I started basing my Plaguebearer unit with two weeks to go before The Golden Demons. ‘Plenty of time’ you might think and you’d be right. Except I managed to make a thorough mess of things during the first week! Put simply, I made my usual mistake of starting an overly complicated basing scheme. I began working on a scenic base for the unit, but at least I had the sense to abandon it while there was still time to do the job properly.
I’d been advised by my friend Lee (10 ball on cool mini) to base the minis up individually. Presenting them thus on a simple black plinth would allow the minis to shine out. He was dead right and I’m very glad I finally took his advice.
I’d decided early on that I would feature some sort of barren desert terrain on my bases rather than an overtly Nurgle themed scheme. I wanted the bases to contrast and compliement the minis. I already had lots of Nurgleish details on the minis and repeating this on the bases would diminish the impact. I used the colour orange to create a visual link between the minis and the bases and to tie them together. I also used orange on the plinth’s label for the same reason.
With a new plan of action in place things went far more smoothly during the second week; and I finished the unit on the Friday before Warhammer Fest!
This is the second time that Warhammer Fest and the Golden Demons have been held at the Ricoh Arena and it has reinforced my view that the move to this venue was a good one! The Golden Demons were held on the top of three floors in a large and well-lit space. This was just as well because the crowds around the cabinet seemed to be more dense this year. As always a little patience pays off when viewing the miniatures. I prefer to make repeated visits to the cabinets and to take it all in a bit at a time.
My overall impression was that the standard of the minis on display was very high, probably the best out of the three recent ‘classic’ Demons I’ve attended. By the early afternoon I was not feeling very confident about my chances!
Mercifully there were plenty of distractions from the agony of awaiting the results. My personal favourites centred around the new Warhammer Quest Silver Tower miniatures. In addition to viewing the minis I attended one of the info pods by Max Faleij on ‘The colours of Tzeentch’. He explained how the studio painters had approached painting the Silver Tower miniatures and the reasoning behind their colour choices. Earlier I’d made up my mind to paint some of these minis myself and, as I’ve never painted any Tzeentch minis myself, Max’s talk has given me some great ideas on how to go about it.
Eventually the waiting was over and the Gold, Silver and Bronze winning miniatures for each category were placed on the top shelves of their respective cabinets. At this stage there was no indication of which mini had won which trophy. Much speculation followed!
I had high hopes for Gutrot, I think he is my best piece to date; but it’s very unwise to make any assumptions about competition results before they are announced! The Plaguebearer Unit was in unknown territory as the category was entirely new to me!
Then the time came for the winning painters to gather in the winner’s enclosure. At previous Golden Demons the winners were queued up in a Bronze, Silver, Gold order ready to go on stage and collect their trophies. This meant you could work out what you’d won just prior to it being announced. This year we were just gathered together to await the announcements. This brought an added level of anticipation to the experience!
Single Warhammer miniature was the first of my categories to come up and to my, obvious, delight Gutrot took the Gold. Then Warhammer Units followed and my Plaguebearers also took Gold. That’s something I’d never considered as a possibility when I started these minis as demonstration pieces for my Weekend Workshop in Cardiff last October!
Winning two Golds meant I was in the running for the Slayer Sword so the anticipation wasn’t over. And then, finally, Alan Merrett announced Gutrot as the winner of the 2016 Slayer Sword!
It’s an achievement that I feel very proud of and I had some personal reasons for wanting to win the sword this year. 2016 is a big year for me as it will see my 50th birthday and the tenth anniversary of my civil partnership. Winning the Slayer Sword makes it even more special!
So what next? It’s straight back to the painting desk with an Orruk Mega Boss who’s been awaiting my attention. After that I want to go up in scale and paint more busts and there are those Silver Tower minis I so liked – I already have a few ideas for them.