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Warhammer 40K: Medics Were Grimdark Badasses in 1989

3 Minute Read
Mar 9 2023

It was 1989. In the grimmest of times, Marine, Army and Squat Votann 40K Medics did what had to be done to keep the Imperium’s armies moving.

It was 1989, and White Dwarf was pumping something new every month for the brand new sci-fi game from Games Workshop. The Warhammer 40,000 Compendium gathered a lot of it together and gave us the original rules for 40K Medics – the original forefathers to today’s Adeptus Astartes Apothecaries.

These guys were GRIM. The stories of what these brave warriors had to do were straight out of gory battlefield triage. And let me tell you, in the proto-grimdark GW didn’t spare the blood, nore the gore. This article set the dark gritty experience of 40K battle like no other article before it did. It laid down early foundations that would be built on for decades. Let’s dive in:

Duty under fire, both Astartes and Imperial Army. Nice trucker hat on that Squat… err Votann in the back!

Read it my friends – that sets the mood of the entire article. There are half a dozen more stories like this one and lots of artwork of grim-minded 40K medics going about their battlefield duties. In these early 40K times, there was a free intermixing of Adeptus Astartes, Imperial Army, and Squat power working side by side. It was a more intermixed and anything-goes Imperium which would fade in later years.

Rogue Trader 40K Medics Rules

Rogue Trader was wild wooly game, and the rules detail was over the top. There was crunchy, and then there was Rogue Trader crunchy. The Medic rules were right at home. First, you rolled a D100!, Then provided the casualty was alive, it could rejoin the battle. But, with the listed injuries after so many turns down and out. Note the faster injury recovery time for Space Marines.


Rogue Trader 40K Medics Minis

And at last, you’ve been waiting for it – the minis! Note the chainswords all over the place. Then note the £2.50 price for 3! These relics still show up now and then on eBay, and I’ve seen some fantastic Oldhammer paintjobs on social media.

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

Say it with me – SQUATS!

A later White Dwarf listed that Astartes Medics would paint a single blood drop on their armor for each successful field transfusion they gave during a single battle. My RTB-01 Blood Angels Medic’s record is 4 (still proudly painted on his pauldron to this day).

~ If you’re looking for a subtle bit of retro charm for your army, one of these paint schemes would be perfect – even on a modern Primaris Apothecary. Why not award your mini a blood drop honor for each successful model healed during a single battle.


“I could use a retro-nostalgic paints cheme – but which one?”

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