Which 40K Armies REALLY Have the Oldest Models?

We all like to complain about wanting our old models updated, but let’s take a look at which armies REALLY have the most old metal-plastic kits.

Ok, some ground rules:

  • I’m going through each army’s most current codex, or index list (if they don’t have a codex yet).
  • I’m counting up the number of unit entries that have kits that are NOT plastic.

Here’s the breakdown from least to most:

Perfect Plastic

Genestealer Cults: 0

Harlequins: 0

Ynnari: 0

Imperial Knights: 0

 

Mostly Plastic

Death Guard: 1 (Beasts of Nurgle)

Deathwatch: 1 (Artemis)

Adeptus Mechanicus: 2

Grey Knights: 5 (mostly characters)

 

Getting There

Tyranids: 6 (mostly named characters)

Dark Angels: 6 (all characters)

Chaos Space Marines: 7 (mostly characters)

Blood Angels: 9 (all characters)

Necrons: 9 (all characters, named C’Tan)

Orks: 10 (mostly characters)

 

A Ways to Go

Chaos Daemons: 11 (mostly characters, greater deamons)

T’au: 12 (mostly characters, kroot units)

Space Wolves: 13 (mostly characters)

Astra Militarum: 16 (characters, ministorum units)

Dark Eldar: 16 (mostly retinue, beastmasters, and characters)

Adepta Sororitas: 19 (all except Celestine)

Please Help Us!

Space Marines: 20 (mostly characters)

Craftworld Eldar: 21 (Aspects, Characters, Phoenix Lords)

 

Surprises

I knew Craftworld Eldar were bad – but not that bad.  They REALLY need a campaign to give GW an excuse to update half a dozen models to plastic fast.

Orks are WAY more plastic that I remembered.  Even rare units are plastic at this point.

Chaos Deamons still has a ways to go with the two Big Daemons kits and some decent units still in finecast.

Dark Eldar have a lot of fiddly HQ and beastmaster units in finecast that will be waiting a long time.

Adepta Sororitas have only Celestine in plastic to give them hope.

~So if you ran GW, how would you prioritize who get’s updated first?

 

 

  • Bakvrad

    Artemis of the deathwatch is plastic
    I really would have loved to see, which model is actually the oldest 😀

    Maybe Dante. I say it’s Dante ^^

    • David Graves

      Eldar Warlocks I reckon. Some of those date to Rogue Trader. I seem to remember Dante being introduced when BA got their 2nd ed codex.

      • David Graves

        Ragnar Blackmane is another option that predates 2nd ed.

        • matus

          Niall and Blackmane are 1992 if those are still sold, so they would pip the Phoenix Lords.

          • David Graves

            Yep, 25 years on and they are still up on the GW online store. Admittedly they were great sculpts for their time but they don’t really fit with the rest of the range.

      • matus

        I don’t think the Eldar warlocks are the original line from rogue trader, but they could be from just after the Eldar got their redesign in 1991, which means they COULD beat Dante by 4 years, the Phoenix Lord’s by 3 years and the space wolf characters by 1.

        • David Graves

          No, I went digging, I don’t think any of the earliest Warlocks are still available, the really old ones that are still being sold are the ones from the 1993 additions to the range, looks like the 1991 Warlocks all got retired.

          • carlisimo

            They must’ve stopped selling Mr. Antlers (the Warlock). He was still available pretty recently.

          • David Graves

            Yeah, I initially thought that Antler Ears and Brush Head were still going but when I looked they had finally disappeared. Pity, I actually think the Jez Goodwin Warlocks stand up just fine today.

    • matus

      Dante is 1995 I think, but some of the Phoenix Lords might be 1994

      • petrow84

        According to solegends.com, Ragnar, Ulrik, PA Njal, Asurmen and Fuegan are 1994 entries.

      • euansmith

        I do wish people would stop talking about the mid-1990s like it was a long time ago!!! 😀

        • ZeroOne

          It was. People born in 2000 can learn to drive now.
          Just think, some of your old models could legally now drive you down to the pub and have a drink with you!

          • euansmith

            Hey, look, buddy, I’m living in denial here! 😉

          • Mud_Duck

            Yes! Thank you!

            Kids today, with they’re fancy-smacy CAD push fit models, and that Hippie Hops! Why I remember when we had to put metal arms on plastic bodies, or was it plastic arms on metal bodies? No, dadanabitt! It was both! With glue, and not just any glue. This was the stuff that we saved up our pennies and half pennies, and then walk the five miles, up both ways, though the snow, to the nearest hobby shop. Now mind you we didn’t have all these fancy Hobbbbbyyyyy (snoar………..)

    • DtLS

      Avatar and the Phoenix Lords are older than Dante

    • petrow84

      I nominate Mephiston too, but 1998 Gorkamorka Skorcha buggies are also strong candidates.

    • Jonathan Ellsworth

      i would say Mephiston, there’s even a conversion of it in the Chaos Codex 2ed

  • Christie Bryden

    you forget which have some of the really old plastics though, CSM standard chaos space marines are ancient.

    • calming rain

      it re-designed 2007

      • Christie Bryden

        throwing in banners didnt fix how old the rest of the kit was.

    • kobalt60

      Ork buggies and wartrakks are some old plastic

      • Christie Bryden

        oh god your right those things are so old and dated… also deft koptas too… since the only good ones were in the starter box years ago and they never properly released them.

  • Ghachii

    Space Marines are hardly in need of help. They may have a lot of resin characters, but if you take into account the massive size of their range and the sheer number of plastic kits they have, they’re doing fine. Most armies would kill to be in need of ‘help’ the same way Space Marines are.

    Also, counting the number of resin models us no way of judging which army has the oldest range. Firstly, GW still occasionally release resin models today. Secondly, some plastic kits are very old and these haven’t been taken into account at all.

    Pretty pointless and uninsightful article really.

    • James Regan

      yeah, orks in particular have sone really old sculpts, but mostly for models that were plastic anyways

  • Gabor Fazekas

    arent the sister range FULL metal except Cely? i mean i play both eldar deldar and sisters, but while my eldar has several plastic stuff (well true not aspects) but sisters dont 😀 their range is 90% metal 😀 its not ways to go i think

    • Majere613

      All the Sisters are metal- the Exorcist is a plastic tank with metal add-ons. The Immolator is listed as ‘plastic and resin’ now which is odd because it’s all plastic as far as I know. Other than Celestine, the only other non-metal model is Canoness Veridian.

      • Paul Jan

        The formerly plastic clear Immolator bubble windshield is now in resin.

        • Majere613

          Ah, I wondered if that might be it.

          • Paul Jan

            That bubble was the reason the Immolator was OOP for about a year. What I want to know is why can’t GW get all these old decal sheets back in print.

  • euansmith

    Based on the title I was expecting a trip down memory lane of the oldest minis still in the ranges.

    • Fergie0044

      Yeah, me too. Kinda disappointed now…

    • Simon Chatterley

      You aren’t suggesting a title was misleading?

      Fake news!

      • ZeeLobby

        Haha. I wonder if BoLS has a title guy.

        • euansmith

          I’m certainly feeling very entitled! 😉

    • I_am_Alpharius

      Ditto…I’m not sure plastic = not old…

  • Koen Cambré

    This list is sort of a joke if you don’t use % based numbers… Marines and eldar are in there because they have a ludicrous amount of units compared to something like Grey knights, genestealer cults etc.

    • I_am_Alpharius

      Yeah. Numbers need to be normalised so they can be compared fairly.

    • Dulahan

      Eldar deserve to be in there though. They literally have a large chunk of their most iconic troops (aspect warriors) not available in plastic, using sculpts that are almost as old as the game. (Were there in 2e!). Yes, the Cults need things. But Eldar are in dire need of some refreshes.

      • EmperorOfMankind

        I think they could maybe make some kits shared.
        Swooping Hawks and Howling Banshees, Striking Scorpions and Fire Dragons.

      • Koen Cambré

        Warp spiders, Vypers and Falcons are the only ones left from 2nd iirc? The rest has been updated since at some point, so let’s not pretend that’s the general rule.

      • BlooDeck

        Well not a dire need, the Avengers are in plastic. 😉

    • Muninwing

      using the right range of information is really important.

      there was an article on some blog a couple year ago, showing how GW’s price increases were objectively terrible and in no way accounted for the increases in inflation. it picked arbitrary timeframes, and applied incomplete information to reach its conclusion.

      even just looking at the data as it was presented, it was obvious that they were heavily biased to start with, and reached the conclusions they set out to reach.

      looking at the broader picture, though… every increase was dependent upon certain factors, and rose at static rates as applied to the proper timelapse. suddenly, the increases made economic sense.

      it’s really easy to force data to look like it says something. it’s harder to assemble the data and then analyze it impartially.

  • ILikeToColourRed

    how about as a % of the range – sisters are suffering more than guard for example

    • Nameless

      Although no one wouldn’t put sisters at the top of any list of arms needing new Minis: there are a lot of guard miniatures still in metal.

      to start with; Mordian iron guard, steel legion, tallarn, valhallan and vostroyan are only in metal, but even the cadian and catachan have metal special weapons. all the psykers, (astopath, primaris and wyrdvane), rattlings and advisors(master of ordinance, officer of the fleet).

      A quick count on the webstore and I get 31 still in metal/finecast. with only 2 being variants with direct plastic alternatives (techpriest 2 and a commisar). so no idea why the article lists it as 16.

      anyway back to the point, Plastic Sisters!

      • Muninwing

        but even in that list… the Masters of the Fleet are relatively new, within the last decade or perhaps half. in comparison even in their own armies, the Mordians, Valhallans, and Tallarn were no longer sold in stores at that point.

        plus, this seems like it would depend upon what kind of guard army you were playing. If you want to play guard and use plastic, you can use Cadian models.

      • ILikeToColourRed

        most likely because of the way he found the numbers (comparing index entries) doesn’t include alternate regiments

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        if GW were to re-do Guard today, there is no way they would have more than 1 base trooper model. Which is sad.

        • euansmith

          It wasn’t so bad when they had the entire WFB Empire and Bretonnian ranges to draw on for conversion ideas. Hopefully, when GW update the basic humans, they will do so in a scale that allows for kitbashing between AoS and 40k. I liked where there used conversions in the new Guard codex to show some different regiments and think they could maybe push this more.

      • euansmith

        Coming soon and switching from metal to plastic, the Mordian Plastic Guard and the Plastic Legion 😉

  • Karrasa

    Craftworld Eldar are undoubtedly in a poor state but focus on plastic v metal/finecast skews many of the other results. Finecast falls into two categories: metal converts and fincast originals. The latter are all comparatively recent (albeit still years old). Sure, Finecast has its stigma but this focus makes the likes of Space Marines look much worse off than they actually are. Unlike their traitorous kin, they have modern plastic kits for their core units. What remains of their older plastic kits have generally held up well, such as terminators for example.

    I know it is more work but if you want to compare age of models, compare age of models.

  • Ve Ly Pè

    Well, Space Marines are only in “please help us” because nobody has so many characters (and models overall) like them… 😛

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      I think only Eldar have a number of characters that even comes close to what the Marines have.

  • Randy Randalman

    Everyone will get something once all the codices are out. So it won’t matter who’s first, because it won’t take long for everyone to get theirs (just like the codices themselves). Oh, and Tyranids aren’t mostly missing named characters. The Swarmlord and Old One Eye are already plastic. The Lictor, Biovore, and Pyrovore are the kits that need plastic.

  • Ryan Williams

    The last time the Space Wolves last had an Iron Priest model, Bon Jovi still had long hair. Still criminally little choice regarding their officer corps (psykers, chaplains/apothecaries etc.) compared to the other chapters.

  • Phenomenonx82 .

    im just say CHAOS 😛
    – Khorne “Gorilla Hands” Berzerkers <- this is imo Worst of the worst
    – Abbadon minimi 1994?
    -Fabius bile from 1994?

    • Muninwing

      i still like the Fabulous Billy model… he’s got a ton of character.

      Abbadon though… he really needs an upgrade. or at least platform shoes.

  • I_am_Alpharius

    I have never understood the “waaaaa…my units models are old” complaint. I mean, to me, if a sculpt looks good and does the job, it really doesn’t matter if it is 1 week old or 30 years old.

    Sure in an ideal world everything would be plastic, a goal GW has been heading toward for at least the last decade, but that takes time and money – the money is vital GW need to have good annual returns to have the cash to reinvest into more models.

    Sure, some models are a little out of scale because they are rooted in the times when pewter was king; when all models were smaller to keep down costs and weight. And granted, some ranges like Sisters of Battle have reasonable ground to be frustrated; but again the models are really nice.

    To me it is all a little making mountains out of mole hills.

    • Nameless

      There’s slightly more to it that how the model looks.

      Sisters need their backpacks pinning to them, else they fall off mid battle, seraphim need… god knows to be honest, otherwise they snap off their base during play.

      all metal models are an utter pain to paint, especially since games workshop’s base sprays where redesigned to work for plastic and simply doesn’t stick to metal properly.

      depending on country and ambient temperature some finecast models are prone to melting in direct sunlight. in addition finecast models often require extra work in filling air bubbles (although much reduced from the initial release).

      • memitchell

        I recently painted up some old metal IG I found at the bottom of the bitz bin. I had forgotten how easy it is. No cutting off the sprue and cleaning them up (both have moldlines, but these weren’t so bad). No assembly. Prime. Spray the base coat. Block paint weapons and faces. I dip them in woodstain. Paint details (to taste), and paint/texture the base. I found them an utter pleasure to paint. Wish I had more. Oh, and if my methods sound like crude corner-cutting, I have yet to play my fully painted army against another fully painted army. People need to learn how quick and easy it can be to put a nice looking fully painted army on the table.

        • ILikeToColourRed

          corner cutting is, imo, the best way to get things like guard infantry on the table

          save time on the hordes of infatry, put that time into characters and elites

      • Muninwing

        you actually use their overpriced sprays? that might be half the problem.

        there are plenty of better options out there that are less than half the price and twice as effective. i’ve never had a can of Krylon, or auto primer, get grainy on me like Citadel sprays do.

        and even without that in mind, Army Painter and P3 put out better product.

        metal models versus finecast come down to simple usage. are you converting? get the finecast. are you just painting, and will take care of models appropriately? get the finecast too. did you find something neat that’s old? paint it. do you want a showpiece? go for either. do you want bragging rights? have that all-metal army that weighs a ton but intimidates your opponent with its age.

      • I_am_Alpharius

        Metal models are easy to deal with; although, it is a very different skill set to plastics. For starters they need a lot more prep work in terms of cleaning flash, ideal should be washed to remove release power residue which plays havoc when applying superglue, spray and acrylic paint; and far more so than the lubricant use for injection moulds, you should wash plastics too, but they are far more forgiving.

        I can’t say personally I had huge problems with metals, backpack etc…by their nature they are more fragile and so you have to be far more careful when playing with them.

        Out of curiosity did you grow up with building and painting majority metal models or majority plastics?

        • lmn118

          More prep work? Far less I would say but the do require more post painting care.

          Metal GW minis have very little flash, no issue at all with mould release.

          Plastic minis you have to cut them, fill the cut sites, remove a double sided mould line usually in awkward places and then assemble them.

          The difference is both during the undercoat and painting stage you have to be careful not to knock metal minis or say bye bye to your paint and they absolutely need the post paint varnish.

  • Orks and Eldar do need a Lot. But I also think the Astra Militarum is long overdue for an overhaul. Bring the other regiments in affordable plastic/modular form. Then not only do you bring back some much loved troops, but you also create a pool of parts that make it easy for people to convert their own unique regiments. It is kind of silly that the most Numerous of the Emperor’s untold millions of soldiers are limited to just Catachans and Cadians as far as plastics on the table. Nevermind the fact that the Guard is Criminally underserved in terms of characters. Where is Chenkov? Where is Al’Raheem? The Guard should have loads of Officers of renown. I would also like to see more pose variation in the guardsmen, running, kneeling, laying prone etc especially if it suits the fluff of the regiment. For tanks etc I think the IG are doing fine, but on the infantry side they really need more. Considering the sheer number of miniatures you could end up with to make a footslogger heavy/mechanised infantry army buying ancient, metal monopose miniatures isn’t really viable. Third party companies are really leading the way atm, Anvil Industry, Victoria Miniatures and Mad Robot Miniatures are turning out great alternative guard minis. GW needs to play catch-up

  • Koldan

    “I only believe in statistics that I doctored myself”

    A comparision on absolute values is in my opinion mostly useless.
    Spacemarines for example have alot of old kits, but they have overall the most number of kits. So if you instead would count the number of plastic kits, Space Marines and Craftworld would be at the top and ynnari at the bottom as they have only one kit.

    The relative values would give a better view of the situation, i am picking some examples and use as the overall numbers, the number of products for the factions on the GW store, not 100% correct as codexes, starter boxes and such are in it, but it shows a direction and i am too lazy right now to get the correct numbers:
    Ynnari 0% non plastic
    Space Marines 20/139 = 14% non plastic
    Craftword 21/66 = 32% non plastic
    Drukhari 16/36 = 44%
    Adeptus Ministorum 19/28= 68%

  • The_Illusionist

    Does it really count as a “new” model if it’s just a really, really old miniature that’s now in plastic instead of metal? Because all of the Phoenix Lords are the same sculpt as they were in 2nd edition, which is over 25 years ago.
    Ragnar Blackmane, Chapter Master Dante, Captain Tycho and Grand Master Azrael are all up there, too – they’re not ‘new’, they’re just reissues in plastic.

  • Jason Peacock

    What Mechanicus models are not in plastic?

    • Mr.Gold

      Don’t know, are they counting forgeworld stuff? but if you click on the AdMech tab ofthe GW site then all the models there are plastic…

      • Jason Peacock

        Well, Larry seems to believe that Artemis isn’t plastic, so I am chalking it all up to incompetence

  • Anthony Shannon

    Your methodology is completely broken. The Guard have classic characters and units in pewter and modern units in plastic and resin. The metal/resin commissars for example, do not need an update in plastic, they are fantastic sculpts. The plastic commissar is an example of why you might want to postpone their update. The Cadian shock troop line isn’t great but it is internally consistent and complete.

    Contrast Chaos terminators which have awful chunky detailed sculpts that tower over their lord and master Abaddon. Contrast Phoenix lords that compare poorly to rank and file Dark Eldar crispness of details.

    While the Space Marines have some characters which are showing their age, they mostly hold up well. We’ve had three official Sicarius models and two Calgars/Grimnars so you can take your pick. Lemartes has been updated, you can build Dante from the sanguinary guard kit, the Dark Angels have nice sculpts which hold up and plastic HQ models from DV.

  • Chris Hateley

    I can’t help but feel partly responsible for this article, and it’s nice to see that my recent comments have proven correct and that Eldar are the worst by far. /smug

  • Alfie Phillips

    I was disappointed at the lack of depth in the article. I thought it might actually be looking at release dates rather than whether the models in a range are plastic or metal, with little to no reflection on the collective context these kits exist in. It seems like a good excuse to explore the impact the transition from traditional to computer aided sculpting has had on miniature production, as well as all of the other technological/digital investments that are being made to improve GW’s standing as the notorious miniature company we know and love/hate.

  • piglette

    Other than sisters, Eldar and Chaos are the most egregious for needing updates. Eldar have way too many of their mainline troops and elites needing plastic / new plastic. Chaos has a lot of plastic, but most is woefully out-of-date.

  • Severius_Tolluck

    The far majority of sister models were sculpted in 1996. Same with many Chaos named characters and a few marine ones. Eldar probably are rocking the oldest sculpts (although some did hold well over the years). However Chaos and sisters have as of recent gained replacements such as Cele, Kharn, and Typhus to name a few. Eldar had at least one character redone, but needs more work.
    The rest of the army either have much larger ranges and thus had more characters which it is not cost effective to make characters plastic usually, hence why they were metal or resin. That does not mean they are in need of replacement, and does not mean they are old.
    Some armies have plastics, but those plastics are twenty years old. So again plastic does not mean new or up to date.

  • EnTyme

    It’s telling that Space Marines are ranked as in more dire need of an update than Sisters when they have as many non-plastic kits as Sororitas have TOTAL MODELS. This article needs to be revised heavily.

    • euansmith

      The article has brought in the clicks.

  • Deacon Ix

    Presumably a more accurate representation would be as a percentage of the entire range – a range with more models is more like likely to have more non-plastic, making this entire article useless.

    Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

  • Tim

    The metric used here isn’t great. The problem is you’re saying eldar are worse off than sisters which is just wrong. A far higher % of their stuff is newer and plastic, as opposed to sisters where it’s literally only celestine.

    • onlyonepinman

      Yeah, it would be better listed as a percentage. Craftworld Eldar and Marines have a lot of non-plastic, however the backbone of both armies are plastic.

  • DeCold

    armies with biggest range of miniatures have more non plastic miniatures, so whats new?

  • eMtoN

    I’d say all finecast needs to be purged with fire but all it would really take is a slightly warm day for their entire stock to melt down.

    I do find it interesting that when they redid the DE range a few years ago that they left so much left undone. :sadface:

    • Koldan

      I agree with you and I also hope the redoing of DE range is not how they will do it nowadays. Poor Vect. Just stopping the production and later removing all rules for the outdated unit, is a way to purge the finecast, but i think not many players would be happy about it.

  • Paul Jan

    “Orks are WAY more plastic”. There’s a bunch of Battle for Vellos Ork Wartraks at my local gamestore you can take off their hands… Who thought bringing that back from the grave was a good idea…

  • Mr.Gold

    also many plastics are also old – i.e. see CSM Khorne Berzerkers & Marines etc.

  • polyquaternium7

    I would update the entire line of Sisters of Battle, Eldar Aspect Warriors, the Ork buggy and the Imperial guard flavours beside Catachan and Cadian also could use an update (in plastic).

  • Daniel

    Please make the same for AoS.

  • Wolf-Assassin

    GW basically need to replace all the models from the flat era. i had hoped for a replacement of Ragnar Blackmanes model when Ulric got his. i was surprised when they replaced Logan Grimnar with that santa sled, his model may have been old but it was still the newest SW model.

  • Chad Underdonk

    DAMN BOLS!!!

    I’ve literally gotten to the point where I have to restart my computer after viewing your site for it to run right again. All the ads literally make my computer incapable of running without timing out every two seconds. Just closing your page isn’t enough, that crap stays in the memory and after about 20 minutes of viewing your page it bogs down to the point that I have to restart. WTF!

  • Gustav

    I’m nostalgically rebuilding the army of eldar I had in 1991, using the current codex and models from…1991. White metal aspect warriors, exarchs, guardians, avatar etc. It’s easy with ebay. They look pretty good, but I can’t fathom why we can’t get plastic aspect warriors.

  • Tigirus

    I mean just looking through my old 3rd ed rulebooks, Falcons, Warlocks and Warp Spiders are the same, Space Marine bikes are the same as well. I think the Khorne Berzerkers are the same, not sure, regardless those models are pretty dated not to mention the Great Unclean One and Keeper of Secrets.