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Warhammer 40K: The Original Titans Of 1988

4 Minute Read
Oct 5 2023

Way back in the early 1988 Games Workshop invented the first Warhammer titans. Let’s head back three decades and take a look.

Adeptus Titanicus kicked off EPIC scale gaming and brought us the main classes of Imperial (and later Eldar and Ork) titans way back in.  It was an awesome game that opened up new worlds like the Horus Heresy and illuminated vast new areas of the grimdark previously unseen.


The original game came with styrofoam buildings never seen since and 6 plastic warlord titans! Let’s take a look back at the teensy warhammer titans that started it all.


Warlord Titans

The original “beetle-back”  Warlord had more weapon options than actual parts of its hull to assemble.  It could be purchased in sets of 6 in the below “Battle Titans” plastic box.

warlord-box warlord-sprue2

Here’s the Warlord weapon sprues, designed to snap off and on to the weapon hardpoints. This design allowed you to swap them out from game to game.

Here’s a single Warlord titan sprue. The base was two parts with an internal column to fit a plastic disk around to track your current void shields. It was similar to the current X-Wing maneuver dials, and the current shield-count was visible through the small hole atop the base in between the Warlord’s feet. There were two different head choices.



Here’s a sample fellow with dual missiles up top and two volcano cannons down below. A slow Nemesis gunship, meant for standoff engagements.


Here you can see the various sub-categories of Death Bringer, Nightgaunt, Eclipse and Nemesis. You will note the more heavily armed versions are substantially slower, yet better protected. The faster ones were very maneuverable and meant to get in fast and kill at point blank range. How many do you recognize from the modern incarnation?

Reaver Titans

The Reaver medium titan was introduced in short order and was also a modular design.  It however was all metal and lost the easy mix-and matching weapons of the Warlord.

reaver-EPIC reaver-bits

There were a couple of head variants, and the option of mounting the banner pole atop the chassis for a higher-speed option.


Warhound Titans

The Warhound scout titans arrived with the Reavers and brought incredible speed to the titan legions.


From the beginning, Warhounds were described as being used in pairs.


They only mounted two weapon hardpoints, but had the speed to flank and get into the vulnerable rear of their larger lumbering brothers. Many a Warlord was brought down by a point-blank plasma blastgun to to it’s plasma reactor from directly behind. Good hunting little Warhounds!

Warhammer Titan Accessories

In later years, GW would introduce a large set of rare weapons and titan hardpoint accessories, as well as bits for making mutated Traitor Titans. Notable examples included the Carapace Landing Pad (above) which included a spotter Land Speeder for drawing increased line of sight. The rare but feared Corvus Assault Pod came with 4 squads of Terminators inside ready to pour into and capture whatever you punched. The Fire Control Tower used up a precious carapace weapons slot, but increased accuracy for your other ranged weapons. All of these added a lot of spice to those old-school titan battles.

Fast Forward to Now

Time to time warp forward to now and WHEW! It’s stunning to look at a 30 year difference in plastic technology side by side. Adeptus Titanicus dropped a whole slew of Warhammer titans for the tabletop. All the old classics are around, as well as new wonders. While the classic types have nods to the previous versions, they have also made some serious leaps in sculpting and production.


EPIC Returns in 2023

2023 is turning out to be a magical year with the return of EPIC in its new Horus Heresy themed Legions Imperalis. It’s taking its sweet time getting here, but the promised miniatures look amazing! Plus we get another game to use our new Titans in.

We’ve come a long way in 30 years.

I have these on my desk!

On the hunt!


~Who still has some of these metal veterans?

Author: Larry Vela
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