Well I’ve been meaning to get this article posted up since my return from Lenton last Saturday, but what with Family stuff, work and other random stuff thrown in for good measure today’s my first real opportunity.
So Enter the Citadel, I wasn’t even aware of this event until I stumbled across it on 10th July (the Wednesday before the event) as I took a browse through Facebook having been sent a Friends request.
Now I’d been aware of GW/BL/FW running a similar weekend event a few months back totally dedicated to the Horus Heresy, which I’d really fancied until I saw both the price of the event and cost of a hotel (as I’d be attending solo). I um’ed and ah’ed for a while eventually deciding not to shell out and stay at home. Come the weekend of the event and blog reports coming out, I began to mentally kick my own arse, not least due to the fact that as well as getting to discuss at least some of the gritty secrets of the Heresy, I’d have been able to get access to some lovely Ltd Edition models and books that were now selling for silly prices on Ebay and would have easily financed the weekend away.
So when I saw the schedule for the Enter the Citadel event outlined on Facebook along with a price tag of £25, but more importantly that both BL & FW would be in attendance I requested a one day pass out from “She who must be obeyed”. Having contacted a few of the usual guys who I travel or meet up with for gaming events, I found that due to either pre booked holidays or the short notice this was going to be a solo trek down to Lenton.
Saturday morning I arrived at Warhammer World at 08.50 despite the event not commencing until 10.00 as I’d been advised by both a member of the Events team and also a WHW Shop staffer that Bugman’s would be open from 08.30 and WHW shop would open at 09.00 as it was Apocalypse release weekend and the shop wanted to give those attending the Enter the Citadel event time to have look around and no doubt spend copious amounts of cash.
However clearly the individuals I’d spoken to the night before were either not very far up the GW food chain or GW staff members are now actively being encouraged to provide customers with outrageous misinformation as it was nearly 09.50 before the WHW doors were opened and we were allowed into the events hall.
Expecting both the Forge World and Black Library stands to be inside the event set up and that they would likely be very busy throughout the day I quickly made my way over and picked up or ordered the bits I was after. It was only at this stage that I realised in actual fact both the stands were outside the days event set up and any old Tom, Dick, or Harry who were visiting WHW that day could buy all the previously advertised “event only” Ltd Edition Figures/Books/Pictures etc.
Oh well now that I’d driven 100 miles to be there and splashed out £25 for an event ticket I might as well make the most of it.
The event consisted of the following, Half the main hall had been very loosely cordoned off and inside the cordoned off section was about two dozen GW Big (and not so big) names sat behind tables with some of the latest books/ models/art work/ terrain in front of them, and basically those individuals who’d shelled out the £25 for a ticket were given nice shiny ID badges and permitted to enter the cordoned off section, with the expectation of interacting with those staff members rolled out for the event.
Now don’t get me wrong there was as mentioned earlier some big names there (in the GW Universe that is), Jervis, Jes Goodwin, and even old man Blanche the grand daddy of Eavy Metal (though my suspicion is that he is not a well guy as he only appeared to be a shadow of his old self from the three or four occasions I’d met him in the past), there was also numerous other artist, writers, Games Designers and painters present, but not many that I recognised (obviously my GW Fan boy days are now long gone).
Additionally to the “Members only” cordoned off section of the hall there were a number of hobby events or Q&A sessions that ticket holders could choose to attend or not, however here’s the rub, every Hobby session took place at the exact same time as the Q&A sessions, so unless you’d mastered the ability of being in two places at one time you were only ever going to be able to attend 50% of the seminars put on for you the customer.
All the hobby events were over in the building to the left as you enter the GW car park (I think it may have originally been called the Moot), where I’d been to previously at some 40K GT event, where Jervis spent the best part of an hour doing his best impression of some CIA media spin doctor, and you came out knowing less than when you entered.
Hobby Seminar 1 was “Painting Space Marines for Apocalypse”, and consisted of two guys from the Citadel Army Painters team showing how to apply a wash, then dry brush then battle damage to a pre built and base coated Rhino and Terminator models whilst a third guy videoed them painting, and this was displayed on to a large screen at the front on the seminar room. Very basic and not really anything more than a level most hobbyists would be at after 6-12 of entering the hobby. For me the most interesting bit was the information the two painters gave out as they displayed their “vast” painting skills, namely that themselves and a number of others who belong to the army painting team paint everything else the Eavy Metal painters don’t want to, ie Vehicles, and non front rank models in most of the WD Armies. Also interestingly (from my perspective at least) was that they stated it would take them about 4 days or so to paint up a Marine Tactical squad where as members of the Eavy Metal team averaged about two weeks for the same unit. If true, I was very surprised at the length of time they were actually given, as for some reason I though guys like them working for GW would be knocking out painted models ten to the dozen!
Seminar 1 finished and you had 45 minutes to yourself to wander round the event only section and talk to the experts or visit the BL & FW stalls or WHW shop. Your event ticket did not include any form of a meal and the canteen was closed as I was soon to find out as the majority of the food hall was being utilised as the venue for the Q&A Seminars.
The timetable of the day was that each 45 minute seminar was then followed by a 45 minute break, which was until the end of Seminar 4 where you only had a 15 minute break until Seminar 5 (this turned out to be no break at all as the Q&A event fixer over ran with Seminar 4). Also after a couple of 45 minute breaks these really began to drag, walking round and seeing the same old faces, telling the same old stories, and I couldn’t even have a beer as was driving home 😦
Seminar 2 I decided to go for a Q&A session which happened to be “Bringing the Apocalypse” with Jervis, Phil Kelly and Ex WD Editor turned Black Library author Guy Haley. An ok seminar, but the long and short of it was that Apoc is only supposed to be played as a fun game between friends and it didn’t matter whether forces were equal it was just a tool to facilitate Gamers to use all their models. I was rather surprised at the “Apoc was only supposed to be played as a fun game between friends” comment as GW are already advertising at least two Apoc weekend events, now forgive me if I’m wrong but my understanding of playing at an event was that in all likelihood I’d end up playing against people I didn’t generally know. However clearly the fun game between friends aspect of the rules set wasn’t going to stop GW blatantly using upcoming 40K events as a tool to push the new Apoc rules set.
So after ordering yet more toys and picking up a couple of extra Ltd Ed models I attended Seminar 3 of the Q&A sessions. This proved to be the best of the day as it was Jes Goodwin and a younger guy called Matt Holland talking about their corresponding Large Models that had recently been released, namely Jes’ Eldar Wraithknight and Matt’s Tau Riptide. Very informative and they were both pretty honest stating that “who wouldn’t have wanted to be given the opportunity of developing and building large robots with big guns”. Now one thing I haven’t made clear yet was that at each of the Q&A sessions there was an events fixer present (obviously some GW big wig) who before each session started told the audience that when questions were to be posed we were not permitted to ask “what was coming out next or in the future”. Additionally at the point where questions were permitted the fixer already had 6-8 pre approved questions that were displayed on the large screen above where the experts sat on the stage and that he posed to those on stage. The net result was that in actual fact the audience were lucky if they got 10-15 minutes to ask their own questions. Lastly the fixer also got the audience to provide a round of applause at the end of each seminar like we were a bunch of school kids.
Seminar 4 of the Q&A sessions was “40K ask the audience” with Jervis, Phil Kelly and Jes Bickham (current WD Editor), and whilst I didn’t really fancy this the alternative was “Painting the Eldar Farseer-Part 2” and I hadn’t attended “Part 1”, so I grudgingly attended “40K ask the audience”. After about 20 minutes of the usual stage managed questions by the “Fixer” and not the audience, with increasingly high temperatures in the room my CFS started to kick in and I kept nodding off (this tends to be a result of undertaking meaningless tasks or being present at pointless and untaxing meetings/events). To be honest I can’t really remember very much at all of Seminar 4, but it did run over by 15 minutes with the outcome being that Q&A seminar 5 was to commence with only a couple of minutes break.
Needing to snap myself out of my lethargy (as I didn’t want to also have seminar 5 pass me by whilst I dozed), I collect an order from WHW shop, and due to the fact that I’d been given 10 raffle tickets (on placing my order with WHW earlier in the day), that were to be drawn at 4PM, I decided that I’d miss the start of Seminar 5. It was lucky that I did as strangely (as I usually win F**k all) I won four posters with my ten tickets. Having also collected the half of my order the staff had actually be able to source and having drunk copious amounts of cold water I went in to Q&A Seminar 5.
Q&A Seminar 5 was entitled “Bringing 40K to life” with Guy Haley and Graeme Lyon, (two of the Black Library authors). Now I like some of the Black Library’s literature, (I’m aware that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and I’d agree I have read a few of their books that were really poor), and I found the part of the Seminar I was able to listen to very interesting. A couple of the main points both authors took pains to ensure they put over to the audience was that going into 41K was definitely not going to happen as there was just too much time pre 41K that could be utilised and written about, Secondly that whereas with a lot of the old 40K literature there had been stories written that as the background of 40K developed then became anomalies, now currently there had been so much more written that the lynch pins of the 40K universe had clearly been developed and put in place so that it was unlikely that further anomalies would arise. Towards the end of this seminar I became a bit distracted after a number of phone calls, but this was my second favourite seminar of the day.
With the last Seminar over it was time to finish collecting my bits and head on home.
So what worked for me and what didn’t re this event.
Getting to meet some of the people that you see in WD articles, listen to what makes them tick and pick their brains.
Being able to buy some “Events only” items.
Having a day out.
A lot of the Seminars were stage managed, where the audience were told not to ask certain questions and the seminar Fixer already had a list of questions to pose.
The fact that there was always two seminars running side by side with each other so you were only going to visit 50% of what was put on.
£25 for a ticket was a bit steep for what you go, (each 45 minute seminar was thus costing you £5)
The quality of a number of the Seminars was not particularly good (my opinion only)
The event price didn’t include lunch
The locations of both seminars needed the temperatures adjusting, as the Q&A venue was like being in an oven, whilst the Hobby location in “the Moot” was too cool and people were coming out and putting hoodies and jackets on.
The “Event only” merchandise was on sale to everyone at WHW and I needn’t have had to buy my ticket for the event if I’d only wanted to come and buy some goods, and this wasn’t made clear in any of the advertisement literature.
Overall I’m glad I attended and saw what it was like. Would I go again? Not for a similar sort of event, but I maybe tempted with something specific say if they decided to run another Horus Heresy weekender/day,
Would I recommended it to someone else? Whilst my “Cons” out weigh my “Pros” I probably would recommended it to another as whilst I think it was over costed and some of the seminars could have been better, others might not, and as something new and different it was an OK experience.
Pics of Event Only Models.
Horus Heresy-Davinte Lodge Priest