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Warhammer 40K RETRO: What the Grimdark Used to Look Like

3 Minute Read
Dec 27

Today we take a look back through the glorious retro battle scenes that inspired thousands of gamers 30 years ago. Come and see the battle scenes from the grimdark’s early editions.

If there is one thing that gets a gamers blood pumping – it’s a good battle scene. Lovingly set up and photographed, with the best-painted minis – it only takes a few seconds to capture a gamer’s heart and get that next army started. 40K has come a long, long way in over 30 years, but let’s go back and remember what the game looked like all those decades ago.

Many of these images come from ancient White Dwarfs from the 1990s. Back when the grimdark was young and bright primary colors were the style of the day.


An early Ork army with the mono-pose Grots, and some awesome converted tanks on the right.

Just look at all that early Marine goodness – in the stunning and demanding Howling Griffons scheme.


I spy a Pulsa Rokkit! Look out Ultras!

An early Rogue Trader Ultramarines army. Note the Imperial Robots on the left, and the Techmarines on jetbikes in the back. EGADS! Grey Knights!

The original Aspect Warriors still hold up – even to this day.  Remarkable!


Ragnar and the rest of the early Space Wolves characters.

Hello original Tyranid Warriors, and that glorious classic primary color Ultramarines scheme.

Check out that Land speeder on the far right – and those brave, brave Storm Guardians!


Look at those Rough Riders on the left getting ready to charge into the Hive Tyrant! Also classic Screamer Killer Carnifexes.


Take a look at this very early Imperial Guard Armored Company. That was a lot of tanks back in the day.



This one’s a bit of a mystery. Perhaps the Space Wolves are coming to the rescue of an ambushed Dark Angels Predator… or maybe they “borrowed” the keys and took it for a joyride.


I’m in nostalgia-nirvana!

~If you could go back in time and collect one of these armies- which would it be?

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