Scandal at Golden Demon Australia 2011?

Next step: Mona Lisa – Scandal at Golden Demon Australia?

Just as most of you probably know, Golden Demon Australia 2011 was held in Sydney on October 1st. And as some of you know, there was something wrong with one of the entries. I mean the dreadnought which won gold in Warhammer 40K Vehicle category, and you surely guessed it already.

Dreadnought Twins

For those of you who are not familiar with the subject, let me explain that after the Golden Demon some photos of entries were published on the internet. And somebody spotted a suspicious photo… „Hey, isn’t it Bohun’s dreadnought?”, he said. And yeah, he must’ve been right!

Photo: Scandal at Golden Demon Australia 2011 - Bohun's Dreadnought
Dreadnought entered at Golden Demon Australia 2011

The dreadnought in question looked exactly like the one Bohun showed on our miniature painting forum a few months ago. He even posted some WIP pictures, so we had no doubts he actually painted that one. So the new one had to be either painted by Bohun himself or a perfect copy of his paintjob.

Of course it’s possible to commit a forgery that can’t be disclosed, but it’s very unlikely in this case. Bohun‚s style is quite unique, and we recognized the paintjob with ease. We immediately contacted a few people, who could be interested in it – including Bohun. He thanked us for spotting the issue, because he wouldn’t even known about it.

Photo: Scandal at Golden Demon Australia 2011 - Bohun's Dreadnought
Bohun’s Dreadnought (official photo by Bohun)

The plot thickens…

Most of you probably know that at most Golden Demons there is a rule that one must be present at the Golden Demon to enter his works in the contest. And I mean personal presence, or otherwise they should be disqualified. It works a bit different in Australia because there is no requirement of personal presence, and there’s store and regional qualifying instead. We knew Bohun didn’t go to Australia and we know him as a painter who doesn’t need to do something as wrong as asking somebody to enter the miniature for him to win yet another Golden Demon while risking his reputation and good name. So we could be quite sure that it wasn’t entered by him or on his behalf. This was a commissioned job, so it was very likely that the customer who bought the miniature decided to enter the miniature in order to try to win a Golden Demon.

Unfortunately similar things happened before, too. Some people entered purchased or commissioned works before, and while some wanted to make a nice surprise to the authors and credited them as authors of the miniatures, some entered them as their own. Well, Bohun had bad luck of having the latter kind of customer. The person who entered the miniature, entered it as his own work. Now that’s really bad conduct, isn’t it?

Epic fail

Fortunately the guys from Australia (Sebastian Archer and Kyle Morgan) took care of the whole thing very seriously. Thank you guys, you did great job! They investigated the case and when they received pictures of the original work by Bohun, it was obvious the miniature at Golden Demon was not a copy but the same model as on Bohun’s works.

Photo: Scandal at Golden Demon Australia 2011 - Bohun's Dreadnought
Comparison of both photos.
Slight adjustments in colors made to recreate studio lighting conditions better in order to make comparing them easier.

But then yet another attempt was made, (un)fortunately a failed one:

Somebody signed up to our miniature painting forum and posted such a message and signed it as INTHEKNOW. We can’t be sure if it’s the same person or not, but let’s quote the message:

@ Angora and posters this my apply to.

I has come to my attention that there are accusations being made not only on this forum but on others. I would be very careful about making slanderous comments in public without proof. I can assure you this matter has been fully investigated by the event organisers and they have been in contact with the people who are actually involved.

While the Dreadnought in question was based on Bohun’s painting style, and a tuition and feed back was given by him, it was not painted by Bohun.

To save any controversy, and with the agreement of all parties involved, the Demon for the Vehicle category was was handed back, and given to 4th place.

As he had not cheated he was able to retain all other Demons won. The person at question will also be able to enter next years GD without limitation.

However, if this isn’t enough information for you I suggest that you either get in contact with GW AU directly or I’m sure you can contact Bohun by sending him a PM or finding the email from his site. Failing that please feel free to PM me.

So what is wrong with it? Why do we call it a failed attempt?

Just a day before this message was sent I had a chance to meet Bohun in person. We talked a bit at Hussar 2011 and even had a chance to visit him again and to see his works. And Bohun denied having given the person any tuition or feedback about how to paint such model. Now the real shame is that he could have chosen to say he was unaware that entries had to be sole works of the entrants, not just owned by them. Although still difficult to believe, this explanation would be more credible than his. But he still claimed it’s a different model…

Now take a moment and compare these two models. Take a little adjustment for different lighting conditions at the contest and in a photo studio. Don’t they look like the same miniature? To me they do. These small swirling patterns look exactly the same on both minis. One would have to be a fantastic painter to replicate this pattern with such perfection. Then look at those stains on both bases. Identical, aren’t they? And if he has such skills, why didn’t he enter his original work but a copy of Bohun’s dreadnought?

Next stop: copying Mona Lisa

Kyle nailed it with his comment at the OZ Painters forum:

I have to say…. if this guy is did infact manage to copy the original Dreadnought, so much that it even came down to getting the battle damage and rust in the exact same spots, then he is truly entitled to winning that Demon…. Hell he should have won the Slayer Sword for being able to copy the original to a tee…. I mean why paint minis when this person clearly has the skill to copy any artwork…. next stop, copying the Mona Lisa!

You still don’t believe?

According to a post from the OZ Painters forum, this was not the first time he was disqualified for playing unfair and breaking the rules. As member difsta writes:

Hi all, I’m new to Oz Painters, but not new to [him]. I used to me „mates” with this guy. That was until he was caught cheating at tournaments with loaded dice. The same dice he used against me in friendly matches, at my house, while drinking my beers.

I was involved in catching him out with the dice as well as catching him out with the Golden Demon issues. For ages [he] used to send me photos of models that he had supposedly painted. When this all came out I provided photos which he sent me, which were found on places such as cool mini or not as well as bohun’s galeria (some of which you have already seen). he didn’t even take the photos, he just sent me the photos that the actual painter had taken. Here is an example.

Then he posts pictures to prove his point. I will leave it up to you to judge by yourselves.

And justice for all

Eventually the entry was disqualified, and results corrected. And justice for all…

Oh really? For all?
He won more trophies on that day, but he was only disqualified from this one category. Fair or not? Let’s leave the judgement to you, but that’s what the rules say. There’s no reason to disqualify him from other categories.

But to show you a different approach to the subject, let me quote the rules of Hussar competition:

2.1. Submitting an entry breaching the rules will cause disqualification of all works of the painter.

2.2. Submitting a team work or work of other painters will cause disqualification of all works of the painter and ban for all future editions of the competition.

2.3 Disqualification can happen after the results announcement, if evidence is found.

It doesn’t pay to cheat, does it? 🙂

Space marine’s regret

Unfortunately it was not the only time such things happened. We only know about a few more, which involved us in some way, but there have surely been more. Let me give a few examples.

Many years ago somebody entered Irkuck‚s and Demon Color’s models at one of Golden Demons in the US. Fortunately for all parties involved those models didn’t win anything and we never learned who did it. We simply spotted these painted miniatured on photos of entries in one of photo reports from that Golden Demon.

Then in 2007 we received an email from one of our customers, informing us that he won a Golden Demon with miniatures painted by Ana. He entered them as his own and to his misfortune, they won a silver Golden Demon in Warhammer 40.000 squad category. He apologized about it and even sent us the trophy, but it still felt a bit unfair because Ana was not there and would surely be unable to afford a trip to Canada. It was the first Golden Demon won by any of her works, so some people might suspect she was involved in it, so we tried to resolve the issue with Canadian Games Workshop, but we only heard that they didn’t help us much beyond telling us they’re glad to know the winner passed the trophy over to the author of winning miniatures. Well, nevermind… Not the best way to get your first trophy, nothing to be proud about. Yet all the lists of GD winners, like the Demon Winner site, credit the person who entered the miniatures for his winning entry.

Photo: Scandal at Golden Demon Australia 2011 - Bohun's Dreadnought
Squad entered at Golden Demon (photo from GD gallery)
Photo: Scandal at Golden Demon Australia 2011 - Bohun's Dreadnought
Obviously the same squad. Official photo from Ana’s gallery.

Fortunately the guy really regretted what he had done and in 2008 entered his own work depicting a space marine asking for forgiveness. Nice touch…

Kindness of strangers

Ana wasn’t very lucky when it came to such situations. It must have been in 2009 that her Dark Angels command squad was entered by the owner of their miniatures at Golden Demon in Baltimore. This guy was fair enough to enter it as Ana’s work and credit her for the entry, but the miniatures… win a silver trophy again. Unfortunately it was done without Ana’s consent

Photo: Scandal at Golden Demon Australia 2011 - Bohun's Dreadnought
Yet another victim of kindness of strangers…

Some people congratulated Ana, some said it was a pity they didn’t have a chance to meet her at the Golden Demon. Generally the social reception was very positive, but we didn’t want to go the unfair way and contacted Games Workshop US about the case, asking the customer to do the same. We asked them to decide how to resolve the problem, because Ana wasn’t present at the GD, and it’s required by the rules to be there. We suggested it would be best to give the silver trophy to the winner of bronze, and to give bronze to the next person in the line – unless it’s impossible or too difficult to do. Fortunately things went just the way we suggested and the owner of that Dark Angels command squad didn’t object to returning the trophy. We believe he only wanted to do Ana a favor and win a trophy he thought miniature painting deserved. But we were happy to know the trophies went to people who won them abiding by the rules. You can see the corrected list of winners to see that things have been addressed properly.

There are plenty more fish in the sea…

Maybe you can share some suggestions how to deal with such problems? We are aware that Games Workshop cannot know the authors of all the works entered in Golden Demons. That’s where the international community of painters steps in. It’s us who can spot such cases and report them to the responsible persons. Hopefully they will act as promptly and efficiently as some of the examples above prove.

And what is your experience with this subject? Did you have similar problems, or do you know somebody who did?
It surely is more of a problem for people who paint for others, as they lose control over their works after they’re shipped to their new owners. That’s where our „community watch” is most useful and necessary.

Were there more of such problems? Surely, but we don’t know about them.

Maybe you can tell us about the ones you know about?

Feel free to leave a comment to share your opinion with us.

— Mahoń

13 myśli w temacie “Next step: Mona Lisa – Scandal at Golden Demon Australia?”

  1. Thank you CoC for exposing this. I live in Sydney and I would be ashamed to see GD tainted by cheaters. Thanks to Automaton as well for his actions.

  2. No mercy for cheaters! Add all of them to the public, online black list and ban to the end of life from given competition, so no one will be trying anything like this in the future. Add this with bold letters to regulations and everything will solve itself.

  3. Mmm.. maybe sincce we can´t punch the noses of all cheaters there could be a system that proves u are the author of the mini.. i dunno like if u buy a mini u are going to paint for a contest u could ask for a certificate or something as the store , and once at the competition u need to show that certificate…. but maybe that is too complicated… or perhaps u could have to send pics of the wip before going to the contest with the finished mini…¿?

  4. Not to condone this sort of thing, because I think copying someone else’s work should still be disqualifiable.. but I’m not sold those are the same model…

    It could be a trick of light, but the highlighting seems different… Bohun seems to use brighter highlights while the other is more diffused. There are a couple key areas where things look quite different – The shade/highlight is reversed on his claw. The golden angel on the body plate also has very little highlighting in the winner shot.. and seems to have different angled highlighting.

    Again, I don’t think this excuses someone for copying a model someone else has created.. that’s called forgery. I’m just not sold it’s the same.

    1. Dave, bear in mind one thing: the official photo was taken under strong photographic lights, while the one taken at the Golden Demon is not even the official coverage photo, but something taken from one of visitors. Totally different lighting conditions. To prove my point just take a look at this comparison of Bohun’s works in different lighting conditions – one photo is taken at Golden Demon Italy, while others are from Bohun’s workshop. And yes, it’s the same model. And yes, I’ve seen it in person – both with lamps on and off, and this change alone makes the model look absolutely different.

      The reversed highlight is not reversed highlight, but light reflected on one of the horizontal claws. And just take a look at the modifications to the model. The original Forgeworld kit has longer sashes, and here they’re trimmed – compare the ends on both photos. It’s the same model, believe me. Or the guy is a perfect copyist…

  5. Yeah… I remember this squad in Baltimore. It was recognized for what it was about 30 minutes in and we spend some time looking for Ana. A year before that one of very old McVey’s miniatures also popped up in Blatimore, and got an honorable mention in single 40K… So… yes, amazingly enough it keeps happening.

  6. I TOTALLY agree with disqualifying this guy, no excuses, but I have to point one thing out that is wrong here:
    „Most of you probably know that there is a rule that one must be present at the Golden Demon to enter his works in the contest”
    This statement is not actually true for Australian GD, I won 2 awards and wasn’t there in person, we can do postal entries here (as Oz is so large). We go through store and regional qualifying first, then, if you can’t attend, the models get shipped to Sydney by the GW staff.

    1. Thanks for the information. I updated the article with the information from your post. I already heard from Arjay about it one day, but managed to forget it. Thanks for the correction 🙂

  7. It’s refreshing to see people stand up for the true and decent painters who enter these competitions, GW should consider a name and shame for people who falsely enter Golden Demon with work thats not their own and claim that it is theirs. 2011 GD in Sydney was a great opportunity to see some beautiful examples of workmanship, I do hope this year is free of any such troubles.

  8. I think the issue is significantly more complex than how it appears guys. I’ve hobbied and played games at several venues where the accused used to hobby and I can assure, with utter confidence that lots of what you hear is far fetched. There are lots of jealous and bitter people out there, especially in the Australian gaming and hobby circuit. [He] was fairly new to the hobby and both played and painted well. One of the accusers (Josh Diffey) used to blab on about GW prices and ventured out to mould his own miniatures using, effectively breaching copyright laws, an offence you can be fined and go to prison for… Not to mention I saw him on many instances trying to sell parts to other gamers, and fielded an army (that I dare say looked like utter crap) that was copied/moulded. Why should gamers like me fork out thousands, while others make their own models, ripping off other peoples hard work and concepts. This guy sounds like a bloody hyporcit to me. Wouldn’t believe a word he says.

    1. Stevie, I would be much more cautious with ANY accusations, hadn’t I known Bohun and seen his works in person. I think the main conclussion is that fortunately the hobby community is on watchout for possible problems and in case of any trouble – they’re happy to stand for their fellow hobbyists.

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