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.
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.
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?