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Warhammer Fest 2014 (or Forge World Open Day 2.0 ...)

Warhammer Fest was good.  Forge World (FW) owned the show.  Games Workshop (GW) suffered in comparison because they cannot discuss upcoming releases and run a different business model to FW.  We had a good day because we planned early in the queue, saw 4 Forge World Pods back to back and we got seminar tickets early in the day for the Forge World discussion.

The good…

Long chats with Jervis Johnson, Simon Egan, Matt Murphy-Kane and Tony Cottrell.
Interaction with Forge World staff and Games Workshop staff was awesome.
Amazing Forge World techniques pods (vehicle damage, weathering, painting faces and OSL Highlighting).
New Horus Heresy books discussed: Conquest, Book 4 and Tempest, Book 5.
Battle for Calth and the Ultramarines are up next for the FW treatment.
New Forge World Dreadnought coming out – completely different to Mk 4, 5 and Contemptors.
New Imperial Fist models (Sword Brethren, IF Contemptor and guys with shields).
New Alpha Legion Contemptor – looks brilliant.
New Solar Auxilia and Army List in book 4.
2 New Space Marine Flyers confirmed (FW).
2 more Primarch Characters coming up soon – Nightlords…
If you like Black Library that was well covered.
Jervis Johnson gave a really honest account of the hobby and 7th edition in the round – fascinating (see below).
Excellent FW battle displays.
We felt we got value for money from our £20 ticket (see below).

The bad…

GW cannot discuss any products or upcoming releases.
Cover of all things GW was definitely third behind FW and BL.
Nothing really to get massively excited in terms of early releases.
No event specific models (even FW were the same as before).
Lack of Warhammer Fantasy in the round.
No Games Workshop battle displays.
Empty cabinets (maybe for Golden Demon the following day but still…)
No real gaming – 5 or so token tables.
Forge World was completely 30/40k centric – no Warhammer Forge stuff of note.
Initial queue ran straight into the shop – just go straight upstairs and shop later…

The detail….

Forge World owned the show.  Tony Cottrell and Alan Bligh gave an excellent run down of what they are up too.  Guilliman not a million miles away from what people were saying and the fact Ultramarines are due for the FW 30k treatment next.  2 new Space Marine flyers is pretty exciting news.  The pods on techniques used to paint the FW armies were the highlight of the show along with the staff interaction.  We planned our day from the programme we received in the queue and got front row seats for 4 of the tutorial sessions, both of us learning a huge amount from the guys.  Keith Roberston, Mark Bedford, Matt Murphy-Kane and Stuart Williamson are the top level artists in FW and to get 2hrs off them sat watching them talk through and in some cases demo the skills was truly unique.  That was ticket value and some more was got back straight away!

The groups were not that large but get front row seats early.  Pays to be a winner…

Simon Egan, Matt Murphy-Kane and Jervis Johnson spoke to us for well over 20 mins each. 

Jervis explained to us how GW approach 40k at the moment; in simple terms they want everyone to be able to access and pick and choose what they want to include in individuals games/hobby.  He is quite aware Tournament Organisers will have to go to comp and limit what people can bring to make things work.  He himself used to be able to recall rules for almost everything but the scope and number of units out there now means he can’t anymore.  Again, he views this as a strength of the hobby and so do I.  Being able to pull anything off the shelf and run with it is good and if you want a competitive game or tournament event, then enjoy making the rules for it yourself and shape a given tournament to what you want in it.  Fair enough I think.

Jervis on removal of characters without models; sadly third party developers making their own versions then trying to claim IP ownership of the character has meant stuff has had to go.  I asked him if a dataslate version of the Baron or other characters is likely – no not a the moment, but did say if a designer wanted to produce Vect, weekly White Dwarf or dataslates could make that possible with rules to attach to him.  He went on to discuss timelines and the fact the Dark Eldar book was developed over a year ago and that the models now come first before production of the book, making the current Dark Eldar models actually 18 months old! (When you look back at development through to the on the shelf product). 

This level of detail and open discussion saved the GW side of the day for me.  The White Dwarf stand was lightweight and the ‘Eavy Metal elements didn’t stand out because you can see those models at Warhammer World.  Jervis’ insight however was worth its weight in gold.

Andy Cottrel was asked his opinion on how closely GW and FW talk.  I put this to him because I think FW provides the background, models, rate of release, method of release and content I most relate to.  FW at the moment seems to provide the hobby I signed up to when I first entered the game/hobby.  GW are restricted by having to balance 400+ stores including international sellers who don’t understand why something in a rules book would not have model to go with it and I do sympathise with this.  We discussed FWs customer interaction at the desk areas that were busy but not packed, which GW seemed to try and emulate at this event, but just didn’t pull if off in the same way FW do.  The FW pods were as already mentioned superb.

Matt Murphy-Kane gave us so much good insight into painting techniques and use of colour – amazing.

In closing…

We had a good time.  I would go again next year to this event.  This for me is based on interaction with the designers, painters and FW Pod stands.  My mate would rather do an airbrushing course.  The retail side of things was nothing out the ordinary nor was the GW painting/building tutorials.  We had planned to play a game and in fairness we could have got this in and would have done if we had done 2 days.  One day was enough to get everything we wanted.  Fair one, we missed out Golden Daemon – meh, will wait for the blogs/Visions to show us the good stuff.  As we said at the start, it was good and people should enjoy Sunday.  Plan your day and get upstairs! 

My understanding of GWs approach is much improved.  They accept comp will have to be embraced by TOs to balance things out (they think this is healthy and another branch of the hobby), they like having a wide spectrum through the hobby (gaming to modelling to fluff) and in fairness do the best job of covering such a wide range of capability, age and individual demands.  The plastic kits are outstanding at it is a great product otherwise why would I be writing all this in the first place?  It is too easy to be over critical…

FW are just different and have a different niche/approach.  They will discuss far more advanced techniques not supported by Citadel (airbrushing, OSL, other useful products/paints) and can generate far more traction with sneak previews and upcoming releases GW cannot match.  GWs inability to discuss anything in the pipeline hurt their chat stands.  But Jervis is epic (he said Epic 40k was one of his favourite projects to work on…) and is very interesting to talk to.  He is a core part of the business without doubt.  I think both firms would suffer without people like him and Andy who care immensely about the hobby (business second).  If you get the chance, chat to them and see.  HTB.


  1. Did Jervis say he is actually working on another version of Epic 40K? That is new rules and releases?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Sorry wrote that answer poorly as well. No suggestion of a new epic was made in any conversation and sorry if my bad writing made you think otherwise. Jervis was an epic guy to talk to and when asked about his favourite projects of all time he said epic 40k was one of them along with second edition chaos space marine codex.


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