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  • Writer's pictureFreeDwarf


“A wooden spoon is an award that is given to an individual or team that has come last in a competition. Examples range from the academic to sporting and more frivolous events. The term is of British origin and has spread to other English Speaking Countries. In most cases it is simply a colloquial term for coming last – there is no actual award given” - Wikipedia

I have been wargaming for a long time, I have been entering Tournaments for most of that time and I have not really grasped the art of winning. Hence I have a lot of “Wooden Spoon” prizes, some are actual spoons, some are trophies with Wooden Spoon written on them and some are novelty items designed to remind me of my lack of competence at whichever game I happen to be playing, I have spoons for WRG Ancients 6th Edition, Warhammer Fantasy Battle, Warhammer 40K, Warhammer Ancients Battles, Warhammer ECW, Flames of War, Bloodbowl and more recently Kings of War and Kings of War Vanguard.

I often joke that I plan my Wargaming from a “Throne of Spoons” due to the number of last places I have collected.

Whilst I have been running Tournaments as part of Golden Troll Events I have experimented with different kinds of Last Place awards myself, The Golden Troll Team and the Ribble Warriors Wargames Club from which it derives have long had a tradition of making our own custom Trophies, long before the time of 3D printing such trophies were made from miniatures and wooden display bases, milliput and wire and sometimes car park gravel and PVA glue!

I have tried putting a Viking “BloodEagle” Victim on the Last place trophy for the Norse themed Preston Pillage Tournament

I placed an impaled corpse on a rock pillar for our Vanguard Tournament (unfortunately I “won” this myself)

I placed a Miniature Wooden spoon onto a trophy base

I also tried Writing with a Sharpie on actual wooden spoons, as I had seen at other events, this made the spoon a bit more custom and identifiable but still left me feeling more could be done. It was at this point that I saw a spoon that had been decorated for a 15mm Ancients Tournament themed on Ancient Gaul, the back of the spoon had been decorated with a cartoon representation of Asterix the Gaul, (Apparently the decorated spoon had long been a thing in the Mortem et Gloriam community, mostly down to a very talented gentleman called Will Denham, some of his spoons are miniature works of art !) This was it!

I needed to adapt the idea to match my own painting ability and design philosophy as I could in no way replicate the level of artwork on these spoons. So I decided I would up my Spoon Game in the Kings of War Community in my own inimitable style!

First off I needed Spoons, this was easy as I continually pick up cheap wooden spoons in places like poundshops and B&M Bargains when I see them so I had spoons of varying lengths and bowl sizes.

The next stage was to undercoat the spoons with black primer to provide a sealed base for any colour to go on the spoon, one of the things I had discovered about decorating spoons early on is that putting any kind of paint or pen on the bare wood results in the colour spreading, this makes the writing blurred and fuzzy and any logo will leach. So a nice even coat of black primer was applied to several spoons ready for painting. This coat of primer was left to dry overnight.

The First spoon was made for the Ribble Warriors annual Tournament at Element Games in Stockport, called the Ribble Rumble – a tradition that harks back more than 20 years to the days of the Warhammer Players Society, usually multiple systems are catered for and the Kings of War section is known as the “Cold Up North Tournament” so the Theme for the spoon would be Ribble Warriors and Cold.

The Ribble Warriors is a well established Wargames Club hailing from Preston in Lancashire, back in the mists of time (around 1994-5) the Club ran its first Warhammer Fantasy Battle Tournament. At the time the larger Tournaments were called “Grand Tournaments” or GT’s, as our Tournaments were small affairs, but important to the club, the tongue in cheek “Golden Troll Tournaments” or GT’s as they were known were born. The trophies for the Tournament were Stone Trolls painted yellow on trophy bases. Hence the Golden Troll actually became the Logo for the Ribble Warriors and has proudly been displayed on Tshirts, Poloshirts and Hoodies ever since.

Thus there really was only one design that was suitable for the first GT spoon for the Cold up North Event. The Spoon was painted a blue grey colour to represent cold and, after multiple attempts, the Golden Troll Logo was transferred freehand onto the back of the spoon. Lettering was added to show the event name and the Reverse was lettered to show that it was a Ribble Warriors Tournament and as per is the club tradition, the “Strongest KoW Player” – the one that carries all the rest – was acknowledged.

The Spoon was unveiled at the Ribble Rumble and was generally acclaimed as a success. This spurred me on to produce a spoon for my next event.

The next event in the Calendar was the Preston Pillage, this is a Viking Themed Tournament based on Preston’s, rather tenuous, link to a Norse army from the 10th Century AD. The Trophies are all based on Viking models Pillaging and raiding and the event consists of three games of KoW playing the scenarios Invade – Pillage – Push to represent the raiders moving to the treasure , taking the treasure then escaping with their loot. This Tournament is the only one run by the Chez Troll Dojo – an irregular gaming session held at my home, originally instigated to help improve my KoW gameplay – hence the Dojo – and now seeming to have grown a life of its own.

The spoon this time was painted a blood red to represent the pillaging and another freehand troll was added, this was more to keep practising the troll head but I justified it as the normal Dojo Logo is a red/black Torii Gate which wouldn’t have shown up so well.

Again lettering was added to show which Tournament the spoon was for and on the reverse side was the wording “The Ancient and Noble Order of the Wooden Spoon” – a similar quote is used by Sharad on the Spoon for the BattleMasters – but I wanted it to be slightly different (Sharad uses “Ye Noble and Anciente order of Ye Wooden Spoon” but it is understandable because of his advanced age)

Again the Spoon generated favourable feedback and this spurred me on to more adventurous things.

The Golden Troll Events team usually have a Christmas Tournament (oddly at the end of January but hey ho) with a winter or Xmas theme, this Year the theme was Pagan Christmas in the form of the Krampus, after attending a tournament Down South one year called the Christmas Carnage we decided our version would be called the Krampus Karnage – clever eh?

This time the Spoon was painted in Wargames Foundry Teal as I intended a good contrast colour for the yellow troll.

Again this was a Golden Troll Tournament so the Back of the spoon allowed me to practise freehanding the GT logo once more, by now I was getting the hang of highlighting and outlining the Trolls head neatly and I decided to elaborate by adding some holly leaves and berries for a more Christmassy feel. The bowl side of the spoon was where I got slightly more adventurous , finding a silhouette of a Krampus on the internet I copied this, in black, into the middle of the bowl and then carefully filled in the middle of the logo in red to make it look like I had neatly outlined the Red Krampus in Black. I then painted the name of the Tournament in Yellow around the logo.

This Spoon was well received and it seemed like the effort was well worth it.

The Next Spoon was a Challenge and a Half.

I was approached to provide a Wooden Spoon for the UK Kings of War Masters Tournament. This is the event , held once a Year, that pits the Top 16 players in the KoWMasters Ranking system and the best players in the individual Factions against each other to find the UK Master for Kings of War. It is one of the most prestigious events on the KoW Tournament scene and is always hotly contested. I felt particularly honoured to have been asked.

I wanted the Spoon to look unique , rather than brush painting it a solid colour I used an airbrush to paint it in a rust effect ( at this point I thought the First prize for the Masters was a sword) to emphasize the opposite of the shiny first place prize. The rust effect didn’t look half bad, if I say so myself, so I then proceeded to add the decoration.

On the back of the spoon I freehanded the KowMasters logo from their website, this took a fair bit of time and concentration, but came out OK. The real challenge was putting the Kings of War Logo onto the Bowl as this took a great deal of fiddly close work but was worth it in the end.

As there was a lot of logo work on both sides of the spoon I opted to place the epithet along the handle of the spoon in the form of “The Most Ancient and Noble order of the Wooden Spoon” – I liked this approach and decided I would use it on subsequent Spoons.

Spurred on by the KoWMasters Spoon I decided to try and improve the Spoons a little each time, trying new and artistic ideas with every iteration – this would be fine apart from the fact I am old and have no artistic aptitude LOL.

The next Tournament I spooned for was the oddly named “Disablot Feast” this is apparently something that Valkyries do to help with the Harvest, but in the case of the Golden Troll Events it is because one of the organisers is a Pagan that loves all things Norse.

As this was a Golden Troll Tournament I opted to put the GT logo on the back of the spoon and copied the Font from the original Warhammer game to write Golden Troll on the spoon. The Bowl of the Spoon was decorated by copying the Blood splash Skull logo that had been used in the Tournament Rulespack and the Name of the event painted around it. Again I opted for the epithet on the handle as I thought this looks cool and provides more

I entered into a Tournament run by good friend and prolific Zombie Painter Andy Hawley (Read his Blog Here under the guise of his TT Gaming events. As this was his first Tournament I thought it would be nice to help out, as he didn’t need to borrow any scenery from me I resolved to surprise him with a Spoon.

Andy uses a fairly gruesome Zombie Head as the logo for TT gaming and I wanted to try and replicate it onto a spoon , The head is a sort of blue/grey colour so I opted for a Purple spoon to contrast it. Being the adventurous sort I decided to just try and freehand the Zombie head straight onto the back of the spoon, also being the forgetful type I forgot to take good close ups of the spoon while it was in my possession , you can see the results of my efforts below, I think I captured the essence of Andy’s logo and the spoon was certainly well received and as an added bonus I managed NOT to win my own spoon at this event LOL

The Event was a great success too!

While I was at the TT Gaming Tournament, the “winner” of the Krampus Karnage Spoon – Jeff, approached me to as if I would provide a spoon for his wargames clubs inaugural Kings of War Tournament, a request I was happy to accommodate. Jeff’s club is the Chesterfield Open Gaming Society or COGS for short so their logo is, rather unsurprisingly, cog based. The Tournament itself was called “Cogs of War” and so I settled on a sort of Avant Guarde design as seen below, using the Club logo and the KoW Font in combination to produce a rather striking spoon. The Club themselves also had a 3D printed base for the spoon to stand in which was really cool. As the spoon was designed to sit in a base I painted the epithet going up the spoon handle in the hope that it could still be read.

The Latest spoon to be produced was for Andy Hawley’s Second TT Gaming Tournament, this time I tried to make the spoon a bit more interesting and utilized several colours of primers on the spoon to simulate my impression of rotting zombie hide, ending up with a greenish/purple dappled effect. I reprised my picture of the Zombie head logo on the back of the spoon but this time larger and more carefully rendered to show a bit more detail. I also used the Bowl of the spoon for all the Tournament info, the handle for the epithet, which left me free to indulge myself with writing “BRAINS” above the zombie head for a fun effect. This spoon took the longest of all the Spoons to produce, being more involved even than the KoWMasters Spoon, but the end result is worth it. I also avoided “winning” this spoon as well

Towards the End of the Year I have several large Tournaments to attend and more spoons to create, So keep an eye out for the second Half of this Blog around December/January

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