40K Retro: 31 Years of Bloodletters

Take a look back at one of the most pissed off denizens of the GW universe – Bloodletters of Khorne.

We are starting with today’s Bloodletters and rolling the clock back with each earlier version.

Bloodletter Basics

Bloodletters are the Lesser Daemons of Khorne, eager foot soldiers that form the core of his vast legions. Possessed of enormous strength, they are renowned for the savage ferocity of their charges. As a host, they march as one in complex formations with supernatural precision, manoeuvring for the utmost advantage, but in battle they try to outdo each other in ruthless acts of cruelty and savagery.

Bloodletters possess bestial, snarling faces and wiry, crooked bodies surrounded by a reek of gore, and skin the color of blood. Like all of Khorne’s creatures they are formidable and ferocious warriors, among the deadliest in the galaxy with savage ferocity and, being daemons, strength far out of proportion to their body mass. Each Bloodletter is a natural master of combat, borne of constantly fighting their brethren in the warp when not killing enemies on the battlefield. Bloodletters go into battle with the deadly Hellblade.

Led into battle in vast legions by the most veteran of their number, the Heralds of Khorne, they tend to march in disciplined regiments accompanied by horns and drums, a living example of Khorne’s militarism and a sharp contrast to the armies of other Chaos Gods. However, the craving for skulls, bloodshed and competing for personal glory and the glory of Khorne in battle usually turns this discipline into frenzy once they charge the enemy. Bloodletters are notorious for their fearsome advances and ferociously brutal charges but are also capable of vile and low tactics.

The Current Versions (2007)

Lean mean killing machines – the current Bloodletters are a good mixture of the two branches of their previous incarnations.

The current models have all the hallmarks of the Bloodletters – muscular, yet sinewy, horns and the hellblades. Not too skinny, not too beefy.

For those who hate walking, just tame a Juggernaut and join the ranks of the Bloodcrushers – what could go wrong? SPLAT.

Off With His Head!

A quick aside for the king of the Bloodletters, every executioner’s role-model: Skulltaker. I really hope that’s Doomrider’s head – jerk.

Horns & Axes (2002)

Turning back the clock to 2002 takes us to the most overtly beefcake of the Bloodletters.  The last of the metal Bloodletters have been hitting the gym non-stop and traded in their Hellblades for axes.  It wouldn’t last long.

Up top is the command group and down below are the rank and file with a choice of 6 (not 8!!!) axes.

For those of you in the Grimdark who needed the beefiest of the Bloodletters, never fear; round bases are readily available.

All Pumped Up (1997)

Tired of being made fun of as scrawny by the Daemonettes, the 2nd incarnation of Bloodletters SERIOUSLY beefed up, got an eternity’s membership to KHORNE”S GYM and never miss a day of training. With the bigger muscles came bigger Hellblades.

The Original Skulky Dudes (1986)

Welcome to the 80s! Here we see the original metal minis for the Bloodletters that accompanied the Realms of Chaos books. Extra sinewy, with disturbingly twisted spines and really elongated heads – the original Bloodletters were very distinctive. You can see many of their hallmarks in the current plastic minis.


Why do they have no spines?  Do they also follow the Chaos God of Ferrets.

If you were skinny and had back problems like that (looking at you “body 2”), you’d be angry all the time too.



~Which ones are your favorite models and who is still rocking some of these on the tabletop?

  • Laurence J Sinclair

    At what point did someone decide that Bloodletters should always have their tongue sticking out? That’s the one bad part of the current models; it looks far more Slaaneshi than Khorne, who should surely be all clenched teeth and rage.

    • Graham Bartram

      Just waiting for a powerfist uppercut.

    • Emperor’s Champion

      i like them with tongues out tbh

    • amaximus167

      It is so they can lick the blood from their blades!

    • Aezeal

      I just wanted to mention I hated those tongues.

  • JPMcMillen

    I love my old, old, old Bloodletters… all 8 of them.

  • Karru

    My personal favourites were the 2002 Bloodletters. To me, they hit that “servants of Khorne” look well. The current ones look little too skinny. Also, those Axes were nice.

    • ZeeLobby

      Agreed. Beside maybe nurgle daemons, I’d argue that was the highlight era of daemon models.

    • Lord Elpus

      I personally hated those.. probably because I was so used to the early aesthetic..

  • Bakvrad

    I like em!
    Last week I was lucky and finally got the ones from 1997. now I have every generation at home. But I like the new one most

  • Philip Estabrook

    I think the 2002 demons were the best for Khorne and Slaanesh. The Diaz Daemonettes were incredible.

  • Lord Elpus

    I remember rhe original onwswhen they were brand new….

  • Sparti67

    2002 was the steroid era of bloodletters. 2007 decided to go more cardio and crossfit.

  • Honest Kairos

    Bloodletters circa ’02 have a strange resemblance to Tzaangors.

  • Noah Jerge

    “Chaos god of ferrets.” That was the best thing I read all day.