[Archive] Grim's Golden Daemon review


Another interesting year, and lessons have been learnt.

I entered 2 models this year; Ku’gath Plaguefather in Warhammer Monster and a Dragonslayer in Large Scale Model, I will create threads for these at a later date.

Ku’gath got a finalist certificate thing, the dragonslayer didn’t.  Neither got taken to the judging table, so I was not ‘close’ to winning.  

First let me point out that although I didn’t win anything, I fully accept that there were some entries in both categories that were better than mine and deserved to win.  I am not so much annoyed that I didn’t win, but that yet again I misunderstood what the judges are looking for.  I thought I cracked it this year, but obviously not.

My disclaimer here is that I will try and be modest about my skills, whilst trying to speak honestly about how I feel.

So onto the review.  Warhammer Monster there was a daemon prince thing, a night goblin on flaming squigs and an ogre butcher that won.  I didn’t hang around to see which order they placed.  What do all these things have in common…?  

They were well painted (obviously), but they were not detailed models.  Infact I was very surprised how little details they had.  Bearing in mind I didn’t get a really close look at any models, there were at least a couple of models (mine included) that were painted equally as well, but had far more details.  The butcher I believe was completely unconverted, and the only ‘detail’ was a bit of blood on the sword (which was not painted terribly well imo).

This was true of the Large Scale models as well.  Not sure about other categories, but the regiment might have been similar.

Lesson #1: I had lost the battle before I had even entered because of my model selection imo.  I chose a model that played to my strengths; highly detailed that breaks large plain areas down into small areas of details.  Completely the wrong way to go.

The Large scale model category had a space wolf, a tau, and an inquisitor/ sister of battle that won (again I don’t know the placing).

Space wolf was very good, certainly better than my entry, the sister looked fairly nice as well.  The Tau on the other hand was lame and bland.  Almost all one colour, with hardly anything great about it.

When the 40k monster category was being judged I tried to listen in to their conversation, all I heard them discuss was how difficult certain painting techniques were.

I knew the painting on the daemon was not all it could be, but I did hope to pick up some bonus points on other things.  The slayer I don’t think I could have done anything better, except pick a more physically impressive model.

Lesson #2:  Converting, basing, story element, any level of sculpted detail all mean absolutely nothing I think.  It’s ALL down to the painting.  I was a bit unsure about this before this year, I am certain now.  Large scale model I think the scratch sculpting part is not rewarded at all, the one category you would think it could be.

I had a lot more fun this year watching the progress of 2 entries.

Lesson #3:  Do more than one entry, preferably more than 2.

Once again certain categories had a lot more entries than others.  I don’t have the numbers with me, so I will edit this bit in later.

So what do I take from my experiences this year?  I feel I have the sculpting and painting skills to win something.  All I have to do is be better than the bronze entry.  It’s not like I’m competing against all the best entries from years past, only what is there on the day.  It may sound arrogant, but I still feel my daemon entry was better than the silver and bronze (presuming the daemon prince gets gold), and my slayer was better than the tau (presuming it gets bronze).  I’m not that bothered really, but it’s a shame to lose with a good model because it was not technically what the judges were looking for (which I was not 100% clear on).

Summary of lessons:

  •   FINISH EARLIER!  I did around 14 hours of painting on Saturday and had 2.5 hours sleep (an hour and a half less than last year), this is after a solid week of painting beforehand.  I started my entries quite early (the daemon back in april), but if you set aside 150-200 hours for painting, and maybe 2 hours a day on average, that’s over 3 months!  That’s presuming you don’t take a day off.

  •   My NMM slayer with quite smooth blending, and freehand banner on the daemon demonstrated to me that if I really practice I can be good at painting.  Smooth blending is all important.

  •   Spend a long time thinking on what models to do, they have to have large areas with no details, and generally have few details.

  •   Don’t pick projects with absolutely INSANE amounts of work.  I lost count of the number of people I overheard saying the amount of detail on mine was insane… :smiley:

  •   Don’t include real glass.  It seems impossible to paint this well, and as this is highly important just forget it.

  •   Don’t have weak joins that worry you all the way there, especially ones that are still drying…

  •   Only do things that I believe are the best I can achieve.  If I can’t do something perfectly don’t do it at all.

  •   Pick something better for basing.  I made 2 bases for the slayer; one based on a spray can lid, the other on a jar lid.  Both required some greenstuffing to be more smooth, and so were not perfect.  I was not happy with those.

  • It’s all about the painting, nothing else matters.

  •   Although the competition was busier this year, I think there are still categories that are under represented compared to some; namely warhammer and 40k monsters, and large scale model.

  •   If I enter the regiment category go with the minimum unit size and have a fancy base.

  •   Don’t use snow.  It’s hard to get looking anything other than average and because of static it sticks to the base.  White flecks on black is not good.

  •   If you want to do NMM don’t be a cheapskate on paints, buy all the ones you need (I was missing fortress grey).

  •    Although I love doing nurgle minis, doing perfect imperfection is damn hard.  Something I will avoid next year (:()

I’m not going to tie myself down this early to what exactly I will do because it needs a LOT of thought and I really have to finish what I start.  But I have some ideas already:

A dragon of some sort (huge areas for blending, very little details).  I’d like to have a go at this.

My Leman Russ I didn’t get finished for this year (it’s already undercoated with a base built)

A warhammer single mini (only inspired by artwork, not faithfully reproducing it)

A 40k Single mini (only inspired by artwork, not faithfully reproducing it)

A large scale model of a chaos dwarf.

If I could get even 3 of these made it would be cool, and it may not cost that much (possibly only a dragon if I sculpt the rest or convert from stuff I have). An important factor atm.


Dude, I have an inkling of how you feel. Every year at the GT I go for best army, and every year I fail to win it (nomination yes, win no). And its always the same: someone spent 300 hours blending the awful colour scheme on his badly-posed vanilla figures so he won. Not that I’m bitter :slight_smile:

It’s all about the painting, nothing else matters.
This is why I never enter. I enjoy sculpting far more than painting.
I feel I have the sculpting and painting skills to win something.
I think you do as well. You certainly have the patience :slight_smile: Keep at it!


Something that occured to me earlier was whether they would frown upon a model that had been painted as a straight copy from WD/ 'eavy metal? It wouldn’t be essential to do a straight copy, but hypothetically I wonder what they would think?

Uzkul Werit:

Now that you mention it, I do remember that Slayer!


It seems that a simple colour scheme that has lots of (largely pointless) smooth shading and highlighting will do better than anything with detail.


I think the problem here is that the things the judges are looking for has a tendency to change every year… therefore, you may plan a model, and paint it excellently, but if you’ve planned and painted it to this year’s ‘fashion’ then next year you still wont win, as they’ve moved on to (say) overly detailed ornate models…

There was a time a couple of years ago when it seemed you couldnt get anywhere near a trophy if you hadn’t sculpted or at least heavily converted your entry - now there’e an unconverted model in the top 3…

Personally, if I were to enter (which I am not - I am no where near good enough) i would go for simple models, lightly converted, and well painted - good blending, some areas of detail…


Try and submit multiple entries, all of which cover different criteria, that way no matter what the judges are looking for you’ll hopefully have at least one model that fits the bill.


Can you enter a category more than once?  I see an evil plan forming here…

The numbers of entries I counted (roughly), I only looked at ones I may consider entering and could be bothered to queue at:

Diorama = 33

Duel = 33

Warhammer regiment = 30

WH single = 164

WH monster = 20?

Large scale model = 25

40k monster = 60?

40k vehicle = 40?


No you cant enter the same category on more than once i am sorry to say :frowning: i have some photos of the winning models in most categories on the games day blog that i did here is the link so you can see what grimstonefore is talking about http://www.chaos-dwarfs.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=6325&page=2


Been looking at the pictures of the winners now and so can form a better opinion.

As you say, this is not a sculpting contest. It is a painting contest. HOWEVER. If you make sculpting/converting it has to be good or it WILL detract from the model. So no extra credits from sculpting well but you can get minus points. So to speak.

My biggest bugbear really is when GD models are a tiny figure and HUUUGE banners. Ok so a person is a good painter on a tiny canvas, I get it, but I really want to see painting the figure.

The other is the base. TBH I think the model should come on a stock base and anything else is automatically disqualified. Because this is a competition in painting gaming miniatures.

Ironically I’m not a big fan of the overcomplicated and over coloured models, like the French would do a lot of a few years back. I do like Ku’gath though.

But as you say it depends on the fashion that year, unfortunately trying to second guess that is difficult.


I agree snowblizz. Next year I will try and keep scratch sculpting to a minimum, which will be a huge challenge in itself. Exception may be a large scale model if I make one.