40K: Old Models are BETTER!


Old tech was designed to last and these models were no exception – It is the past come back to strike fear into the hearts of 40K players EVERYWHERE!

In a game where shooting has become dominate managing cover saves has become a life saving talent. Factor in True Line of Sight and sometimes being bigger isn’t always better! These old school models were ahead of their time when it came to minimizing their physical presence on the battlefield. Compared to their contemporary counterparts they are LEAN and MEAN. They still pack the same punch but with 1/2 the footprint – that’s efficiency, baby!

In no particular order here are some old school models that are just plain BETTER than their current models (from a certain point of view).

Chaos Obliterators

Chaos Obliterators Metal

It’s pretty obvious why these guys are here. They are roughly 1/2 the size of the new obliterators and are on the original 25mm “slota” bases! Those were SOOO much fun to work with…AND these guys are a beast when it comes to deep striking! Need that unit in the backfield dead and only have a 4″ gap to work with? NO PROBLEM!


XV 15 Stealth Suits

XV15 Stealth suits Metal

These XV 15 Stealth Suits INVENTED the bar for Tau Hit & Run tactics. Between their stealthy stature, amazingly dynamic poses (all 3 of them) and the spindly metal antennas these are still the BEST at what they do: Not getting shot back!


Old Hive Tyrant


Behold the MAJESTY! This model still has the BEST paint job of all time from the ‘Eavy Metal Team. But I’m not judging it based that – oh no, this guys limited weapon options, lack of wings, and square-basing choice means this version of this Tyranid Hive Tyrant means led from the back. Walking a Heavy Venom Cannon forward and providing back line synapse is what this model does –  The greatest army anchor unit of all time!


Old Terminators

Metal Terminators

I was torn between these old school metal versions and the old plastic Terminators that came in the original Space Hulk box. But these guys are METAL – and that means they rock harder than the plastic versions. Also, compared to the current versions, they deceptively smaller. They deep strike better (thanks to those tiny bases) and because of their SUPER dynamic poses you know that they only move forward. So intimidating – like an unflinching wall of destruction coming down on your opponents!


Old Eldar Avatar



Look upon your DOOM, mortal. It is the Eldar Avatar of Khaine! Look at that Topknot, that spear, that cloak – and be AMAZED! Now consider that this bad boy was on a 25mm base and could easily hide among an Eldar Guardian unit only to strike out like a coiled snake at the  opportune time. The fear is real and it’s coming for YOU!


We’ve come a LONG way. You have spared us from the horrors of the past and for that we thank you injection molded plastic technology. What is your favorite OOP mini that you think works better on the modern tabletop than it’s newer brethren?

  • vlad78

    The space marine terminator captain is better though, and you didn’t put the real RT stormbolter arm on it. BOOOO

  • Spacefrisian

    Totally agree….in case of the Eldar Dark Reapers, i dont like the new Egg heads version, the previous ones looked better imho.

  • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

    I still use the old Chaos Terminators and Oblits, but I have at least rebased them on 40mms!

  • Metal dreadnoughts FTW. Both useful on the table and as a weapon in self defense (throw it at your assailant)

  • SupraGenius

    No old bloodthirster?

    • Deacon Ix

      I still have one of those too – unfortunately missing it’s wings

      • SZMatheson

        Aren’t they all?

        • ellobouk

          Oddly enough, mine still has wings… now the whip on the other hand…

    • Vomkrieg

      My old bloodthirster got some new paint and green stuff and ended his life as a Slaneeshi Daemon Prince.

      He was just the right size for a modern Daemon Prince, and the looks from people that i’d converted him to Slaneesh were totally worth it.

      • Deacon Ix

        Nice – I was literally thinking that I could do similar with mine – pose would have to be changed a little as it is not particularly dynamic.

    • sleeplessknight

      The old Heroquest Gargoyle/Bloodthirster was pretty boss.

    • Mr.Petey

      Man, I love the old Thirster models! I took the one from my childhood, stripped my terrible paint from him, painted/based him, and still use him as a Daemon Prince for my Daemonkin. I like to imagine the Kreig guy underneath him is saying, “Wait, where’s everyone running?! Is it bad?!”

  • Dave Scammell

    didn’t think I’d be agreeing with this, as some of the old models are utter pants and working with metal was a nightmare almost all the time, but then as I thought about it… Yeah… There were some real gems that will be missed. 3rd edition Hive Tyrants (even if the metal was nigh-on unworkable); 2nd ed. Zoanthropes (with their big frisbee heads); Kasrkin! My god, Kasrkin… Can we have them back please, Geedubs?; Necron Wraiths (and Pariah’s while we’re at it!); but most importantly of all… Slaaneshi Noise Marines with BUTT-WHUPPING GUITARS!!

    • 6Cobra

      The most Metal metal mini of them all. I had a squad of 5: three of these guitar guys, one Blastmaster with a converted hover-drum kit, and a Doom Siren guy (“Helvis”) with a converted mike stand. Sheer awesome!

      • Axis Mundi

        I’m pretty sure those colours don’t exist in nature any more. Not together anyway! The bright green base is the most tasteful part. Those were the days…

    • euansmith

      “Chapter Master, we are about to embark on an urban campaign, what camouflage scheme should we paint the Chapter’s armour in?”

      “Leopard print, baby!”

      “Um… don’t you mean Tiger Strip in grey?”

      “No, man, Leopard Print… and rainbow mohicans!”

    • David Leimbach

      I remember these guys coming out and just looking at them like *whatever*. Silly guitar guys had no place on the battlefield. Now with gun looking horn things and some sense of it being anything other than a guy in power armor with a guitar I like them a bit more. But over all, never was fond – sorry!

    • Muninwing

      gotta love the leopard print on that one. oh, the 80s…

  • dave long island


  • Theik

    Eehh… no.

    That is just nostalgia speaking, modern day sculpts look a dozen times better than this metal junk.

    • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

      I think sometimes the old one piece cast models look better than modern equivalents becasue in the drive to multi-pose-ability something is lost. A sculpt where the designer has chosen the pose and composed the whole design as a unity often looks better than a multipart model where everything is a compromise to allow flexibility.

      • Anthony Shannon

        Often, we get models who are just holding their weapons as opposed to wielding their weapons.
        Some of the new monopose plastics avoid this- dark vengeance in particular .
        Compare the awful genericness of the snapfit marines from Battle for Macgragge (holding bolter slightly up, holding bolter slightly down) to the human pilot from the same set- the human is carrying a box of geneseed and his pose (shoulders, arm, knees) indicates he is clearly burdened by it.
        That suggests weight that you otherwise couldn’t portray. Contrast this to guardsmen and marines effortlessly toting the heaviest of guns or Emperor forbid, firing them one handed like a pistol.

        Committing to a set of weapons (and even a head!) allows you to pose the model appropriately, bracing for recoil or readying a grenade.

      • kobalt60

        While they were far from dynamic in their poses, i’d rate jes goodwins 4 original cult chaos marines as the equal to any modern sculpts, and better than many

    • Chad Underdonk

      I hope by modern day sculpts you aren’t talking about the CAD created garbage they are putting out now?

      No life, no options, hard edges, exact same poses with just an arm location different? Nevermind, I’ll pass.

    • Tyris

      Looks like less nostalgia and more munchkinism, what with the two dozen mentions of smaller bases and line of sight.

  • D. B.

    Why “better”? Why can’t we just say “have their own unique charm”?

  • Xodis

    I dont like working with Metal models myself. Sure its awesome knowing that you can throw one and knockout your opponent if he starts acting like a jerk…but really how often do you actually do it? lol

    • Muninwing

      i spent ten minutes cutting the legs off of a vostroyan officer last nice.

      (this sounds like the lead-in to a joke)

      i’m converting the dude with the plasma pistol and power sword (since it seems a waste to actually equip such a weak character with that gear) to a tank commander. it took ten minutes to get the saw just right, almost skinned my knuckle, had to deal with metal filings, etc.

      the finecast stuff might easily warp. but it’s easily cut by a hobby knife. great for conversions.

      • Xodis

        Yeah, I dont think I would even attempt to convert a metal model simply because of the pain I knew it would be lol.

        • Muninwing

          i’ll admit, had i set up my dremel earlier (and were my son not sleeping), i’d have done it faster. there’s plenty of metal models i’ve converted… i’ve got four Leman Russ Vostroyan pilots, and a planned Baneblade Vostroyan. at one point in 3rd i converted the old metal Grey Knights terminators into Thousand Sons ones by scouring off the iconography and replacing the heads (grinding off the old ones and gluing in new ones).

          the right tools help.

  • David Leimbach

    No way. As someone who played RT the old models are just worse.

    Orks suffer especially bad with the “bosses” looking a bit like boss gretchin to be exact.

    I’ll take the new 3d printed-prototype CAD designed models over the old clumpy clay-do look any day. Take off those rose coloured glasses!

    • Chad Underdonk

      CAD doesn’t capture life. It is stiff and sterile.

      • David Leimbach

        There are plenty of stiff and awkwardly posed old models. It’s up to the artist using the tools to give them life. CAD is just like any other tool in that aspect.

  • ctFallen

    What about the old greater daemons,

  • euansmith

    Do you think you could get away with using the old Nagash mini but with the new mini’s rules?

    • Morgrim

      Only if he’s standing on a box.

    • Douglas Lang

      Gary Morley should have been banned from sculpting for that mini and what he did to the second version of the Striking Scorpions.

    • Xodis

      No, he earned that model upgrade lol.

      Seriously old Nagash looks like the villain from some My little Pony rip off, new Nagash looks like his model will seriously eat your soul.

    • Erik Setzer

      Depending on your local gamers, yeah. I found a copy I had of old Nagash and painted him up for a diorama base, but also magnetized his feet so I could put him on a larger base (which would also be sort of a diorama). No one saw the issue with that, since he’s still Nagash, and I had the same footprint.

      That old model actually wasn’t as bad as people think. The hat was silly, but even just painting the model up with a good paint scheme (not the overly bright one they did originally) makes it look pretty good.

      • Damistar

        Ah yes, the whole Death Clown look

      • Muninwing

        eh… it wasn’t bad for the time, but it was pretty bad for even five years ago. it’s like an 80s b-action movie… when you actually sit down and try to deal with it, it’s worse than you remember.

        the features and details — particularly of bone — back in the older days of GW were always sculpted with a heavy hand to convey bone-ness… but the proportions are even more exaggerated than in any of the other heroic-scale models. half the VC army before they started getting a redo had the same problem.

        that hat was the icing on the poop cake, not the source of the smell.

  • Douglas Lang

    Who remembers that realisation that the two pieces you have stuck together with super glue and held together for the last 5 minutes are actually more stuck to your fingers than each other.

    • Erik Setzer

      Still happens. For some reason, people used super glue a lot for plastic models. I don’t understand them doing that, since the bond isn’t as strong. (Some people, though, do prefer an easy to break bond, since it means they can change the model later.)

      Then again, with plastic models, woe unto you if you’ve applied the plastic cement and some of that glue slips (oops, hope you didn’t want that detail), or the piece falls onto carpet (double bonus if you have pets who shed).

      • euansmith

        Okay if you play Space Wolves, I guess?

      • Severius_Tolluck

        and some brands are worse than other. some volcano out of the bottle and some make tiny strands from the tiniest drop and if they fall anywhere they dissolve detail. Some of us just kept sticking to super glue, or a mix of both.

      • Muninwing

        i used to use this plastic glue that was stronger than the GW stuff and the consistency of water.

        great for tanks — test fit and squirt it in the seam… cut construction time down by a ton.

        less so for models. light dots or wrecked models.

        and oh, did that stuff hurt if it splashed in your eye.

  • Erik Setzer

    This article is setting off the ol’ sarcasm meter pretty hard, like you’re trying to say “Oh, yeah, things were ‘better’ then, but didn’t have all this cool new stuff!”

    First of all, smaller bases are just fine. Heck, GW’s latest rules set completely ignores bases, so if you could balance a model without one, you could legally run it without one. Some of us like not having a bunch of space taken up by a model unnecessarily. Similarly, having a square base wasn’t a problem back then. It’s all they had, and we weren’t stuck up jerks about bases, so if you had square bases and round bases together, no one said “That looks awful!” We looked at the figure on the base.

    The Hive Tyrant model didn’t need a million options. It had enough options, and it was fine without wings. The new model is pretty good, but I still like the old one more (note this isn’t even saying it’s “better,” I just like it more). And since it was before the game was trying to be Epic 28mm, we didn’t need a bunch of flying stuff. It also made the stuff that did have wings, like Greater Daemons, more unique.

    The Old Obliterators are better not because of their size but because the new sculpts are just awful. The old Oblits weren’t amazing, but still better than the current ones. If I need more Oblits, I’ll pick up a box of Terminators and convert those instead of buying the current Oblits with their messy attempt at looking “Chaotic.”

    Just because the stealth suits didn’t have a bunch of poses doesn’t mean much. But if you’re going to pick on them, please feel free to also bring up how pretty much every character model being released right now only has one pose.

    Oh yeah, you picked on the Hive Tyrant for lack of options… that’s another thing with new character models: no options.

    The original Avatar couldn’t “hide” among Guardians. He might not have been large, but he was certainly tall enough, especially given that it’s still a modified Eldar basically. Bonus, he actually had a weapon he could throw to match his fluff.

    There *are* plenty of older models that are better than newer models. Old school Khorne Berserkers and Noise Marines, a lot of old Chaos. Orks had a lot more character back then, and as an Ork player, I didn’t think there was any issue with them not being humongous overly muscled beasts. Madboyz, Boarboyz, varied weaponry, models for different clans, etc. And I like how the original Mega-Armor looked like the Orks were trying to mimic Terminator armor, especially as that’s basically what it was in-game. Imperial Guard used to have a lot of variety but now have just Cadians and over-muscled Catachans (they’ve gotten better with some of the Catachan kits, but it tends to highlight how bad others are).

    There are a lot of good models from both eras. Using an article like this to try to mock the older era using modern players’ elitist condescending attitude is pointless and just demeaning to people who like older models.

  • Cergorach

    Taste: You have none.


  • Gabriel De-Vere

    It is an opinion and not an ATTACK but you SIR are insane!!! In no way are you a person from such a generation as working with lead mettle was horrid and painstakingly slow and evevrything broke, Off the model Off the base and the chipping was everywhere(not painted on) I hate metal models… I LOVE PLASTIC AND ALL NEW STUFF!!! Though that noise marine with his support of the orks was cool… IF YOU WERE BLIND!!! :p

  • Gabriel De-Vere

    It’s an opinion and not an ATTACK but you SIR are insane!!! In no way are you a person from such a generation as working with lead metal was horrid and painstakingly slow and evevrything broke, Off the model Off the base and the chipping was everywhere(not painted on) I hate metal models… I LOVE PLASTIC AND ALL NEW STUFF!!! Though that noise marine with his support of the orks was cool… IF YOU WERE BLIND!!! :ppp

    • Porty1119

      WTF is that? Gremlins in miniature form?

      • Grafton Is Dust

        Goff Rockas. An elegant weapon from a more civilised era.

        • Gabriel De-Vere

          age… :p

          • Grafton Is Dust

            It’s been a while. I should really watch those three movies again to warm up for Force Awakens. ^_^

  • amaximus167

    Really, the original Obliterators? Those things were beyond awful. I never picked them up because of how hideous they were. I am surprised that that box set of metal possessed didn’t end up on this silly list.

    • Muninwing

      they were bad. actually both were.

      the current versions are not much better.

      best for both are just conversions.

      • Gabriel De-Vere

        Much Better… 🙂

        • Djbz

          They look pretty cool, the heads are a bit lacking in my opinion, but other than that they are much better than the current obliterators

    • frank

      haha thats what i thought seeing them too they are hideous and always were. i do like metal models but can’t see why they would be a top pick.

  • mafiacheese

    Article title: “40K: Old Models are BETTER”

    Article content: “I wish we could still use 25mm bases for everything because it offers a tactical advantage on the table, especially when it comes to using Deep Strike.”

  • Fenriryan

    I just love those old XV15s.
    I run 36 of the metals originals as Firewarriors, I love them so much.

  • Talos2

    They really really aren’t

  • chris harrison

    Wrong! I hatehatehate metal miniatures. Plastic forever!!!

  • daonemdt

    Those old termies man….. You could give someone a concussion if you chuck that thing hard enough.lol

  • benn grimm

    Agreed on the stealth suits for sure, the old ones do look much better, though a fairly simple conversion remedies the plastic ones and makes them nearly as good.

  • frank

    when was your glory day of gaming? curious after seeing that old avatar model. i love the mini personally but if i’m not mistaken the avatar being that size hasn’t been a thing in like 20 years ?

  • kaptinscuzgob

    metal sucks

  • Chad Underdonk

    You missed the huge range of Valhallans, Mordians, Tallarns, Metal Cadians, and Metal Catachan. Hell the Metal Catachan were actually decently proportioned.

  • Benderisgreat

    RT Dread for the win. Those bug eyes…..

  • Tox

    The old rogue trader Tzeentch & Nurgle marines are still some of my favorite sculpts, along with the original Imperial army troops (aka Guard aka Astra Militarum) they had character.

  • Terminus

    What, no mention of the landspeeder that looks 100x better than the flying shoe and a rare unopened one just sold on ebay for over $100? Diaz daemonettes that actually evoked allure? Harlies? Grey knights?