Monday, 12 August 2013

Behind the scenes at Golden Demon 1988 and beyond: The photographs of Guy Carpenter.

Many Old School scholars will instantly remember Guy Carpenter. He, alongside Tony Cottrell, produced the remarkable model (shown above) out of the old Star Wars walker model released in the early '80s. It was a image that was published in White Dwarf and the Golden Demon books, and one of the more memorable ones from the 1987-92 period. 

I can certainly remember pouring over it in my younger days and cannabalising various toys I had around at home in homage to it. Thankfully, none of my creations have survived to the present day. It was through the power of social media that I was able to track down Guy and chat to him about the model above. After a while, he agreed to a longer interview about his experiences 'back in the day' and some of his wider work as I knew that readers of this blog would be very interested in seeing, and hearing about, his work. 

Little did I know that Guy was sitting on a wealth of material, so I have had to split the interview over two articles. This, the photostory, will be the first, and a full interview with the mastercraftsman himself will follow shortly, along with lots of pretty pictures of his models. Among his material was a large number of photographs he took back in the later 1980s and early 1990s, mostly of Games Days and Golden Demons, but also images from the retail operation itself. 

I am proud to present these photographs to you and hope you enjoy playing the 'spotting' game and trying to discover what you can see in the background of many of these images. Guy has provided me with some brief notes about when and where many of these pictures were taken and I have expanded on his notes to explain what else the images show.

All I can say before we start is, go get yourself a cup of tea, some biscuits or whatever makes you feel at home and enjoy this trip back in time to the Golden Age of GW and British gaming. 

One: Entries into the Golden Demon Painting Competition in 1988. Amongst the great haircuts are some choice models, though I cannot recognise anything from the 1980s Fantasy Miniatures books yet. Anyone spot another of note from among this lovely models?
Two: Kev 'The Goblin Master' Adams and Mike McVey enjoy a pint of Newcastle Brown while showcasing their painting talents at the Golden Demon in 1988. Notice the inks, those of you who follow the Oldhammer Facebook group will know that we have been having quite a discussion about the importance of these. Note the Bloodbowl elves and Star Players on display to the right and the cheeky chap about to spark up at the back. Imagine alcohol and smoking at events today! There seems to be a diorama obscured by the eager red coated gamer. Anyone got any ideas what it could be?
Three: Rogue Trader participation game at the Golden Demon 1988. Nice to see that Izzy Stradlin' from Guns and Roses managed to get a game in there on the left! (; On a more serious note, photographs from this game appeared in White Dwarf for several years to come. The twin skulls (off centre) are quite obvious in these. Go hunt!
Four: Gary Chalk, of artistic and Lone Wolf fame, shows off his scenery skills using the Mighty Fortress at Golden Demon 1988. Not sure who the chap is at work on the left, though? Anyone recognise him?
Five: GW artists (I think Knifton is closest to the camera, though I maybe wrong here) taking requests for avid fans. "I'll have two Thruds and one of the Mighty Avenger please!" Can anyone name these scribes more accurately than me? Note the Realm of Chaos artwork on display in the background and more smoking and drinking evidence. The depravity!
Six: Phil Lewis at work photographing miniatures. Phil was a vital part of GW at this time and we would love to interview him, so if anyone knows his whereabouts today please contact me. Remember kids, Phil worked at a time when you couldn't see the photograph until it was developed. I'd imagine that snapping hundreds of models all day must have been hard work indeed. Note the two lamp set up, very good for getting the most out of your miniatures, and the overloaded plug socket that would have today's health and safety executive closing down the Golden Demons and evacuating the county. 
Seven: Bryan Ansell, Phil Lewis, John Blanche and others judge the entries to the Golden Demon Awards in 1988. 
Eight: Here is a shot of Peter Armstrong ,who was manager at Dalling Road (the first GW store) in 1988, getting on with a bit of painting. Note the Citadel Colour paints and his Master Painter T-Shirt. 
Nine: Setting up the gaming area just before the doors opened on the Golden Demon Awards 1988. Look at the size of some of those fortifications. The figure obscured by the fortress may well be Pete Taylor. 
Ten: A shot of an art display at an unknown GW event. Note the Genestealer (and WD120) cover art top left, Orc Mechanicks cover from WD 119, Advanced Heroquest, Lost and the Damned and three I cannot identify. Anyone know anymore?
Eleven: The Trade Stand at the Golden Demon 1989. Note the Runequest Ninja supplement, Chaos Marauders, Squats blister and loads more besides. What can you spot? Love the plague marine T-Shirt on the chap on the right.
Twelve: Golden Demon Awards 1989. Ivan Bartlett ('Eavy Metal painter) surveys the entries. 
Thirteen: Games Workshop Southampton in the late '80s. Do you remember the wallpaper table gaming boards? Or playing on the floor? This table needs the extra support of multiple copies of Space Marine to hold it up! Big tongues on those trainers too! They were all the rage.

Fourteen: GW Maidstone in 1991. Walls and walls of great stuff here and isn't lovely to see all the blister packs hanging there? Great shorts mind!
Fifteen: This is an interesting idea. Using the old Bloodbowl pitch as a courtyard for the Mighty Fortress. From Torquay GW 1990.

Sixteen: GW Derby. Store front at night. Great products on sale there.
Seventeen: Inside the Derby store in 1989. Loads of painted models in that cabinet, and can you see? The famous walker I mentioned at the beginning of the article is in there too! On a side note, there are enough copies of Adeptus Titanicus to buy a house today stacked up there. Saw a box sell for £200 the other day!
Eighteen: Inside GW Torquay. Playing Space Hulk first edition on what looks to be a table tennis table. Can you spot the famous walker model on the small poster above the till? I told you that model got places!
Nineteen: Gaming on the fantasy table at Torquay GW. Looks like Rogue Trader though. This general must be planning his moves carefully. The stock in the background would give an Oldhammerer a heart attack these days!
Twenty: Games Workshop Edinburgh opening. Any two marked games for a fiver! A great deal for 1989!
Twenty One: Games Workshop opens up in Maidstone in the early 1990s. Lovin' the shorts there bro!
Twenty Two: A very young Tim Prow gives a painting demo inside GW Torquay in 1990. Looks like he has been working on Orks from the Ork Books of the early 1990s. Lots of shorts oh show here too. Oh, and razored jeans! Remember them?
And here ends our photostory. I would just like to say a big thankful to Guy for sharing his photographs with us. You'll be hearing a lot more from him shortly.

Until then,




  1. I think I helped texture that Mighty Fortress before it got painted. :-)

    In the Space Hulk photo from Torquay you can see Brian behind the till, John (one of the regulars) lower left and a couple more regulars whose names I've forgotten, plus the painted Mighty Fortress on the far table.

    From what I can remember, the table tennis table was a direct result of the wallpaper tables being too flimsy...

    Ian aka The Wargaming Trader

    1. Good old wallpaper paste tables. You know, I had quite forgotten about using them. What did you guys use to texture the Mighty Fortress with in those days?

  2. So many great memories! Guy Carpenter taught me to be fearless when converting and the basics of weathering techniques! Thanks for sharing! :D

    Jay @ Guild of Gamers


  3. Here are the IDs I can help with:

    Photo #2: The lad with the smoke at the back of the picture is Darren (Matthews?). He joined the painting team in 87 or 88 if memory serves. A WD of the time (don't remember the issue number, sorry) noted his arrival and have a small pic.

    Photo #5: Definitely Pete Knifton on the right. The hunched figure in brown on the left may very well be Tony Hough. No idea about the one in the middle.

    Photo #7: The figure in the hat with his back to the camera is probably Andy Jones.

    P.S. Does everyone know what happened to Kev Adams earlier this year? If not, read this ( and check out the Goblinaid group on Facebook for news of Ebay auctions to help him out!


    1. Thanks for the heads up on Darren Matthews, Graeme. I have found the small picture in WD and there are certainly a strong resemblance. Sad news about Kev, though he is healing well by the sounds of it and I've bought myself some of those lovely Goblinaid sculpts.

  4. Great pictures,so many blisters in those pictures.. if only i bought more when i had the chance :(

  5. Picture 16 - that's a Dungeon! from TSR isn't it? Never had the opportunity to step into a GW in the UK as I'm from overseas, so it's really great to look at the treasures from the past up like that.

    The shops then looked more inviting compared to the GW's that I've visited in the last 5 years around the world. It just seemed more welcoming, whilst the ones now feel very commercialized and sterile.

    Good stuff Orlygg, looking forward to the next installments!

    1. There is also a great deal more product in these early stores. It just seems to heave from every corner.

  6. Very very nice! Thanks for continuing tracking down these guys and thanks also to Guy! /Hans

  7. Great pictures, and haircuts. I do believe a pint was usually on the painting table when I painted back then.

  8. That guy in the 4th picture is rocking the 80s so hard. Fingerless gloves and everything.

  9. That's an interesting sign in #17; it seems to say "We buy and sell painted miniatures"! Imagine that nowadays!

    1. I saw that as well! Though I remember other stores doing the same back then. You could buy individual models and even whole armies fully painted if you were lucky and rich enough. Actually, selling painted models to gaming stores was an old tradition its seems, but you'll have to read the interview with Jamie Sims to learn more about that!

  10. These are absolute gold dust! Love seeing these old pics, and I hope there are many more. Nice one!

  11. Great post, some really cool photographs of the time. You can almost smell the inks and smelly primer!

    I am sure I remember Guy Carpenter working in Brighton Games Workshop back in about 1989 or 90. It was either him, or the later manager Neil who used to call me Slann-man.

    I also recall Southampton GW at that time as I went along the coast to there a couple of times. I bought most of my Pygmies there!

    I went to the Derby GW in 1990 when we went up for Gamesday (still got the Mk8 Space Marine captain somewhere). Tiny store as I remember (although Brighton GW is'nt very big either!) .

    The wallpaper table picture is great. In Brighton at the time there were about 3 or 4 of them, plus the main tables all squeezed into a tiny shop!
    I remember queuing outside Reading and Brighton GW's for the 'Grand opening' :) .

    Always loved the Star Wars Scout Titan conversion.

    Great nostalgic post :)

    1. GW Brighton is tiny; I'm surprised it's still in the same place after twenty-four years.

  12. Wow! A real treasure trove of nostalgia.
    Seeing as I grew up in the U.S. it's not as nostalgic for me... but seeing stores stocked with all that early GW goodness sends me back.
    It also inspires me quite a bit, to get painting and get some more games on the table. I've got a couple of those old Star Wars walker kits waiting to be tweaked for Rogue Trader.

  13. Yep! That's me hiding behind the coke bottle. (think I still have that cardigan somewhere. Would love to see more of these pics!!
    My favourite memory from this time was meeting Ian Miller at the 1st one I attended and asking him for a sketch of "A fish on stilts smoking a pipe, please!"
    At the next one I was myself behind the desk knocking out quick orks and space marines for the public when a small voice piped up
    "Could I have a fish on stilts smoking a pipe, please!" and there was Ian Miller grinning away!! From one of my all-time favourite artists that was an incredible compliment!!

    1. That is quite a story Tony! Do you still have the fish on stilts picture that Ian did for you?

    2. I do! sadly though, I once owned another Ian Miller original, a beautiful piece, but lost it somehow in a house move around 1999 - very depressing!!

  14. Oh wow. A massive, massive thumbs up from me on this one. Feeling rather nostalgic now!

  15. Awesome... just so cool! Shame I was simply too young to have ever heard of GW back in those days. But it wasn't long 'til I had; primarily through its early crossover with the brilliant illustrations and ideas from the Fighting Fantasy books. To me 'Oldhammer' appeals for its 'make your own type of fantasy' ethos - which seems to have degenerated into the rigidly formulaic format we have today.

    Also I wanted to say that in the picture of Phil Lewis his photographic setup actually has three lamps, not two. The third is hidden behind his head but just about visible, its directly opposite the nearside lamp. With only two in those positions he'd have shadows on the models' right and have to start shooting again after developing the film; that would be a real pain ;)

  16. I think the guy on the left of picture 11 is the childhood friend I went to GD 1991 with!

  17. Re; the photo of the paintings. The top right was used as the cover for the Battle For Armageddon boardgame and its Chaos Attack supplement, by Fangorn. The one under it was used as the cover for White Dwarf # 125.

  18. Crikey - looking at these took me straight back to the early 1990's as a ten year old wandering into my towns newly opened GW for the first time! Sounds pathetic, but I am fighting back tears! Thankyou so much for putting these up!

  19. Just had a terrible flashback of the gaming table with the 2 skulls, I believe my 15 year old self is in that picture, thankfully I am not the crazy 80's guy with the hair.

    Thanks for memories

  20. Sigh, reminds me of the days when I would frequent the Cambridge store in 1990-1993, when it used to be in the square near the canels/docks IIRC, lots of lovely stuff, around that time I also got loods of Squat Pirate and Space Marine (2nd ed) on sale at the Croydon store.

    That's back when they had sales of course!

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  22. Oh dear, all your photos are gone. Would have been nice to look at some images of Games Day from the past