Thursday, October 30, 2014

Do Not Miss: October 2014

Last month I thought of changing the format of the Do Not Miss. For now, since the list just grows and grows, I'm going to classify links by categories. I hope this makes the browsing easier and more comfortable. Let's just sit back and relax, for here I present you the refurbished Do Not Miss for the month of October 2014:


Articles and tutorials

Events and reports

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Painting with... Richard Gray

Today in the blog we have brought the newest addition to the Slayersword winners list, the only one this year. Richard Gray, unknown to many, has managed to receive the ultimate prize in Golden Demon 2014 surprising all, and we have invited him to the blog as usual so that he tells us more about his experience as a Slayersword winner and his impressions of the event. Without further ado, I give you Richard Gray, Slayersword UK 2014!

Richard Gray

    Volomir: Hi Richard, nice to have a moment to chat with you. The man of the moment! You have just been awarded Slayersword in recent Golden Demon 2014, but to be honest, I didn’t know you before (shame on me!). Tell us a bit about yourself, so we can get to know you better. How long have you been painting miniatures?

    Richard: I don't blame you for not knowing me, I am not well known at all!

    I live in the county of Rutland in the UK and have a lovely girlfriend named Rebecca, who I have been with for 4 years. I'm just a regular kind of guy really: I love sci-fi and fantasy films and books, play rpgs and strategy games on the pc and enjoy building pcs. My degree from UCE in Birmingham was for illustration, which I find transfers well to models.

    My model painting started when HeroQuest first came out; I just loved the figures and the fantasy setting. Wikipedia tells me that HeroQuest came out in 1989, so I guess I've been painting for 25 years! Now I feel old. After that I noticed a magazine called White Dwarf (issue 148) and I instantly became hooked on Games Workshop. It's just carried on from there.

    On a sad note, unfortunately my mother died of cancer on 20th August this year, so it has been a very difficult time recently for my family and I. I had only just decided to enter the competition before it happened, so it hasn't been the easiest thing to complete my entry.

    Volomir: Are you professional or is painting miniatures a hobby for you?

    Richard: I'm sort of a silent professional. I have a few long term clients who have been wonderful to me. I also paint as a hobby, although all of my personal models are painted with the intention of them being gaming pieces.

The Mechanicus Knight, Slayersword 2014

    Volomir: Are you a regular on painting forums or websites in the internet? Do you have your work in places like CoolMiniOrNot or Putty&Paint? Have you been participating in Golden Demon a lot?

    Richard: I'm a member on CoolMiniOrNot and Warseer, although I have a bad habit of hardly ever posting anything. You can find me under the name “Demonrich”, which has no relation to my Golden Demon! I've used that name online since Half Life 2 first came out as I needed an online name!

    I entered Golden Demon a few times in the 90s, and finally got a Silver Demon for my Keeper of Secrets in the Fantasy Monster category in 1999. That was the last time I entered a painting competition until now.

    Volomir: Do you think there is a difference between the way that miniatures are painted in the UK and the rest of the world, especially in Europe?

    Richard: This is a tough question for me to answer as I don't pay too much attention to where each model comes from. I sometimes think that many models from Europe are more flamboyant and colourful than the UK, but I could be wrong!

Two-headed Dragon

    Volomir: How was winning the Slayer Sword for you? How did you feel? Did you see it coming at any point during the day?

    Richard: It is hard to describe the feeling; my mind went blank and my mouth dropped open. I hope no-one caught a photo of me then as I'm pretty sure I looked like a fool! Once I got the sword I was over the Moon, and just wanted to get home to show my family.

    The idea of winning the sword during the day never entered my head. It was quite funny really as I saw the judges looking at the finalists on the table and my model was off to the side with some other finalists while they were examining three others. I just thought I wasn't even being considered for a trophy. I wasn't disappointed as my aim was to get a finalist this year. It had been a long day for me and I was looking forward to leaving early to get some rest. Also I wanted to go home and get a closer look at a Forge World Knight Lancer I had bought myself.

    I actually nearly didn't turn up to the event. It had been so stressful trying to get the model done while dealing with my mother's death and I had run out of time. There was a lot more I wanted to do to it, but I was rushing and the paintwork was starting to suffer due to it. I wasn't happy with the model, and was sick of the sight of it. In the end I decided to go just to enjoy the day and not worry about how I did.

    Volomir: Which other miniatures where the ones competing against yours for the Slayersword in your opinion?

    Richard: That is a really tough question. There were many models that I thought were at least as good as mine! To be honest it was tricky to tell on the day as the lighting wasn't great and I think some of the entries didn't look as good to the audience as you couldn't see them properly.

    There was one entry by Michal Pisarski that I was aware of from seeing the WIP in a facebook group, and the painting on that was flawless. I didn't think I'd be competing with it, because I hadn't even considered the Slayer Sword. I was told it was a very close decision, so I'm sure he must have been one of the people being considered.

    Volomir: Your win is particularly historical since it’s the first time that Best of Forgeworld and Best of Show (Slayersword) are given to the same piece. There has always been lots of chatter around what makes a miniature “Slayerable” but every year, especially in UK, all hypotheses are proven wrong. What makes a Slayersword winner in your opinion? Do you think there is any commercial criterion behind Slayersword choices?

    Richard: Sometimes I wonder if they just roll a dice when selecting the Sword winner. The standard is so high between all the winning entries that I don't know how the judges pick an overall winner. I'm sure the judges have to start looking at other criteria, such as how the pieces fit the theme of the warhammer universe, just to help make a decision. I have no clue about commercial decisions, although if they wanted to push a product, I would have thought they would have picked a large, plastic kit as overall winner.

    I don't know if the Forge World Best of Show is judged differently to the rest of the awards, but I guess if the Slayer Sword winner is a standard Forge World model then it might seem awkward for Forge World to give the trophy to a different entry.

    Considering I just won a Slayer Sword when I didn't think I was even getting a trophy shows that I have no idea at all what makes a Slayer Sword winner!

    Volomir: What's your view on Warhammer Fest? How would you compare it to Games Days, and in particular Golden Demon 2014 with the rest of Golden Demons in the past?

    Richard: As I haven't been since 1999, I can't really compare them. I know in 1999 the event was massive. There were a lot more Golden Demon entries then, but I think people used to enter just to get into the venue quicker!

    I enjoyed Warhammer Fest 2014. It was a lot calmer, the queues to buy anything were short and it was easy to get to talk to the artists and designers. I'm not sure how good it was in terms of playing games as I didn't go for that.

    Volomir: The past few years have seen a decline in number of contests and participation in all Golden Demons around the world, to the point where we only have one right now in UK, and the attendance is also much lower than in the past years. How do you see the future of Golden Demons? Do you think this trend is going to continue?

    Richard: I think it is a terrible, terrible shame that they have cancelled all of the other shows. I really enjoyed looking at all of the winners from around the world. I do wonder if they are trying Warhammer Fest as a new template and may use that in other countries, but my opinions are no better than anyone else's. I can just say I hope they bring back Golden Demons for the rest of the World.

Eldar Vehicle

    Volomir: Any artists that influence your painting? What are your favourite painters of all time?

    Richard: As Games Workshop had such an impact on me, many of their 2D artists inspired me. I am a big fan of people like Geoff Taylor, Adrian Smith, Kev Walker, Mark Gibbons, John Blanche etc.

    Others include people like Brom, Boris Vallejo, Giger, Zdzisław Beksiński and many others.

    Unfortunately I don't know the names of many model painters; I just have a huge folder on my computer with images of models that inspire me that I have collected from places like CMON.

    Volomir: Do you attend other painting events apart from Golden Demon?

    Richard: Nope! I might look into doing more, but no promises.

Details of the Slayerwsord

    Volomir: Finally, any advice you want to give newcomers to the miniature painting world and competition in particular?

    Richard: I don't really paint as a competition painter, I just paint models I like, or things my clients want me to.

    There are so many techniques that are being advanced all of the time, so do your research. Also, don't just copy what you see, but adapt it to your style and preference. Just because something wins a trophy, it doesn't mean it is the best style.

    Finally, don't be put off when you see a model you think is amazing. I see so many posts by people saying that they should just throw their brushes away as they will never be able to win a trophy. If you see something you like, be inspired by it. Everyone is crap when they first pick up a paintbrush.

Many thanks Richard! We look forward to seeing you in more events, not only Golden Demon, and see more of your wonderful work. See you soon!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Warhammer Fest 2014: Review (Sunday)

A general review of the Warhammer Fest event is in order! I know that more than a week has passed already, and that we had Hussar and Soldat de Plom this past weekend and they are much more news that the Fest, but I still had not said much about it! I wanted to wait for some days before I wrote about Games Workshop last event, to get some nice rest and to see things in perspective. So now is the right time to so!

Warhammer Fest as you know is the replacement of our old beloved Games Days, which, as you also know, have been decaying in the last few years. This new proposal came in the form of a 2 day event, with activities very similar to the ones already common to Games Days in the past. We decided to attend only on Sunday, because Golden Demon took place that day, and to be fair, that is the only reason that maintains my interest and my reason for going to these events. The rest of the activities are nice, but quite frankly, I don't think I would travel from Spain just for those.

Warhammer Fest (Sunday) felt very much like a Games Day, a very well organized but quite small Games Day (compared to the huge Games Days of old in the Birmingham NEC). Most activities delved around the usual meet&greet the artists and professionals in Games Workshop. The company is divided between Citadel Staff and Forgeworld Staff, and seems like Citadel is under a huge load of secretism, so there was nothing new from them (sad compared to the old years where tons of new stuff was released and you could see interesting things). Forgeworld on the contrary is all about sharing, you could meet and talk to all of the artists and designers and see latest and soon to be released new models. But all in a much intimate manner than what we were used to in old UK Games Days. The venue is not small but segmented, so it's less stressful for activities like these, which is something good. New proposals included workshops and talks from Games Workshop staff, and there were interesting sessions around painting, basing, modelling and so on. In my opinion, the best thing from Warhammer Fest this year. Sadly, I missed the classic scrap demon contests, the basing contests of the Speed Painting competitions. You would not find those on Warhammer Fest on Sunday (I believe not even on Saturday).

Pablo López Jimeno (Paloji) taking a view at the Ricoh stadium probably remembering the good old times of GD France in the Stade de France

Of course, shops would not be absent in Warhammer Fest, but I have to say, the ambience looked less aggressive than the one we saw last year: "you come here to buy! BUY BUY BUY!". The shops (both Citadel and Forgeworld) had their own area, separate from the rest, and you would find the typical GD shop queues that you would always find in GDs. I'm still quite impressed by the amount of people that decide to buy stuff in events like this. As far as I know, GW stopped making interesting sales and offers for quite some time now, but still shops seem to have neverending work in these events. I wonder why people find it so interesting to buy during this day instead of just buying any other day of the year, at the same price. I understand Forgeworld (you get to see the resin and you save on shipping), but Citadel?

Last but not least, our favourite and most importante part is of course the Golden Demon contest. Much less participation than previous years (seems there has been a big decline in UK in the last few years). Level of entries though is very high, I would say that you can see much less low level entries, but more or less the same high level entries. It seems to me like Golden Demon has the bar set very high in general! Being the only Golden Demon in the world in 2014, I would have expected many more participants, but on the bright side, this meant more comfortable viewing of the miniatures in the cabinets and less queues in general. To me, in terms of size it seemed like a Golden Demon you would find in Germany, France or Spain a few years back, something much more manageable in terms of numbers and size. Good, in my opinion, but with only one Golden Demon per year, competition is bound to be FIERCE!

Cabinets space while the award ceremony was on, as you can see, quite smaller and more familiar

Apart from that, you get the usual Golden Demon fluff, controversy and unexpected decisions. But what is a Golden Demon without it? :D Slayersword winner Richard Gray's Knight came as a big surprise to many of us, who would probably have bet on Angelo Di Chello's Nagash, or Lan's Beauty and the Beast duel. Especially designed for the task seemed Di Chello's entry, following the standards of what many would call UK "Slayerable" entry: quite big and noticeable, painted in a super high quality 'eavy metal style, and most importantly a new release, complying with the other times reliable commercial criterion for GW. But not this time! Judges surprised us, giving both Best of Forgeworld and Best of Show to the same miniature, something I believe has not happened before. Congrats Richard Gray! Well done sir! (Stay tuned because Richard will visit the blog very very soon in our section "Painting with..." and I'm sure he has very interesting things to say!).

Richard Gray's Knight announced as Slayersword winner 2014

The only thing that was very different in Golden Demon was the award ceremony. Since the area for the event was much smaller, it lacked the grandiosity of previous years. It was much more like old Golden Demons in Europe, and I really miss the epicness of the Slayersword ceremony in a big stadium. At least it was all much more familiar!

It's almost comical compared to the old GDs in the NEC

The question now is: is Warhammer Fest here to stay? Is this what we should be expecting from Games Workshop in the years to come? Will there only be one Golden Demon in the world every year?

While on the event, I heard some rumours which sound interesting to my ears. Games Workshop is currently remodelling the Warhammer World building (quite unfortunate for us this time since we went to Nottingham just to see it). Could it be that Games Workshop is thinking of hosting events there? Would it be possible to see Golden Demon contests in the new Warhammer World? That is certainly something I would love to see, maybe a Golden Demon completely separate of Games Days/Warhammer Fests? Who knows... But in my opinion, Games Workshop is not fully using the huge potential of Golden Demon. This circuit is so well known and well regarded all around the globe, that promoting it in the way it deserves (better marketing, merchandising, competition fluff, coverage, press and so on, much like videogame or board/card game companies do with their competitions) would be hugely benefitial for the brand. I really can't understand why they insist on relegating it to the basement! Oh well...

Warhammer World was being remodelled. We spent some time at Bugman's though (and defiled the Rhino, of course)

Until next time Golden Demon (whenever that may be ¬¬)!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Golden Demon 2014, first pics and winners

Golden Demon has just happened, quick post with photos, just returned from the venue!

Gold in Vehicle, Best of Forgeworld and Slayersword to the same miniature, a Forgeworld Mechanicum Thanatar Siege-Automata beautifully painted. Didn't get that many photos of that one sadly, it wasn't my pick for the Slayersword at first. What do you guys think?

More stuff on GD2014 soon, stay tuned!

Fantasy Unit. Stefan Jonsson. Silver
Fantasy Unit. Angelo Di Chello. Gold
Fantasy Unit.
Fantasy Unit. Volomir (better pics soon)
Fantasy Unit. Robert Carlsson
Diorama. Conrad Mynett. Silver
Diorama. John Harrison
Diorama. Pablo López (Paloji). Bronze
LOTR. Silver
LOTR. Camelson
Monster Fantasy. Isabel Nils
Duel. Michal Pisarski (Lan). Gold
Duel. Matt Kennedy. Bronze
Monster Fantasy. Robert Carlsson
Monster Fantasy. Martin Peterson. Bronze
Monster Fantasy. Redrum Jay
Monster Fantasy. Octavio Fernández
Monster Fantasy. Angelo Di Chello. Gold
Monster Fantasy. Angelo Di Chello. Gold
Monster Fantasy. Angelo Di Chello. Gold
Open. Darren Latham. Silver
Open. Max Faleij. Gold
Single 40k. Camelson
Single 40k. Octavio Fernández
Single 40k. Sue Griffin (Dr.)
Single 40k.
Single 40k.
Single 40k. Gareth Nicholas. Silver
Single 40k. Joseph Sommerfield. Gold
Single 40k. David Soper. Bronze
Squad 40k.
Squad 40k.
Squad 40k. Tomáš Pekař
Squad 40k. Volomir (better pics soon)
Squad 40k. Andy Wardle. Gold
Squad 40k. Stefan Jonsson. Bronze
Squad 40k. Adrian Bay. Silver
Vehicle. Ben Gills. Bronze
Vehicle. Richard Gray. Gold, Best of Forgeworld and Slayersword 2014.
Vehicle. Adam Skinner. Silver
Large 40k.
Large 40k.
Large 40k.
Large 40k.
Large 40k. Ellis Kaye. Silver
Large 40k. Gold