Golden Demon at Warhammer Fest

It’s safe to say that no Warhammer Fest would be complete without the Golden Demon painting competition. A staple event for over 30 years, it’s easily one of the best places in the world to experience amazing miniatures up-close. Whether you’re a Slayer Sword-winning veteran or it’s your first time at the event, you’re sure to see something that blows you away!

We caught up with ‘Eavy Metal painter Max Faleij, head judge at this year’s event, to chat about the competition.


Max: Golden Demon is hands down my favourite part of Warhammer Fest – to see the hobby community come together and share all their hard work and creativity each year is amazing!

For me, Golden Demon is so much more than a painting contest. At its core, it’s a miniature painting competition, sure, but more than that, it’s a great opportunity to meet hobbyists from around the world, share your work with other painters and just be part of the grand display of hobby awesomeness that is Golden Demon!

The Blight Stalker – David Soper 2017

It’s also the perfect place to find inspiration for your next project, whether it’s a single model or a whole army – the Golden Demon cabinets are always a great source of inspiration.

On top of all that, it’s the perfect place for anyone who’s looking to take their painting to the next level. You’ll have direct access and be able to get feedback from the judges, all of whom work in the miniatures design studio and are past Golden Demon winners themselves!

So how do you enter? Easy – just bring a cool miniature that you’ve painted! There are 16 categories, ranging from single miniatures to huge monsters and battle scenes. You can enter as many categories as you like, but only once per category. Anyone who’s ever painted a miniature can bring it to the event and take part!

If you’ve never entered before, it’s easy to get involved. Picking a miniature that you like, and that you’re excited about painting, is always good place to start. Another great way to get going is to have a look at past winning entries at www.golden-demon.com. Try finding some favourites and pinpoint what it is you like about them – it might give you some great ideas for your own entry.  

Lord Castellant Edric Stormheart’s Retributors – Angelo Di Chello 2016

This year sees some changes to the event, as Max explains.

Max: First of all – we’ve added another day! You can now enter your miniatures all through Saturday, as well as entering on Sunday morning as usual. The judging and award ceremony will still take place on the Sunday, as normal, but opening up the event over both days means that everyone gets more time to engage with the miniatures on display!

Another great addition is Commended Entries.

Max: This is something that was developed over the last year or so together with veteran Golden Demon Judge Darren Latham. The sheer number of great entries each year just keeps growing and growing. After the top three entries for each category have been picked, we’re always left with a table full of awesome finalists who we feel deserve to be celebrated! Be it an extra cool conversion, a great narrative twist, or a beautiful colour combination, some entries just really stand out. We felt like this was the perfect way to recognise people’s passion and creativity in a new and fun way. So make sure to look out for that on the day!

The Tribute – Michał Pisarski 2017

With Warhammer Fest just around the corner, we’ve been getting a lot of Golden Demon-related questions. We’ve compiled some of the most common ones here.

How old is the Golden Demon painting competition?

Golden Demon has been held annually in the UK since 1987. Since its humble beginnings, it has evolved into one of the world’s largest miniature painting competitions – held at Games Day events around the world and later at Warhammer Fest in both the UK and mainland Europe. It remains, to this day, one of the longest-running miniatures painting competitions in the world.

How do I know which category I should enter my model into?

The first step is to have a look through the Entry Guidelines that you can download from www.golden-demon.com – there have been some changes over the last couple of years to better suit our current range of miniatures, so you might be pleasantly surprised!

Although there are a few examples in the guidelines, there is no complete list of all the miniatures we’ve ever produced and which category they fall under. Have a look at the guidelines and winning entries from past years and use your best judgment.

Am I allowed to convert or sculpt my own miniature?

Yes! Converting miniatures, using components from different Games Workshop kits, or sculpting something yourself from scratch is completely fine! As long as all the parts used in your conversions are produced by Games Workshop or made from scratch and fit in with our background and universes – let your creativity run wild!

How do I know which size base is appropriate for my entry?

A display base roughly equal to the size of the miniature’s gaming base will be perfectly fine, but larger or smaller might do just as well. As a general rule, if the base is the main focus of the entry, it probably belongs in the Diorama category. A well-made base can be a great way to frame a miniature and describe the narrative or setting, but the miniature itself should probably always be the main act.

Does my entry have to be “game legal”?

No! The only requirements are the ones stated in the category descriptions found in the entry guidelines. If you want to enter a completely game-legal unit, you definitely can, but there are no in-game rules restrictions on any of the categories. Judges will be looking for narrative and descriptive pieces that bring the worlds of Warhammer to life!

How many times can I enter?

There are 16 categories in total (including Young Bloods and The Open Competition). You can enter as many of the categories as you like, but only once per category.

Can I re-enter my model from last year’s competition?

Maybe. Sometimes you might want to go back and spend a bit more time on an entry that didn’t place. In cases like this, it’s perfectly fine to come back and try your luck again. If you did manage to win something – a gold, silver or bronze in any of the categories in any Golden Demon competition, then you have our congratulations, but that particular miniature can’t be entered again.

What do the judges look for?

The judges look for many different qualities in a winning entry. Technical skill, atmosphere, consistency in quality, and narrative are all key components in what makes a winning entry stand out. The painting isn’t just about technical prowess, however, it’s about finding a style and technique that works for you and applying it with care. The judges have no set preference when it comes to style – as long as it looks amazing, there are no rules as to how you go about it. The background and setting is important as well – a strong narrative can go a long way towards grabbing the judges’ attention.

Do I need to be present at the event to enter or can someone else enter my models for me?

In order to be able to enter and take part, you must hand in your own models in person at the event. It’ll be worth the trip though, take our word for it!

What is the ‘Eavy Metal Paint Masters Category?

Every year the ‘Eavy Metal Team chooses one specific model for this category. Everyone who enters this category must paint that same miniature. You’re not allowed to change the model, so no converting or re-posing, and it has to be presented on the standard gaming base supplied with the kit. You can add details to the empty areas around the model’s feet if you want to – sand, grass, the odd skull and things that complement the paint job – but no sculpting or other changes are allowed to be made to the base either. It’s all about the painting with this one! The choice of model for 2018 is the Stormcast Eternals Knight-Questor.

What is the Slayer Sword?

The Slayer Sword is the grand prize awarded to the overall best entry of Golden Demon Classic each year. Once the judging of all individual categories is complete, the judges move on to determine which of the gold-winning entries is the best in show. The winner is then awarded an actual sword. Yes, it’s absolutely epic.

What is the Open Competition?

The Open Competition is a separate contest that sits alongside the main Golden Demon categories. Anything goes here; single miniatures and vehicles, dioramas, busts, larger scale miniatures, small armies or themed collections and other types of displays that don’t fit anywhere else.

The Open Competition is the only part of the event where Games Workshop staff may enter and compete with the public. This is your chance to go head to head with some of the world’s greatest sculptors and painters and prove your mettle in one of the toughest settings anywhere in the world! Because it sits separately alongside the main Golden Demon categories, the winner of the Open Competition is not eligible to compete for the Slayer Sword.

What is Youngbloods?

At Golden Demon classic, we have two Youngbloods categories – Youngbloods Single Miniature and Youngbloods Large Model. These two categories are only open to competitors aged 15 years or younger. Both categories are mixed – miniatures from Warhammer Age of Sigmar, Warhammer 40,000, The Horus Heresy, The Lord of The Rings™ and The Hobbit™, Necromunda and Blood Bowl are all allowed to be entered and compete against each other. Remember that you’re only allowed to enter each category once, so choose your models wisely!


We hope that helps clear up any questions you might have had. If you’re still unsure, you can always double check at registration on the day, when you enter your model or drop us a line at [email protected] if you want to be sure in advance.

Who are the Golden Demon judges?

Every year a team of judges are picked from among the very best painters and sculptors at Games Workshop. This year’s team of judges are:

James Anderson – Design Manager

Max Faleij – ‘Eavy Metal Painter

Joseph Tomaszewski – Citadel Miniatures Designer

David Waeselynck – Citadel Miniatures Designer

We’re looking forward to seeing all of your entries at Golden Demon this year – so get painting!

We’ve made the entry form available online for anyone who wants to speed up registration on the day. You can now download and fill one out for each of your entries!


For more info about the competition, click here. And click here for tickets to Warhammer Fest 2018 on the 12th and 13th of May, some of which are still available. See you there!

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