Dienstag, 17. Januar 2012

How to.... win a Golden Demon (Lesson 3: Obey the rules)

If you are new to this series of articles, make sure to read the first and second article, before you go on here.

Today, I would like to talk about the rules of the Golden Demon competition. I will use the German rules to explain my thoughts because I know them better than rules from other countries and I have also learned (the hard way) how strict these rules have to be obeyed.

Many people read the rules, think about them and recognize that they somehow limit space and creativity. Therefore, they decide to brake the rules on purpose and hope not to get caught with it. International forums are full of topics that flame certain Games Days because entries have been banned from the contest. In most cases, these bans are totally ok, because rules have not been obeyed. Those flaming-threads however always refer to creative aspects and artistic freedom. My advice: stop whining and start obeying the rules.

An artist usually looks for inspiration and then tries to bundle it on some kind of surface. A Golden Demon doesn't work this way. Your inspiration, the background of the GW universe and the rules must come together, to create a promising entry. Leaving one of these asprects away, just because it is easier, will kick you of the pedestal. If you can't think this way, a Golden Demon is the wrong contest for you.

Here is some general advice concerning rules:

  1. Never be late to a Games Day. The jury won't care for your reasons.
  2. Use the correct base (GW only). This rule is handled very strict in Germany.
  3. Don't use miniatures or basing material from other manufacturers (specially scibor) for your entrys.
  4. Be polite.
  5. Are team projects allowed? If not, don't even try. (lifetime ban in Germany, if you get caught)
  6. Don't look for ways to expand the rules, the jury won't like it.
  7. If your idea doesn't fit into the rules, modify the idea (not the rules).
  8. Don't mix LotR-bits with regular GW stuff.
  9. Be polite.
  10. If you go to a foreign GD, ask someone from that country to translate the rules for you.
  11. Never enter a winning miniature on another GD.
  12. Only enter what you have painted yourself, the painting community is rather small and will get you.

In my opinion, it is much harder (and more demanding) to take all these aspects into consideration than just following your "style" and doing a miniature on a base you like. I have seen tons of great entrys getting removed to other categories (Single to Monster and Monster do Diorama most often), just because people didn't care for the rules.

This short article might seem rather obvious and redundant but trust me, it is not. For many painters, it seems to be very hard to follow my advice. In 9 out of 10 times, those people won't win a Demon.

Next time, we will talk about about picking the right miniature(s).


Donnerstag, 12. Januar 2012

All and nothing

These days are full of energy, the new year just feels good. I still don't have any time to paint but I take some time to find new inspiration. Here are a few links I would like to share with you. 2012 will be an insane year for those among you who like to visit cinemas on a regular basis.

Let us start with a song (instrumental, if you prefer) and then go on to this and this movie trailer. If you liked the song in the Hobbit trailer, you can listen to it over and over again here (as I do all day long).

The picture on top of this post really grabbed my attention and served as a great inspiration for an upcoming LotR miniature.

I would like to end this little link collection with a meaningful quote:

"May the hair on his toes never fall out!"
                                                                                               Thorin Oakenshield


Mittwoch, 4. Januar 2012

Worldwide Golden Demon dates for 2012

As I just read on Volomirs blog, the Spanish White Dwarf has released the dates for all Golden Demon contests in 2012. Here is the full article. Note, that the French Games Day has moved towards the end of the year, a huge change. Spain will open the Games Day season this year. Here is a list I copied from Volomir, hope you don't mind bro.

      Spain: July 1 (Sunday)
          USA: July 28 (Saturday)
            Germany: August 12 (Sunday)
            Australia: September 9 (Sunday)
            UK: September 23 (Sunday)
            Italy: October 14 (Sunday)
            France: October 28 (Sunday)

        Dienstag, 3. Januar 2012

        How to.... win a Golden Demon (Lesson 2: Clever Decisions)

        I got great feedback for the first article of this series and I am majorly happy that nobody got me wrong so far. As I promised, today we will talk about the best way to pic the right category, when your aim is to win a Golden Demon.

        After reading the first article, you might think of a category that fits best to your painting skills. There might not be an archetype of painter, so it might easily be possible that you find yourself in the upper part of group 1 (Beginner), or maybe in the lower part of group 2 (Advanced). Make clear for yourself, where you are. To be on the safe side, you should think of a bit of understatement (just if you like but way better than hubris).

        The Golden Demon system
        Lets take a look at the Golden Demon system, herefore you can look at the rules in Germany :

        In Germany we have 11 categorys, plus Youngbloods and the Open Category. This makes 39 Demons in total (I count the Youngblood trophies as Demons as well). In contrast to many other painting contests, the Golden Demon does not favor the open system. That means that every other participant competes against you and tries to be among the best three miniatures (or at least what the jury thinks are the best minis...you know what I mean). This k.o.-system, as I like to call it, has drastic effects on the jurys mind. While the jury members in competitions with the open system look for quality and set a certain (subjective) niveau to win a prize, the Golden Demon jury looks for mistakes on a miniature. This way of thinking often results in strange decisions, but thats the way this system works. When 5 minis seem to be rather equal in quality, it is the most simple way to look for things you don't like. Although I reject this way of thinking, we have to be aware of it and draw a conclusion. Whenever you lack motivation, ambition or time, do something else but don't force yourself to paint on a Golden Demon entry. This way, your miniature will definitely not show the best result you can produce and it will be full of mistakes. 99% of miniatures painted this way don't win a Demon, there are to many other painters taking this thing to serious.

        Number of entrys
        Depending on your speed of painting and the time left until the next Games Day, you have to make an important decision. How many miniatures are you going to enter? As I already mentioned in the first article, it is a bad idea to put all eggs in one basket. Going to a Games Day with one entry can easily break your neck, as there are hundreds of painters around who might very well have done something better than you for the same category. Therefore, you should spread your miniatures across at least 2 categories, maybe even more. However, make sure not to overshoot. Entering 11 mediocre entrys will not make you win either. The right number lies somewhere in between. I usually take 3 to 5 entrys to a demon, with a winning rate of about 60%. This rate drops rapidly, when you don't make clever decisions (except you are in group 3).

        The right categories
        Lets fly over the categories we have in Germany:

        • Warhammer 40k Single Miniature: very strong category, recommended to group 2 and 3, hardly ever someone from group 1 wins here
        • Warhammer 40k Unit: takes a lot of time and energy, recommended to group 1 and 2
        • Warhammer 40k Vehicle: hard to say, kind of a lottery; recommended to group 2 and 3
        • Warhammer 40k Monster: same as vehicle
        • Warhammer Fantasy Single Miniature: again very strong, the masters battle here, recommended to group 2 and 3
        • Warhammer Fantasy Regiment: when you do something very ambitious that takes a lot of time, you can win although you are in group 1; group 3 usually won't take part here, although exceptions prove the rule; recommended to group 1 and 2
        • Warhammer Fantasy Monster: lottery again, I have seen very strong but also extremly weak years in this category: recommended to group 2 and 3 and to the brave ones in group 1
        • Duel: This category is often decided by good ideas instead of the best paintjob; recommended to group 1, 2 and 3
        • Diorama: pure lottery, you find Slayer Sword winners here very often, but then again you have years where hardly one good entry can be seen; very time consuming category, when taken seriously; recommended to group 1 and 2 + ambitious guys from group 3
        • Large Scale: in Germany, this category is dying a slow and painful death; recommended to all three groups
        • Lord of the Rings Single Miniature: very strong again, only painting is allowed, no conversions; expect kick-ass miniatures here; recommended to group 2 and 3
        • Open: very hard to say, recommended to all groups
        • Youngbloods: speaks for itself

        Lets sum this up:

        Group 1 (Beginner)
        Go for at least 2 entrys you took a lot of time for, 3 would be even better. Avoid the strongest categories, especially the three Single Miniatures. These categories are very attractive for group 3 painters, as they can produce something on a high level in a short period of time. Go for entrys like units/ regiment, a duel or a diorama. They are way more time consuming, group 3 painters will more often hesitate to do this kind of entry because they could do 3 Single entrys in the same time. However, you have to be patient, willing and motivated to spend a few months for maybe one Golden Demon. Burning ambition is your bonus, make use of it. Don't even try, if you don't feel it.

        Group 2 (Advanced)
        You have the hardest job to do. Maybe you already won a Demon in one of the "group 1 - categories" and aim for something higher. Maybe you won a Demon because you are almost in group 3. Be honest with yourself and choose wisely. I recommend doing some "safe" entrys first, such as a monster for 40k or Fantasy, that takes a lot of time and leads to an awesome result. After that, you can risk something and do  one or two Single entrys. If you wan't to be on the safe side, do a unit or regiment, you will most likely win a Demon when you put enough effort into your miniatures.

        Group 3 (Veteran)
        Chose what you are in the mood for. After 10 or 20 Demons, you stop counting, and your motivation can be at a very low level if you pick the wrong category/ miniature. Your skill allows you, not to think what other painters will do. Try to set the tone. The three Single Miniature categories can be done in a few days/ weeks and grant at least one or two demons. The rest is up to your free time and motivation. Go for something bigger if you aim for the Sword.

        This is it for today, lesson 3 will be called "Obey the rules" and tell you something about to dos and don'ts.

        Again, I would be very happy to read your comments, feedback and your opinion on this topic. I hope it is still going to the right direction.


        Montag, 2. Januar 2012

        How to....win a Golden Demon (Lesson 1: Self-assessment)

        I would like to start a little series of articles I will extend regularly, called "How to....win a Golden Demon". The first reason why I write these lines is because I have heard one question over and over again from young, uprising painters who are eager to win a GW-trophy: "What do I have to think of, when I try to win a Demon?" Instead of telling the lessons I have learned over and over again, I will write my thoughts down and share it with everybody who is interested.

        Before you go on reading, here is a general warning: this series will not tell you how to find your inner peace, nore will it boost your creativity or make you a better person. Maybe the opposite will happen. If you are not interested in winning a Golden Demon at all, please stop reading. This article might annoy you, as it only regards the best strategies to maximize your chance of winning. No other aspects are considered, what does not mean that they aren't important to me. They just aren't subject to this article.

        All that will be written here refers to the rules and habits of the German Golden Demon competition. Note that there still are varying rules in different countries.

        Lesson 1: Self-assessment (or: "Know your weaknesses)
        Before you even think of a miniature you would like to paint, a certain project or a colour scheme, you should be aware of your own weaknesses. Being honest to yourself might be hard and demotivating, but it is an essential part of maximizing your winning chances. If you overestimate your skill, or just aren't willing to think about your level of painting, watching other people winning the trophies might be just as painful.
        In order to judge your skills, you should compare (and learn). The best and fastest way is to check these sites here:

        To make things easy, I would like to think of three groups of painters:
        1) Beginner: knows how to hold the brush, might be the best painter among his friends
        2) Advanced: might have won some local competitions or one to three Demons
        3) Veteran: has won quite a few Demons and knows the business very well

        Lets be honest, about 95% of the people taking part in a Golden Demon consist of painters from group 1 (Beginner) and group 2 (Advanced). However, 95% of the demons go to group 3 (Veterans). In my opinion, this imbalance can be changed dramatically by regarding a few aspects of the Golden Demon winning-system.

        Group 1: Beginner
        You found yourself in group 1? Well, there is something great I would like to tell you: Painters from this group are extremly motivated and eager to win. USE this motivation to create something competitive. While Veterans rely on their skills, you have the emotional aspect on your side. This is by far the strongest power when you are trying to do something great. Note, that motivation alone might still not be enough, when your painting skills are below or way below average. In order to maximize your winning chances, you should follow this rules:
        • try to deliver your best paintjob so far for the Golden Demon this year
        • go to demonwinner and see last years winners from your country, this is the level you should reach
        • don't go for the Single categories, you will not win
        • don't think that last years weak categories will be weak again, the opposite will happen
        • therefore, go for a strong category (except of Single)
        • ever painted a regiment? putting a lot of effort into one entry is something that 99% of the veterans will not do --> this is your chance
        • get in contact with other painters on the internet, share your ideas and learn
        • be humble
        • do more than one entry, leave this game to the veterans

        Group 2: Advanced
        In a dangerous group you are, my friend. Overestimation close is to you, the dark side near is.....and so on, you know what I mean. Once again, be honest to yourself. You have won a Demon already, but what kind of Demon was it? Where you lucky because the other entrys in your category sucked? Then you might still consider yourself in group 1. Was it a clear decision in a strong category? Then you might tend to see yourself in category 3. Here are some rules you might want to think about:
        • don't think you are a pro, try to put as much time as possible into your entrys
        • go to demonwinner and see last years winners from your country, this is the level you should reach
        • try to develop your own style, without doing something that is against the style of GW (we are still trying to win)
        • do some secure entrys first, something time consuming like a regiment or a duel
        • do one entry for Single, try to highly improve on this miniature
        • expect not to win with your Single miniature, instead talk to people who won that category (learn...)
        • your Demon will most likely consist of 50% diligence and 50% skill, lets make it 70% diligence to be sure
        Group 3: Veterans
        Well, what should I tell you? It is you guys who set the tone, so don't be to hard with the other 95%. The good thing I can tell you is that you have both the skill and the experience on your side, on the other hand you will most likely be way less motivated than someone who aims for his first Demon. Some advice for you, if you are reading this article:
        • try to improve with every miniature you paint
        • don't care who won what with some kind of entry last year
        • keep your creativity in the world of Games Workshop, many Veterans fail here
        • obey the rules
        • go for Single Miniature first, do something time consuming in the end
        • OBEY THE RULES

        This is it for today. Lesson two will be called "Clever Decisions" and focus on picking the right categories depending on the group you belong to.

        Please let me know what kind of aspects concerning this topic you would like to read more about. What do you think of this article? Is it worth the time? A pile of junk? Enlightening?