My friend and I are working our way through my first Warcry campaign and I’ve discovered, much to my wife’s annoyance, that I really like it and am happy to spend more time and money than I should on buying and painting Warhammer models.
So much so that I have recently considered using these models for other purposes. Specifically for replacing Dungeons & Dragons minis, some of which can be quite hard to come by.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting replacing all of my D&D minis with Games Workshop ones, there are lots of reasons why that just wouldn’t work, but there are times when I think that swapping out the odd Icons of the Realms minis or Nolzur’s Marvellous Miniatures with some more unique and customizable GW ones could be a cool idea.
For an upcoming story arc in my homebrew D&D game, my players will come across a Balor Demon. It a fierce, malevolent force of evil and should be a terrifying encounter for the mid-level heroes, so I want the moments of battle to be memorable. There is available Nolzurs Marvelous Miniatures Balor Demon ($15) and it looks good, exactly as it’s described in the D&D Monster Manual, but there is also a Games Workshop Daemon Prince ($40), which, although a bit pricier, could do a fantastic job. I couldn’t decide which to use, so the only sensible option I had was to get both, paint them, and see which I preferred.
Hopefully this will be of use to someone else too, although given my artistic ability, I wouldn’t count on it…
Demon vs. Daemon
I decided that the best way to compare them fairly would be to paint them using the same painting plan: deep red for the skin, black wings, and metallics for the weapons. This is also a fairly simple scheme, which plays directly into my wheelhouse.
The first major difference between the two is that Nolzur’s Marvellous Miniatures all come assembled, whereas GW models do not. So my primary step is to assemble the Daemon Prince. I particularly like the versatility of the GW models as you can pick and choose which elements to include on your model. I went quite sparse with mine and used the 40K head with the Age of Sigmar arms and armor. I could have ended up with an entirely different looking model, which is why the cost of the GW models is justified—you get more for your money and the models look and feel of a far better quality.
Straight off the bat I enjoy the Daemon Prince more—I’m not keen on the Balor Demon’s base, nor the clear acrylic magical effects.
Assembly complete, it’s time for the first base coat. The Balor Demon comes ready primed, so you can paint straight on, but the Daemon Prince required a couple of coats of primer before I began. I used Citadel Mechanicus Standard Grey, after learning the hard way not to use Chaos Black for primer…
I used Khorne Red for the flesh, Celestra Grey for the metals, and Corvus Black for the wings.
Once the base coat was applied, I used Agrax Earthshade, Seraphim Sepia, and Nuln Oil washes to highlight the shadows and add depth. Now I was ready to begin layering.
Technique is not my strong point. That sentence can be applied for a whole range of activities I pursue, and it’s certainly true of my model painting. My problem is a lack of patience. And ability. Two attributes which are really key.
Nonetheless I persevere and the results speak for themselves…
I began by highlighting the shadows of the fleshy parts of each model, then building up layers of gradually lighter shades of red until you get this weird faux-impressionist effect.
Like most impressionist paintings, my models look better when viewed from a distance. About 50 meters being the optimum distance.
The reds used here were Wazdakka Red, Evil Sunz Scarlet, and Wild Rider Red. I used Ushbati Bone and Karak Stone for the horns and bones, Ironbreaker and Runefang Steel for the metals, Abaddon Black for adding depth to the wings, and Flash Gitz Yellow for the eyes and some highlighting on the gold areas. I also dry-brushed their bracers and the Daemon Prince’s blade with Skink Blue.
Bases and Finish
I decided that it was probably about time to finish the models. No amount of paint I could add now would make them any better, so I finished by heavily washing down some Trollslayer Orange and painting the flame sword and whip of the Balor Demon, and highlighting with White Scar and Flash Gitz Yellow. I also decided to remove the Balor Demon from his base and use a lava effect I practiced in my previous GeekDad Paints! article.
I used the technical paint Mordant Earth, which cracks as it cures, painted over a base coat of Trollslayer Orange, and then highlighted with Flash Gits Yellow and White Scar to create the sense of fire and heat on my bases, as they will be meeting the Balor Demon in a volcano in Hell after all. Did I not mention that?
Deciding between the two is quite difficult. I certainly got more satisfaction form the Games Workshop Daemon Prince model, but the Balor Demon from Nolzurs Marvellous Miniatures is less than half the price.
The quality of the models is not dissimilar. While the Balor Demon is more robust—I have already had to glue back on one of the Daemon Prince’s feet after my two-year-old tried to eat it—the GW models feel less rubbery and take the paints easier. I also much prefer the flat bases from GW which can be modified or worked however you like, rather than the molded bases from Nolzurs.
But, if I had to choose, and I guess for the purposes of this otherwise pointlessly expensive exercise I do, I would pick the Daemon Prince from Games Workshop. The model just looks and feels better; there is more versatility and, although more costly, you definitely get what you pay for.