Saturday 13 April 2024

The Pilgrimage

Not a painting or gaming post, just a few pictures from my recent visit to Warhammer World, somewhere I've not actually been to in over ten years.

The last time I went there was just the gaming hall, Bugman's Bar and the shop. It was interesting to see that the gaming hall was about half the size, Bugman's actually had plenty of space and you couldn't get anywhere without going through the shop twice

There's some subtext to unravel about the development of Games Workshop in those changes, but I'll leave that for your consideration.

On top of this was the exhibition, which, if you were unsure, is well worth a visit. The opening section covers the development of their games and settings and features a number of classic miniatures.

It's a bit weird seeing models that are still in my painting queue in what is essentially a museum. There's subtext in that too.

It was a shame there wasn't more of their older ranges on display, I feel they could have done some interesting demonstration of the development of things like Terminator armour or a close up look at how sculpting has changed.

But maybe the museum aspect isn't what they were going for.

Having said that, this section included classic dioramas that I remember seeing in several publications, such a this piece by John Blanche, which I thing was in the 3rd edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle rulebook.

Or this one inspired by Warhammer Quest. There was actually much more to it but it was quite hard to photograph in a way that captured the way it was put together on different levels.

What was very noticeable with these older dioramas, particularly with what came later, was how small they were, despite looming so large in my memories.

For example, this classic piece by Mike McVey based on art from the Realms of Chaos: The Lost And The Damned, which is (I think) the only representation of the Emperor in miniature to appear in the pages of of White Dwarf.

It's about the size of a shoebox.

In contrast there's the newest diorama in the exhibition is this massive scene done to coincide with the launch of Warhammer: The Old World, which is essentially the Battle of the Pelennor Fields but in a desert, with Tomb Kings and Bretonnians taking the parts of the forces of Mordor, Gondor and Rohan.

The diorama was packed with detail, such as these Tomb Scorpions and Necropolis Knights (or are they the other ones?) emerging in a market square within the city.

On the subject of Tolkien inspired wargaming, it was reassuring that the fantasy area of the exhibition had a healthy amount of Lord of the Rings miniatures and dioramas on display.

As I was accompanied by Mrs Cheaphammer and the Cheapling, these scenes were a great access point for them to see things they could relate to and make sense of more easily, especially when surrounded by Age of Sigmar displays which I have only the most tenuous and out of date grasp of.

In a real turn up for the books, this particular scene from the Shire evoked some interest from Mrs Cheaphammer in making some similar terrain.

She's never that keen on the violence inherent in this hobby, although she was impressed with the dynamism of the newer Age of Sigmar sculpts.

We didn't spend too long on the Age of Sigmar displays, although they are impressive. I was able to handily explain the four Chaos gods in terms that the family understood with visual references: disease and despair; change and magic; pleasure and sauciness; ANGRY!

The Cheapling showed some affinity towards Nurgle, although this was more than likely related to the massive Nurgling plushie in reception.

I'd suggest that the exhibition at Warhammer World is a really good place to explain certain aspects of the hobby without having to go into boring detail.

For example, in the 40k section, Mrs Cheaphammer spotting that "those red ones are like yours" allowed me to quickly explain that Space Marines come in a variety of colours which allow players to paint them how they choose.

I'm fact, in one corner there is what amounts to a Dulux colour chart made up of different chapters.

I'm terms of setting, scenes like this provide a neat shorthand to convey to overwhelming totalitarian nature of the Imperium and will potentially offer context in future exchanges.

I was at one point asked what 'lore' was and I explained that it's what people who take this all too seriously call backstory, what used to be referred to as 'fluff'.

The Horus Heresy sections being placed next to the 40k displays helped explain why I needed two apparently similar armies and what the difference was, and also allowed me show how much of a reasonable person I am by having 'red ones' in both settings and being able to use some of them in both.

Perhaps the best outcome of the tournament was the fact that, at least for the GW aspects of my hobby, I was able to clarify which game was which along with why and how they were different.

Finally there was the offensively large Battle of Angelus display. At which point I opted to point out that, no, I don't have 'a lot' of context.

After leaving the exhibition we obviously stopped by the shop, it's my birthday next week and so purchases were made; more on that when I actually get my hands on them.

Also, the Cheapling and I spent a while painting together and potentially piqued her interest in the hobby (albeit in Age of Sigmar) in a way I've never been able to. The staff throughout the venue are excellent, especially the guy who was overseeing the painting area (although the brushes were atrocious), and they really made everything welcoming and accessible to people who weren't already immersed on the hobby.

If you have more than a passing interest in GW stuff, I'd highly recommend going to Warhammer World, especially if you haven't been recently. I was really pleasantly surprised and even without gaming, there was enough there to fill an afternoon.

Also, the food's pretty good too.


  1. Glad you and the family had a good day out mate. Not been to Grandma Wendys HQ for ages. think next time im free for a few days ill drive up for a visit.

    1. The exhibition is well worth a visit, and not having to pay postage does help making buying direct sting a little less.

  2. While obviously a commercial venue and pushing you through the shop a few times is not fun, it is pretty cool that they go to the effort of the museum with the dioramas etc. I can't imagine that the whole thing makes money for them.
    Thanks for taking the time to post the photos and I am glad that your family was able to enjoy your hobby a little bit.

    1. Cheers. Without the exhibition, it probably wouldn't be worth visiting if you weren't playing a game, however it is a very big and very well stocked store.

  3. Well that brings back a lot of memories, haven't been up for many years, but thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    1. No worries. It's a bit confronting to see the many years of your own life on display in a museum.