Saturday 29 March 2014

Acceptable in the '80s: Marauder Dwarf War Machines, Marauder Wood Elves and Bretonnian Knights

Last time we spoke about the history of Warhammer Fantasy Battle Third Edition we took a little sidestep to have a look at the way Heroquest was launched. Over the coming months, there were several articles published for the game and more complex scenarios were provided for Advanced Heroquest. The astonishing success of the game helped encourage the company's future owners to concentrate on the younger market.

'Our Warhammer' still had a number of years to exist though, before 3rd edition made way for the radical change that was 4th, though it is worth remembering that The Lost and the Damned remained as a major supplement still in development. As I have said before, true Warhammer III articles were very much in decline though the later part of '89 and into the 1990s. Even the miniature releases slowed. However, Marauder Miniatures began to produce more and more Warhammer Third Edition army sets and started publishing them as army deals. I am sure that many readers of this blog who purchased White Dwarf during this period will remember the full colour adverts for these.

By issue 115, Marauder had been going strong for quite some time (around two years) and subsequently had a lot of models to release. I know, from Andy Craig, that the models that Marauder produced were painted by the 'Eavy Metal team as a favour to Aly and Trish Morrison. However, not all the models that Marauder produced were photographed in these adverts. The stalwart of 1980s advertising, the line drawn image, was used to illustrate some ranges, while photographs were used for others.

The releases from 115 concerned Dwarf War Machines and Wood Elves. So without any more waffle, let's have a look at them.  

At the time I loved the Marauder dwarf range. In later years, I began to loathe the models as they represented, to me anyway, the awful 'big hands oversized weapons' era of Citadel Miniatures. A lot of the blame was put on the step of Marauder, but after years of study and discussions with interested and involved parties I have come to really appreciate this range once more. The late-Medieval look was a great choice for the tone of the models and moved away from the Viking style stunties we had seen in the past. The faces were packed with character, vital for a dwarf in my opinion, and some of the better models tell their own little tales in 28mm. This page reveals to the world some of the siege engines that the dwarfs could field, namely the Organ, Siege and Swivel Guns, listed here with nostalgic prices when compared to today's collectors market. 

These models are well worth owning of you are a fan of Citadel or Marauder or indeed both. Especially if you have the spearmen as well. One day I have promised myself I'd work on a dwarf army of considerable size, and these models will be some of the first I will be chasing. 

The Wood Elves did not get so lucky. They were lumbered with this month's line drawn adverts. I actually own a few of the Marauder wood elves but I cannot recognise mine among these, so perhaps there were other releases. Not much can really be drawn from the images as its hard to appraise miniatures through drawings alone. I pick up a faint 'native American' vibe going on here, don't you? Something about some of the hairstyles and clothing reminds me of the really bad westerns that used to play on Sunday afternoons during the late '80s. 

The final miniature release relating to Warhammer Third Edition in WD 115 are these wonderful Bretonnian knights, designed to make use of the new Citadel plastic horse. These models are really much larger than many miniatures Citadel released during 1988 and are in some cases twice the size of the old 'Baron's War' range that served as the Sons of Breton for so many years. I think this size increase may have more to do with the limits of plastic casting technology at the time rather than any conscious effort to make things larger, but that is just my opinion. 

Having a glance over the models, you can see that the Perry's have produced another solid set of models here. What else would you expect? They have always produced solid sets of models. This are far more 'historical' looking that what would come later in 4th edition and I have always wondered if the historical market was in mind when these were originally produced. I have a number of these models kicking about and they are lovely to paint. I expect that a great number of these models still see service in historical armies to this day, explaining why some of them reach very high prices on eBay. 

What are your thoughts on the models discussed today?



  1. I think you probably know my feeling on the dwarf engines.....I love them all...that is the best cannon produced in the 3rd Ed IMO. And I really like using the swivel guns as mobile support for my dwarf pike block.

    The wood elves on the other hand are some of my least favorite marauder releases...I have a few mixed in with my Goodwin wood elves...but only a few. And yes there is certainly a Pocahontas style to some of them.

    I have mixed feelings on the brets....I love to classic old modular knights...but I feel the empire versions are a bit stronger than these....the detail is rather variable on these figure in my experience.

  2. I think that these ranges are wonderful to paint and wargame with, and I'm obviously a particular fan of the Marauder sea elf range (indeed, I'm on the look out for more of them right now!)

    I do think that over the history of Marauder there was a move towards a certain uniformity that really robbed models of their individual personality; that said, even during that phase there are plenty of opportunities to take a couple of those models and mix them into more diverse units.

  3. Again, I'm a big fan of Marauder minis. However, I too think the wood elves aren't as good of the rest of the range (like the dark elves for example). That said, I agree with the previous commentator that one of the strength of Marauder was the number of models, which made them perfect "army builders". Don't know if this can confirmed by others, but the Marauder releases seems to have happened at a time Citadel was upgrading its casting techniques. I remember, as a kid, been blown away by the neat, crisp, well defined models. You just knew they'd be easy and fun to paint.

  4. I too like the old school Dwarf's, most of all the ones in the padded surcoats, I seem to recall one with only his nose sticking out from the collar of the coat.....

    If I had the money I would gladly buy most of those old Dwarf's.