Sunday 27 July 2014

Acceptable in the '80s: Marauder Releases from White Dwarf 120 and 121

With the weather being so hot at the time of writing, I have found it hard to do little but laze about on my holidays and cook tasty meals for my family. Oldhammer related work has ground to a halt. Things seem a little cooler today, so I am back at the desk, though my goal at the moment is review the next releases of Marauder miniatures rather than wield the paint brush. Right then, where are we in this journey through Warhammer Third Edition? These releases featured in White Dwarf 120 and 121 and saw the introduction to something that got many of us fantasy nuts drooling - Marauder regiment and army deals. 

Issue 120 saw the arrival of some more Dark Elves into the range, or more precisely, Witch Elves. I find these models rather chunky and frankly, rather manly. The Bob Naismith Dark Elves are much better in my opinion, and far more lithe. I traded some away a few days ago to Stuart and am now lamenting their loss. Still, their absence from the collection just gives an excuse to buy some more in the future. The paintjobs are little better and have a distinct whiff of the 'Red Period' of painting that followed the 'Classic' Bryan Ansell years. 

Things improve further down the page with a second visit to the incredible Marauder dwarfs. I have written about these before and I have stated that they are probably the greatest dwarfs ever cast. My opinion hasn't changed since my last visit to the models and the standard bearer is a thing of beauty, both for the actual sculpting and its exquisite paint job. In fact, the entire command range are practically perfect and shame the entire modern dwarf line all the way to the headmistress' office. 

Finally, we have the Orc stone thrower. Considering they are not by Kev Adams, these greenskins are really rather good, though shades of the Man Mangler remain. I would be happy to own this model and paint it up for my Goblinoid army, as I expect would many of you. 

It being the very late 1980s at this point, colour photographs in magazines were still expensive and black and white was still used extensively- its funny what you forget, isn't it? Sadly, we have no photographs of the remaining Witch Elves, nor the goblin regiment but what we do have is an intriguing reminder of the Marauder Blade painting competition. Its often forgotten these days and I wonder what happened to all those blades?

And so we are on to White Dwarf 121 and the first army deal from Marauder. I loved these as a youngest for two reasons. One, the painted models. Two, the background context that the army was put in. Many of the models on show here were previously shown only as line drawing and its fantastic to see many of them, even though some of obscured in the second rank. Two models here catch my eye as being worth a mention, namely the Deathcap Hero (in a classic pose for a single cast model) and the brilliant standard bearer. 

And here is the rest of the force. Gorgeous when arrayed together. The perfect mix of riotous colour and conformity which, perhaps rather surprisingly, works as a whole. Of note here are the excellent Marauder shields, which are a mixture of freehand designs and painted cast patterns. The price is enough to make you weep all these years later, £50 for 78 Dark Elves, 4 Warhounds and a FREE Darklord and Deathdealer on Cold Ones. I for one, recall pouring over this article and vainly attempting to construct a plan that would see me having £50 to spend on them. I failed, as I expect did many of you! Still, it just goes to show, GW did once do deals.  

A simple army list has been included at the end of the article along with an intriguing ad for Abandon Art. These days Fantasy and Science Fiction tropes have become rather mainstream, especially in the world of computer games and have in many cases become rather generic. One bald 'Space Marine' looks much like another in games like Mass Effect, Gear of War and so on. Fantasy has had a similar fate, though there have been exceptions, like the startling original world of Morrowind in the Elder Scrolls series. Adverts like this remind us that back in the later '80s Fantasy was much less mainstream as it is now and subsequently was treated a little more seriously. A quick glance at some of the artists involved is impressive and I would certainly love to walk through the gallery to this day! 

The final image shows off the Warhounds in further detail. I haven't got much to say about them really apart from pointing out that the dogs do look a little 'cute'. When compared with the Troll Slayers you can catch another whiff of the 'Red Period' with the dominance of that shade, and its cousins, in the paint schemes. I rather like the Troll Slayers, don't you?

What is interesting is that the Painting Competition I mentioned earlier seems to have been renamed in the past month. Its now the 1990 marauder Blade Painting Competition. It sounds MUCH more impressive doesn't it. I wonder who won it and what the winning entry was? 

Anyone know out there?



  1. I love those Marauder Dark Elves, they came out roughly around the same time that I started to really get into the hobby. Lush mini's in my opinion.

  2. I've loved the warhounds since I saw them in the original Mordheim article years ago. never found any, though: I've love to get my hands on some (and tickle their ickle tummies).

  3. I LOVE THE MARAUDER DWARFS! They made up my first Warhammer army and have been my collecting obsession since being bitten by the Oldhammer bug this last year.

  4. thanks for your blog. i love reading about your latest discoveries and reminiscing. I've just spent a small kings ransom on marauder dwarves on a nostalgic whim... my project is to paint up my classic dwarf army inspired by Paul Robbin's golden daemon winning group.

  5. Hi, yes I won it with the maurader giant and halfling militia, I won an inscribed dagger. Ali & Trish had that miniature on their mantle peice for months and didn't want to send it back