BoLS logo Tabletop, RPGs & Pop Culture

Warhammer 40K: 3 Decades of Chaos Terminators

5 Minute Read
Apr 17 2024
Hot story icon

Take a look back three decades at one of the most potent and twisted denizens of the GW universe – Chaos Terminators

We are starting with today’s Chaos Terminators and rolling the clock back with each earlier version. For the sake of setting boundries, we are excluding any 30K Forge World models.

Chaos Terminator Basics

Chaos Terminators are grizzled veterans who fight wearing Tactical Dreadnought Armour of the Chaos Space Marines

The weapons combinations available to Chaos Terminators combined with their fearsome armor make them terrifying opponents to fight against. While not the swiftest of troops, they can use a Land Raider to travel across the battlefield to positions in which their weaponry will make the best impact. Otherwise, they can teleport through the use of arcane technology or sorcerous powers. Often they appear ready to strike, giving their foes little chance to react.

Chaos Terminators stand in high respect to the Chaos gods. Many of them are Aspiring Champions although often the only way to acquire terminator armor is to kill the previous owner. They usually form the bodyguard of the highest ranking leaders or Champions and are often seen enforcing the will of their patron. Often they abuse their position, intimidating other members of the warband, while many simply see them as a vision to strive towards, one day assuming the mantle of Terminator themselves.

The Current 4th Generation  (2019)

The latest 2019 versions are sporting tabards, and are really filling out those big bases.


You get a large number of weapon options in these and they are following the new 2019 CSM aesthetic. Lots of cloth, furs, and horns are all about. They have more active poses that fill the space of their bases, and in general, look to be a little taller and more massive in volume.


Cult Terminators (2016-2017)

Technically Chaos Terminators, but a little outside our purview are the Legion-specific suits. But we are all about completeness.  We have several to go over from latest and working backwards:

Mortarion’s elite personal bodyguard are said to never be more than 49 steps from their master. The Deathshroud are a cadre of sole survivors who will do anything to protect their Primarch. There are few in the galaxy who can step past the Death Guard’s finest.  They arrived on the scene in 2017,


Deathguard Blightlord Terminators showed up with the new codex at the start of 8th Edition in 2017 . They blew everyone away with their Nurgly grossness, from the unexpected tentacles, to bloated and bent plating, to that bizarre stiff insetoid hairy patches.  Ewww – we love them!

The Thousand Sons Scarab Occult showed up with Wrath of Magnus in the tail end of 7t edition in 2016. They are beauties! These masters of Tzeentchian sorcery are rocking robes and kopeshes.  Looking fine gentlemen!


The 3rd Generation (2008)

Turning back the clock to 2008 takes us to the previous iteration of CSM Termys.  They had a very different vibe than the minis that came before. These were the first plastic models and GW really laid on the detail. These guys have a lot of weapon options and were just covered in spikes and horns all about, compared to the much smaller metal models. This kit lasted 11 years!


The 2nd Generation (1996)

Welcome to the 90s!  We’re headed back to 2nd Edition, and 1996.  These metal minis are the second incarnation of everyone’s favorite CSM elite!

These were smallish but had the initial appearance of the tusks and top-spikes with grisly trophies. These weren’t the most posable models, but still added a lot of character and detail from the original Rogue Trader era ones. This was also the set of models that the metal Abaddon came alongside, and they matched up very closely with him.

See the family resemblance?

The Original Evil Terminators (1989)

Welcome to the 80s! Here we see the original metal minis that stomped their way into both Rogue Trader and Space Hulk 1st edition. These came in two waves in 1989, and 1991.


The original 1989 pair was very close in appearance to standard Imperial Terminators, with some extra surface detail. Look at those cute little nubby spikes up top. They would grow in time. These were the smallest of all the CSM Termy models. You oldhammer fans will remember those blisterpack cardbacks on the right.

In 1991 the range was expanded to include a Captain, and heavy weapons. This allowed for the full matching counterpart squads and officers to the Imperial Terminators. This not only made them useable in the 40K side of things, but as dangerous foes in Space Hulk. Note that funky Traitor Storm Bolter 1 with the over-under clips. NICE!


Here is one of my favorite pieces of art from the early 90s. A Mark Gibbons classic. This guy means business!  I call his hair-do “the Khorne-cut.”

CSM Terminator Characters

We also have a few Chaos Characters in their Terminator Armor.


Abaddon’s new plastic mini showed up in 2019, alongside the most recent plastic CSM Termies.  His previous metal mini (seen above, is ancient from the late 1990s and 2nd Edition.

Typhus’s all new plastic mini (right) arrived in 2017 with the Death Guard at the kickoff of 8th Edition.  His previous metal (left) one dates back to 2002 in 3rd Edition.

~Which ones are your favorite models and who is still rocking some of these on the tabletop?

Author: Larry Vela
  • Warhammer 40K: Codex Orks: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly