A history of Golden Demon

A full history of Golden Demon the miniature painting competition by Games Workshop. Written by Albert Moreto Font

Researched and written by Albert Moreto Font


The Golden Demon competition is a miniature painting and modelling competition run by Games Workshop. Established in 1987 in the UK, it is the longest running miniature painting competition in the world [1], and has since spread to several countries. Currently, it is held in the United Kingdom, as part of the Warhammer Fest event, and in the United States, as part of the Adepticon convention.

Each year, members of the public bring along miniatures that they have spent weeks, and often months, painting specifically for the competition in the hope that their piece will be painted well enough to be awarded one of the legendary Golden Demon statuettes.

The figures are all put on display―typically in glass cabinets―for the public to admire, whilst a team of judges examine each one of the thousands of miniatures entered, to decide which are most worthy of an award.

There are several categories into which figures can be entered, ranging from a single miniature to whole regiments, and from duels to action packed dioramas. Gold, Silver and Bronze trophies are awarded to the first, second and third places respectively in each category.

The Gold winners of each of these categories are then judged to find out who is the overall winner of that year’s competition. The winner is awarded the Slayer Sword for the miniature considered the ‘Best of Show’. This most prestigious trophy is the highest accolade that any Warhammer figure painter can achieve.

In the past, the winning entrants used to have their prized figures published in Games Workshop’s monthly magazine, White Dwarf, and later in a separate winners booklet that came along with White Dwarf. Today, the winners are published on the Warhammer Community’s website.

Golden Demon has historically allowed Games Workshop to spot hidden talents and bring their skills to the Studio; they have discovered many talented painters and artists as a result and recruited them to the ‘Eavy Metal team [2]. As of 2023, winners are handed a card with recruitment details should they want to pursue a career in the company.


The Origins of Golden Demon

In the early 1980’s, before Golden Demon was created, Games Workshop used to run painting competitions during the Citadel Open Days (initiated in 1984) [3] and the Dragonmeet convention [4] (formerly ‘D&D Day’, initiated in 1977 [5]). However, Games Workshop discovered that some people would enter other companies’ miniatures, and it was from a need to establish a clearly defined set of rules that Golden Demon emerged. [6]

The Golden Demon competition was thus devised by John Blanche, Games Workshop’s Art Director, and Andy Jones, Convention Organiser at the time [7]. Because of the wide variety of Citadel Miniatures that were likely to be entered, a series of definitive categories were established.

The Early Years (1987-1988)

The first Golden Demon was held on 27th June 1987 in Nottingham, UK. Regional heats were organised all over the country in Games Workshop stores and hobby shops as a forerunner to the main event. The entries at this stage of the proceedings were judged by shop staff, with some shops inviting games personalities along as guest judges. [8] The three winners from each heat were invited to the Grand Championship Final in Victoria Leisure Centre, Nottingham. [9]

Judges at the final were John Blanche and Bryan Ansell, and cash prizes of up to £250 were awarded to the winners, with over £3,000 awarded in total.

At the first event there were eight categories, which formed the basis for some of the categories that would become typical of later competitions, such as ‘Single Miniature’ and ‘Diorama’. 

  • Single Character Figure
  • Single Conversion
  • Monster
  • Dragon
  • Single Mounted Figure
  • Diorama
  • Vignette
  • Warhammer Battle Regiment.

The second Golden Demon event in 1988 also followed the format of qualifiers through regional heats, with the Grand Final taking place again in the Victoria Leisure Centre, Nottingham on 30th July 1988. Golden Demon 1988 was again judged by John Blanche and Bryan Ansell. [10]

The 1988 winners were compiled in a book entitled ‘Fantasy Miniatures’, the first of four such volumes (the other three published in 1989, 1990 and 2002).

The Derby Years (1989-1991)

The third Golden Demon event in 1989 yet again made use of regional heats; however, the Grand Final for the first time was held alongside Games Day, which took place at the Assembly Rooms in Derby, on 27th May 1989. Furthermore, Golden Demon was for the first time marketed as an international, not national, painting championship [11]. Cash prizes were still awarded to the winners (£150 for Gold, £80 for Silver, and £40 for Bronze winners), with £1,000’s to be won. [12]

By 1989, categories had expanded from the first event, now including 40k Vehicle, Blood Bowl Team, or Titans. Alongside Golden Demon, the parallel competition ‘Marauder Blade’ was also established, where national heat winners competed for three handcrafted short swords in three categories: Orc Vignette, Dwarf Vignette, and Single Figure [13] (changed to Single Miniature, Regiment, and Vignette in 1990) [14].

The Judging Team was restructured in 1989, and a panel with three judges was established. It was made up of Mike McVey, Phil Lewis and Ivan Bartleet (the previous year’s Slayer Sword winner) [15].

In 1990, Golden Demon and Marauder Blade took place again in Derby on 26th May 1990, but reverted to being run independently from Games Day, and 1990 saw the introduction of a Youngbloods Competition in parallel to Golden Demon, aimed at painters aged 14 or younger. The first Youngbloods Competition was composed of three categories (Single Figure, Monster, and Mounted Figure) [16] with the overall winner being awarded the ‘Youngbloods Axe’. [17]

In 1991, regional heats increased the number of models that went to the Grand Final: the ten best from each GW store, and the three best from each independent stockist. [18]

The judging panel for 1991 was increased to four judges: John Blanche, Mike McVey, Alan Merrett and Rick Priestley. [19]

Golden Demon 1991, the last event that took place in Derby, stopped awarding cash prizes, and after two years of running alongside Golden Demon, Marauder Blade was discontinued.

Consolidation (1992-1994)

By 1992, Golden Demon had grown so much in size and had attracted such a huge following that the competition had to be moved to a larger venue with more space and better facilities. [20] The selected venue was Birmingham NEC, and Golden Demon 1992 took place on 18th April 1992. Although in 1992 regional heats were still in place, independent stockists had been excluded and submissions had to be done solely at official Games Workshop stores. The 10 regional winners (one from each category), who received a Golden Demon badge and a winner’s certificate, went forward to represent their shop in the particular category at the Grand Finals at the NEC. [21]

Albeit originally advertised as taking place in NEC, Golden Demon 1993 was finally celebrated at the Sheffield Arena on 2nd May 1993, preceded by the customary regional heats held at Games Workshop stores throughout the country, and for the first time at Games Workshop stores abroad too (e.g. winners of the heats in Spain were invited to the Grand Finals in the UK). [22]

Golden Demon 1993 was judged in advance, as Games Workshop wanted to better display the miniatures on the day, and not have to keep removing them from the cabinets for photography and examination. The winners from the regional heats were sent to Games Workshop’s Studio in Nottingham, where judging took place. [23] Another peculiarity of Golden Demon 1993 was the introduction of a ‘Veterans Category’, where only previous winners were allowed to enter. This was short-lived as it was removed from the following year’s competition category list. [24]

Golden Demon 1994 saw the return to Birmingham (where it stayed until 2013), this time in the NIA. Golden Demon 1994 was the only Golden Demon in history where no Slayer Sword or other Best of Show trophy was awarded on the day. The winner was however declared so retrospectively more than 15 years later. Golden Demon 1994 also saw the return of the Youngbloods Competition, which had not taken place for several years. It was however limited to just one single miniature category and restricted to only plastic models [25] (expanded to metal miniatures in 1997) [26]. By this point, Mike McVey had become the head judge. [27]

The Games Day Years (1995-2013)

1995 marked a big shift in how Golden Demon was organised. To begin with, it went back to being organised as part of the larger Games Day event, like it had been in 1989, and with the 2022 exception it has stayed like that to this day (now as part of Warhammer Fest, the event that superseded Games Day). Secondly, in the pursuit of a more open structure, it put an end to the regional heats system, [28] and all contestants entered their models directly on the day, another change that has lasted to this day. Golden Demon 1995 was celebrated on 15th October 1995 in the Birmingham NIA. 1995 also saw the introduction of the Open Competition to Golden Demon, today a staple category, and an opportunity to let entrants’ imagination run riot and where Games Workshop staff could also enter. [29] At the beginning, the Open Competition accepted 1:1 scale artefacts to be entered, but these were banned sometime in the mid 2000’s. [30] The Open Competition was a single prize category until 2004. From 2005 Silver and Bronze trophies were added.

Between 1996 and 2013, Golden Demon, by now a well-established competition, continued to take place in Birmingham, either at the NIA or the NEC. In 1996, to modernise the Golden Demon brand, a specific logo was created for the competition, depicting a blue marble slab with golden letters. This logo is still in use today, albeit without the blue backdrop. [31] By 1997, the competition had over 2,500 entries [32] and was judged by Mike McVey, Dave Andrews and Matt Parkes. [33]

The categories by this point had evolved quite a lot from the early days and were very similar to what they are today.

The period between the late 1990’s and mid 2000’s is commonly referred to as the ‘Golden Age’ of Golden Demon by the painting community. This period was characterised by an outburst of creativity and significant advances in painting and modelling techniques, partly due to the absence of other fantasy painting competitions that led to all fantasy painters gathering at Golden Demon. A lot of the winners from those years went on to become professional artists in the miniatures industry, and numerous Youngbloods winners during this period went on to win Slayer Swords in later years.

In 2003, two additional prizes were introduced. One was the Forge World Best of Show, which was awarded to the best painted piece produced by Forge World across all categories. The other one was the Fanatic Morning Star, which was awarded to the best painted model from the Specialist Games ranges. Fanatic Morning Star was dropped from 2004, but the Forge World award continued to be awarded until 2017, after which it was discontinued.

The Warhammer Fest Years (2014-Present)

In 2014, Games Workshop rebranded their premier event from Games Day to Warhammer Fest. Numerous changes were implemented to the event. Firstly, after 21 years of having taken place in Birmingham, Golden Demon left the city and moved to Coventry. Secondly, Warhammer Fest, and by extension Golden Demon, was now an event spanning the whole weekend, whereas hitherto Golden Demon had been a one-day affair. Another important change for the younger entrants was that during this period the age of Youngbloods Competition was raised from 14 to 15.

Starting in the early 2010’s, a tightening of Golden Demon’s rules restrictions, notably in relation to base sizes and no longer permitting scratchbuilt models to be entered, coupled with the advent of alternative fantasy painting competitions, caused Golden Demon to decline significantly in popularity.

By the end of the decade, with Max Faleij as Head Judge, rules had been relaxed to allow for more creativity, insofar as entries still respected the ethos and lore of the Games Workshop universes. Base restrictions were lifted, the need for entries to be game legal was removed, and scratchbuilt models were allowed again. This led to a resurgence in popularity of the competition, which is today back in full health as proven by great attendances and participation in the post-pandemic events. The period of 2020-2021 saw the cancellation of Golden Demon due to the Covid19 pandemic (the only time, together with 2015, when Golden Demon has not been celebrated in the UK since its inception).

In 2022 Golden Demon returned after a 3-year hiatus and was held as a standalone event (which had not happened since 1994) at Games Workshop’s Warhammer World in Nottingham. Alongside Golden Demon, an exhibition celebrating the 35th anniversary of the competition was also organised, showcasing winning entries from past editions.

In 2023 Warhammer Fest and Golden Demon moved to Manchester for the first time. It was the largest Golden Demon to have ever taken place, at least in terms of infrastructure, with more cabinets than ever before. Single miniature categories boasted around 400 entries each.

In September 2023, Games Workshop announced changes in the categories, bringing back classics from the 1990’s like Necromunda or Blood Bowl, but also merging fan favourites such as Duel with Diorama.

Today, the UK competition’s judges are selected from Games Workshop’s ‘Eavy Metal painting team members, but are kept confidential.


Throughout the years, Golden Demon competitions expanded to nine more countries in Europe, America, and Asia-Pacific, and were introduced in the following order: the USA (with multiple competitions across the country), Canada, France, Australia, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland and Japan. 

The period between 2003 and 2008 was the one with the greatest number of Golden Demon competitions held in a natural year, with up to 11 competitions celebrated all over the world. 

In some of the International Golden Demon competitions, such as in France or Spain, the Open Competition was considered a category of Golden Demon and not a separate competition. The winner of the Open category was therefore a contender to win the Slayer Sword―which indeed happened many times. In these cases, an additional ‘Staff’ category was put in place so that Games Workshop employees would be able to enter, and which was not eligible for the Slayer Sword.

By 2013, all international Golden Demon competitions had been cancelled by Games Workshop, and the competition continued to take place solely in the UK (except for a brief return of Golden Demon in Germany in 2018) until Golden Demon was brought back to the US in 2022, after a hiatus of 9 years.

Currently, the competition takes place only in the UK and the US, with one competition in each country. 

USA & Canada

The US and Canadian Golden Demon competitions were established in 1991. Two Golden Demon competitions were celebrated in the US, and one in Canada. These were held in the Laurel (Maryland), Santa Monica (California), and Toronto (Ontario) Games Workshop stores on 25th May 1991. [34] The following year, in 1992, the US and Canadian Golden Demon competitions were celebrated jointly at the Baltimore Games Workshop store. [35]

From 1993 onwards, Golden Demon was combined with Games Day. Games Day US continued to take place in Baltimore [36] until 2010. In 2002 a second US Games Day was introduced in Chicago. In 2003 a third one in Los Angeles, and in 2004 a fourth one in Atlanta, all with their respective Golden Demon competitions. 

From 2004 to 2007, some of the US Golden Demon competitions had as many as up to four categories dedicated exclusively to Games Workshop staff, unlike every other Golden Demon worldwide, where these could only enter either the Open Competition or one sole dedicated category.

Due to the distance people had to travel to get to Games Day in the US, the event stretched over two days. [37] However, Golden Demon took place only on a Saturday, with the Awards Ceremony taking place on that afternoon. [38]

The situation with four US Games Days continued for four years, and from 2008 they were gradually dropped one by one. In 2013 only one Games Day and Golden Demon took place in the US, in a new location in Memphis. The next 8 years saw no Golden Demon take place in the American continent until its return to Chicago in 2022 as part of Adepticon.

In the American Golden Demon, judges typically were the members from the Design Studio that had been invited to attend the American Games Day. For example, in 1996 the judges were Jervis Johnson, Aly Morrison and Robin Dews. [39]

Meanwhile, in Canada, Golden Demon returned to Toronto (Mississauga) in 2001, ten years after the first edition, and it continued to be celebrated as part of Games Day Canada until 2009.


France was the second European country where Golden Demon was celebrated. The first Golden Demon in France took place in 1997 in Paris, [40] alongside the French Games Day. It continued to be celebrated in Paris, and later in nearby Saint-Denis, until 2012.

The French Slayer Sword winner was invited to be part of the judging panel in the following year’s Golden Demon. This was perceived as the highest honour by competitors. 

During some years, like in 2006, previous Slayer Sword winners were only allowed to enter the Prestige Category to make room for new faces on the podiums.

The French Golden Demon was widely regarded to be the one with the highest level together with the British Golden Demon. It welcomed and celebrated scratchbuilt models more so than any other Golden Demon, and implemented abidance to the lore with more elasticity than in Britain, where this was controlled more strictly. 


Golden Demon was introduced to Australia in 1998, and it took place in Darling Harbour Convention Centre, Sydney alongside Games Day Australia, until 2004. [41]

Between 2005-2010 the system was modified, and Golden Demon was run through qualifiers in store rounds. The best three in each category in each store gained a place in the regional finals, and the best three from the regionals in each category gained a place in the national finals, which took place at Sydney’s Games Workshop flagship store.

Starting in 2007, the Australian Golden Demon included an ‘Intermediate’ category. This category was open to painters aged 15–17 (and later 18) and combined both Warhammer Fantasy and 40,000 miniatures. 

From 2010, the Australian Golden Demon also included the ‘The Lost Demon’ category, which only accepted models manufactured between 1977 and 1999.

In 2011 regional heats were still in place, but the finalists were taken to Games Day, which had been reintroduced in the country. This was reminiscent of how Golden Demon had originally been run in the early days in the UK.

2012 was the last Australian Golden Demon, and it was celebrated at Games Day without regional heats.


Golden Demon was introduced to Germany in 1999, as part of Games Day Germany. It was celebrated in Cologne, and it continued to be held there until 2013. Like in France, the Slayer Sword winner in Germany was invited as judge the following year. Golden Demon briefly returned to Germany in 2018 as part of Warhammer Fest Europe. It took place in Dusseldorf.


In 2000, Golden Demon was introduced in Spain. It was celebrated in Barcelona, where it continued to be held until 2012, except for years 2009-2011 when it took place in Madrid.

Until 2003, Golden Demon Spain only awarded Gold trophies, a single winner per category with three or four finalists who were awarded a certificate.

In 2004, Silver and Bronze trophies were introduced but only for three categories (Single WFB, Single WH40k, and Open). It was not until 2006 that the full gamut of three trophies per category was fully implemented in the Spanish competition. Because of this, the total number of Golden Demon trophies awarded in Spain is relatively low in relation to the number of Golden Demon competitions that were celebrated in the country. 


Golden Demon was introduced to Italy in 2002 as part of the Italian Games Day. It continued to be celebrated in the country until 2013, after which the event was dropped as part of Games Workshop’s cancellation of Games Days worldwide.

Golden Demon Italy was celebrated in Milan until 2006, and thereafter in Modena until its last event.


Golden Demon took place in Poland in 2007 and 2008, in Warsaw and Poznan respectively. As opposed to all other Golden Demon competitions, and until the arrival of Golden Demon as part of Adepticon, Golden Demon Poland was the first and only Golden Demon that was organised as part of an event not run by Games Workshop. In 2007, Golden Demon was celebrated as part of the Polcon convention, and in 2008 it was celebrated as part of the Poznan Game Arena (PGA) convention.


Like in Poland, Golden Demon was celebrated only two years in Japan, in 2012 and 2013. It was run as a standalone event, and it took place at Games Workshop’s Japan Headquarters in Jimbocho, Tokyo.

Golden Demon Japan was very poorly attended, and was one of the smallest Golden Demon competitions to have ever taken place.

Because of Japanese legislation, Games Workshop wasn’t allowed to award a sword to the Best of Show winner, and instead of awarding an alternative trophy, the winner received a cardboard cut-out with a printed Slayer Sword, becoming an internet meme among the painting community.


In 2015, under the initiative of Alan Merrett, who had been Head Judge at Golden Demon throughout the mid-2000’s, a number of smaller, themed Golden Demon competitions were introduced, in addition to the regular Golden Demon competition. The first one was ‘Golden Demon Tanks’ which took place on 1st August 2015.

These competitions, which came to be popularly known as ‘Mini Demons’ took place exclusively at Warhammer World in Nottingham, except for 2016 when it took place in the Netherlands as part of the European Open Day. 

‘Mini Demons’ consistently suffered from extremely poor attendance, sometimes with only three entries per category, guaranteeing a win to the entrants by just attending. This created tensions within Games Workshop’s Studio as well as amidst fans of the competition, who heavily criticised the ‘Mini Demons’ for grossly adulterating the significance of winning a Golden Demon trophy or a Slayer Sword.

In 2017, in an attempt to quell the criticisms, Games Workshop tried to reinforce the difference between the ‘Mini Demons’ and the normal Golden Demon by relabelling the latter as ‘Classic Golden Demon’ and announced that in order to differentiate the Classic Slayer Sword from the ones awarded at the ‘Mini Demons’, the former would be coated in gold. This however never happened, and the 2017 winner was awarded a conventional steel Slayer Sword.

Given the relentless discontent from the public, ‘Mini Demons’ were eventually cancelled after 2018, and they remain a dark era in the collective imagination of the competition. 


Golden Demon Statues

When Golden Demon was established, Games Workshop wanted their own awards to present to the worthy winners, and decided to use an impish, horned demon figure posed with its arms crossed over its chest, reminiscent of the Oscars.[42] It was called Golden Demon, namesake of the competition. 

The trophy has developed over the years, with six different iterations since its inception.

  • The first version of the trophy (awarded 1987-1992) was designed by Nick Bibby. It was cast in metal, measured around 5cm tall, and was electroplated in Gold, Silver and Bronze, with marble (and later wooden) bases with an engraved plate. [43]
  • The second version of the trophy (awarded 1993-1997), also cast in metal, was similarly sized to the first version and was coated in the same fashion, but the statue itself was an updated sculpt by Trish Morrison.
  • The trophy was completely redesigned for its third iteration (awarded in 1998). Sculpted by Forge World sculptor Craig Davidson, [44] the statue was made much larger (over 20cm) and was cast in resin instead of metal. Games Workshop stopped electroplating the trophies and started painting them in the respective awarding colours. The cylindrical black base was a separate element from the actual demon statue, which proved problematic as the statue was prone to becoming detached. 
  • This was solved in the fourth iteration of the trophy (awarded 1999-2002), which kept the same design but casted the entire trophy in one single piece.
  • The fifth version (awarded 2003-2019) was again the same design but replaced the cylindrical base with a square one, to make it easier to attach the labels on a flat surface.
  • The sixth and current version (awarded 2022-present) is a brand-new statue, sculpted by Seb Perbet. The statue and the base are again two separate parts, and detaching problems have occurred. For the first time, the Gold trophy is different in shape from the Silver and Bronze, with longer horns to symbolise the greater accolade. 

In the US Golden Demon, Citadel miniatures coated in Gold, Silver and Bronze were awarded instead of a Golden Demon statue during some years in the mid-1990’s. These were selected from the appropriate ranges (e.g. a Dreadnought for 40k vehicle, Morg´N´Thorg for Blood Bowl, etc.)

Until 1990, cash prizes were also awarded in the UK to the winners alongside their trophies.

Slayer Sword

The Slayer Sword is a two-handed leafblade broadsword, and it is awarded to the overall winner of Golden Demon, selected from among the Gold winners of each category.

For twenty years, from 1987 until 2007, the Slayer Sword was a finely crafted, sharp, authentic blade, around 125cm long to the tip of the pommel. The first Slayer Sword (1987) was forged by Pendragon Armourers of Chesterfield, and from 1988 until 2007 the Slayer Sword was forged by Raven Armoury of Essex, except in 1995, when it was forged by Hodgsons Forge of Norfolk.

From 2008 until present, the Slayer Sword is an industrial replica sword with blunt edges, of unknown origin.

Slayer Swords for the International Golden Demon competitions were manufactured by a variety of companies, with varying degrees of quality and authenticity. 

Outside Europe, a number of alternative trophies have on occasion been awarded in place of the Slayer Sword: Imperial Ultramarine Commander Lord Macragge’s Helmet (USA 1992), [45] Slayer Axe (Chicago 2002), Slayer Shield (Australia 2004), and paper Slayer Sword (Japan 2012).

Open Competition and Youngbloods Competition Trophies

The Open Competition and Youngbloods Competition are separate competitions running alongside Golden Demon. They are not eligible for the Slayer Sword and are awarded different trophies to the Golden Demon legendary statue. Winners of the Open Competition receive a wooden plaque with a relief of the Citadel castle in Gold, Silver or Bronze finishes. Winners of the Youngbloods Competition receive a trophy featuring a night goblin bust, also coloured with the respective metal. 

Finalists and Commended Entries

At both Golden Demon, the Open Competition and Youngbloods Competition, there are two further levels below the podium. Finalist pins are awarded to everyone who makes the first cut, while Commendations (in the form of a black Commended Card with embossed golden letters) are awarded to any entry in contention for the top three places. 


At least from 1995 [46] and until 2019, after judges had completed the First Cut and Commended qualifiers, the top 3 winners in each category were separated from the rest of the entries and placed in a separate winners cabinet or on the top shelf of the display cabinets. In later years, this led to waning attendances at the awards ceremony, as some of the entrants who had not placed in the top three would collect their miniatures and go back home. 

In 2022 this was revised, and the three winners are now not separated from the rest of commended entries. During the awards ceremony, all commended artists for each category are called on stage, after which the top three winners are announced. This is done to celebrate the efforts of all commended painters, irrespective of whether they end up winning one of the trophies or not.

At the end of the awards ceremony, all Gold winners are called back on stage, after which the Slayer Sword is awarded for the best painted miniature in the competition. Following an incident in the 2006 awards ceremony when the winner cut his fingers on stage while holding the sword aloft, since 2007 the winner has been asked to put on a chainmail glove before lifting the sword. In practice, this is unnecessary as the current Slayer Sword is not a sharpened blade.

Until the late 2000s, all Golden Demon winners were invited to Games Workshop in Nottingham and were given a tour of the Studio, and were taken better pictures of the awarded miniatures. This is not done anymore. 


Starting from 2024, the Golden Demon Category List has been announced to be as follows: [47]

  1. Warhammer 40,000 Single Miniature
  2. Warhammer 40,000 Unit or Kill Team
  3. Warhammer 40,000 Large Model or Vehicle
  4. Age of Sigmar Single Miniature
  5. Age of Sigmar Unit or Warcry Warband
  6. Age of Sigmar Large Model or War Machine
  7. Middle-Earth
  8. The Horus Heresy
  9. Warhammer Underworlds
  10. Necromunda
  11. Blood Bowl
  12. Epic Scale
  13. Diorama and Duel
  14. Youngbloods Competition
  15. Open Competition


  • All models entered must have been produced by Games Workshop (including all Citadel Miniatures, all Forge World releases, and any other specialist game produced by Games Workshop). Conversions (using components from Games Workshop kits) and scratchbuilt entries are allowed as long as they are in scale and set thematically within one of Games Workshop’s worlds or universes.
  • Entries may be mounted either on a gaming base or a display base of appropriate size.
  • Entries must be registered on the day, by the person who painted them – no one else can hand your entry in for you.
  • Each participant may only enter each category once, but as many categories as they want.
  • Each entry must have an accompanying entry form filled out and handed in at registration. This can be downloaded in advance, but will also be available at the event.
  • Entries that didn’t place (a Gold, Silver or Bronze trophy) in any previous Golden Demon competition may be entered again.
  • Entry to any of the competitions gives Games Workshop the right to photograph and publish details of models entered as they see fit. [48]


Overall, the judges look for well-painted models that adhere to the imagery and ethos of the worlds represented in the fictional worlds of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000. The judges look for many different qualities in a winning entry, including technical skill, atmosphere, consistency in quality, and how well the entry fits in Games Workshop’s different worlds and universes.

Entries do not need to be game legal. Judges look for narrative and descriptive pieces that bring the worlds of Warhammer to life.

The painting isn’t just about technical prowess, but about applying it with care. The judges have no set preference when it comes to style. [49]


  • At the end of the 1998 film ‘Enemy of the State’, Robert Clayton Dean’s son is seen reading about Golden Demon in a White Dwarf magazine.
  • American actor and singer Ansel Elgort has won three Golden Demon trophies in the US.


An honours board of all Slayer Sword winners is maintained at Games Workshop’s Warhammer World exhibition centre in Nottingham.

As of 2023, 162 classic Slayer Swords have been awarded to 106 distinct painters. 

Todd Swanson is the only painter to have ever won 5 Slayer Swords, all of them in the US. 

Matt Parkes is the only painter to have won 4 Slayer Swords in Europe, all of them in the UK. Chris Borer and Glen Lamprecht also won 4 Slayer Swords each, in the US and Australia respectively.

The youngest Slayer Sword winner as of 2023 is Iago Pineda, who won the 2004 Spanish Slayer Sword aged 15, just one year after winning Youngbloods.

UK 1987 – 2023 Sword Winners


[1] Golden Demon Guidelines 2023

[2] WD212

[3] Citadel Journal 2

[4] Citadel Journal 3

[5] Dice Men

[6] Fantasy Miniatures 2002

[7] WD93

[8] WD93

[9] WD88, WD91

[10] WD105

[11] WD110

[12] WD115

[13] WD112, WD113

[14] WD125

[15] WD115

[16] WD127

[17] WD123

[18] WD134

[19] WD139

[20] WD144

[21] WD145

[22] WD159

[23] WD161

[24] WD156

[25] WD169

[26] WD210, WD218

[27] WD174

[28] WD187

[29] WD185

[30] Golden Demon Guidelines 2014

[31] WD197

[32] WD210

[33] WD216, WD218

[34] WD136

[35] WD146

[36] WD158

[37] WD215

[38] WD232

[39] WD201

[40] WD214

[41] WD223, WD297

[42] Fantasy Miniatures 2002

[43] WD93

[44] WD226

[45] WD146

[46] WD212

[47] https://www.warhammer-community.com/2023/09/22/golden-demon-2024-returns-to-adepticon-and-its-bigger-and-better-than-ever/

[48] Golden Demon Guidelines 2023

[49] Golden Demon Guidelines 2023