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Warhammer 40K Retro: The First Eldar Aspect Warriors

4 Minute Read
Oct 18 2023
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Turn back to the 1990s to the birth of the original Craftworld Eldar Aspect Warriors, and the amazing transformation it had on the Aeldari race.

The Eldar were a very different race when Rogue Trader first arrived in 1987.  Yes there were Craftworlds, and pirates, but overall the race was somewhat simplified.  They looked like the models below and can read all about those heady early Space-Elves here.



The Teaser

Fast forward a few years and we started to get much more detail on Space Marines, the Imperial Army, and even Squats.  Then one day in 1990, White Dwarf 125 arrived and had an amazing image.  What the heck were these “Eldar Aspect Warriors“? No one had any clue, but they all had funky names and looked SUPER COOL. I mean compare them to those minis up there…


The Craftworld Lore & Rules

Everyone waited with bated breath for two excruciating months until White Dwarf 127 hit like a comet in July 1990.  The Rogue Trader Space-Elves were forever changed. The Craftworlds were fully laid out, and to this day follow the precepts laid down all those years ago.


In it was an entirely new background for the Eldar race.  We learned of the Eldar Path, Aspect Warriors, the Avatar, Warlocks, Farseers, Exarchs, and even the humble Guardians.  An entire description for Craftworld culture, as well as a full Craftworld Eldar Army List, was in this single White Dwarf. It was amazing and we haven’t seen the like in decades out of White Dwarf.



Here’s an example of two Aspect Warrior units from the army list.  Everyone was just overwhelmed with the art as well as the rules.  Speaking of Jes Goodwin’s seminal works for the Grimdark…


The original Dark Reaper sketches.  Note the other weapon options for the Exarch, rarely seen these days.



Here we see the Striking Scorpions and their Exarch options.

The Miniatures

A lot of people would have been completely blown away right then and there.  But then it was time to get a look at the new minis out of Nottingham:


And there they were in all their glory.  Jes Goodwin knocked it out of the park. It’s difficult to appreciate it today in the era of digital design and insane levels of detail possible in injection-molded plastic, but these miniatures were phenomenal for their era. That Dark Reaper and Swooping Hawk are made of two pieces folks – TWO PIECES!  The original Aspect Warrior minis were dripping with fine details, and marked a changing of the guard compared to the previous Rogue Trader era minis that came before.

I left the prices on this sheet for your 2021 entertainment. Something, something, inflation, something.


Original Aspect Warrior Paint Schemes

Next we take a look at the original ‘Eavy Metal paintjobs by Mike McVey and Tim Prow. These defined the Aspect Temple schemes for all time, along with the painting guides below:




These early 1990s minis are still readily available on eBay and many old-timers still prefer some of the original Aspects to later versions (that’s a whole different article)…

Fast Forward to 2023…

Over 30 years on, all of the orginal six Aspect warriors have been redone at least once, even though some are still in resin. It’s hard to believe those Warp Spiders are still trucking with their original scuplts in this day and age!  Still, new word of plastic Striking Scorpions is a welcome relief!

~So who’s still kicking butt on the tabletop with any of these 1990 originals?  I may have a little weakness for them myself…

While you’re here, enjoy a video on the Eldar Craftworlds:


Author: Larry Vela
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