arks of Omen tarot. I had picked up five at the LVO (special thanks to Alice, Marchettus, and Marchettus’s friendly friends for the help with that!), and was on the hunt for the other five. Luckily for me, the card I was handed was one of the ones I was missing. Meg gave me her card to use as trade fodder.

A full deck of the Imperial Tarot used at the Narrative.

It’s then we look at the Adepticon Preview file that GW has on the screen – and it’s going to be an 80 minute preview. As I hadn’t eaten since Kuma’s but had been drinking – and had flown in early that morning, there is no way I am going to make it through the preview. While the reveals were fun, I’m tired, mildly hungry, and have a big day on Thursday. So I skedaddle upstairs and turn in for the night. 

Day One – Thursday

Both Meg and I are relatively early risers – we wake up around 6:00 am normally, so this meant we were up at 5:00 am. This is normal for me on the first day of a convention, because I am so excited as to what is coming. After a relaxing hour-long workout, shower, and breakfast buffet, I head to get in line for the Exhibition floor. It’s 8 am when I get in line, but the Exhibit Hall opens at 10. I have certain things I am excited to purchase, and I figure that the Monument Hobbies paint sets are going to be the hot ticket item at Adepticon. So I sit down and wait, building a Primaris Dante while I do. 

During my initial run through of the Exhibit Hall, my first stop was Monument Hobbies – I was able to score the Rogue Hobbies paint set and the Adepticon Exclusive paint set, as well as some flip tops for my Pro Acryl paints. I also picked up two sets of MIG’s Atom paints – the first basic color set and the metallics set, on Edwin “Lupe” Moriarty and Ryan “Ryolnir” Collins’ recommendations. After that, it’s time for my first hobby class of the con – blending with Vince Venturella!

Vince took us through all the various techniques of blending and explained the “why” behind it – from wet blending, full belly blending, glazing, stipple blending, and so forth, practicing on a Chaos Warrior. I also took the opportunity to blend Azrael’s inner robes.(1).  

After that, I hopped over to the Reaper Minis paint and take, where I wanted to experiment with the new Atom Paints. What I used of them I liked – they offered excellent and smooth coverage even with minimal thinning. After wrapping that up, I went over to the GW booth to purchase a few rarities and get a few more tarot cards. I picked up a birthday present for a good friend (2), as well as a Dark Angels Dark Talon because I like airplanes. Following that, I went to the Battletech Miniature Painting Class.

I signed up for Battletech Miniature Painting Class because I was curious what Catalyst “expected” from painting Battletech minis, and what styles they would recommend. We were able to draw our mechs from a big bucket of primed mechs, and I picked out a Highlander. 

The technique the Catalyst lady recommended was similar to how I painted my Marines prior to getting an airbrush setup: Paint the Mini black, and then dry brush on the base color. Since we were painting Ghost Bears, which use a base of “flat blue”, this was more or less identical to how I painted my Ultramarines except with an even more desaturated blue. I used some of the Atom Paints (specifically, the yellow and the white) to add in highlight colors. I used some green-highlighted-to-yellow for the laser effects, and red-highlighted-to-yellow for the cockpit glow. I asked what the gold bands were for, and was told they were supposed to represent hazard stripes. So hazard stripes were free-handed to the mech on the feet and on the main gun arm. I painted on white stripes, and then used Atom Yellow to color them in. A few quick strokes of black and they were done. For the feet hazard stripes, I mixed in some orange to add a shade.

Photo Credit: Catalyst Game Labs. Model Credit: Kevin Stillman

We were also told that we could enter our mechs into the “At Show” painting competition, so long as they were painted consistent with the Catalyst scheme we had been assigned. I was told, however, because I used my own tools and paints, I needed to add some basing materials to my mech in order to enter it into the competition. So I hopped over to the Michigan Toy Soldier booth and bought some “Wet Mud” texture paste. To contrast with my blue mech I used a mix of a brown-green to color the mud, before gloss varnishing it for a wet sheen. With a few minutes before the class ended, I handed it my Mech and was told that judging would be on Saturday with model pickup on Sunday. All good. My mech was placed in a case near the back, and I wandered off to go get dinner with Meg and another friend of ours, Doug. 

This was Doug’s second Adepticon, and he was *excited* and bursting with enthusiasm. We all grabbed dinner at a local pizza place, Morretti’s pizza, and talked about the day. Meg and Doug took me back to the hotel so I (and JD, David, Brayden and Brett) could do Star Wars trivia. I entered this on a lark and was surprised some folks were willing to do this with me, so thank you friends! Because none of us have an extremely deep working knowledge of Disney-era Star Wars (and missing some obvious questions, like “Who Directed Empire?”), we bail close to the end of trivia. 

Day 2 – Friday

Friday, my first class didn’t start until 1:30 pm. So I slept in. Reader, I don’t usually sleep in – my dog usually wants to get up around 6-7 am so she can eat her YumYums and go potty. Getting to sleep until 8:00 am was glorious. I ate a late breakfast and hit the gym, before wandering around the Exhibit Hall for a bit. 

The first seminar I took was “Make them Blue!” with Sarah Hall, who taught us how to paint blue skin. Sarah is a streamer/Creature Caster/blue skin enthusiast, and explained how to inject warmth into blue skin. This class was extremely informative and unfortunately in one of the “Show Office” rooms, which meant the light was dreadful. Nevertheless, Sarah was a very good teacher and I am hopeful she can teach more classes at NoVa. (3) 

The second seminar was “Creating Otherworldly Kitbashes in two hours” taught by Matt Hall, in which we took a random Space Marine Miniature and a random metal Ork miniature and kitbashed it with a variety of interesting parts. This was a lot of fun, because it was essentially trying to build a puzzle without any clear idea of the picture and with some constraints on the ability to pick the pieces. Afterwards, I enjoyed a dinner of some Con Chicken Tenders and beer and went up to my room to take a nap before 40K Trivia. 

We tried to hold our own, but we had prepared for the event by reviewing Black Library lore and were completely caught off-guard by the fact that this trivia was quizzing how well we knew Codex and sourcebook lore. There was not a question about “The End and the Death” to be had! We struggled and ultimately came in third. It was disappointing, to say the least. 

My two criticisms of the event were that 1) The trivia host was unfamiliar with 40K, and thus struggled to pronounce all of the names and 2) Both rounds our scores were off. My main contribution to this trivia team was being the one to audit our scores. In the future, Adepticon probably needs to make sure that the trivia host is somewhat familiar with 40K just to keep the trivia flowing. An earlier start time (8:30 pm?) would not be amiss, either. 

Day 3 – Saturday

I had designated Saturday as my “First day not to work out in over a month”, on the basis of 1) I had too much to do and 2) All my shirts were now too big thanks to continued weight loss. So I did my only hobby class of the day – a four and a half hour class on learning to Free Hand. This class was taught by Francesco Farabi. His commentary on using paints in this class were to stick to Kimera paints, because they were extremely matte. Sticking to Kimera was easier said than done, because the classroom set of Kimera had been dispersed and so I had to use a very pale yellow for my “white”. We were instructed to freehand a design of our choosing on the shield, using black and white and greyscale to sketch out the design. 

Because I had received some very good news from work, I went with the scales of justice so it would be a shield for Me. Eventually, Francesco taught us to add in some color glazes. This was a fun and informative class. 

Credit: Kevin Stillman

Afterwards, I started wandering around the convention because the Pokemon Go Primal Groudon Raid Day event began on the east coast, so I was doing raids with many of my friends on the east coast. Once 2:00 pm hit Chicago, I was wandering throughout the hotel doing Raids until 5:00 pm. I then headed to the Adventure Hall to try out Star Trek: Into the Unknown

Credit: Kevin Stillman

Star Trek: Into the Unknown is a new miniatures game made by WizKids. Unlike their previous game, Star Trek Attack Wing (which is Star Trek Heroclix), Star Trek Into the Unknown “was designed from the ground up” to be a Star Trek game. Each player will control a small task force of ships with which they do missions, which can be anything from “scanning an anomaly” to “fighting Klingons off the Starboard Bow”. There were a lot of rules to take in from the demo game – and there was one guy from Wizkids for five people, so getting clarification on the rules while I’m tired wasn’t the most fun I’ve had at the con.  The exploration parts of the game seemed fun, but the combat seemed a little clunky, with lots of tests, rerolls, and universal special rules I didn’t fully grok. I’m certain with 1) more time and 2) more ships it would be easier.  

Credit: Kevin Stillman

The ships themselves were absolutely gorgeous. The initial starter set will have two Jem’Hadar Attack Ships (small frigates) and one larger Jem’Hadar Cruiser against three Federation starships: the USS Defiant (Escort), a Constellation Class (likely the USS Stargazer or USS Constance, a cruiser), and the USS Enterprise D 1.0 (Battleship).  Personally, I’m holding out hope for the Constellation III Class or the Odyssey Class, but we shall see what the future holds.  

After I got my Jem’hadar Attack Ship destroyed by the Defiant, I went out to dinner with Meg, Doug, and our Chicago resident friend Janel. We went back to Kuma’s, as Doug and Meg had not yet been to Kuma’s. We were faced with an hour-long wait, which we spent by wandering around Barnes and Noble for an hour.  

After dinner, we went back to the hotel. Meg went to bed, while I went downstairs and hung out with JD, Craig, and Kevin Fowler for a couple of hours. We saw Craig’s various Notable Entries into Golden Demon, as well as the minis that would go on to win Golden Demons and Slayer Swords. There was a bit of a crowd around the Golden Demon cabinets, though I note it wasn’t as bad as the Warhammer Fest 2023 crowd. Afterwards, we watched The Grinder event and vowed to participate in it in 2025. I know I’ll have to paint up a miniature specifically for the event. After a couple of more drinks, it was time for bed.  

Selfie Credit: Kevin Stillman

Day 4 – Sunday

Sunday I only had one class, a class on how to use Greenstuff and Miliput that started at 11:00. So I woke up at 7:00 am and went down to Ft. Waffle to paint Azrael some more.  Ft. Waffle is the Adepticon “hobby hangout”, with several seats with lighting stations.  There are also the full range of paints from 1) Citadel 2) Pro Acryl 3) Kimera, and 4) Huge Miniatures. There were also several Army Painter paints available. Ft. Waffle is where people work on their Golden Demon projects, last minute army touch-ups, and also just to hang out and paint and chat. I often see many of the more famous YouTubers/influencers in Ft. Waffle.  The conversations are always interesting. I spent a few hours painting, then did my class.  

Credit: Kevin Stillman

After the class, I wanted to do some cleanup on Azrael, but it was time to shut down Ft. Waffle. So I dropped my stuff off upstairs and hit the gym for an hour. Afterwards, I decided to do a last walkthrough of the vendors hall before heading to the Catalyst booth to pick up my mech. I was hunting for a travel light (not really available) and some additional paints from Monument, when I got a text – from Catalyst. 

Turns out I had won the “Best Painted at the Show” competition. I was quite happy – not only had I gotten an unexpected medal, it was a medal in the type of event I really want to win: a speed painting event! I then went back to finish my review of the Exhibit Hall, this time wearing my medal, and met up with Meg in our room. We relaxed for a fair bit before meeting up with Craig, JD, and the rest of the gang for dinner and drinks. Afterwards, Meg and I hung around for drinks before we headed to bed – I had an early flight out of Midway, and wanted to work out before my flight. 

Closing Thoughts

I had an absolute blast at Adepticon, deepened many friendships and started many more! I don’t regret a moment of this trip, except my failure to pack antacids or try and convince JD to stop at a liquor store on Wednesday. 

Adepticon is a con focusing on 1) making new friends and 2) Enjoying all of what tabletop wargaming has to offer. Coming off of Adepticon, I was absolutely energized to paint paint paint! Having the opportunity to play with different brands of paints and see what they can do was invaluable. 

Adepticon is sufficiently big enough that even if you *do* miss out on getting into the events or painting classes that you want, there is enough to do that you will be able to do something. Many of the events will have people who drop after the online cart signup deadline, allowing you to grab a seat. Others, like the paint and takes or Ft. Waffle, just require you to show up with a badge and sit down if there is room. For Adepticon 2025, I will likely try and spend way more time at Ft. Waffle just painting my heart out. 

Also, I still need a Knight tarot card. My next opportunity to get one will be the Warhammer Open: Dallas, where your humble correspondent will….

Be there to explore the various hobby options that GW is offering in 2024. 

-“Contemptor” Kevin

  1. Vince commented that I didn’t push the highlights enough. He’s right. I’m still happy with the final product, but yeah, I will have to practice pushing those highlights with a fun test model. 
  2. Who has the ability to edit this article, so shhhh for now. Don’t tell him!
  3. Pretty much all of the blending classes would be *far* better at NoVa than at the LVO or Adepticon, because the warmer and wetter air will enable the paint to stay wetter for longer. That’s better for blending.