Recently I had the opportunity to once again visit "the home of the Warhammer hobby" in Nottingham, having not been to Games Workshop's global headquarters and visitor centre since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, with the exception of the odd "Lord of the Rings" and "Horus Heresy" miniature, I haven't really found myself doing much with their model ranges, so was rather hoping that their 'free-to-view' displays, dioramas and exhibits would inspire me to dip my toe back into the worlds of Age of Sigmar and/or Warhammer 40,000.
Disconcertingly, my first impression concerning the self-proclaimed "haven for collectors and gamers from across the globe" wasn't great as a massive early morning queue stood between me and the main doors. A couple of people around me were vocally moaning about having to wait in line, with some even complaining that those at the head of the queue were clearly having to pay in order to go in. This seemed incredibly odd, as no event had been advertised, and the website clearly stated that "the ultimate destination for Warhammer fans" didn't charge for entry.
Having impatiently shuffled further forward it seemed clear that the hold up was due to a till being placed close to the entranceway, and those needing to pay for either an unknown event or perhaps entry into the Exhibition Centre, were blocking anyone else from getting past them. To make matters worse, the chap at the counter was having a right old natter with each customer instead of simply taking their money and moving them on. So in the end, a number of us simply pressed forward and eventually squeezed past the line requiring a ticket who were completely filling up the double doorway.
Happily however, once inside, the lobby was almost completely empty - apart from a large cuddly Nurgling, which seriously looked like a lot of fun to punch smack in the mush. Resultantly, I was able to take my time pouring over an astonishingly good diorama of a Kharadron Overlords sky-city , an incredible clash between the Ultramarines and Necrons, and the cataclysmic Battle of the Pelennor Fields, as well as enjoy the plethora of giant illustrations running the length of the adjoining stairway up to the store.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the day though, besides some of the truly outrageous pricing, was the lack of stock on show in the Warhammer World Store. I had fully expected to see "the full range of Warhammer Age of Sigmar, Warhammer 40,000 and Middle-earth models" on their shelves. But instead saw just a smattering of boxes for each game system which frustratingly resembled the stock displays you'll see at countless second-party stores on numerous high streets.
Instead, a great deal of shop space had clearly been allocated to the company's "Leviathan" launch box, and the various Warhammer 40k 10th Edition starter sets. These different options to play Games Workshop's "complete revision of the game you know and love" seemed to be everywhere, and definitely produced an almost palpable pressure on any visitor to at least buy the "Getting Started With Warhammer 40000" magazine. Indeed, I spent a good portion of my time ogling at the game's Ultimate Starter Set, whose wonderfully-painted contents had been placed upon a tempting tabletop, and actually came incredibly close to buying one.
Equally as encouraging to leap into the Warhammer hobby with both feet, were the floor's terrific cabinets absolutely packed full of beautifully pigmented miniatures. I seemed to stand for an eternity looking at all the various models, and strangely started to feel almost morally obliged to purchase at least a small box of figures in recognition of the mouth-watering sculpts on show. Luckily, the idea of paying the full recommended retail price (RRP) on anything to hand, including the Warhammer World exclusives, was enough to keep my wallet firmly in my pocket.
Lastly, I strayed over to the Forge World Store, with the intention of picking up a trio of Ruinstorm Daemon Brutes to 'aid' my traitorous Sons Of Horus Space Marines. All of the "highly detailed resin" kits on show were truly jaw-dropping, especially the huge vehicles. But none were as impressive as some of the staggering prices being asked for these models. In particular, my daemons were a whopping thirty quid each, which coupled with Samus - Daemon Prince of the Ruinstorm, wouldn't see me receive much change from two hundred pounds. This meant that the only place in Warhammer World which would eventually see me part with any money would be Bugman's Bar...