July 24, 2017

A Fish Out of Water - A Wargamers Impressions of The Chicago World Expo Part 1

Michigan Toy Soldier's own Matt Koltonow takes a look at the World Model Expo 2017 in Chicago

Every year I make an effort to attend at least one historical wargaming show but aside from the big three conventions out east (Fall-in, Cold Wars, Historicon) and a few of the smaller local conventions, I’ve never been to any other shows. When the opportunity came to attend the World Expo int the Chicago Hilton in downtown Chicago this year I jumped at the chance. The World Expo is a figure and painting show that moves around every 3 years. This year is the first time the show has been in the US since 2005.

In this part 1 on this 3 part look at the Chicago World Expo I want to give a general impression of the show and some of my take aways. The show was divided into 4 main areas. There was one main area for the entries and displays. The dealer area was divided into 2 parts and there was a separate room for the armor displays. I’ve seen pictures of some of the entries from the MMSI Chicago show before and the biggest takeaway I had from this show was that pictures don’t come close to doing this kind of event justice. The main exhibitor hall is table after table of some of the most jaw-dropping displays I’ve ever seen. On display is a little of everything with a focus on figures. There were figure kits, wargaming figures, flat figures, monster kits, Gundam models, armor, aircraft and so much else. The level of painting presented at this show was truly incredible. It was an amazing experience and i was almost overwhelmed at both the sheer quantity of displays as well as the level of quality.

In addition to the exhibitor hall, there was a fully stocked vendor hall and various seminars being ran all weekend. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to attend any of these but everyone I spoke to about them said they enjoyed them. I made several trips through the vendor hall where people were selling all kinds of figures (both painted and unpainted) as well as different kinds of supplies, bases, books and artwork.
Vendor Area
Michigan Toy Soldier tables
Scale75 booth which had many painting demos
W Britains tables with beautiful dioramas
Artist Keith Rocco's tables
Reaper Miniatures had a large booth with a make & take area
I really can’t state enough how incredible it was to see all this stuff in person. Simply being at the show made me want to be a better painter. In the last few years I’ve been putting more of an emphasis on quicker techniques and shortcuts to try and get my wargaming figures on the table but seeing the sheer artistry behind a lot of the stuff at this show reminded me how much I love the hobby aspect and really made me want to get back to painting to a display quality and not just wargames standard.

To round off the first part of this show report, here’s a bit of a teaser of some of the incredible painting seen at the show.

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