We had the pleasure of spending some time with James Philp recently to learn more about what it takes to move from keen hobbyist to competition painter. Not only is James a Golden Demon winner , but owner of one of the finest Horus Heresy 30k armies you are ever likely to see!
Those of you who are keen IG’ers will no doubt already be familiar with James’ work and like me, have probably drooled over his outrageously good Salamanders. If not, go check him out @ https://www.instagram.com/jimmyp2508/
Before we talk about GD, Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into the hobby?
I am 37 years old from Hornchurch Essex and originally started in the hobby when I was a teenager in 1993. My first army was Tyranids and then moved on to Dark angels. I joined the Army at 17 and didn’t have time for any hobby other than to read Black Library books! In 2014 my housemate reintroduced me to the hobby and I started painting and playing Tyranids again!
Can you tell us about your painting background? How long have you been painting for and roughly how many hours a week you get for painting (both for your personal collection and/or commission work)?
When I was a teenager I only painted a few models badly lol but in 2014 I did some painting lessons with Ben Brager the Gw manager at Brentwood when I was starting out again. This really helped me as he was an excellent teacher. In February 2016 I attended the Siege Studios painting essentials weekend course which really progressed my painting skills. I also watched plenty of Youtube channels which improved my knowledge and gave me inspiration. I spend roughly 10 – 14 hours a week painting and building, If I am working on a commission job I will work on this until it’s complete.
What is it that motivates you to paint and how have you found the transition from casual painter to competition painting?
What motivates me is seeing the work of other artists in white dwarf and Instagram. I found that I have always been a painter more than a player so trying to improve my level of painting was more important. I found the transition into competition painting a strange one because I was not sure if my painting was that good. People suggested I entered my Spartan in the 2017 Golden Demon classic (vehicle category) and I won a finalist pin! I got some great feedback and decided to push myself after that.
Which stage of the painting process do you enjoy/dislike the most?
I enjoy the small details and weathering parts of painting because you can really see the model come to life and get to use colors you don’t normally use. I dislike mold lines on plastic models because you can miss one and only discover it later when you are painting the model!
Although we want to get their this year, none of us at RFW have been to a Warhammer games day or experienced GD. Can you tell us a bit about the day, your expectations and meeting other incredible painters?
Well on the day you register your entry/entries in the morning by filling out a simple form. Once registered and accepted by the GW staff you then drop off your entry. They place them in glass cabinets so everyone can see them, then they start judging. I am not 100% sure on the marking of the card with colored dots but apparently, one means photographed. I noticed on my entry I got a Commended Entry card, I tried to ask what that meant but was told sorry I cannot say. When it came to the time to pick up models I heard my name to go to the staging area!
What was it like when you heard that you had won a bronze demon in the squad category for your Salamander Rapier mortar squad?
I expected to possibly only get a finalist pin only but was Incredibly happy to get a Bronze golden demon for it! It was a dream come true because I always wanted to get my painting good enough to compete let alone win a demon.
So what next? Silver and Gold GDs I imagine? Any thoughts as to when your next entry will be and do you have a model(s) in mind?
Well, I will enter again because it’s motivated me to improve my painting more into competition painting level instead of really high tabletop standard. I fancy maybe doing a Mechanicum squad because they are an army I have always been interested in. I’ve always fancied painting a Storm Cast Stardrake up to competition level! Its probably going to be GD classic 2019 the next time I enter unless I go the Horus heresy weekend GD.
We heard an outrageous rumor that you played five full games of 30k with your GD winning squad the weekend before Warhammer fest? Is this true?
Yes, it is true lol! It was at the Greetings from the warp Horus Heresy 30k narrative tournament. I have painted my Salamanders Army to up to the highest standard I can from the tactical marine right up to my Primarch Vulkan. I used the mortar squad because I only saw them being really high tabletop standard, but since they won bronze I do feel I am ultra-careful with them. I am going to take a few courses with some very talented artists this year to take my painting to the competition level.
Lastly, if you had to offer some advice to a painter who aspires to win a GD, what would that be?
I would say paint something that you are passionate about. Use youtube and maybe try some courses to improve new skills and techniques.
A massive thanks to James for taking the time out to speak with us and we wish him massive success in his future painting competitions.