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Warhammer 40K RETRO: 1988’s Original Imperial Robots

3 Minute Read
Dec 24 2019

It was August 1988, and the Imperium was about to get some heavy metal reinforcements – The Legio Cybernetica’s robots – decades before the Adeptus Mechanicus would get a codex.

It was August 1988, and White Dwarf was pumping something new every month for the brand new sci-fi game from Games Workshop. About a year old this new fledgling “Warhammer 40,000” would have a long way to go if it was going to be able to stand alongside the successful Warhammer Fantasy.

White Dwarf 104 showed up sporting this fancy cover promising new goodies for 40k, Fantasy and Dark Future.


The Robots article went into the background of the wetware and liturgical underpinnings of the Legio Cybernetica, how they interacted with the Space Marines, and their robotic charges. This is the article that gave us the 5 original Imperial robots classes that wold echo down through the ages.

DANGER BROTHER ROBINSON! DANGER!  Fighting alongside my little Astartes buddy


Note the customization for the weapons on the chassis, and those beefy stat-lines. the Castellan has T10 and D15! What a bruiser.


Program Costs?

Did you notice you pay a “program cost of 3 points per instruction”?  So here’s the deal with that. GW gave you a giant set of logic instructions for you to cut out and ACTUALLY BUILD LOGIC DECISION TREES! Here are a couple examples:

Can you imagine having to do that in this day and age? In 2019?! Once you built your program, you deployed your models on the tabletop, and they followed your program EXACTLY. If you programmed them well – they would move around and kill things. If you programmed them badly, then maybe they would walk in circles or off the table.

Paint Schemes and Minis

Now let’s talk all about the crazy “dazzle” liveries of the robots, both Loyalist and Traitor.  Move over Harlequins – I DARE anyone out there to grab some new Forge World models and match these schemes! My favorite is the Imperial Castellan in red, white and black striped trousers – CLASSY!

And at last, the minis! Note the heavy weapon options on the upper back mount on several of these. Then note the £2.50 price apiece and the square bases! These fossils show up every now and then on eBay.

Here’s one last piece of artwork to get you in the 1980’s vibe of early 40K


~ Anyone still have some of these burly boys on dusty shelves, or EGADS on the tabletop?

Author: Larry Vela
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