The Golden Demon competition is the most prestigious miniature painting and modelling competition run by Games Workshop, and is held during the Games Day Event in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and other countries across the globe. Every year thousands of entrants around the world take part, all hoping to win a highly prized Golden Demon statuette. Only the very best succeed, and for the ultimate winner there is the coveted Slayer Sword, a trophy bestowed upon whoever is deemed to have the best entry of the entire competition.
The Golden Demon competition has been held since 1987 in the United Kingdom, since 1991 in the USA, since 1997 in France and in other countries more recently. The competition is named for the first prize trophy in each category, the Golden Demon. The Golden Demon trophy itself is a figurine of a horned demon painted gold, posed with its arms crossed over its chest in a manner somewhat reminiscent of an Academy Awards "Oscar"). Silver and Bronze Demon trophies are given for second and third places, respectively in each category.
The overall winner across all categories at the event receives the "Slayer Sword", an actual full-size broadsword about 5 feet in length from hilt to tip. The competition measures the skills of painting and modelling, since conversions and alterations of existing miniatures are encouraged.
Taken from 2006 UK:
- Warhammer 40,000 Single Miniature - Any single human-sized Warhammer 40,000 miniature mounted on an appropriately sized gaming base. This category includes Terminators but other models supplied with 40 millimetre and larger bases should be entered in the Warhammer 40,000 Monster category. Models on larger bases should be entered into another category. Note that bike-mounted character models must be entered in the Vehicle category. Single miniatures from Forge World's Imperial Armour line may be entered in this category.
- Warhammer 40,000 Squad - This category is for Warhammer 40,000 squads or squadrons of five or more models. This is also the category for Epic 40,000 detachments and includes gangs and mobs from Necromunda. All squads must be "legal" in game terms. Judges will be looking for units that best exemplify the qualities and character of the army they represent. This category does include squadrons of bike-mounted models provided they are organised into a unit of five or more models. Larger vehicle models should be entered into Category 3. All models should be mounted on an appropriately sized gaming base. Units or squads of models from Forge World's Imperial Armour may be entered in this category.
- Warhammer 40,000 Vehicle - This category is open to single Warhammer 40,000 vehicles, Dreadnoughts and walker models. It also covers single bike-mounted characters if this is appropriate to the army in question (eg, a Space Marine Captain on a bike). Battlefleet Gothic spaceships can be entered into this category as well. Although most of these models tend not to be supplied with a base, it is quite acceptable for you to mount the vehicle on a modest base (no more than 20 millimetres larger than the vehicle itself). Vehicles from Forge World's Imperial Armour may be entered in this category.
- Warhammer 40,000 Monster - This category is for any single large Warhammer 40,000 model mounted on an appropriately sized gaming base. This covers models like the Avatar, Ogryns, large Tyranids, Ork Warbosses, etc. Monstrous creatures from Forge World's Imperial Armour may be entered in this category.
- Warhammer Fantasy Single Miniature - This is open to any single fantasy miniature (Warhammer, Mordheim and Blood Bowl). This includes single models on horses, boars or wolves, but not those mounted on large monsters. All models must be presented on an appropriately sized gaming base. Generally these will be 20mm or 25mm square bases for foot figures and 25 x 50mm cavalry bases for mounted models, although appropriately sized circular bases may be used if preferred. Single miniatures from Forge World's Warhammer Forge may be entered in this category.
- Warhammer Fantasy Regiment - This is for Warhammer regiments, Mordheim warbands, Warmaster brigades and Blood Bowl teams. The entry must consist of a minimum of five models mounted on their standard gaming bases. Regiments must be legal units in game terms. The judges will be looking for units that best exemplify the qualities and character of the army they represent. In particular, we will be looking at leaders, standard bearers and musicians of Warhammer regiments. Regiments of models from Forge World's Warhammer Forge may be entered in this category.
- Warhammer Fantasy Monster - This category is open to all Warhammer monsters on 40mm and 50mm square bases and the really large monster models that are not normally supplied with a base or are simply too big for one! This covers Dragons, chariots, war machines and all large ridden monsters (eg., an Orc Warlord on War Wyvern). Models should be mounted on an appropriately sized gaming base. Models on large scenic bases should be entered in the Diorama category instead. Monsters from Forge World's Warhammer Forge may be entered in this category.
- Duel - This category comprises two single models mounted on a single 40mm or 50mm Slottabase. The judges will be looking for a dynamic pairing of two well-matched opponents in some kind of combat or other dramatic situation. Models may be from the Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000 or The Lord of the Rings ranges.
- Diorama - Entries for this category consist of a diorama based on the worlds of Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000 or The Lord of the Rings. The display must not be larger than 30cm x 30cm and the maximum permitted height is 30 centimetres. The subject of the diorama should be appropriate to the background of Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000 or The Lord of the Rings, but otherwise there are no restrictions on the battle scene's theme or content.
- Lord of the Rings Single Minitaure - This is open to any single miniature from The Lord of the Rings range of models. All models must be presented on their standard gaming base.
- Young Bloods - The Young Bloods painting competition is open to any competitors aged 14 years or under. An entry should consist of any single human-sized Citadel miniature either Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000, Mordheim, Necromunda, Blood Bowl or The Lord of the Rings, mounted on an appropriately sized gaming base. Models must be single foot figures -- no mounted models or groups. This category includes Terminators but other models supplied with 40mm and larger bases should be entered in another category. The judges will be looking for well-painted and well-presented models. Paint schemes should demonstrate originality, imagination and consistency with the spirit of the game worlds.
- Open Competition - As always, the Open Competition is for people to take the opportunity to let their imagination run riot. Anything goes! An individual's entry could be a single model, a sweeping diorama or whatever takes their fancy. Please note that Games Workshop judges will not accept artefacts into this category. Golden Demon is a miniature painting competition and they would like the entries to reflect that. Entries should be no larger than 60 centimetres by 60 centimetres. The judges are looking for well-painted and brilliantly executed models that really capture the essence of the Games Workshop fictional worlds, but also the spirit of what fantasy and science fiction modelling can be at its best. This is one of the hardest competitions to win, not least because they encourage Games Workshop employees to enter. The company's staff are not permitted to enter any of the other categories of the competition, so this is their one chance for glory in the Golden Demon competition.
- "Overall, the judges will be looking for well-painted models that adhere to the imagery and ethos of the worlds represented in the fictional worlds of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000. Finally, remember that the point of the painting tournaments is to showcase the efforts of all those who paint miniatures in our hobby and to have some fun."
- —Key points of rules paraphrased from Golden Demon Website
- "You can only enter once in each category."
- "all entries...must be painted Citadel miniatures, Forge World or Imperial Armour models or scratch-built models that you have sculpted yourself.
- Entries from other miniature companies are not accepted.
- Entry to any of the competitions gives Games Workshop the right to photograph and publish details of models entered as they see fit.
In Australia the Golden Demon competition is slightly different: entrants take their models to a Games Workshop store on a specified day. The best 3 in each category in the store gain a place in the regional finals and the best 3 in each category there gain a place in the national finals in Sydney. Starting in 2007, the Australian Golden Demon has included an "Intermediate" category. This category is open to painters aged 15-17, and has both the Warhammer Fantasy and 40000 miniatures combined.