Not Much Success At Adepticon 2023

46 thoughts on “Not Much Success At Adepticon 2023”

  1. Sorry to hear that the painting competitions weren’t what was expected. I followed as well as I could Adepticon on Instagram, it seemed like the same figures were showing up in the Golden Demon in the photo dumps I saw. I think your theory was correct, people didn’t want to take pictures at lower levels. I didn’t see some of the LOTR winners until they were posted on Warhammer Community. Looking at the award winners, there seemed to be professional painters vs people who have jobs 😄.

    Regarding the Brush with Death competition, I only saw one post from Mantic games and that was of their booth showing Wasteland. I did look tonight and found two showing the competition, the “display” case looked like an afterthought.

    Looking forward to your next post on Adepticon, I think my wallet would have taken a severe beating if I had attended.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I appreciate it, Bret! I totally agree that the same minis got shown online. Mine were not the only ones totally skipped over. There were some other good ones that I haven’t seen anywhere, unfortunately. I noticed that the larger the mini, the more likely it was to show up in a lot of photos too. I think small minis are hard to appreciate in the display cases and your eyes tend to gravitate towards the bigger ones for better and worse.

      The award winners in LOTR are award winners in other categories and they don’t regularly paint LOTR. They paint something to enter specifically in that category (in addition to their other entries). This was true in previous years, I believe as well. There is nothing against that in the rules (and nor should there be) but it is a bit of a shame that people who enjoy LOTR primarily and paint it regularly aren’t able to shine in the competition currently. Middle Earth has earned a reputation of being a category where a less serious or skilled painter might have a chance but I don’t believe that is true in the last two years for what it is worth.

      Mantic has yet to share any of the Brush with Death results still. I guess this is in line with a lot of what I said previously. I have no idea why they wouldn’t be in a bigger hurry to share the results as its good promotion for them. I will look at what won but I won’t say anything on here about it and I’m sure that I won’t like the results all that much.

      I’ve got the next and last Adepticon post drafted so it won’t be too long until its ready, I imagine 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. While it may not be against the rules to submit in multiple categories, I agree it does seem unfair that you should be able to be in the top three in multiple. Again, don’t know what the answer is, besides it is what it is.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I think this is probably our Middle Earth bias coming through. If we played or painted predominantly 40k, we wouldn’t care if someone entered in Age of Sigmar and 40k. Of course, it doesn’t sit well with us when the shoe is on the foot and I suspect its because we’ve been the red-headed stepchild of GW for a long time so we’re a bit sensitive to these things, I reckon!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. My thoughts yet again echo those of Bret.

    I am not a particularly competitive person, especially in my hobbies, so it is interesting to read your posts on painting competitions so that I can try to better understand.

    It strikes me as typically annoying GW to not be transparent in their process and typically annoying Mantic in doing things by half measures.

    Seeing your Stormcast Eternal again reminds me just how sublime your painting skills are, Golden Demon award or not.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. The competitive painting scene is very much a niche within our hobby and I think it can be a bit insular because you can’t just join it by asking or being friendly. What I can say is that it is a completely different world and knowing other people in the scene can be really useful to understanding it.

      I couldn’t agree more with your sentiment on GW and Mantic. I will say that there was controversy at Golden Demon (and there often is at painting competitions) where a GW employee broke part of a diorama and didn’t tell the entrant. The person in question said on Instagram that they would make a video about it, which makes sense, since they are a Youtube personality so I’m looking forward to seeing what they say. I can confirm that one person I spoke with from GW was in a salty mood so I believe there were some difficult moments over the weekend. I believe at the awards presentation, someone from GW talked about not enough respect being given or something to that effect so I’m curious to learn more about that.

      Sublime is a very high compliment indeed! I know people who are better than me but I’m going to see what I can’t do to improve further while enjoying the hobby. The second part is just as important to me as the first, of course!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Where to start? Clearly the Mantic competition was a waste of time. Poorly administered by people and certainly not worthy of your time and effort or anyone else’s come to that. Notch that down to experience and move on. Golden Demon is on a par with Telford. Professionally organised, attracts a huge interest and because of its prestige the professional painters turn up too. I was fortunate to win several gold medals at Telford but that was mainly down to entering something different and in less popular classes. I think at the time less professionals turned up too. My guess is the Green dot would be on a par with what Telford call “commended”. A cut above most but not quite good enough for a medal. Don’t be down hearted. Competion is a tough business and judging is and always will be subjective. You will very rarely get feedback too. However reasonable a person you are the judges will not embroil themselves justifying their decision, it leads to arguments they don’t want. As you say, you aren’t a full time painter so my advice for what it is worth is to enter competitions which don’t attract the professionals. That way you will be judged along side your true peers. Build success there and then ou will be ready to take on the big boys! 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I agree with you on Mantic’s competition. It was really less than what I hoped and so lesson learned.

      I think you’re right that the sticker is similar to commended though confusingly, there are three stickers you could get at Golden Demon and then there is a Commended certificate and a Finalist pin you can also get so there are tiers to it and its all a bit confusing, even to me. It definitely could be clearer for newcomers.

      With that said, I’m not down on myself and I know that I need to improve if I want to accomplish anything greater at a painting competition. Fortunately, I have ideas on how to do that already which is good since I got so little feedback.

      I just mentioned it in my comment to GrumpyGnome but there was controversy around a diorama being damaged by a GW staffer and it caused a blow-up of some kind. I don’t know all the details but I suspect there will be more info to come sooner than later. I mention this because I wouldn’t be surprised if the judges were not inclined to talk to anybody after that. It has to be a tough job and I appreciate those who do it.

      I found a show here in town that is I think in line with what you’ve recommended I enter in the past. It is primarily larger scale models but I did see some Games Workshop miniatures so I’m going to try and get some more information on it and see if it is worth entering and hopefully getting some feedback.

      Thanks for taking time to write this and share your thoughts. I know you’ve been away for a bit and your experience and insight is appreciated. I hope we’ll get to see regular updates from you again soon too!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sorry to hear you didn’t win Jeff, as the models you entered are gorgeous. GD is a very stiff competition, and some painters spend years painting a model to enter, as for the green dot, it used to mean finalist, and all the models were then moved into the finalist cabinet, where the winners were selected from and later pins were added, it may have changed over the years but from the sound of it it’s still similar. I actually know several of the British GD winners and can direct you to see the sort of work they do. The style of painting has evolved over the years, and sometimes you need something new to stand out, also with GD, they always like latest models, as it’s an advertising point for them when they show the winners.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I appreciate it, Dave. I expected to not do as well as I would like and my expectations were met! What you say is spot-on. I’m paraphrasing here but the Slayer Sword winner said that you should pick a model for GD you want to really paint so you won’t mind putting 500 hours into it. Putting that time into a single model is not in my future and if that is what it takes to win, then I will probably not be doing so anytime soon.

      With that said, there are now more stickers and more rounds to GD. I saw some that had as many as three stickers so getting one is something but not a lot either.

      I’d be curious to know which GD winners you know. I found an easy way to track what people who have won are doing is on Instagram. There is an account that only follows Golden Demon winners so I’ve done exactly that.

      Everything else you said about picking new models is spot-on. I would not paint something that is 5-6 years old for GD. I have seen older models get picked within the last year or two but I think you risk making it harder on yourself to do that. I think picking a smaller model and really nailing it will see you fare better than doing something bigger as well. Entering in GD is pretty much an art in and of itself.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. David Soper ( look for Sprokets small world on Facebook), Skellets real name Stefan, Mally Anderson, Tim Marsh, Lee Hebb, to name a few David is a multi time slayer sword winner, and he uses the glazing technique to paint all his models, very different style compared to a lot that is out there.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. A couple of those like David Soper and Skellets were on the Cool Mini or Not forums shortly before I joined. I never had the chance to interact with them but I know their work well. Sprocket is a favorite to win in any competition he enters. He is a competition painter through and through and his patience level in painting really pays off. Not many can match what he does. You’re in some good company there I would have to say! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      3. My first interactions with them all was on CMON, then have met them all in person, and even attended David’s painting course, it’s a lovely technique but very time consuming, I still use elements from it, but not to his level.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. I wouldn’t have guessed you were on there too! CMON was a special place because there just aren’t many great places to interact with talented painters like that any longer. I joined CMON after some of the heavy hitters like David had moved on but a number of people who were on there at the same time as me are amazing painters and people I keep up with online as best I can. It sounds like you and I were just a few years apart on CMON.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. I stopped posting, as there was a technical issue on my account, then later all my pictures got deleted, which was the final straw for me, still keep in contact with many of them through other means ! LOL

        Liked by 1 person

      6. That website is so old and outdated and not taken care of. CMON is such a big company now that you’d think they’d take a little more pride in the website. I think a lot of people have had issues like what you’re describing and quit because of it. It is a bit sad to see the forums now. They’re completely dead.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Sorry to hear you didn’t get anywhere, but well done for giving it a shot. I remember when I was a youngster I would look at the models that won Golden Daemon and my mind would be blown, the skill and talent was unbelievable and yet I generally felt that, if I took my time and pushed myself I could approximate it well enough for it to be inspiring to an ordinary painter like me. These days though I just don’t get that from it, the models are extremely nice of course but I know I can never come close to approximating them because I don’t have thousands of hours to dedicate to a single model. The rise of “professional painters” (much like “professional gamers”) has always seemed a bit odd to me – although fair play to them for making their living in a way that they enjoy – but if a guy who puts in the hours that you do, and produces work of your quality, isn’t even getting a pin its a sad indictment of the state of the competition. Anyway, it’s starting to sound like I’ve got sour grapes on your behalf! (Who am I kidding – I do!). Long story short I’ve been far more inspired by following along with the models you’ve been working on than I have by the portfolio of winners GW showed. Looking forward to seeing what else you have to say about the event, and seeing whatever work of creative genius you have up your sleeve next!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thanks, mate. Truthfully, I think when we were younger conversions were king in those competitions. You had to paint well but if you could pull off an effective and ambitious conversion, you’d be on your way to winning. Now I think its painting that matters and conversion is more of a cherry on top which is great for me as someone who is not skilled at conversions.

      Professional painting is a curious thing. You really need to win some awards to start get painting job offers. Either that or you need a following on Youtube or Instagram so you can start a successful Patreon. If you can do that, then you’d have lots and lots of time to put into entries potentially. I have a full-time job and I put more time into painting than many do I reckon so if that isn’t enough, then a Golden Demon trophy isn’t likely in my future. I’m not spending crazy amounts of time on a single model. Its boring to say the least!

      I appreciate your kind words and you might be happy to know that in spite of my lack of success, I plan on spending much less time painting Middle Earth and doing a lot more Warhammer display pieces. That probably means something Necromunda will finally get painted too but certainly plenty of fantasy stuff in the future. The only thing I can’t promise is a lot of space marines because I’ve found most of the ones I’ve painted to be a bit dull.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m pleased you had the chance to enter the competitions, even though, on several levels, they’ve let you down! I can’t really add anything to what the guys have already said very well in the comments above! I don’t need to look at the competition winners though, since you’ve included pics of your minis again and that’s what I like seeing! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You’re too kind, John! I was glad to finally take a step forward and enter too. I learned a lot (some lessons tougher than others) so it gives me something to build on for the future.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. It has to be hard not to get any feedback after all the hard work you’ve put in. Feedback would have given you direction as to what they’ll be looking for in the future, and you could adapt, if you so wish, to meet their requirements.
    I hear a lot about competitions and that the judges prefer this to that rather than judging on the actual merits of the painter.
    I think your time will come, though, so don’t give up. Somebody is going to recognise your greatness, mate, other than me, of course!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It certainly was disappointing to not get feedback as that is commonly talked about as a benefit that comes from entering a competition like Golden Demon.

      There are some preferences to Golden Demon that I am aware of but none of them are detrimental or arbitrary in my view. If I didn’t know some of those things beforehand, that might not be so good though as you don’t want to find out through failing.

      I will definitely keep at it and I have plenty of ideas for how I need to improve. The people who are winning awards now put in years of work before they got to where they are and I need to put in more time and keep improving as well.

      Thanks for your support! It means a lot to have people such as yourself rooting for me 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Oh man, hard to believe another person also entered a Hellboy mini at the Mantic one! Did you happen to get a pic of it? I’m not surprised the Mantic competition was poorly run. I was surprised that you didn’t receive feedback at either one though. I had heard the same thing. I guess you just have to happen to be around when a judge comes by? That’s pretty odd. They should set a time for comments or at least write them down. Glad to hear you’re not completely discouraged about trying again though. Even Pro painters talk about how they had to enter many competitions before they win. It’s pretty challenging and can be a matter of the right mini at the right time. Will be interesting to hear your thoughts on the rest of the conventions.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I believe there were several Hellboy entries which surprised me a bit considering the game is getting slightly long in the tooth by board game standards. Mantic still hasn’t bothered to share any of the winners online which is kind of shocking. I actually have no idea was judging the Mantic painting competition either. It was all done very casually so I might have talked to the judge when I entered the mini and had no idea.

      I honestly don’t know what the best way to solicit feedback from the judges is. I may inquire about that before attending next year because there might be some kind of art or timing to it.

      I’m definitely not discouraged and I have heard similar things that it takes time and creating failed entries to win one of these things. There certainly is an element of luck and the judges liking your work at a particular time. The quality of painting is truly excellent at Golden Demon. That was something I appreciated from entering and is one of the reasons why I don’t feet terrible about my performance.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Glad to hear that you’re still going to keep at it. I had plans of going to ReaperCon this year, but I don’t know if we will. Money is tighter this year and my family has nothing to really do if I take them with me. But if I do go, I imagine I will check out the painting competition and let you know.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Having Adepticon so close really spoils me. If I had to fly and get a hotel and all of that, I’m not sure it would be worth it for me personally. I’m always impressed by people who can and do choose to travel to enjoy their hobby.

        I have an online friend who was blogging and hasn’t done much lately who enters in the Reaper competition. He seems to enjoy it and is not a super serious painter (you know, like me!) so that could be fun. If you decide to enter and want any feedback on your entry, just let me know! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Mainly I’m interested in the painting workshops, because I’ve never painted with anyone else or had a teacher (other than traditional art classes). So I think that experience would be interesting and educational. I don’t know that I would enter anything into a painting competition. My goal there would be to get feedback on my painting, but I imagine I would get that through workshops. I have enough stress from work nowadays, that I’d prefer to keep the hobby side of things more fun than added pressure. 😉

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Of course, no sweat on painting competitions! I can’t speak for any other convention but Adepticon does have lots of workshops and they are offered with really talented painters too. There is a nice mix of beginner to advanced classes as well. They cost extra to attend (as I’m sure you would have guessed) but more significantly, they seem to fill up super quick. So if you go to Adepticon and that is a focus, buy a ticket as close to when they go on sale as possible and then pre-register for the class(es) you want to take then and there. You should be able to see what was offered this year to get a feel for it.

        In terms of getting feedback, if you can find someone who is a good painter who is on the same wavelength as you, that might be an even better source of feedback. Its kind of a tricky thing to navigate and I don’t give feedback unless someone asks because I generally want to paint whatever I’m working on as well as I possibly can. Other people only want to paint something well but in a much shorter timeframe so my feedback may be unwanted or not useful to them. One of the keys to my painting success is finding a few other people who are better than me and are happy to give feedback and advice. That has really helped me push my skills and also know when I did not do well at something too. Hopefully this helps give you some ideas for how to move forward!

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Cheers Jeff and also thanks for the offer of competition and general convention/painting advice! 😃

        I think I’ll take a look at Adepticons painting workshop offerings, as the location of the convention would be much better for me/family than going to Reapercon. I do really love the Reaper paints, and that’s the main reason I wanted to go there. Guess I should check out the pros/cons of both and then decide.

        Liked by 2 people

      6. You’re very welcome and no pressure at all! There are lots of different ways to learn, it just depends on what you want to accomplish and as I said before, finding people who are aligned in that goal will make a big difference.

        I was thinking about it and Adepticon offers even more than I described because they have open areas to paint, a library of board games you can play. Reaper does have a booth at the convention too though I didn’t see it so I can’t comment on what they sell or offer. They may offer some workshops too. I know GW does when they come to Adepticon and Privateer Press does too, if I’m not mistaken.

        All that said, I’ve heard great things about Reapercon, especially if you like their products so its not an easy decision to make. Do your research and I’m sure you’ll make a great decision! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m very ignorant of how painting competitions work but it is strange to me that you got NO feedback st all. Not a grade? Not a score card? Nothing? I can understand why judges would need to view entries blind but you would think there would be some feedback. Even the Olympics give scores.

    And what do you ‘get’ exactly for winning the golden demon?

    In any case: sorry the experience was disappointing.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Games Workshop gives very minimal feedback at Golden Demon. I’m guessing that is to protect the judges from dealing with tons of negative feedback but I don’t know for sure. Other competitions do things differently and I’m thinking I may try to enter a smaller and less competitive competition (which is a strange thing to say) that is local to me to see how that goes.

      You get a fairly nice and gaudy looking Demon trophy in bronze, silver, or gold for winning. They are coveted because they are so hard to get. There is only 2-3 Golden Demons held in a year so you really are the cream of the crop if you win one.

      No apology needed! I wasn’t fully ready to learn as many hard lessons as I did but being humbled can only make me better. I’m very motivated to improve now too so that’s good.

      Liked by 3 people

  10. Sorry to hear you didn’t have a great experience at mantic’s comp. Sounds a lot like some local store competitions I’ve been to, which is disappointing for something being held at adepticon.
    And congrats on the green dot! The field was very tough so making any cut even if not the finalists one is an achievement in itself.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. That is a good way to describe Mantic’s competition. What’s crazy to me is that its been a week now basically and they still haven’t shared the results online. I don’t know why anyone would be all that excited to enter if they win without any fame or recognition online! With that said, thank you on the green dot. I think you might understand how intense the competition is there more than anyone else so I really appreciate it! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  11. I think that you need to focus more on the positives here – getting a green dot in such a prestigious competition is surely a Big Deal and shows off how good your painting is. I’m certainly looking forward to watching your work to improve for future years.

    The actual set-up of both competitions sounds a bit disappointing, but from a competitive point of view I suppose that all entrants are on the same playing field so the poor lighting etc should impact everyone equally.

    Chin up and push forward, my friend!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. You’re too kind, mate! I don’t think that the green dot is noteworthy to anybody but myself. It isn’t a big enough deal for people to take notice but it is a small indication of my talent and an indication that I can compete with the best in the world. My hope is to rise up the ranks (like you in an MCP tournament!) in the coming years. Assuming that GW does keep coming here, of course. That is never a given with them…

      Yeah, the lighting shouldn’t detract from how a mini performs in the competition. That was thankfully not something I had to worry about. GW should try and beef up the lighting so that people can better appreciate the minis inside the cases though. It can only help their sales after all.

      Also, who is managing who now? 😀 Thanks for the encouragement, mate!

      Liked by 3 people

  12. I have to add to others’ comments and call the green dot some success you can build on. Of course it would be great to know both what caught the judges’ eyes and won you the cut, and what prevented your model from getting further – then you would know what to focus on.

    The only advice I can give, for what it’s worth is that when I am looking to enter a contest, if I get the chance I study up on recent winners to see if there are any common themes etc that the judges tend to go for. In terms of painting you would have a better eye than me, but it seems that other than in the Open category they go for models that take a ‘Eavy Metal paint job but dial it up to eleven. I’m thinking of the Dark Angel and the Lord of the Rings rider from this year, plus that ‘perfect’ skink from a couple of years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is well said, Dave. I completely agree about studying up on past entries and your conclusions on recent winners. You don’t need to pick the biggest or most complex miniature to win the Slayer Sword or a Gold trophy. In fact, a simpler sculpt is a better choice. A perfectly smooth paint job that has great textures and elevates the sculpt is what wins lately. Elrond and the Skink are great examples of this. A really creative color scheme does not seem to be a key factor in winning which is worth keeping in mind. I’ll definitely be pondering over this in coming weeks and months. I don’t think Games Workshop says it but the model you choose can have a huge impact on how well it performs in GD which would probably surprise more casual painters.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I read this post at the time but there’s really not that much I have to add. As I’ve mentioned, I’m not keen on painting competitions or getting hopes up about it, and it seems like you’re far from alone when it comes to a dissatisfaction with the GD USA competition given the content I’ve seen on a few YouTube videos.

    Even with that, congrats (unsarcastically) about getting the green dot, and I do think you’re correct about the lack of freedom in LotR schemes compared to others.

    I know that in the past, some conversion work was considered “a must” to score anything in the GD, but no idea if that’s still a thing these days.

    I’ve also seen a bit on them also that apparently GD isn’t the competition to enter if you want feedback and it’s no surprise that Mantic (to use an uncouth local phase) “couldn’t organsie a root in a brothel”.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, Vince Venturella’s video on Golden Demon was on the money I thought and echoed a lot of what I said. I think GW needs to rethink several aspects of GD at Adepticon as they can improve the competition and have a better environment for everyone participating with some changes. Do I think that they will do that? No, I don’t think it will change drastically anytime soon sadly.

      Thank you for the kind words as well. I’ve never been prouder to get a sticker haha.

      My understanding is that GD is focused primarily on the quality of the paint job. They’re basically looking over it closely for mistakes and of course, whatever you paint needs to gel with their lore. Conversions won’t win you GD so much as your painting will though I think an excellently converted mini with an outstanding paint job would rise above one with no conversions and an outstanding paint job, if that makes sense.

      Don’t get me started on Mantic. They never posted anything about the competition results that I could see. I’m positive that I won’t enter in their painting competition any time soon. Truthfully, I haven’t been interested in painting Hellboy since the competition. Hopefully given some time, I can get my motivation back.


  14. Ah man, sorry you didn’t win at the Golden Demon, but on the other hand congrats on the green dot; at least you know your superb efforts were noticed by the judges.

    Reading about the entries by professional painters, surely it would be fairer to have two categories, one for the pros and one for the hobbyists? And out of interest, were the winners painted in the GW “house style” that you see on the box art?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Matt. I think to some degree there are two different categories though I don’t know that professional painters are the only ones that win awards. I think there are some hobbyists who do too. I wonder if the road for a hobbyist to win an award is longer and harder than someone who can be paid to paint minis all day every day but I think that is probably a tough question to answer at the same time. The grass might seem greener on the other side, if you know what I mean.

      I definitely think that the winners do not paint their miniatures like the ‘Eavy Metal team does. They put more time into the minis than GW’s studio does. If you look at a space marine painted by GW, you’ll notice that they’re typically all edge highlights. If you look at a space marine that gets a trophy in any category of Golden Demon, you can see that they glaze the minis and demonstrate a more advanced knowledge of lighting. That isn’t to say GW’s team isn’t talented, they just can’t put as much time into a single miniature as their customers can!


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