Monday 30 September 2013

On Palanquins and Chariots

Today I want to talk about two of my favourite units in the third edition of Warhammer some twenty five years ago or more. Both were documented in White Dwarf 114 with interesting articles. I present both below to aid the discussion of them.
First up is the very well known Palanquin of Nurgle model. This was a thing of beauty upon its first release, if a follower of Nurgle could be described as such, and I was eager, nay desperate, to get my hands on a model. One of the things that really stood out for me were the varied riders of the Palanquin. The champion with the sword raised, the Nurgle sorcerer and the futuristic renegade. Sadly, I don't think you ever got all three in the kit, but I was fun wondering which you'd like to get hold of first.
It took me years to get one, scoring a complete kit (still in the blister) in about 2004. It was a lovely model, and came with the champion with the raised sword (seen in the illustration below) and was a joy to assemble. Like all the big models of the 80s/90s, it weighed a hefty amount and felt great in the hand. This is some important to me in my appreication of models. The weight just feels 'right' and the models are a joy to handle through the construction and painting process, as they are when the are let loose on the table top. I am sorry, but plastic and resin just don't have that same 'feel' to them for me!
Like an idiot, I sold mine for about £12.50 about a year later. Something I have come to regret because they are now very hard to get hold of for less than £50. This was made even more difficult by the new 40k version being released a few years back. It was an okay model but lacked the rotting horror of the original. Subsequently, I feel that the classic model has probably made its way into many modern forces. Hopefully, it will one day make it into one of mine.
What follows is the lovely fluff and rules supplement that appeared in WD114. It also has some entertaining rules, such as the Nurglings popping up from the slime left by the palanquin. The rules go on to explain that the palanquins were used both by champions and plaguebearers themselves! Now this is something I have never really thought about before. I am fairly sure no seated PB were ever released but it would be a simple matter to convert one.

Great illustrations support the article and a Realm of Chaos narrative too. The Lost and the Damned, from which these articles are taken I believe, are rich is short stories written by Rick Priestley, Bill King and a great number of other authors.

Adrian Smith's unique pencil style captured chaos like no one else. His illustrations of Nurgle are particularly horrific and here the seated champion with the sword is depicted.

In a Realm of Chaos double whammy, issue 114 also contained a detailed article on Chaos Chariots. These were fairly varied constructs, and full rules were included in the article about how to adopt different beasts for traction and how chaos dwarfs had to be present in the force for their construction. GW also released a model around this time sculpted by the Perry's but I was quite traditional in its form and for suitable for chaos warriors in the Empire rather than the Realms themselves. Unlike the palanquin, I own this model (despite selling it in the same purge as the palanquin) as I have managed to by the model back quite cheaply in recent times.
Have a look at the article here.

No narrative this time, but detailed background about how chariots are put together in the Realms of Chaos. There are lots of good ideas here, and this source is full of great ideas for narrative skirmishes between the forces of chaos. I am sure there is a reall y good campaign in here somewhere.

Just like most things in the Realm of Chaos books, the options and detail behind the chariots is extremely detailed, if not exhaustive.

Craziness abounds in the detail here when you chariot is damaged. You could probably play several games without ever getting the same result. Additionally, the last paragraph may be of particular interest to converters. Using unusual creatures to pull the chariot? Citadel Sheep anyone?


My restored and painted Chaos Chariot by the Perrys. Sculpted in 1987 but not released until later if my facts are correct. The model makes good use of the first Citadel plastic horses and has lots of baroque detailing and nasty faces here and there. The chariot's extras (here a flag pole and bow and quiver) and the same that fit other Khorne units of the time, most notably the Juggernauts.
Do you have any opinions about these two models? Are you lucky enough to own them, and if you have a link to a painted example please do share? Or are you not a fan? If so, what are your reasons?



  1. Your charriot looks reaaly great. Very good contrast between the grey and almost firy colours of the mane and tail.

    I got my hands on a palanquin in 1995 through the ail order and got all the riders in the box with the one holding a meltgun as double (5 riders in total) unfortunately, they have all been victims of severe modeling hazard with the exception of the one wit hthe one I managed to save. It definitely is a very nice model to paint.

    Since you ask, painted version here (should take some better pictures) :

  2. As usual, my comment gets lost. Anyway back in the early 90s I traded for a Palanquin of Nurgle. I got all three riders but it was slightly miscast. I kept it for years and then converted it to lead my 2003 Grand Tournament army. I was rushed too much or my painting ambitions were too grand, so I hope someday to fix a few details, but the model was photographed by Dirty Steve and appeared on Games Workshop's website at some point.

  3. I have actually three Palanquins. Two from back in the days and one a year or so ago on eBay. The Palanquin, were back in the days one of my very favorite minis and still is. The only thing I would have liked different with it are the Nurglings. Would have preferred like a big swarm (like in pic #2 above) than two very ordered rows, two Nurglings high.

    A great WD article in WD124 includes the very classic Palaquin Lothar Bubonicus and his warband.

    About plague bearers, one of the Palanquin riders, the Renegade with plasma pistol looks quite like a 40k plague bearer. This is the one I don't have...for now :)

    Must agree that metal rules. An important part of this, part the weight, is painting the mins. Plastic has such a smooth "perfect" surface that I find actually more difficult getting a good paint job. Experience with resin are not the best. Almost always some broken bit or miscast.

    Is it a collection of brightly colored slaanesh war gear in the background?


  4. Orlygg I don't know how you manage to do it, but you always put an article out that I have just been thinking of. Last night in my grim dark dungeon I was thinking how I was going to get poor stumpy, pinheaded Vollrath into battle quicker with his sweet movement of 3. As I scoured and scoured through the RoC tomes, I just could not find the information I was looking for. No where to be found anything about a chariot except that steeds could pull them. Then you upload this awesomely chaotic article! All I can say is "Come one d100's don't fail me know....just one more chaos dwarf."

    As for the Palanquin it's pretty sweet but not sure if I will ever pick one up. As for the chariot I have just never got excited about any of the Citadel/GW one. They have just don't do it for me. If I had to pick my favorite it would probably be the 4E. Grom the Paunch 3 wolf chariot.

    Thanks again. =)

  5. I was fortunate enough to pick up a pristine and complete nurgle palanquin at a con a few years ago for $15. It has just one rider but my luck continued and I got both alternates, also pristine, on ebay for a few $ each. I like it quite a bit. I wish though I could order some extras of the nurgle bearers as bits like in the old days so I could scratch build a few more, maybe to have three total, one for each rider. As it is I wouldn't want three the same, wouldn't want to pay for another just to break it up for the nurglings, and moreover I couldn't really bear to break up an old kit like that even if I scored one cheap. So I probably will have to settle for magnetizing the riders and only having one on the battlefield at any given time.

    I like the old chariot and wouldn't mind having one, though it's not as special as some of the others. I have a 90's one which admittedly falls outside the golden age but is groovy enough. I also have the gamezone chaos chariot which decidedly shows chaos dwarf origin and is as old school in execution as it could be. It comes with a tiny seated rider but I may switch him out for a proper chaos dwarf and then put a human champ on it too for good measure.

  6. Palanquins? Wotevs. Give us Fraser! :-)

  7. I am lucky enough to have 3 palanquins myself too but there are 4 riders not 3
    2 are renegades, 1 with a shurikan catapult and the other with the pistols and 2 are fantasy, sword raised and the sorcerer. One day I will get a 4th and the sword raised guy as this is the only one I am missing still..
    The chariot mini is great but I sold mine years ago :(

  8. Never liked that chariot I'm afraid. I think that's purely because of the plastic horses though. The chariot itself, and the crew I have no problem with.

    Your horses have a nice pj tho :D