Saturday, 10 January 2015

'Eavy Metal Special: White Dwarf 132 - Rogue Trader before the GrimDark, Stuart Willis, Space Crusade and Orks, lots of Orks...

Welcome one and all, to a return to the very early 1990s and Warhammer 40k before it went all GrImDaRk. In fact, I cannot say I even came across such a term until these internet heralded days of the twenty-first century. 

Still, there was once a time without any 'grim' and the 'dark' had yet to be cloaked around us. 

Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader was a bright young thing literally as well as figuratively, as these images will testify. With the publication of the first ork hardback books, very much in the vein of Realm of Chaos, the Citadel sculptors went crazy producing a wide range of models bursting with zany new ideas. The rules writers too created some highly original and amusing concepts - anyone remember 'the drop'?

Today, we delve deep into the pages of WD 132 to have a little look at how the game 'used' to look. Let us start with a little visit to one of those miniatures painters who earned the ultimate accolade - getting a spread of painted miniatures published in WD. 

Stuart Willis.

It is always nice to see a familiar model re-imagined after a great many years of familiarity. Its something that makes Oldhammer special in my opinion. There is always another way to paint an Ambull, and no matter how many of use slap a little paint across its limbs, there is always someone else who will do it a little better! Stuart's Eldar really fit this thought for me, and though they have shades of Paul Benson about them, really stand out. The warm soft colours encourage the models to almost 'glow' with energy- and you can almost feel the heat of those energy weapons! The ork is a welcome addition too, and like any goblinoid, is marked by the tone of its green skin. This one has a lovely healthy glow, like he's just dined on a great glob of snot, and burns brightly from the page in characterful colour. 

But it is most definitely the terminators that are the stars of the show here. 

White is never easy to paint well. Especially on power armour and the models here just pulse from the page. I think this scheme is so successful because Stuart has stuck to the 'warm' feel he has used elsewhere. It makes the white solid enough to not just be an undercoat but a 'proper' colour, if you know what I mean. As something I have always struggled to pull off well (and I tend to use blue to shade white) I am always very interested to see how others do it. I shall be certainly trying something like this again in the future.

My stand out piece here just has to be the terminator with the Nemesis  Force Sword. The way the white of the armour is off set by the red of the helmet is just divine, don't you think? An excellent figure indeed. 

Loads of 'cray-zee' ork gubbins going on here from the Studio staff. I adore the converted Bloodbowl goblin top left holding the banner. Lovely. Here we see the first real serious attempt to do plastic arms for minis and to be honest, they didn't do to bad did they? Though there were to be some really awful single-pose plastic models (and even some metal ones) in the not to distant future, these early multipart orks are well made. 

Its worth pointing out here just how sophisticated the ork iconography actually was at this point, with a fully functioning language (phonetic and symbolic) released in support of the models. Its pleasing to use this to decipher the scrawlings on much of the banners shown here and in the ork books. 

All that detail for no other reason but the sheer hell of it, eh!?

Do I have a favourite model here? Of course I do, and it has to be that crazy conversion by Tim Prow in the middle of the page. The Mek. Painted in glorious 'almost red period' red. 

I bet it definitely 'goes fasta'. 

I will leave you with this spread of images from Space Crusade. A game that just doesn't seem to get the same amount of Oldhammer love as Heroquest. I have always thought that strange as the game was nearly (not quite) as ubiquitous as that veritable dungeon basher back in the day. Its nice to see these plastic minis painted up so well isn't it? One thing that strikes me looking at these again after all this time is just how much the plastic Chaos Marines look like the modern versions, compared with the earlier Realm of Chaos renegades?

Come on, how many of you wrecked yours with layers and layers of Humbrol enamels?



  1. Cool to see the love for Space Crusade here! It's still a great game.

    1. I only recall playing once back in the day and wasn't impressed with how the rules worked out. I remember loving the miniatures though and all the art work. Hmm, the proceeding years have left me wondering if I misjudged the game.

  2. Space Crusade along with the Fighting Fantasy game books were the gateway drug to Warhammer and Space Marine: Epic.

    Good memories, I especially loved the ED-209 like Chaos Dreadnought.

    1. "You have ten seconds to comply..." I too loved ED209 as a child and appreciated the similarity between the two concepts.

  3. Ah Space Crusade...I remember the classic British advert for it ...
    Check out the 'terrifying' Genestealer!

    Interestingly those models shown above a prototypes and show slight differences to the finished models that appear in the game!

    1. Twenty-five quid back in 1990 was a lot of dosh. What would that be now? £50? £60? A classic ad, though my favourite part is the mincing 'we have piles' Chaos Space Marines...

  4. I miss the humour and colour of the old orks; I knew my interest in modern 40K was over when they revamped the orks and took out all the fun.

    I am lucky enough to have been given a box full of Space Crusade models, including those excellent Chaos Marines. No dreadnought though, which makes me sad as I loved that old model.

    1. One day I am sure you will find one to complete the collection... But of course, are they painted?

  5. No, they're not, so I have a challenge ahead of me!

  6. I have a complete set of Space Crusade that I made my "newhammer" friends play. They loved it, its a great game. From what I understand it was never released here in the States. The only reason I knew about it as a kid was because of White Dwarf, but I also saw the TV ad when we stopped off in Germany for a night once. Space Crusade is really a great game, almost more fun than Space Hulk.... almost.

  7. Got to put my hand up as someone who slopped a load of humbrol enamel on my Space Crusade figs. The first Citadel mini I ever painted was a Blood Angel who came out bright, shiny red. Think it might even still be knocking about somewhere in my mum and dad's loft.

  8. With hindsight, Spcae Crusade is a far superior game to Heroquest. I'm halfway through a campaign with some friends, and other than the Marine players unfortunate tendency towards co-operation, it's been a blast.


  9. This testimony is worth sharing to the world. I am here to tell the world of the good works of Dr BALBOSA. My name is Olivia Bolton am from the UK.. My man left me and my kids for another older woman. It was not so easy for me.. I love my husband so much and I did not lose hope and I kept praying and God finally answered my prayers...i searched online for a spell caster to help me unite me and my lover back forever and i saw so many testimonies of how DR BALBOSA has helped so many people online and i decided to give him a trial … I contacted him and explained to him. He told me not to worry that he will bring back my man within 24 hours. He consulted his powers and assured me not to worry . He did his work and cast the spell and to my greatest surprise, my husband came back the same day begging and crying just as Dr BALBOSA said. He begged me for forgiveness and he promised never to leave me for any reason. We are happy and we live together as one. Contact Dr BALBOSA now and be happy forever. dont lose hope and good luck..

    WHATSAPP AND CALL: +1(206) 485-3691