40K LORE: A Retro History of Imperial Knights


Come gather round the campfire and learn of the entire gaming and GW history of Knights from their first appearance over 20 years ago to now.

by BoLS Lounge member PinkTerror

Some of the articles I’ve read about the Imperial Knights try to mention when they appeared or were around or their place in the game; however, they miss the mark a lot, so I thought I would put together a little history of the Knights in the Warhammer 40K game. So a gaming history, not a history of knights in the 40k universe.

The Epic Knights first appeared in the June 1990 White Dwarf 126, about 18 months after the introduction of the first epic Space Marine articles started in White Dwarf 109 from January 1989.



It was really more or less a Cowboys vs Indians subset of Space Marine. Well, since everything about White Dwarf and GW were all British back then, it was probably more Empire vs Natives; nonetheless, it had it’s crosshairs on Battletech, which was BIG in the late 80’s. Not that clickty-claky stuff, but the original FASA taken from Robotech game with the real Mauraders and Warhammers, Archers, and Battlemasters – like year 3025 stuff. Anyway, it was 17 pages of art, stats, fluff and color schemes, and rules of information. When you hear people missing the White Dwarf of yore, this was that time period. Whole sections of the magazine introducing new cannon to the 40k universe that wasn’t there before this WD. It was at that time, if you were playing the game, you were part of a universe in the making, and every White Dwarf was adding to it – like being a kid between 1977 and 1983, you were part of the Star Wars universe in the making.

The first House Knights were the Imperial Paladin, Lancer, and Warden. The Eldar Clan Knights were the Fire Gales, Bright Stallions, and Towering Destroyers. Here were their stats…






And some Imperial House Color Schemes…



Eldar Clan Color Schemes…



And with that there were about 18 lead (yeah, the original heavy metal kind, Pb) miniatures released. And that was it, you had new minters and rules and some ‘EavyMetal examples, and off you went with an ‘add-on’ to Epic Space Marine. Oh yeah, the ‘EavyMetal…



And then for 4 and half years – nothing. They were part of the universe, but nary a mention again. Space Marine 2nd Edition came out in October 1991, and it invalidated all of the 1st Edition rules for Epic Space Marine – as GW was prone to do back then. There were some basic rules in the rule book, but then you had to wait for your army’s box set to come out to get the ‘elaborate’ rules. But the Knights were gone for that Edition. It wasn’t until November 1994, with the release of Space Marine 2nd Edition (v2.5) / Titan Legions until the Knights came back. There were plastic Paladin Knights included in the main Titan Legions box, with rules. The plastic Paladins and metal Errant Knights came out around the same time, along with the metal Crusader Knights – the Warden was gone.



The next month (WD181) released the metal Paladins, and metal Lancers and Castellans…



White Dwarf 182 (March 1995) showed us the new metal Knight Command miniatures…



And then in White Dwarf 186 – THE BARON. And all of his Badness… 



So I think with that shows you how the designs have come along and where the new Imperial Knight Paladin/Errant evolved from, model wise. The Baron was the last Imperial Knight released in July 1995, and there wouldn’t be another one until last week March 2014; 19 years later.

I think there were Knight rules for Space Marine 3rd Edition – retitled Epic 40,000. But it was such a slap in the face; a complete re-imagining of EPIC with dumbed down rules and it invalidated all of the Box Set rules that were released before it – it didn’t really matter anymore. It was released in March of 1997 and would be dead by September 1998. It destroyed 9 years of a fun Epic 40k game in just 18 months. Oh well. Live by the sword…

But now the Imperial Knights are back! Yeah, and here’s to hoping that it just goes up and up from here. I hope this has helped to understand where Imperial Knights got their place in this game.



-PinkTerror

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