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40K Retro: Three Decades of Astra Militarum Minis

4 Minute Read
Sep 5 2018


Long before Astra Militarum, the humble Imperial Guardsmen has been defending the Imperium for 3 decades – with faith, t-shirt and a las-gun. Let’s take a look at all the minis we’ve been using over the years.

It’s been a very, very long road for the Imperial Guard who have perhaps the widest range of miniatures GW has ever done. Over the decades 40K has paid attention to myriad worlds of the Imperiam, each with distinct ways of war and cultures that made their ways into the Imperial Guard range. Today we will be covering the basic infantry only. We will come back to the vehicles later. We will hit each of the major worlds and go backwards in time from most recent to older models.

First a word on the Imperial Guard itself.


The Current Era

Cadians define the modern tabletop Astra Militarum. When people think of the IG, they think of the plastic Cadians – alas now a range with a destroyed homeworld..



Catachans define the next most popular range. These guys have been around for a long time, but GW has given them some modern upgrades and a snazzy Command Squad. On Catachan – every day is bandana day.


Stormtroopers – A Quick Aside

Lets take a quick side trip into the elite of the IG, the Scions/Kasrkin/Stormtroopers.



The current golden boys of the AM are the Tempestus Scions.

Before them came the metal Cadian Kasrkin.

Before them was the old metal Stormtroopers – quite good models for their time.

Forge World

Forge World got in on the action with two detaield resin IG ranges of thier own:


The Elysians were the paratrooper themed army of the pair.


While the Death Korps of Kreig are Imperial German Army all the way.

The “Middle Era”

Now we dive back into the last 15-20 years for the post Rogue Trader era IG when we got to meet all kinds of metal ranges from across the Imperium.

The Vostroyan Firstborn arrived to give the Tau opponents in the Cityfight rules expansion.

The Mordian Iron Guard love a snappy uniform!

The Valhallans are experts at kicking butt on ice worlds – and using conscript wave attacks.


The Tallarn Desert Raiders rule the sands.

Armageddon Steel Legion know how to use Chimeras.

Attilans gave us Roughriders, now seeing a brief renaissance in 8th Edition.

The original Cadians were these metal guys.

While the Praetorians have been lost to the mists of time.


Special call out to the Gaunts Ghosts minis, out there causing trouble.

Rogue Trader

Now we go back to 1980s and early 1990s to see the earliest incarnations of the Imperial Guard

The Imperial guard got their first plastic range in Rogue Trader. Here we see the impeccable fashion sense of those early Guardsmen. They came in a big box of 36 troopers, seen in this artwork in the colors of the Necromundan 6th “The Spiders” 30 years later, I wonder if the Necromundan 6th are primarily from House Van Saar – hence “The Spiders”? Hmm…

You can see some plastic sprues up on the upper left and the metal Officers and Specialists on the upper two rows.


Finally we stop at some of the ancient metal “Imperial Army” minis from 1987-1988.

£2.50 for 5 models!

 These are some of the oldest 40K miniatures and you can see the variety of concepts that would later blossom into the IG (LOOK Lady troopers!).

~Who’s still rocking some of these on the tabletop and which are your favorites?

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