Golden Demon UK 2022 – Warhammer World

Saturday, 1st October 2022 saw the return of Golden Demon to the UK since the last event in 2019 (1,268 days!). 2022 is the 35th year the competition has run (we’ll gloss over those 2-ish years of plague) with 172 events, nearly 6,000 trophies awarded, visiting 4 continents and 10 countries. Painters from across the globe travel to have their chance of taking home one of the coveted demons.

Returning to the halls of Warhammer World the stage was set for what would be an amazing weekend of hobby, miniatures and good friends,

There had been criticism of the venue choice and how that would limit the tickets and attendance. I will get into this later, but most social media rants were proven wrong in my opinion.

The first day of the Golden Demon long weekender started Thursday 29th August. You were able to enter your minis from this day. For both Thursday and Friday, Warhammer World was open to the general public. Myself and most people I knew entering, travelled up on the Friday 30th ready for the weekend ahead.

Entering the main hall on Friday afternoon all the cabinets were set up (all 20 of them) with quite a few entries already sitting in them! After a quick look around at what was there I checked in my entry and headed to Bugmans.

35th Year Anniversary Display

Possibly my favourite part of the entire Golden Demon event was the 35th Anniversary Display of the history of Golden Demon. Multiple cabinets were filled to the brim with previous winning entries, memorabilia, books, the various different trophies and pins!

A few months before the event we were asked for a wish list of what we would want to see at Golden Demon. This was right at the top of my list, bold and underlined! I submitted a long list of names for Games Workshop to get into contact with and see who would be able to add pieces into the collection. What a turn out we had!

A few pieces that I am so happy to have seen and to have been able to see again were:

The Rescue of Sister Joan by Victoria Lamb: Victoria shipping her piece all the way from Australia!! Crazy!

High Elf by Martin Footitt: So happy to have seen this again in person!

Giant Attack by Matt Parkes: This piece embodies everything I think about Warhammer Old World.

The display will be available to view in the Warhammer World Exhibition until the 15th January 2023! Do not miss it!


There were a lot of grumblings on social media about how this Golden Demon wouldn’t have the “level” of previous Demons because X, Y, Z person wasn’t able to attend. As expected, that turned out to be a bunch of sensationalist nonsense with the level of entries being one of the highest I can remember and potentially one of the highest there has ever been!

We saw complete traditional scratch sculpts with Maxime Penaud’s Nurgle Ork or massive conversions from David Soper and Yohan Leduc!

Nurgle Ork by Maxime Penaud – Instagram

The Open Categories saw one of the most heavily fought categories with insane pieces such as the T’au Breacher Bust from Tom Hughes. Not only did he paint this piece, he also sculpted and printed everything himself!

T’au breacher by Tom Hughes

The level of each category was so high that each category had between 10-15 commend entries. Many of these commended entries would have been placed in any other year. The judges had very difficult decisions to make and I do not envy them having to make those choices.

The ultimate goal in Golden Demon is the Slayer Sword. A duel between a Kraken-eater Mega-Gargant and Hydra caught many people’s attention, with lots of reposing and sculpting and mind blowing resin work. A few of us called it for the Sword instantly after seeing the piece. Of course the piece was by the incredible Chris Clayton.

Here is an interview with Chris directly after winning the sword! Hopefully, we will see more images of the entry soon and hopefully, in the green also!

Hobby Pass

Over the Saturday and Sunday a Hobby Pass event was running. You were given one of the Limited Event miniatures, access to a massive pile of sprues and the goal was to build and paint something within one day to enter into the Scrap Demon challenge.

I didn’t personally enter, I was run off my feet the two days, but there were some pretty interesting pieces created by the entrants and something we will see again at Warhammer Fest!


As Sunday arrived, so did the awards ceremony, this is where the adrenaline really starts to pump. As with AdeptiCon, all commended entries were placed on the top shelf. In all previous years only the top 3 ended on the top shelf so you knew if you had placed or not. From what I understand judging went on well into the Saturday night until around 4am on the Sunday morning!

Personally I prefer this new way, keeping the top 3 unknown until their names are announced on the screen makes for a much better ceremony. Celebrating the winners is an important aspect of Golden Demon regardless if you placed or not.

The gaming hall was filled with well over 500 people and during the awards the noise level was insane! You can watch the full awards below:


The whole weekender was a pretty special event, one we will probably never see again and one I won’t forget. We saw 14 brand new demon winners with well over 1000 entries! (with only two Space Marine miniatures placing. Who said you needed to paint a marine to win…)

While I know there were lots of people who did miss out on tickets, in a way I am glad this particular Golden Demon was held at Warhammer World.

Keeping the event somewhat smaller meant the impact it had on the people attending was greater. Had the 35th Golden Demon had been held at a Warhammer Fest I feel it would have been totally overshadowed by everything else going on and forgotten. We would never have had the ability to create the 35th anniversary display and to me that was a very important part.

My only real main criticism of the event would be that there wasn’t really anything to do besides socialising and walking the cabinets. In previous years (even the minis) you would have Studio Staff on site, you could chat with the sculptors, see what the art department is working on and the ‘Eavy Metal team would be there. I feel this was really missing from the event and it left quite a hole. I hope we see all the staff at the next event.


No event is perfect. Golden Demon has had its fair share of issues and drama in the past. This event was no exception. But looking back with 20/20 hindsight is not overly helpful and I would rather come in with ideas of how to improve. I feel most of these issues are unique to just this event so any “improvements” would really only be aimed at Golden Demon as a whole.


The biggest issue was tickets. The chosen venue of Warhammer World meant there would be a hard cap on attendance (from my understanding the venue cap is around 500/600) and this would ultimately mean people would miss out.

Tickets went up on Eventbrite in two waves. One batch on the 1st August and another batch on the 8th August at 7PM in both cases. We all knew tickets would sell out but I do not think any one knew just how fast. The evening of the 1st August at 6:59:55pm I refreshed the page and as soon as the site loaded I was able to purchase my ticket. From adding to the cart to done was about 15 seconds (it was so stressful my watch asked me if I had started a workout!)

The whole first batch was sold out in under 30 seconds and lots of people failed to secure a ticket. This put social media in full rage mode.

Understandably, many people were angry that tickets went “unavailable” almost immediately. Some who did manage to add tickets to the cart also had issues with not being able to actually buy them as they were “sold out” even with them in their carts! Others had issues with the pop up payment window being blocked by a pop-up blockers and on refresh lost their tickets.

Something that caused more issues was the misconfiguration of the Hobby Pass. The way Eventbrite initially presented this was as a separate ticket gaining you entry into the event. This was a mistake. The Hobby Pass was meant to be an Add-On to the Golden Demon Ticket. The way Eventbrite was configured allowed anyone to buy just the Hobby Pass on its own, effectively allowing more people to gain entry than the venue cap would allow for.

After seeing messages shared from Customer Support to people who only bought the Hobby Pass, they were offered a Golden Demon ticket to gain them entry on the Saturday/Sunday or a refund. Now I have no idea how many people only bought the Hobby Pass but I expect it was not a small amount and likely caused the amount of available tickets in the second wave to be significantly less. When the second wave went live on the 8th they sold out instantly.

Lot of these issues are issues of Eventbrite. Personally, I do not like the platform for ticket sales and wish GW would use something else or their own website.


The expectation was that Golden Demon would have been held at the next Warhammer Fest, mostly likely at the NEC as was supposed to happen in 2020. Warhammer Fest is a massive event and from all accounts takes well over a year of planning to get everything into place. The decision to hold a Warhammer Fest or not would have needed to have been made before the end of the last UK lockdown in 2021.

With how chaotic everything was during that time, with threats of another lockdown, choosing to not hold one was probably the best decision made with the information available at the time. Hiring large venues cost a substantial amount and I expect during that time cancellation insurance for events would have been totally insane.

Ultimately the choice was Warhammer World, its home base and an easy venue for GW to control. Everything they need to run the event is there. They can set events up quickly and easily without too much additional staffing.

It basically boiled down to, hold a smaller event and celebrate 35 years of Golden Demon. Or hold no event and wait nearly a full year until the next one. For me, I prefer 50% of something rather than 100% of nothing.

Now this is not to say GW could not have booked a larger venue, they could have. But ultimately I think the logistics of a full event along with the time available to arrange it would have made it pretty difficult if not impossible. We have to also remember Golden Demon is a niche within this hobby, I would question the viability of being able to support a larger venue with Golden Demon without a larger event attached.

From my own personal viewpoint Warhammer World was the best option. I would be saying the same thing had I not secured a ticket.

Promotion of Golden Demon

Now for whatever reason, promotion of Golden Demon officially by GW has always been very minimal and articles posted are very limited. I have never really understood why and have even had lengthy discussions with staff about it.

Golden Demon is the best promotion tool that could be asked for. The best miniatures in the world, painted by some of the best miniature painters in the world! They should be screaming and shouting regularly about it!

There were a total of 4 community posts about UK Golden in the run up. There needs to be more and better promotion going forward. I would like to see:

  • More regular Golden Demon centre Community posts in the run up to a Demon
  • Interviews with previous demon winners and their journey on creating their pieces
  • More White Dwarf articles. Golden Demon hasn’t appeared in a VERY long time.
  • Access to the images. We know images are taken during Golden Demon. Where are they?! Put them out there in a high resolution, not cropped into a tiny low res image. Release all the angles taken, not just a front on image.

Ways to improve Golden Demon

Golden Demon has in some way always been limited, be that tickets or location. The mini demons held between 2015-2018 had very low capacity.

Lots of solutions based on the previous UK one would be somewhat irrelevant now. It was always going to be the case that Golden Demon would return to Warhammer Fest when the next one was held. And it has, Golden Demon returns to Warhammer Fest in 2023.

This specific UK Golden Demon was a one off unique event to celebrate 35 years of Golden Demon. There are a few things that I think would have been better if done differently but it was about as perfect an event you could hope for and one of the best Golden Demons I have been to in a very long time.


Golden Demon has always relied on printed paper entries for model registration. It’s a fairly simple form and pretty quick to fill in, but with the increasing volume of entries happening year after year I think it’s time to move into the modern age with a digital entry form. The paper form should still be an option but ideally a push towards digital should be made.

Have the entry form available and open weeks before the event so people can start to fill in their forms. Use an auto incrementing number so the staff can quickly write the number on the accompanying slip for the cabinet. Have the usual fields, Name, Address, Email, Phone and add a Social link field.

Having rough numbers for how many people/entries there will be I think would be a great help to organise Golden Demon. Plus with this way, no one has to read dodgy handwriting that is illegible and results in wrong spelling of names.


There is no perfect solution for cabinets. While most painting competitions have moved to open tables in tiered rows I don’t think this would work for Golden Demon in the same way as Monte/WME/SMC etc. 

My only suggestion would be for cabinets with more diffuse lights so the miniatures are not blasted and washed out. The layout of cabinets at AdeptiCon/Warhammer World was good.


Before, the most recent events were pretty much held over one day. You entered up to 12PM, judging was finished by 4PM. Awards at 5PM and done.

In more recent events (typically held over the Warhammer Fest weekend) Golden Demon has been extended to cover multiple days. In 2022 AdeptiCon and the UK were over 4 days with both awards happening right at the end of the day. 

A large part of Golden Demon is the social aspect. We painters hide in our rooms, offices and studios until we venture out to events. Looking at miniatures in cabinets is ok, but there is nothing better than talking to painters with a miniature in hand. It is a necessary part of the Golden Demon. 

The awards for Golden Demon in recent years have been much too late on the final day. Personally, they need to happen much earlier in the day to allow for everyone to get their miniatures out of the cabinets, have time to socialise with everyone, get feedback from each other and discuss their pieces!

At the latest Golden Demon there was about 1 hour after the awards until the venue closed due to a later start of the awards and the awards just taking longer than expected. It just wasn’t enough time.

With Warhammer Fest/Golden Demon being held over 3 days in 2023 (29th April – 1st May) I would like to see a more defined schedule for Golden Demon. Perhaps something like the below:

  • 29th April @10AM – Model Entry Opens
  • 30th April @ 12PM – Model Entry Closes/Judging Begins
  • 1st May @ 1PM – Awards

A schedule like this would leave ample time for judging/photography, though it would be entirely dependent on how many miniatures there are to judge/photograph. It would then give a good few hours for everyone to talk to each other with miniatures in hand after the awards.

The schedule would need to be flexible to allow for any issues.


For this Golden Demon (Warhammer World) the judges were kept secret and unnamed. I do think not acknowledging “who” the team was (it’s well known it was ‘eavy metal) was not a particularly  good move. While I understand the reasoning behind this I still think it’s something that needs to be known by competitors and leads to the wash of rumours and whispers that were spread across social media.

I think it’s fine not naming who the judges are (again I understand why this was not done) but it should be noted somewhere in the documentation or a community post (an article about the judging process, what is looked for etc would be great to see happen before an event!) that judging is by “The Studio” or “Eavy Metal Team”. Just some acknowledgement is all that is needed.

Would more Golden Demon events be better?

The short answer is no.

There have always been ideas suggesting having more Golden Demon events to ensure everyone has a chance to take part would be better or having heats throughout the year with a “final” at the end with the winners of the heats.

I strongly disagree with both. We have seen the effects of pushing more events and what it does to the competition. They did not improve Golden Demon and the argument could be put forward they actually hurt the competition more. Heats have not happened since the early 90’s and would undoubtably turn into an organisational nightmare for GW.

Golden Demon is the premier painting event of Games Workshop miniatures. You turn up on the day(s), enter your piece and see how you stack up against the best of the best. This is how it should remain.

Adding more events will see reduced entries in certain categories (a few minis Demons had very few in some categories). It creates Golden Demon burnout and diminishes the prestige of winning a demon by flooding trophies. These are the reasons why the minis no longer exist.

At most 3 would be ideal, so long as they are in different countries. USA with AdeptiCon, UK with Warhammer Fest and I would like to see Golden Demon return to mainland Europe. No more no less.

The future of Golden Demon

Golden Demon has been around for 35 years and will be around many more to come. During that time we have seen huge changes, ups and downs and the competition has evolved into what we see today. From my perspective Golden Demon is in a pretty good place with a return to form. Things can always be improved but improvements take time. Especially with a multi layered machine such as Games Workshop.

The key aspects I would like to see improved for future Golden Demons is: The Promotion, the Registration and the overall Scheduling.