A lot of famous 40K units began life as one-off conversions. Here are some of our favorites.
Today Warhammer 40k is all about the quality. Nottingham kicks out some of the greatest miniatures in the world at a breakneck pace. But it wasn’t always like this. There was a time that the beating heart of the hobby was conversions. Back in the 80s and 90s a great many of the Grimdark’s now famous units started life with a hobbyist with a good idea and some time on his hands, or even a licensed third party in an entirely different country.
Here are just a few we will list with their original incarnation to compare to their official GW kit, and when they came along;
Yes, the first Land Raider in the Rogue Trader book was a one off. It would be replaced with the original plastic kit in short order, but if you look close you can see quite a bit of differences.
The original was built off the plastic Rhino and a bunch of bits, including a square 40mm base.
Spartan Assault Tank
Here’s an interesting one. The Spartan was originally based on the Land Raider and Rhino kits. It was an open-topped Terminator transport. if would disappear for decades before being revived by ForgeWorld!
Here’s a real oddball. The Wave Serpent was first designed in EPIC and had a completely different aesthetic than the modern design. It was made available to 40K players as a resin Armorcast model for several years before GW redesigned it based on the Falcon chassis. You can still find the reson ones on eBay and they are great conversation starters – also door stops.
Deodorant Grav-Attack Speeder
Ahh, the Rogue Trader classic. This Marine vehicle was scratchbuilt in the late 1980s and waited decades for its homage reinvention as the 30K Jevelin Speeder by Forge World.
Yet another short-lived Armorcast job. For decades if you wanted an Ork Battlewagon, you converted it out whatever you could get your hands on. Much, much later the official plastic kit freed Meks across the world from having to loot every big transport in their armies.
This range was originally made from sets of converted Mordians used to recreate this enormous Massacre at Big Toof River at Canada Games Day 1997. The models were such a hit, GW put them into production and they have been part of 40K canon ever since.
That’s a lot of conversions… but even more Orks.
Ghaz (& Grotsnik)
Yes, we’ve already talked about the 30 year history of Ghaz, but his humble roots began as a conversion by Andy Chambers back in 1991.
~There are many more – but which one is your favorite?