In the Grim Darkness of Nottingham… – The United Kingdom Part 2.5

Two posts within 24 hours? Has the world gone off its rocker?

After my Boxing Day exploration of flooded York it was time to head to the main objective of my UK trip (well, at least the only objective I’d had planned)… Warhammer World.

Now, long time readers will know I’m partial to a nicely painted toy soldier, dragon or wizard, as nerdy as that is. I’ve been collecting and painting Citadel Miniatures for almost eight years now, and have amassed quite the collection in my time. I’ve also discovered a potentially lifelong hobby through it, and a gaming community I never would have had access to if it weren’t for Games Workshop. Say what you like about their prices and horrendous business practice (I know I definitely have a few words myself), but there’s no denying ol’ Gee Dubya have influenced the tabletop landscape more than any other company and brought miniature hobbies to the mainstream.

And so it was an honour and a privilege to finally make the pilgrimage to the home of Warhammer, Nottingham.

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Escaping the deluge

Though the fear of landslips and flooding was in the back of my mind, I braved the train to Nottingham, home if Robin Hood and his merry band, on a quiet and dreary Sunday. Finding Nottingham to be a little rough around the edges, instead of exploring the city first I made a straight run to Warhammer World, along the banks of Nottingham’s main canal. The walk itself is not long, and quite scenic in a drab sort of way, so I have no idea why people would choose to take public transportation if there wasn’t a good reason.

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Upon my arrival, I found the streets near deserted and quiet, which worried me a little bit… Had I arrived on a day of closure? Had the rapture happened? Luckily not, it’s just the area around is a bit quiet, is all. After taking a few quick selfies with the replica Rhino tank and Sigmarite statue that now marks the entrance to the site, I walked inside, grinning like an idiot the whole while.

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Inside you are greeted by the Citadel store, pretty typical fare if you’re familiar with Games Workshop stores. The only difference being the extra “exclusives” such as ridiculously overpriced branded clothing and even exclusive miniatures.

The staff here are, of course, super happy and helpful, if not maybe a bit obviously sales driven. I loved seeing the faces of those I told that I was from Australia though. Not many of my breed around apparently.

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I do love going to gaming halls (especially those as grand as Warhammer World’s) and just watching games go on. Though there are a surplus of weirdos and creeps in the hobby, its easy to strike up a fun conversation with fellow hobbyists at the battlefield. Everyone loves having their delicately painted and beloved army admired.

I made my purchases (with an arm and a leg) at the single existing Forgeworld store before heading to the hilariously Dwarf-themed “Bugman’s Bar” for a pint and a burger. My recommendation? Get the beer elsewhere. I don’t think ancient Dwarves really got the ale-making craft right. They’re too busy fighting Goblins and Skaven.

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Finally, I hit up the exhibition halls which, pardon my Elvish, are fucking incredible. To walk through miniature history, seeing in the flesh those models that appeared in magazines and on screens that first inspired you to pick up clippers and brush… Well, it’s something else.

The individual army display cases of ‘Eavy Metal painted minis were all unbelievable. You can really see why this GW team are often called the masters of their craft. From afar, great armies march to war under gilded banners, from close up you can see even the wrinkles on an old hunter’s face.

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Though these displays were amazing in themselves, the gigantic battle dioramas were something else. Nowhere else in the world could you see something like thousands of Daemons swarming an industrial world, or Space Marines fighting across a blasted wasteland, at least not on such a scale.

The disappointing thing to see though is the definite slip in quality of painting put out by the crew. In the olden days, when new model releases were few and far between, the ‘Eavy Metal team could put in the time needed to create unparalleled display pieces. Now, with new and ridiculous models being released every week to keep customers and shareholders happy, you can see that this level of painting is slipping. The team are either trying to lessen the gap between master and amateur, or simply being overwhelmed by the flood of new plastic. Aah, I’m waxing nostalgic now. I miss the good old days.

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Speechless and penniless

All good things must come to an end, and so I said goodbye to Warhammer World. Inspired and bubbly, I vowed to get started on some new and exciting projects upon my return to my Australian painting desk. Now… To just think of how to get my purchases home..

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