Friday, June 21, 2013

Spring Angel 2013: Full Experience Review Part 1

My review of Spring Angel will be divided in two parts. In this first one I want to strictly talk about miniatures and the painting aspect of the event, concerning participants, organization, contest and so on. My second part of this report will be about the trip, the people, and the Russian adventures of the weekend.

Here we go! First part of Spring Angel 2013 review!

The Russian Alternative is a very small miniature company started a few years ago by Sergey Pavlov and Ekaterina Garina, (Katy and Sergey), a beautiful Russian couple who happen to be very succesful Russian business people and also very very passionate miniature hobbyists. Their passion for the hobby is such that they are probably some of the world's top collectors of fantasy miniature masterpieces and also wonderful tabletop level painted (and not so tabletop level) armies of all kind. Their house is a dream come true to any miniature enthusiast.

The auditorium for the masterclasses before the battle... scary!

But going back to the point (I will show photos of Katy and Sergey's lair in Part two of this review), The Russian Alternative produces very nice metal 28mm scale fantasy miniatures. As part of their project, they founded The Russian Alternative Contest in Moscow, the first one called The Winter Angel 2012, corresponding to the fact that the event was held in the winter of 2012. They invited three top world class painters to be judges of the contest, Jose Manuel Palomares, Ben Komets and Matt Cexwish. The first edition was a great success, and a big call to brushes for many many Russian painters.

Contests of the world: is it that hard to put the right lights? Learn from the Spring Angel

This year the initiative continued growing, and The Spring Angel 2013 was announced, again with the same judges, but with more motivation and even better organization.

Feasting for free in The Spring Angel 2013

This was the timetable of the event:
  • 09.30 - 11.30 Contestant and guest registration
  • 09.30 - 11.30 Coffee break
  • 12.00 - 14.30 The main exhibition of contest works review
  • 13.00 - 14.30 Lunch
  • 15.00 - 18.00 Master classes
  • 18.00 - 19.00 Awarding ceremony
First of all, it is very important to note that not only participating, but being a visitor of the event was completely free, and food was served also for free to all attendees. So when you see "Coffee Break" I should have said "Free Breakfast", and where it says "Lunch" I should have said "Free Russian Buffet Feast". The Master Classes where very well laid out, in a huge auditorium prepared with a projector, a big screen, and cameras recording everything. I had the honour to take the lead with the first painting demonstration, working on some base painting or cobblestones and a lamp post, followed by Stephan Rath "Derwish" with his awesome freehand technique, and Matt Cexwish who continued working on the same base I started, but doing some work on the wooden parts. Needless to say, everything, again, completely free for all attendees.

I tried to tease the audience into singing in Russian... I failed

Obviously all I mention is living proof of what I said earlier. Paraphrasing Michael Bartels, this is "The Champions League of all Painting Contests". Without spending a single cent, you get free food, free masterclasses, free participation in a top world class contest with top world class judges. [irony on] I missed some free massages of beautiful Russian ladies but I'm guessing that will be added next year! [irony off]. And even with this incredible prospect, there weren't so many painters attending. Why? I simply don't know. A contest like this in a country like Spain would summon so many people that they probably wouldn't fit in the hotel, for starters. Just the calling for free food would call in hordes of attendees wishing for some nice complimentary food and beverage all day long. I can't stress enough how lucky the Russian painting community is to have this outstandingly generous couple to organize such an event, all expenses paid and covered from their own pockets. I know of no place in the world to hold something similar to this, and I will probably never see anything like it elsewhere. If you are Russian and you are reading these lines, you should be starting on your minis for next year, because if you are missing any other Russian Alternative Angel, you deserve nothing else than dry paints for the rest of your life.

So these were the categories:
  • Fantasy – SteamPunk 28-35 mm.
  • Sci-Fi 28-35 mm.
  • Monster.
  • Sci-Fi Vehicle.
  • Unit.
  • Open.
Here are some photos I took of the participants. The quality of the photos is not very high, I know, but I tried my best with the time I had and the little sleep condition that I had to live with.
River, Bronze in Fantasy/Steampunk Single
Cold zero 1
Yellow One (So tiny and so awesome)
Lynx, Gold in Fantasy/Steampunk Single
Ringil, Silver in Fantasy/Steampunk Single
Alessandro 1991
Wild Panties
Achilles by Volomir, Gold in Sci-Fi Single Miniature
Yellow One, Silver in Sci-Fi Single Miniature
River, Bronze in Sci-Fi Single Miniature
Lynx, Gold in Monster
Ringil, Silver in Monster
Gruumsh, Bronze in Monster
Yellow One
Yellow One
Wild Panties
Savier, Silver in Vehicle
4K, Gold in Vehicle
Gruumsh, Bronze in Vehicle
Yellow One
Yellow One
Massive Ork unit
Massive Ork unit
Little Green Dwarf
River (I loved it), Bronze in Unit
Swordmasters of Hoeth by Volomir, Gold in Unit
Wild Panties
Best of Show by Lynx
Dmitry, Silver in Unit
Ringil close up
Ringil close up
Ringil close up
Ringil (beautiful)
Kasrkin Sergeant by Volomir, Bronze in Open
Derwish, Gold in Open
Lynx (amazing)
Yellow One is in your dreams, Silver in Open
Gruumsh ultra cool army
Gruumsh ultra cool army close up
The winner of this year's edition was no other than Dmitry Fesechko "Lynx", with a beautifully painted unit of Imperial Riders from Gamezone. Probably not because of the piece itself, but for the incredible quality of all the entries he brought to the contest. On the personal side of things, I managed to get Gold in Sci-Fi with an Achilles from the Infinity range, Gold in Unit with the Swordmasters of Hoeth and Bronze in Open with a scratch-built Kasrkin in 54mm. I will share more photos of them as soon as I can, of course when time lets me make good photos.

So in the end I am really really happy with the outcome of the contest. I was able to share podium with some of my most admired miniature artists of all time, and that, my friends, is something that I will cherish in my memory for years to come. Did I already mention that Kirill is probably the best miniature painter in the world? :D

I grow small compared to these Titans of the Brush (Kirill Kanaev "Yellow One" and Stephan Rath "Derwish"

My words are not enough to describe the magnificence of The Russian Alternative. Make sure you check out the posts and photo galleries of the following links. You won't need any more reasons to attend next year, but they will certainly make you drool some more. Links and some photos used in my post are taken from the blogs above, all credits go to these amazing people!

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Russian Adventure!


-Matt Cexwish- said...

Best summary of the Spring Angel 2013 so far... GREAT! Thank you for your personal view, Volomir...:D... Meeting you is never boring and I am glad I could get to know you in all different facettes of yourself...^-^...

Stoessi said...

Sold me on going there next time.

Unknown said...

Awesome report, Rafa :)
I almost wanna go back to Moscow like right now :D

4K said...

>And even with this incredible prospect, there weren't so many painters attending. Why? I simply don't know. A contest like this in a country like Spain would summon so many people that they probably wouldn't fit in the hotel.

In Russia miniature painting (I`m not talking about historical miniatures) is relatively new and rare hobby like warhammer itself. Oldest dinosaurs are about 12 years in hobby. Biggest tournament gather about 125 peoples. And I can easely count all competitive-level painters with fingers of my three hands.
Other painters also few in nubers and probably too shy and scared to participate in competition alongside with such a monsters of painting like Yellow_one and you and being smashed.

Unknown said...

Best summary of the Spring Angel 2013 so far... GREAT! Thank you for your personal view, Voltaire...:D... Meeting you is never boring and I am glad I could get to know you in all different facets of yourself..