Friday, 20 September 2013

Golden Demon '88: The Photographs of Andy Craig

I have been lucky enough to have recieved a batch of photographs in the possession of Andy Craig, ex-'Eavy Metal painter from the Golden Age of Games Workshop. These were taken during his trip to the Golden Demon awards in 1988. It must be strange for him to look back on these now, as less than a year later he was working at GW and presiding over the next Games Day as an actual painter.

The photographs are old, in some places out of focus and have suffered through scanning and transfer through the internet, but they present a rare collection of images from a more simple time. When painters were painters and gamers were gamers. These are raw images. They were never taken to be published let alone be let loose across the world some 25 years later, so be kind to them. 

How else should we start but with an out of focus mug shot of Andy? Was it a deliberate early form of the now ubiquitous 'selfie' or an accidental 'wot's wrong wiv dis?' misfire? 
Rolls and rows of painted models! Now taht is what the Golden Demon should be about. What we have here is a selection of models from the, then, Studio collection. Despite the blurry nature of the photograph you can spot loads of classic minis here. The 2nd Edition Bloodbowl teams, Chaos Dwarfs, Chaos Thugs and Sorcerers not to mention the super rare Dwarf Wizard from the Combat Cards! What else can you spot?
A big table! We have seen this one before from Guy Carpenter's photographs but this one lacks Pete Taylor. Stacks of models here and its rather difficult to tell what's what, but I am sure I can spot some of the Naismith(?) giants near the centre of the board. I am pretty sure that is Jervis Johnson sitting on the rear table organising Bloodbowl games with a couple of identifiable folks. The guy in grey might be Alan Merret?
Loads of dragons await the judges attention. Stacks of boxes lay littered across the back of the room, presumably used to house the entries, with a gusto that would enrage modern health and safety executives. 
If memory serves these must be the Mythlore LARPers. Remember them? Not sure if the chap of the left is indeed a chap or a chappette I am afraid!
This one is quite blurry but you can make out quite a few entries that did not make it into the Fantasy Miniatures book.
Dioramas wait to be judged. Hours or work went into these and there are few visual records around for us to study. At least we have shots like this however.
Its hard to tell at this angle, but that Rhino may well be Guy Carpenter's model! I am not sure. Punters were certainly allowed near the models - no glass cabinets then!
Stacks of stuff. I love the table tennis model on the left! This just goes to show how many entries did not make it into the book.
Beautiful dragons... Once the pinnacle of miniature painting and the love of all fantasy types. No longer. Though I think this is due to a lack of good modern dragons to inspire painters.
Ivan Bartleet receives his Slayer Sword.
I am still saddened that freehand banners went out of fashion. Look at all of these! All lovingly crafted by everyday gamers and all so different to each other. 
Ivan's Overall Winner model, the war elephant, stands alongside that skull model diorama. See, skulls were popular even then!
Love this photograph. The Golden Demon entries stand proudly alongside a used tissue, a packet of crisps and a wayward microphone stand while domineering fire hydrants look on disapprovingly! Classic! 
Dave Andrews? Standing guard over some early Rogue Trader models, including first edition Land Raiders.
Another Master Painter? These T-Shirts were awarded to the regional winners if I remember correctly. 
Here's Tim Pollard in his.
And Andy Craig in his!
I have included a link to the original Fantasy Wargames book here. Its really great fun to flick through this and attempt to identify different models in the photographs. It also gives a far better idea to the modern reader how varied and imaginative the models entered in 1988 were. 

Do you have any old school photographs of past Games Days, Golden Demons or GW stores in general from the 1980s and early 90s that you would like to share? We really would like to see them as even the most mundane of shots is likely to be of great interest to our community. If you own such pictures, please email me at 

A huge thank you to Andy for scanning and posting these images to me. And thanks to Tim Pollard for his great picture too!



  1. Great to see those photo's. I was there and was lucky enough to win a Demon. My name is Graham Apperley and my Dragon Rider is pictured very prominently in the book as well as in the photo where you comment on a possible Guy Carpenter entry.
    I could write down my experiences if anyone is interested, which culminated in a trip to the studio and lunch with John Blanche and Phil Lewis.
    I was at the recent Oldhammer event and thoroughly enjoyed the Saturdays activities. I did however find it a bit expensive after buying a Tony Hough original from the Slaves to darkness book. :-)

  2. Yes, I think we would be very interested to hear about your experience, the famous dragon rider and your memories. Email me at and we will sort something out. Thanks.

  3. Thanks Orlygg and Andy for these pics. Cool to see images from the actual event. Thanks / Hans

  4. Excellent article, the photograph with the daemons, the tissue and the crisp packet made me chuckle and reminded me of a different GWera

  5. Fantastic! Love to see images of 80s games days! I was never able to attend any of them because I wasn't born until '81. :( It always occurs to me though, that even being 25 years old, these great pieces of miniature art are still so much better than anything I've ever been able to produce. And, dare I say it, better than a lot of the entries in much more recent Golden Demon competitions. While painting techniques may have moved on (and probably got somewhat 'cleaner' in style) I think some of the inventiveness and imagination has been lost since the 80s.

    On the subject of painted banners (and shields as well), I think there are a number of factors as to why nobody does them anymore. A combination of laziness on the part of many gamers, pace of releases from minis manufacturers (meaning nobody sticks with one thing long enough to spend that kind of time on banners and shields), the change to a younger target audience (mainly by GW) who wouldn't have the inclination to freehand a banner, and also availability of pre-cast banners and shields that already have designs moulded onto them. There may be other factors as well, but that's what I reckon.

  6. Wow. Just, wow. The Fantasy Miniatures book is the tome of tomes for me, since I drew so much inspiration from it- and still do to this day. Lovely pictures of an event which looks infused with much more enthusiasm and joy than the modern version (rubbish locale notwithstanding).


  7. I'm not sure I agree with your statement that freehand banners have gone out of style. For the average gamer, I agree. It's far easier to paint one of the new GW banners that has the designs sculpted right on, or use decals. However, at the high end competition level, it seems that freehand is a good way to distinguish yourself from all the other entries... it's a reliable crowd-pleaser.

  8. I think its unfair to assume that people don't freehand because they are too lazy...I think that the style of banner has just evolved so that its really hard to do longer do you get these massive, ugly (in my opinion) square banners that needed it to not look so bad, the banners look more realistic now.