The Road to Golden Demon

Who knows if Golden Demon will happen next year? It’s not looking likely, but if it does Silks will be first in the queue. Here’s the first part in his (hopefully not too irregular) series on beginning competitive painting.



It’s been half a year since I last played a game of 40k or Age of Sigmar (I’m sure many of you are in the same boat) and despite an exciting new army for Age of Sigmar and a new 40k edition I’m feeling… a bit burnt out of the hobby. We all joked at the start of this that we’d have loads of time to finally paint our armies and there were the dark days when every single games store was picked clean of anything even half decent to paint (and don’t get me started on trying to find primer!). But since lockdown started I have

  • Finished painting and then sold 2500 points of Sisters of Battle
  • Finished painting 3000 points of Ossiarch Bonereapers
  • Painted most of a Slaves to Darkness AoS army
  • Bought and painted about 2000 points of Space Marines (with another box and a half of Indomitus left to go)
  • Bought and painted the Lumineth Realmlords box

Credit: Silks

That’s a lot of models painted, but really, it’s painting the same 4 sets of colours repeatedly which has gotten a bit repetitive but I really love painting so I need something to get my teeth stuck into. With 5 fully painted armies in my cabinet, most of which I haven’t had a chance to take to a tournament yet, it feels like a good time to take a step back and start planning for some competition entries.

And I’ll be honest here, as a mental health exercise, if you’re not enjoying the hobby at the moment (and that is totally understandable after being locked in with nothing better to do than paint) then changing up what you’re doing / taking a break is an excellent idea right now.


Past Experience

I’m sure a lot of us grew up staring longingly at Golden Demon coverage in White Dwarf and either thinking “I’ll never be that good” or “one day I want to be that good”. Well, last year I finally decided to give it a go (it helps I live in the midlands of England, equidistant between Games Workshop’s headquarters and the RICHO arena in Coventry where Golden Demon is hosted). I entered Elspeth Von Draken, a now discontinued Forgeworld piece that I painted very much in the style of Bohun (check him out, he’s amazing).

Credit: Silks

Entering the event was quite a journey in itself, queueing up with everyone else, being greeted by Darren Latham who got me to fill out a form, then more queueing and handing over my model before trying to size up the competition. Then comes the judging, where models are awarded sticky labels on their little cards which indicate whether you are a finalist, whether it has had its picture taken and several others which I forget. These are added throughout the day so you don’t quite know if you’ve made the cut until later so it’s quite stressful. I was really made up to be awarded a finalists pin on my first attempt!

Credit: Silks

Even if you have zero chance of actually winning (like I did), it was still really good fun both to enter and to paint something to the best of your abilities.


The Categories

The categories can change each year, but not by much. Here are the 2019 categories

  • 40k Single Miniature
  • 40k Squad
  • 40k Vehicle
  • 40k Large Model
  • AoS Single Miniature
  • AoS unit
  • Aos Large Model
  • Diorama / Battle Scene
  • Duel
  • Middle Earth
  • Small Scale
  • Eavy Metal Paint Masters
  • The Open Competition

Most of these are pretty straightforward to work out however some are a bit unusual, with Duel (2 models fighting) and Eavy Metal Masters (one model assigned to you that can’t be converted). Take a look at the guidelines if you want to know more

Most advice I have read says that to win you should enter one or two categories, max and put all your effort into them. I’m going to ignore this as whilst I’d love to win, having fun and doing as well as I can is the aim of the game here.


What I plan to paint

This is actually quite a big decision as if I choose wrong I could be spending money and hours of time painting something I don’t enjoy or don’t think I can get a good enough result on. Before the event was cancelled this year I spent quite a long time painting some Nurgle space marines and just petered out of enthusiasm.

I spend hours flicking through the Games Workshop and Forgeworld websites to find something that a) I haven’t painted before (harder said than done) and b) I think I could do a good job on.

Some current thoughts:

Genestealer Cults Abberants (40k Unit) – these are really unique models which I think would look great with my style of airbrushing and highlights.

Credit: Games Workshop


Illuminor Szeras (40k Single Miniature) – this is one of the best models I’ve seen in a long time and I think I could do a good job of it in NMM.

Credit: Games Workshop


The new Imperial Noble Bloodbowl team (Bloodbowl?) – I’ve never painted a Blood Bowl team before but these look like gorgeous models

Credit: Games Workshop


Forgeworld Thranduil model (Middle Earth) – Again, I’ve never painted a middle earth model but this one really looks immense

Credit: Games Workshop


Tune in next time to see which ones I’ve actually pulled the trigger or changed my mind and how I’m getting on with them!

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