Reminiscing: The Day I Won My First Golden Demon

Ok, I have to admit that the title of this post is a bit misleading.  The nomenclature of “golden demon” can certainly imply the first place prize of “a golden demon,” so I apologize if anyone came here believing that was what I was referring to.

Since the inception of Games Day and the Golden Demons, I’ve colloquially referred to all of the demons (be them bronze, silver, or gold) as “golden demons.”  If you believe otherwise, the title of this post should really read: “Reminiscing: The Day I Won My First Silver Demon,” because, alas, I’ve never won a golden one.

I remember looking at White Dwarf magazine back in the day, and ogling the various paint jobs by the ‘Eavy Metal team (in particular, those by Mike McVey).  Every year, they’d also come out with a breakdown of the Golden demons that we’d aspire to be in one day.

RoiGoldenDemon2nd7For those of you not in the know, Golden Demons are a name that is collectively given to the painting competition at Games Workshop’s “Games Day” series of events.  They’re broken into a series of categories (40k, Fantasy, etc.) and each of those are divided up into further subcategories (Single model, Large model, Squad, etc.)  For each of those subcategories, prizes are awarded to the best painted model(s) in the form of first (golden), second (silver), and third (bronze) places.  Furthermore, a single “best in show” is given out to the best overall model, and it’s owner receives the covered “slayer sword,” which is an actual sword to take home.

Games Day is still a thing (I think), but it has a greatly reduced footprint from back in the day–I can’t say for certain as I’ve never been to one.  I do know that GW used to sponsor such events all around the US and the rest of the world.  The US itself had Memphis, Chicago, Atlanta, LA, & Baltimore–and maybe more.  The last of those, Baltimore, is where I believe that they still may be hosting a single Games Day (or perhaps it’s in England? You can find out more on this page:  Whatever the case, if you don’t already have one of these trophies, suffice it to say that this is a pretty difficult thing to acquire.

Not that it was an easy thing previously.  Heck, I’ve been playing these games/painting models since high school, so 1995/1996ish and I didn’t win my first one until 2014–and that was only a silver demon.  Though, when it rains, it pours, and I wound up winning another less than a month after taking home the first one.

So why haven’t I mentioned this before?  You would think that being a Golden Demon award winning painter is something that one would be very proud of, right?   Well, I guess there are a variety of reasons, including:

  1. wh39kGoldenDemon (1)While I’m all for being proud, I’m not the sort to throw things in other people’s faces.  In my professional life, I’m in Information Technology (IT)–which means “computers” to most people–and I’ve earned a fair number of certifications.  Some people frame them and hang them in their office, or label them after their name on their business cards.  I think that’s all a little too pompous for my likes.  I figure that when you talk to me, you’ll realize whether or not I know anything–regardless of what letters I have after my name.  I guess the same thing applies to painting.
  2. I haven’t had them for that long.  I mean, I’ve wanted one for over twenty years, and I haven’t had these for even a full year.
  3. It really doesn’t seem like that much of an accomplishment.  Sure, it really was the pinnacle of achievement in the miniature painting world for several decades, but the level of effort I expended wasn’t really worthy of getting a trophy.  I mean, how hard is it to bid on an auction anyway?

ROIGoldenDemon2011Oh, did I fail to mention that I “won” my golden demons on Ebay?  Hopefully I hadn’t lead you to believe otherwise!

I always wanted to have one before, and never thought it was achievable, so when I grew up and got disposable income, why not drop some cash on a memento of history?  Sure, it won’t mean anything to anyone else, but I think it’s really cool to have a couple of them laying around the house.  I plan to use them as terrain in 40k games so when people ask what they are, I can say: “Oh, that old thing?  That’s a golden demon…”

The original winner/painter’s name is Roi Gonzalez Aranda and you can see some of his works on the Golden Demon Winner site (click the link in his name for more info).  When I asked why he was selling, he said:

  1. “From several years to now, GW is treating us not as hobbyist but simply customers. For example, has cancelled most of the europeans Golden Demon events (lost money with the events, they say) and so, now I don´t feel about the trophies in the same way that when I won them. GW itself has changed a lot (and I have been a GW enthusiast for more than 20 years).
  2. Lack of space in my display cabinet (seriously!). 10 demons occupy a lot of space, that I can use for miniatures instead (and my collection keeps growing day by day).
  3. And last but not least, selling the demons gives me a very interesting amount of money that I can reinvest in buying more miniatures and going to different tournaments (for gaming and painting)”

wh39kGoldenDemon (2)Perspective is so curious.  From where I stood, these are memories of things that I could only dream of having one day–fanciful thoughts.  To him, they were knick-knacks that were taking up valuable shelf-space.   Well, now they’re taking up space on my shelf and whether it’s because 2 take up less space than 10, or because I have a different perspective than Roi, I don’t see these as an invaluable waste of space.

By the way, the models pictured on this page are photographs from the Golden Demon website and are of the models that won these trophies (see links here and here).  I may be decent, but I’m nowhere near good enough to paint like that.

As far as the trophies go, I was surprised at just how big (and heavy) they were.  I’ve included a couple of photos of the actual figures because I’m guessing not everyone has seen one and they might want to get an idea of scale (see the marine for size comparison).

One of the models had poked through the box during shipping and the paint rubbed off.  ROI assured me that I could touch it up with a pot of boltgun metal that I had laying around (and he was right).  I got a little chuckle out of that–but it makes complete sense that they’d use their own paint to paint them up.

Now, I’m not sure what I’ll do with them: display them as trophies, use them as terrain, or maybe even convert one up and use it as a demon in a game?  Given the fact that I take so long to actually convert/paint things, the latter seems unlikely, but wouldn’t that be cool?

Image Credit:






7 comments on “Reminiscing: The Day I Won My First Golden Demon

  1. Fantastic, I was sucked in completely, so they’re painted resin, not metal? It’s horrifying to think someone would sell them but once you read Roi’s reasons it seems perfectly understandable, well done for winning them and giving them a new home.

    • I like to think that it gives one reason to consider perspective. What was a treasure that I never thought attainable to myself was just taking up shelf space to him: “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure….”

      On Thu, Dec 17, 2015 at 12:26 AM, Warhammer 39,9999 wrote:


  2. Fun read Rob. More so interesting because I totally had forgotten you had shown them to me earlier, and was silently cheering for you on as I read.

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