Thursday, June 27, 2013

Shameless Plug: GW Hilltop East (Virginia Beach)

So this post is just a plug for what was possibly the best GW hobby center I have ever been to.

I was recently TAD (read Stuck) to Norfolk Naval Base for a school. I had to spend 7 weeks living out of my suitcases in a hotel room. Fortunately for me I had the foresight to bring some of my Blood Angels with me from Japan in my suitcase. Unfortunately I also had really good internet (okay, so that is awesome BUT...) which meant that I didn't paint nearly as much as I wanted to. Oh yeah, I also had that school thing... (Okay, so that was the important thing and I actually was an adult and studied and did really well in it).

Part way through my time in town, I ventured out and found a local hobby shop. It was nice and there was a lot of gaming space, but really not a good place for me to just go and hobby and mingle, discussing 40k, painting, army building and fluff. Then I discovered that there was a GW only 30 minutes away (without traffic, which for those of you in the Norfolk area, you know this means be careful when you travel). However, due to the hours of operation of GW, I usually wasn't struggling with traffic.

I actually watched these exact models throw down a few times during my trips to the store.
The first time I went, the store manager was actually on vacation and the On-call manager, Heather, was running the store. She couldn't be any nicer and was extremely helpful and attentive to my hobby needs and the needs of anyone in the store, enough so I came back the next day, hobbied and mingled some more and picked up some books.

The next weekend I came back and what had been a good store became an amazing store. Jason, the main hobby center manager, had returned. Here was someone enthusiastic about all things Warhammer (40k and Fantasy) and who had been in the hobby for a long time. We were able to go on about everything from 2nd and 3rd Ed 40k to Necromunda to Battlefleet Gothic and even old school GW and the glory days of Andy Chambers. Not only was he passionate, but he was cool, proficient with the rules, considerate to the beginner and veteran alike, a very personable and friendly business man in regards to customer service, and encouraged growth and development of a community around his hobby center, for 40k, Fantasy and LotR. Best of all he let me sit at his hobby table for hours on end and paint and blather on (as if I don't do it enough here) even though I wasn't dropping alot of money in store (though I did pick up some audio books. I just couldn't afford or travel with new models at that time. Plus my BFG panic order really hit my wallet).

It is really a tragedy that he has no real room to grow and that the foundation he lays only goes to feed other, larger communities and stores because Jason is the kind of guy you want at the heart of your gaming community, a literal champion of the hobby. The week of graduation from my school I spent Wed, Thur and Fri there, and would have gone back Sat (and got Promethean Sun :P) had I not had to travel. It was just a great place to be and I wish the hours were longer just so I could've spent more time there.

This is why it is tragic that Hobby Centers are limited on space.
I really wish I had found the store sooner and met Jason the first week I had arrived. I think my weekends would have been great and I would have gotten alot more hobbying done. So if you live in the area, or just find yourself passing through, look it up. You won't regret it. Good people, good times and a great manager. Plus, who doesn't like staring at shelves upon shelves of plastic crack. I know I was drooling.

Oh, and Armies on Parade is this Saturday, so probably a really great time to go.