We asked Eric to share his story on how “all this madness started.” He obliged:
“When I look back through the thousands of email, hundreds of work in progress photos and countless hours of work dedicated by all parties involved, I realize it all began when I saw a post about the Lightish Red Army auction for charity last year; the actual artist shared the link to the NOCF main site, and some photos of his work on bartertown.com, a well-known online gamer / hobbyist trading community. It sparked my interest and I decided to support his charity by supporting the online fundraiser. Besides, what was the worst that could happen? I donate a few dollars, and maybe walk away with an army. But once at the the NOCF site, I saw the other armies and ~ well of course, temptation is everything! The cash from my paypal account was quickly depleted not only for supporting these charities, but also for the chance to walk away with an amazing army. And as luck would have it, I won the amazing Necron Army painted by Stiff Neck Studio, whose work I was and still am an avid follower of. The army is currently making its way from one local game shop to another and is currently in the hands of Eclipse Games and Comics’ new store located on the Fort Leonard Wood Military installation inside their main PX, staged and ready for display with a few NOCF icons in support of the grand opening.
Between learning of the final dollar amounts raised for charity, and possessing an army from the Foundation’s efforts, I got to thinking: ‘I bet there are gamers and artists out there who don’t even know this is going on.’ So with some posting, emailing, phone calls, and – well, I’ll be honest “stalking,” the Facebook Project bloomed. Some members joined to support the call for artists, some out of a desire to help Wounded Warrior Project, others out of curiosity, and even NOCF staff. For whatever reason, we ended up with some amazingly skilled artists, lots of work, very little time, and some amazing final projects. It was hard to start at first as we did this with no financial support ~ Who was going to fund a bunch of random artists and gamers? That would be me! I dug through the old man cave, and the madness ensued. I supplemented what I found there with some new goodies to jump start the projects.
The first project finished was a Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon, which I had shipped out to Jeremy of Wyrd Hobby Services. He took the project to a whole new level, with amazing modifications to the figures, terrain, and impressive installation of lighting! With that project completed, and other projects in the mail, momentum began to grow. Matt Borders took shipment of an impressive sized BFG fleet; over two months he diligently painted an entire Imperial Fleet. The number of hours Matt dedicated to this Fleet was daunting, but I could not imagine a better result. In addition a complete classic Necromunda Delaque gang was sent out to John “Gramps” Hisu, and his painstaking days and crossed eyes paid off in an excellent ready-to-play gang rating almost 3000 points worth of options. I managed to pry a 1500pt German Mid War army out of my own hands and Donald Settle dedicated two months painstakingly tackling every detail to deliver another ready-to-play army, a guaranteed eye catcher at the silent auction.
One of the greatest achievements, and one that I hope multiplies for next year’s projects, was Troy Tabanelli from Bolter and Bows. This guy came out of no were, did not need any figures to get started, and in the course of a weekend, painted two of the most amazing Space Wolf Special Characters I have ever seen. I hope to see his generosity continue into the coming years.
Geoff Howell, of Amethyst Hobbies, is hard at work trying to finish a late addition ~ a Space Marine from the NOVA chapter. This stunning addition will hopefully be in the hands of the NOCF in time for the silent auction, if not it will be an early start for next year and a dominant center piece for any Space Marine fan!
The pinnacle of this story was the amazing success Steve McCuen from CGR Painters had with his Late War FOW Panzer Lehr Western Front Army. To be honest, when I dug through my collection, and said good bye to my pile of blisters collecting dust, I could never have imagined the success Steve was going to pull off. This amazing army shows his skill and dedication in every piece. Others will be hard-pressed to pull off this quality work in the small time provided. This Army belongs in a history museum somewhere in the world. No detail was spared. Close ups can be found on our facebook page. His work is amazing, and I am overjoyed the NOCF was so impressed with his work that it was accepted onto the online Charity Army Raffles. Why haven’t you bought a chance to win this amazing Army?!
Looking back, I did think we could pull off one good project and raise a few extra bucks for Wounded Warrior Project ~ but now I see the potential and capability of artists and gamers as endless. When this season is over, some will use the amount of funds raised as a measure of success, but I will measure our success this year by how many more skilled miniature artists (and perhaps a sponsor or five) will join us for next year’s raffles and auctions!
And lastly,I need to give special thanks to Laurie; without her knowledge of the NOCF, motivation, dedication, humor, and constant open communication, we might never have gotten off the ground. Not everything went seamlessly; we had a few ups and downs. A few gamers came online and donated some excess figures, materials and paints, and they will enhance some of next year’s projects. Some projects did not make it through the vigorous vetting processes; some were downsized due to time or artistic skills. Others were promised, but never happened. These setbacks just drove the rest to try harder and to succeed. If the NOCF lets us, we promise next year will be bigger and better! Any artist, hobbyist, basement dweller, private collector / painter, commission artist, or international firm is welcome to join up, pull up a seat, and raise a brush; we got more work to do. You will see us again. Hopefully with a few more friends along for the adventure!
BUY TICKETS for Steve’s Army! Bring your wallet to the NOVA OPEN Tabletop Wargaming Convention (August 28-31,2014) and out bid everyone at the Silent Auction – let’s show the world what a difference gamers can make . . . the generosity of our Compassionate Force!
Interested in Donating Your Work?
The following procedure was initiated as a result of Eric’s hard work – and we are pleased to know he will continue this work into the future:
1) Miniatures/Accessories: Contact Eric Fontaine ( email@example.com ). He will walk you through the process. The decision to accept a charity army for online raffle is made after photos of the finished work/pieces are reviewed and vetted by committee lead Dave Taylor (who assists the NOCF innumerable ways). Other projects (individual models, units, accessories) can be accepted into the Silent Auction via the same process. If interested, Dave and other artists will provide critiques and advice to help improve submission/s. All projects rising out of Eric Fontaine’s NOCF Facebook page will be used to raise funds in support of Wounded Warrior Project. If the artist wishes to request an alternate charitable cause, the NOCF board will review specific charities for accountability and conformity to the mission.
2) Signed Artists Prints/Originals: Donated prints vetted for quality and appropriateness by the committee will be included in the Silent Auction in support of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.