So, myself and Chris decided to venture off to our first (and only the second ever) Horus Heresy Weekender. This is an event run jointly by Forge World and Black Library and gets you all absorbed in all things Heresy for two days.
In contrast to most Games Workshop events, this is not held at Warhammer World but just up the road at the rather nice Nottingham Belfy Hotel.
I will lay out my small gripes first… and they are small. Firstly, as lovely as the Belfry is, the cost of a room there – certainly for us after a 320 mile round trip – is prohibitive. Especially if you want to buy any of the lovely shiny new stuff they have on the retail stand. We stayed at a place a mile up the road, no problem with that really. Staying with The Belfry, I was pretty astounded when I ordered a coke and they said… ‘That’ll be £4.10 please’ – What?! Maybe I should have expected that, or maybe I’m right to feel irked but after 2 days at the hotel, it’s fair to say that food and drink ate into my resin budget a bit. I’ll know for next year though.
The food was not included in the ticket price – £70 – which is probably fair enough but as I understand it, the buffet options ran a little light in the evening as the hotel has miscalculated the amount of food required for hungry hobbyists! And the buffet was £10 per person.
The Forge World masterclasses were very good indeed. Sadly, I have a small gripe here too. The room these took place in, was the same room that had the display boards and the glass cabinets showing new or WIP models and where some of the designers were camped out. When the classes/demos were taking place, there was a lot of ambient noise and loud voices and such that you often couldn’t hear what was being said by some of these guys, and it’s such a shame. The room next door was for book signings and I wonder if they’d have been better putting the signing table in with the designers and the workshops in the other room, but never mind.
Ok, gripes over.
Now the good stuff…
The best thing by far about this event is the informal way you can mix and interact with all your favourite authors – both Black Library and Forge World – and the designers and painters from Forge World. It really is great being able to just have a sit down and a beer with Mark Bedford or Aaron Dembski-Bowden and talk about the hobby and the Heresy.
You can ask about things in the pipeline or indeed just what they think about certain aspects of the timelines or the hobby or what army they are collecting and so on. It’s very engaging.
Despite my moan about the workshops earlier, I really enjoyed the two that I sat in on. I learned some really useful tips from Stuart Williamson about customising tanks with damage and banners and camo netting, but also about products and tools you can use to achieve certain results. It was really very interesting. I also learned how quickly – and almost effortlessly – Mark Bedford paints his legions! It was really eye opening to see the results achieved with the minimum fuss.
The sales stand was very well stocked and when they ran out of the event-only Navigator model, someone nipped back to Forge World to get some more so that nobody was disappointed. They had enough Mortarion models for everyone too, although it was sad to see a lot of them on eBay on day one at a vastly inflated asking price!
The seminars were informative and well run. It was interesting to hear from the guys you never usually hear from; Warhammer legend Alan Merritt and artist Neil Roberts for example. There were so many things going on throughout the days that you simple could not see all the seminars without missing the workshops or the participation gaming. The first seminar, the Forge World new models seminar and the Book 4: Conquest seminar were fully subscribed – unsurprisingly – and showed a lot of what is to come. The mechanicum models look particularly good and I think everyone was impressed with Mortarion an Vulkan.
Overall I would give this event an 8/10 and I will probably go again next year and probably won’t go to the Forge World open day, but it really depends on what is being released at the time.