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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Spring Angel 2013 - Paintingbuddha Travel Report - Part 2

Painting Buddha Travel Report
The Spring Angel 2013 - Part 2

Lynx' (Dmitry Fesechko's)
"Best of Show" Entry
Greetings my most buddhalicious friends!

Here it is: Part 2 of our Spring Angel 2013 travel report from beautiful Moscow!

If you missed Part 1 of the coverage of this epic event, you can read up about it here. Make sure to have a look at the many beautiful photos from visitors and participants of the event at the end of the part 1 report.

This report focuses on some 'behind the scenes' information about this year's Spring Angel. I recommend you read the whole thing! Spoiler: Alternative world view inside!

The best thing about miniature related events

People from all over the world meet
and share their passion.
Those of you who know me, know that I painted less finished 'showcase' miniatures than I spent years in the hobby. That is mostly due to the fact that I had a pretty busy job for most of my life. 

The few miniatures that I entered in competitions were rather successful, but I am by no means an 'accomplished' painter, more a 'lucky' one :D 

But for some 21+ years I have been visiting on average 5-6 miniature events a year. Competitions, workshops, painter meetings and all the good stuff. ^^ 

That is what is most important for me and my hobby: Meeting awesome people from all over the world that are as crazy about miniatures as I am - like I did last weekend in Moscow.

Starting a miniature company 'for the greater good'

It is this passion about miniature painting and gaming and the people that pursue these hobbies that made me start our little company '学・Manabu' (Japanese for 'Learning'). We don't aim for big profits - all we want to do is create awesome stuff for the community - and encourage non-painters to join our growing movement. 

Even though companies like Google claim to 'not be evil', we kinda felt 'unique' with our approach of using our profits to give back to the community we love and to donate a big portion of our profits to charity. 

So what does all of that have to do with the Spring Angel?

48 drawers and 6 large cabinets
FULL of every WHFB army
you can dream of. All beautifully
painted by well-known painters!
In short: we are not alone! 

Let me tell you about the Pavlovs...

Katy & Sergey Pavlov, owners of The Russian Alternative and organizers of the Spring Angel competition can safely be described as very successful Russian business people. I always thought that my passion for the hobby is somewhat extreme, but compared to Katy and Sergey... wow! 

Sergey has the biggest private collection of masterclass miniatures that I have ever seen. Just imagine five large display cases full of miniatures painted by Yellow One, Derwish, Ben Komets, Matt Cexwish, River, Ringil, Lynx, Nakatan, Volomir... Do I need to go on? 

Well, I will go on anyways, for I am not done yet :D

Sergey, also a passionate WHFB player, has the biggest collection of painted WH armies that I have ever seen. Not just 'three colors up' - but all beautiful works commissioned from army painters all over the world. 

The Pavlovs have invested - and continue to invest - a small fortune (or rather a large fortune) in works from accomplished painters everywhere. But their support of painters and their hobby does not end there. 

As I found out, it merely begins there. 

Growing the hobby through investment in the community 

Matt can't believe his eyes! Star-shaped Gurkens!
As you have probably read in Part 1 of my Spring Angel 2013 coverage, starting last year with the Winter Angel, Katy and Sergey began to organize their own international painting competitions. 

Close your eyes. No, wait... that won't work,... Imagine that you close your eyes. 
After-Show Dinner with helpers & artists.
Now imagine a really large, globally operating miniature company (let's call them Wayne's Gurkenshop (WG) for trade-mark reasons and fear of the Inquisition) that runs community events for painters and gamers. 

Let's say they rent an expensive, top-class venue for the show. There is no entrance fee. On top of that you are invited to a free breakfast buffet and a free lunch buffet as a special 'Thank you' just for showing up. You are further welcome to join free masterclasses held by some of the world's best painters. And if you helped a little with the event - or you are just lucky, like me, you even get invited to an after-show-dinner with a bunch of miniature crazy people.  

Now imagine that you open your eyes again. 

We all know that our imaginary company WG doesn't do that. No-one does. Except for The Russian Alternative - and the Pavlovs. Because they can - and because they love the hobby.

The Russian "Alternative"

Elfin Lord, sculpted by YELLOW ONE
white metal, only 7,50€
I always thought that the 'Alternative' in the company name referred to being an inexpensive, high quality alternative to, let's say, our imaginary friends at WG, maybe even something to challenge WG's dominance of the market. 

I was absolutely wrong. 

In my very long discussions with Katy and Sergey I learned what the 'alternative' in their company name truly means. 

Katy explained, that in her vision, the whole gaming and painting community is a serious alternative to young people who otherwise would engage in less productive hobbies (such as drinking themselves senseless every weekend or so). We both shared the opinion that painting miniatures changes the way people of all age-groups see and experience the world.

When I said that I sincerely believe the world would be a much better place if every man, woman and child would at least paint a handful of miniatures, Katy's eyes lit up. 

Sergey: There's never
enough miniatures!
We both argue that an investment in the miniature painting community is an investment in the future. Of course, we won't get rich doing it! It is not for us - it's for the community. 

THAT is what "The Alternative" is. 

Late at night (or rather early in the morning) Sergey put this in much more earthly terms: "You know, it's either organizing an event like the Spring Angel for the people or buying a big new motor-bike." By now you should understand, that the bike is not even close to being an Alternative when it comes to the Pavlovs.

An idea that I just might steal (if I ever get the chance) ;)

I know how you must feel - reading passage over passage about how nice certain people are, can sometimes be too much. But bear with me just a few more lines, because what Katy told me next gave me goose-bumps. 

Let me tell you real briefly about "The Union Club". I encourage you to click that link and read what Katy wrote about their idea behind this club. 

In short: Sergey and Katy rent a spacious 160m2 room in one of the largest exhibition centers in Moscow. Every Saturday from 9am to 6pm gamers and painters can go to the club and play and paint for free. 20 gaming tables accommodate 40 players at a time. 

Top this off with full-day painting classes by Reka Nadezhda (aka "River"; btw. Reka (река) means 'River' in Russian) or Kirill Kanaev ("Yellow One") and you got an awesome place to go to on weekends. 

Of course, you already expected that all of this is absolutely FREE. 

A big "Thank You".

Last weekend's Spring Angel was the most memorable miniature painting event that I ever had the pleasure to be a part of. 

A very big "thank you" and a ton of RESPECT goes out to Katy and Sergey, two awesome people that do so much for the community. 

And if you don't believe me, read what Volomir has to say, that young, charming, good-looking, funny and talented bastard :D 

SUMMER ANGEL 2014 - We will be there! We hope to see you there, too!

Late night after-after-show party in Katy's and Sergey's Hobby Room.
Rafa has no drink :D Thanks to JMPN for taking this picture!
P.S.: Our upcoming travel reports

Did you work up some appetite to go out into the world and join us for some miniature painting competition madness? 

Always remember: After the event is before the event! I hope to see ALL of you at SUMMER ANGEL 2014! Stay tuned for travel reports about this and many other events such as: 
  • Games Day US, Memphis, Tennessee
  • Games Day Germany, Cologne
  • Euromilitaire 2014, Folkstone, UK
  • Games Day UK, Birmingham
  • Hussar 2014, Warsaw, Poland
  • Mont San Salvino 2014, Italy
  • ... and probably a few more ;) 
We hope to meet some of you there! 

And soon we will start posting some of our projects for all the different events - make sure you subscribe, SHARE & ENJOY!

P.P.S.: Our server redirect should be back up this weekend! Until then we really appreciate you SHARING this post on Facebook so that your friends don't miss it :) Thank you!


  1. Great summary, all respect to Katy and Sergey very good idea and contribution to hobby

  2. It might read as all this was too good to be true, but it is reality... Thank you, Russian Alternative! :) I am super curious what will happen in the future! :)

  3. Wow, definitely an interesting read. And Wayne's Gurkenshop, lolz.

  4. chef... wie du gesagt hast .. ich habe bei volomir FB seite ...Gefällt mir gedrückt ;)

  5. This is very great! After reading your post I like to be there next year,... but it is a so long and expensive tour.
    If I could I will be there ;-)

  6. It is not as expensive as we thought after all... The Visa is a nuisance, but there might be some very cool news for the 2014 Edition that will solve this and all other Travel related difficulties, so stay tuned...;)...


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