|My lovely wife, the friendly face of Hotlead keeping all of our fun organized and the cash box in parade order. After selling tags for over a decade she knows faces and names better than me.|
Hotlead hit a significant milestone this year, 25 years
. There have been some bumps getting here, but for the most part it's been a hugely rewarding experience and I've made a lot of really great friends along the way.
I think that because the Hotlead team isn't really a club, but a group of friends who are all excited to see each other (for some of us it's the only time during the year), that makes Hotlead special. That feeling of friendship ripples out into the convention as a whole, setting us apart from other gaming cons. Many of our long time, regular attendees have also remarked on this over the years.
|Hotlead friends. The guy on the right, Chris, is my absolutely oldest "brother from another mother". We've known each other since we were 10 or so and played with our Airfix soldiers on the rug or in the garden growing up.|
|With Red Shirts like these Target would still be open.|
I'm trying to explain something important to Chris, who is being VERY serious about it, while Brian tries not to laugh. As usual.|
|Red Shirts hard at work running the Bring and Buy. Started as a Charity Fund-raiser, it's become a huge attraction in it's own right. These guys do $16K in sales over 7 hours.|
|My lovely wife guarding the portal, me checking something and my friend the Mad Padre, our Hipster in Residence.|
|Red Shirts blowing off steam in Dan's Mongols With Mausers game Saturday night.|
To celebrate we got in a cake and had a special figure to give away. The figure also commemorates this year's 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Normandy. Bob Murch of Pulp Figures
very kindly donated sculpting and molding, only charging us for material costs and postage. Bob used to be a regular GM at Hotlead before he moved, selling his small line of figures from a case beside his super popular "China Station" games.
|And what's a birthday without cake?|
|Or presents? Our 25th Anniversary figure "Hotlead Herbie" sculpted by Bob Murch.|
The Vendors have really changed over the years. Our longest attending vendor, Don Cameron of Five Arrows Figures and Books
, who I think has been coming since the first Hotlead, couldn't make it this year due to failing health. Previously the vendors were all stores or part-time hobby businesses retailing figures and a few books, but with the age of internet sales, unless you're a manufacturer it's very hard to make a go of it now. Many of our old standard vendors are no longer in business. This year we had a lot of new Canadian manufacturers selling vinyl battlemats
, laser cut mdf buildings, dice
, 3D printed scenery
and Model Builders Supply
who sells to architectural model builders, rail road enthusiasts and now wargamers. The only miniature vendor we had was the venerable RAFM,
who cast their own products.
|Infinite Dimensions 3D printed scenery|
|Dan the Dice Guy|
|"Does this Legio XX Valeria Victrix shirt make me look fat?" Tribe of Nero selling out. I got one of their tees last year.|
|Dale Jardin, casts dungeon accessories and paints them. I got some barrels and a wash tub with water effect resin from him last year|
|The eternal Crossed Swords going out of business sale. He hasn't had a physical store in ages but keeps finding more stuff to unload. I got a few things from him this year on good deals.|
|Broken Roads Games with their laser cut mdf terrain|
|Model Builder Supply|
|Hot Dice Games vinyl battlemats|
The crowds were good, but this year we did some pre-registration for games, so the game sign ups went a lot faster. Elizabeth found the administration on the pre-registration pretty straight forward so we'll keep doing it. My big mental block on pre-registration had been taking advance payment, but once I got my head around not really needing that, it was all pretty simple to set up. There were a few glitches and a bit of whining, but lessons learned and you can't make everyone happy.
OK, now the games. Over the weekend we had 75 events ranging in size from Mike doing a foam core building workshop for 2 or 3 people, to the Middle Earth SBG tournament that had 24 gamers playing on 4 tables from Friday night to Saturday night. But we had air and naval games and land games in every period from ancient chariots to Star Wars and in all sizes from 6mm to 54mm. Every period was covered by at least one game except Colonials.
|Bill Bean's Battle of Britain game |
|The Middle Earth SBG demo table. Busy all weekend with 6 to 8 players each session. |
|Spent some time Sunday morning discussing water effects with Jason and how he made the waterfall |
|Samurai. 3d printed lanterns with LED lights in them and the buildings |
|Dan's ancient mayhem |
|Dan's Saturday night Mongols with Mausers game, involving silly hats. Fro the 25th Anniversary some extra effort was made in the costume department.|
|Game of Thrones |
|Brian's 15mm Gettysburg game I think|
|Sunday morning's VSF game with added tentacles this year.|
|More Star Wars|
|More of Brian's ACW game|
|Brian, white hat, explaining something to players in his 6mm FPW game.|
|Battle of Hastings |
|Some old fashioned Tactica |
|6mm Franco-Prussian |
|RCAF Sabres vs. MiGs |
|Ian Tetlow's lovely 1914 RHA |
|The city of Kadesh|
|Battletech in Quebec City|
|The Kaiser's hordes advance |
|American Revolution in 6mm with a 1:1 ground and figure scale|
|IDF jets over the Sinai|
|Battle of Kadesh |
|I got out Call sign Two One Bravo Saturday evening and the game went o.k. despite a splitting headache. |
|One of three ACW naval games Sunday morning |
|ANOTHER ACW naval game, with Mike's scratch built ironclads|
|DBA tournament |
|Snow! This arrived Saturday afternoon giving people a treacherous drive home. |
Other views of Hotlead 2019 from the Web:
The Mad Padre
(some good pictures of Saturday night's huge 1:35th scale What A Tanker!
Well that I think is it for this year. A big thanks to all my friends who help out, all the GMs who pack their stuff and bring it to set up games just for us to put our grubby, clumsy paws on, and all the happy attendees who travel long distances, spend their money, have lots of fun and, I hope, reconnect with their friends like I do.
But mostly a huge thank you to my lovely Elizabeth, who is not a gamer, but does this to help me. Hotlead wouldn't be the same without her on the admission desk.