Back in the late '90s and early 2000's Warhammer 40K was practically the only game I played, but I eventually moved onto other games and miniatures rules and have only recently returned to playing 40K this summer. I don't intend to rejoin the tournament scene in the way I did back in the old days (back when Games Workshop ran their Grand Tournaments, which were a blast to attend), but I can see myself participating in the smaller events, like Combat Patrol or Zone Mortalis-style games.
A good friend of mine, Russ, has kept up with 40K tournaments and invited me to join him at Celesticon to check out the Daemon Skull 40K event run by Doc Dragon. I loitered a little, taking pictures, but mostly I tried to stay out of the way and not distract the players from their games.
I was impressed with the overall quality of painting on the armies I saw there. When I was an active tourney player, I never saw an airbrushed army; it just wasn't done back then. There were lots of airbrushed vehicles and large robots in evidence on the day and I enjoyed getting the opportunity to see them up close.
I can remember judging the army painting at a 50-player tournament many years ago and being disappointed to find that only *two* of the armies entered showed real evidence of effort and TLC put into them. Unfortunately, one of them included purchased units painted by a third party, so in that case, Best Painted was a no-brainer. There were plenty of armies in the Celesticon tournament that showed effort put into them. I think there was a clear winner for Best Painted (although I didn't stick around for the awards to find out), but the percentage of "nice" and "really nice" armies was pleasantly high.
I took shots of things in an, "ooo, shiny!" manner as it has been so long since I've played. I'd never seen an Eldar Wraithknight or Tau Riptide in person before. Games Workshop puts together some amazing stuff these days.
Kudos to all the players in the event; it looked like everyone was enjoying themselves. Now onto the photos. Apologies for the blurry ones: