The post is to try and help people answer the question “should I go to Warhammer Fest”. I’m hoping I can give enough information to help anyone that has the opportunity to go to make an informed decision.
So I haven’t posted anything for AGES! For reasons that will become apparent later in this post. This may seem like its an out of character non-hobby post… but bare with me, first I’m going to say how I came to decision to go to Warhammer Fest, then I’ll talk about what my experiences were…
(For pics of cool minis, skip the text and the conclusion, skip right to the end. Otherwise enjoy the post!)
Why did I go to Warhammer Fest?
- Around this time last year I started using Twitter so that I could promote the Blog. However I came to discover this really cool community of people there and made a whole bunch of friends. So the first reason I considered going was to hang out with some of those people.
- While I was considering which model to start working on next, I was toying with finishing a big project that I’d neglected for about 18 months. One of the hobbyists goaded me into trying to get that project ready to enter into the Golden Demon competition.
That pretty much sealed the deal. I had a deadline to try to finish a project (which helps focus me and actually finish them) and I had a solid reason to go. I didn’t expect to win anything (that’s insane), but I knew I would feel ashamed to put my models in a cabinet next to the other great entries if it wasn’t up to scratch. So my goal was to get my mini to a standard where it didn’t look out of place and got some cabinet time. Oh and I decided to give the Mors Machina a day out as well for its good behaviour too.
It was £20 for a ticket, and there would be different hobbyists going on the different days. The main event differences between the two days seemed to be, that Saturday would run 10 – 6 and have previews and announcements, Sunday would run 10 – 4 and would announce the Golden Demon winners. So the choice was easy for me, go on Sunday.
…but I went for 2 days.
While I was waiting for the 12th of May to come, from the 27th of March to the 31st of March was Adepticon over in Chicago and my Twitter feed was abuzz with people enjoying themselves at that huge Convention. I have entertained the idea of saving up to go… which will be an expense in excess of £1000, so why wouldn’t I pay an extra £70-£80 to go to Warhammer Fest and try to see some more people? So I organised a hotel and bought a ticket for Saturday as well. All I really wasted was £3 buying the two tickets separately and the additional of about £10 – £15 cost of a booking a hotel a bit late. Not much when compared to the potential cost of attending Adepticon.
Also worth noting is that early ticket sales also had a very limited number of “Golden Tickets”, these were £70 for two days, included a goodie bag with the Event only Primaris Marine in (worth £20). So basically, no queuing for £10 if you wanted to attend both days anyway.
Day 1: The Saturday
Ok so, I got a lift there on the Saturday with fell blogger Warbringer and we arrived around 9:50, the Doors would open at 10.
We followed the queue around the back of the stadium, and queued for about an hour to get in. The main hall had the store, Video games, card games, specialist games, displays and a speed painting and building for fun.
Once we went in I headed for the Seminar ticket queue. I’d heard that those things went fast and I didn’t hold out much hope for getting into one, especially with the hour of queuing ahead of my arrival. Thankfully the queue that was there moved very quickly and upon getting to the desk I discovered that all of the previews had sold out. I wasn’t interested in the previews though and it turned out there were still plenty of tickets available for every other seminar that day, and you were allowed to a single ticket for as many separate seminars as you wanted.
The Pods were just drop in, open talks that were a much smaller scale and up in the same room as all the designers and Golden Demon entries. I didn’t end up attending any of these as I just forgot about them, which i regret as some of them did interest me.
The first people I bumped into after getting my wrist bands for 3 seminars were the lovely guys of Sprues and Brews on my way to pick up some event exclusive merchandise for some people who had put in requests. To my surprise (after a pretty bad issue with scalpers buying up the novel Solar War for selling on) we were allowed to buy any amount of each event exclusive item.
It wasn’t long before I also found @Arsnictyphoon and @Leakycheese. After a bit of socialising I went off to hand in my Golden Demon entries, so I entered Mors Machina… and realised I hadn’t QUITE finished the other entry, so I took it back downstairs and touched it up near the speed painting tables… then took it back up “completed” and entered the Tyranid Heirophant too…
After I got those in I went to a few seminars and got some lunch in between
The seminars I attended were:
- The Science of Paint
- Creating Dioramas
- How to win a Golden Demon
I did enjoy the seminars. The Science of paint gave us a glimpse into the process of their paint development (including an interesting explanation as to why their black undercoat is always great but the white undercoat is very temperamental), and introduced their new paint range “Contrast”. The Diorama Seminar was OK but was was less helpful as it was just about their process which you could probably guess most of. The Golden Demon Seminar was also pretty cool, a bit of insight into pitfalls to avoid for the competition, but also just really helpful advice on how to make a really nice, presentable, display, mini.
By the time I was done with those it was around 4pm and I was pretty exhausted… and I realised there were two whole display rooms I hadn’t seen. There was the one that was dedicated to the introduction of the “contrast” paints, where you got to sit down and practice with the range on some free models and get advice from the staff, including new Warhammer TV presenter Nick Bayton. I had a quick look around the display cabinets of example minis and then we headed upstairs to the room I had been in TWICE to enter models into golden demon… but hadn’t actually looked at anything. We had a quick walk around the designers, looking at the stuff they had on display, but largely stuff I had seen at Warhammer world before and a walk around the Golden Demon cabinets… which you could’t really get close to, it was like a busy bar. I did bump into Blackbearedminiatures from Instagram who created the very awesome Beast that my Heirophant shared a cabinet with. He was a really nice guy and very interesting character.
Time soon went by and it was about 5pm, so myself and a couple of friends went to the restaurant in the atrium for some food and shot off before 6 to our respective hotels, concluding day 1 of Warhammer Fest. I was SO spent… I had a bit of a headache, probably from not drinking enough and I was so tired. I think I may have overdone it on the first day trying to cram too much in. That being said I did have a fun day and I was glad I got the extra ticket. More importantly this set me up well for the following day which I intended to consciously make a lot more relaxed.
Day 2: The Sunday
As I stayed in a hotel over night and didn’t have to make a long journey to the venue, I went there nice and early. My friend @_Ritual was my lift from the hotel and we decided to get there very early so we could be near the front of the queue. We arrived about 8:10am, two hours before they would open (yet there were still about 20 people in front of us)… but the weather was nice and we chatted, the time felt like it passed quite quickly.
The only real downside for myself arriving so early was that I’m not a smoker and the people around us in the queue were, and it is the nature of a queue that you cant really leave it for any length of time.
As it was nearing time to go in and a small queue of Gold Ticket holders had also accumulated… which to me seemed weird, why would you turn up early if you had a Golden Ticket? They went in maybe 10 minutes before the rest of us, but that was seemingly irrelevant, because its not like they had any longer in the main hall than we did. You see they let them into the Atrium early, maybe 9:40… then we got to go into the Atrium at about 9:50… where there was a second queue to go into the main hall. So no one got to go into the main hall before 10, and Having a Golden Ticket just put you at the front of that queue. So What I got from this experience is that the extra £10 for the Golden Ticket is to let you have a lie in bed and save you standing for 2 hours. if you don’t mind getting up early and standing in the queue, save yourself £10 (I may try to get a Golden Ticket in the future should they do it again just in case the weather is a lot worse on the day).
This was the list of Seminars for the Sunday
Today was going to be my chill out day though, so no rushing around Seminars today. I didn’t queue again to get in the main hall with everyone else when they let us into the Atrium, I headed straight upstairs to the Golden Demon entries and it was bliss. The cabinets were only half full as most entries were arriving on the Sunday, but still I was one of about 5 punters in the whole room and I got to take pictures of loads of the entries without having to squeeze past anyone.
As I said, at this point the cabinets weren’t even half full, so many more entries poured in and the standard of all the minis was fantastic, a really pleasure to look through them as you can see the GW team’s work any time at the Warhammer World museum, but these cabinets housed an array of work from all kinds of hobbyists that have different styles and interests. every single year the display will be different and only on display for that event. Very cool.
After I went around those I had a wander around the designers and artists, looked at the draw and sketch. I also had a nice chat for about 20 minutes with Seb Perbet, a Mini Designer, with no specific idea that I would talk to him. We got chatting and it became apparent we were the same age and got into the hobby at around the same time. I went from thinking I would have nothing to talk to the designers about, to having such a nice talk that as I walked away from the table I realised my face was aching from smiling so much.
The other thing I noticed once I turned around was the difference between being in the room at 10:00am and being in there at 10:30am…
I was really glad I went in there first.
The rest of the day I spent catching up with more hobbyists including but not limited to…
…most of whom I hadn’t met before so it was really cool to get a chance to hang out and chat with them after our various interactions over social media.
I also managed to have a go at the speed building table. you got to keep what ever you built and I saw people had been making scenery… so obviously I thinking “woo hoo, free scenery!”… unfortunately it turns out that early in the event on the saturday, they are very generous with their sprues as they have so many… and last thing on sunday, they are also very generous as they want to get rid of it all. In between though… while I was there, they don’t want to run out too early so our table had almost no scenery and a lot of minis I thought I would never use. Never mind, beggers can’t be choosers! I made a load of Khorne AoS humans and decided I could use them as the basis of a Bloodbowl team.
By now it was coming up to 2:30pm, my lift home was itching to go as he was pretty tired and had done everything he wanted to do, all that was left was to pick up our Golden Demon entries. Originally we were told by staff that we could pick up the entries that qualified to the finalist stage at 3pm (and both of us had a mini that did!). But then we found out that the judging had finished early and we could pick up our models early. I had intended to get feedback for my model that had not qualified, but we would have to wait until after the winners had been revealed at 3:30 and then presumable queue with all the other people hoping for feedback. Looking at the prospect of waiting over another hour to do that, we decided to just head off early and that was that… We finally went home.
I had a great time, even though probably did too much on the first day as I was so burnt out by the end of it. I’m definitely glad I went both days so that I could see all those great people and not have to rush around too much. There were tonnes of freebies from the bits the handed out on entry, to badges and post cards at stands and minis from the painting and building events. There was also the easy opportunities to speak to artists, designers or even the Warhammer TV personalities about the place, and there was also a book signing.
Is it worth going?
Well that depends on what you want from the event. The social focus was important for me but I understand that for most people they are probably travelling with the people they want to spend the day with. If I took that aspect out there was probably no need for me to do both days. So here are some tips based on my experience.
Going for 1 day
- If you want to see displays, go on the the day of the Golden Demon awards.
- If you want to see the displays easily or get seminar seats go EARLY.
- If you want Exclusive Merchandise, go on the Saturday, they were sold out of some stuff by Sunday.
- If you only want the Exclusive Merchandise, just ask someone who is there anyway to get some if you can, the queues were so fast it wouldn’t put anybody out.
- If you want to Attend Seminars, plan well… they will eat into your day.
Going for 2 days
- If you don’t like getting up early or queuing, get a Golden Ticket early on. This year, with the included mini the ticket was only £10 extra to allow you to skip to the front of the queue.
- Its easy to over stretch yourself. If you want to try everything, don’t do too many seminars.
- If you are entering Golden Demon, this year you could display it from the Saturday and give your minis a bit more display time.
I hope that some of you found this either interesting or useful. I’m Pretty sure that I will make this a bit of an annual pilgrimage unless another big event gets the priority of my finances. If you get the chance, go at LEAST once just to try it, it doesn’t cost the earth and it could be a lot of fun!
Oh I did say I would explain my absence too. Every night for the last month and a half I have been working on one of my Golden Demon entries, The Tyranid Heirophant.
~Pandora’s Bitz Box~
(a note on gaming, I think this year they decided that people weren’t getting enough time to join in the rest of the event so they ran smaller games over the 2 days. I didn’t attend any of these so I cant give a an account of how they ran, but here was the itinerary for those games)