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40K RETRO: Meet the Eldar of 1987

4 Minute Read
Oct 6 2017


Today we look back 30 years at the first “Space Elves” who rocked across tabletops in 1987. Take a look at the original Rogue Trader Eldar.


The Eldar were originally mentioned at length with multiple pieces of artwork in the Rogue Trader hardback that kicked off Warhammer 40,000 all the way back in 1987.

They made an early splash and had a small range of miniatures in those early days of the Grimdark. Here is a color plate of sample Eldar Pirate from Book of the Astronomican in 1988.


Many people back in the day painted up Eldar in the “default” Yriel’s Eldritch Raiders scheme which was later ret-conned into Alaitoc Craftworld’s colors. You can see the origins of what would evolve into the various Craftworlds around the figure. Let’s take a look at the Eldar miniatures range in those very very early days, years before the Avatar, Aspect Warriors and all of that came into existence.  It was a very different world with GW rapidly expanding their early 40K plastic kits and ranges.

Onto the “Space Elves” – Eldar Infantry




Early days but all the hallmarks are there. Pointy helmets, crazy hair, proto-guardian armor. Note the ancient crossbow style shuriken catapults.



I’ll just let you take in those awesome 1980s names…and musicians! Kelos Longfinger – LOL! I still have a bunch of these and use each as an unofficial sergeant for each Guardian squad on the tabletop. They die last and after almost 30 years of tabletop duty – they’ve earned it!


The original Eldar heavy weapons which were also usable as arm weapons the the Dreadnoughts and Warwalkers below. My favorite two minis from this set are “the lunchbox brothers” 2nd and 4th from the left up there who never forgot to pack a solid lunch before heading off to battle.



Now we get into the first of the Eldar “bigger kits’. Big was relative back in those days.  Here’s the original D-Cannon.  All those D-weapons everyone bitches about these days are the descendants of this bad boy right here.

Eldar Vehicles


Just as the Marines got their original Eddie, Chuck and, Fury dreads, the Eldar had the Banshee, WarCry and WarDamon.  Note the re-use of the heavy weapons above.  The original Eldar Dreadnoughts were manned (there is supposed to be a dude in the big shell). The Spirit Warrior and Ghost Warriors below would eventually evolve into the later wraith-constructs in the fluff. You can still find those little Ghost Warriors running around ebay if you are lucky and use them to add a nice little old-school flavor to an Eldar army.  rt-eldar-spiritwarrior


Hello original War-Walker! Take a look at the fairly cunning construction of the model and how it heavily re-uses parts from the Dreadnought and support weapons in new arrangements. The only new parts are the pilot and the legs.


+1000 Internets to the first person who paints up a modern Eldar army in Alai Mercenary Corps colors!





Eldar Rearguard – Rogue Trader 1987 by Tony Hough


It’s been 30 years and many of those models are still fighting for survival on BoLS Tabletops!

~Thanks for this trip down memory lane folks. What are your favorite memories of the Original Eldar?

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