Sunday, 16 February 2014

40K Nostalgia - a look back at releases over the past 5 years.

Following on from my post about the present and future, I thought it would be nice to take a look back over the past 5 years of 40k. This is roughly synonymous with when I started to get back into 40K and so even more appropriate in that it gives me a chance to see what has changed in that time.  Please note, the compilation timeline at Warseer found HERE and kept up to date by Tymell makes this a lot easier. Cheers.


So, casting my mind back a bit further than 5 years initially. 5th edition had just been released shortly followed by Games day and the Space Marine Codex. I was having to effectively relearn 40k at this point and what had changed in my 10 year absence from the game (who the hell are Tau and Necrons!?). And of course, there was Apocalypse to learn about too.


Now we're almost exactly 5 years in the past, with Orks getting a few releases to complement the Black Reach release and add in missing units from the Codex. Coming up to Easter, both the Orks and Imperial Guard gain a super heavy in the form of the Shadowsword and Stompa, with an Imperial Guard release the month after giving us new command squads and our first proto-flyer: the Valkyrie. The Summer bought more IG love in the form of new tanks (hellhound, demolisher) but not before Planetstrike landed bringing with it a model for both the land speeder storm and the Ironclad dreadnought. The final quarter of 2009 saw both Space Hulk and the awesome minis contained therein and the Space Wolf codex release alongside a new space wolf pack and terminators.


The first quarter of 2010 was dominated by Tyranids, with a new codex, new metal units and a plastic Trygon, ravenors and gargoyles. Hot on their heels were more Ork and Space Marine reinforcements, yielding Legion of the Damned, Venerable dreadnoughts, Killa Kans and Deff dreads. As if that wasn't enough Space Marine love, Blood Angels were released over Easter, with a new codex, characters and plastics, including death company, sanguinary guard and the Baal predator. The Summer was relatively quiet, covering the short-lived Spearhead expansion and various model releases, namely the IG Manticore and Leman Russ, Eldar Fire Prism and Support weapons, Daemon horrors, seekers, bloodcrushers, a plastic Daemon Prince and some characters. Then the end of year brought a great surprise in the form of a completely reimagined Dark Eldar army and Codex, seeing a huge amount of models released over the month.


2011 kicked off with a few Blood Angel gaps being filled with the Furioso dreadnought and Stormraven kits (we finally got to see what it looked like). Dark Eldar got a token few beasties, but it wasn't til April that we were blessed with yet another reimagined codex and army; Grey Knights. As well as being the only other army (at the time) to utilise the Stormraven, the Grey knights got two kits that built basically every unit in their army (terminators and power armour) as well as the Imperiums first monstrous creature, the Dreadknight. Come June, Dark Eldar got almost the rest of their units with the Haemunculi coven units being released along with another airborne unit (razorwing) and the other major missing entries. (Talos, scourges, venom) The archons court was released in the months that followed, but it wasn't until November that we were treated with an update for the final outstanding out of date army; the Necrons. Again reimagined, they were treated to a relatively small model release along with a new codex, bringing 2011 to a close.


The first half of 2012 saw no codex releases (with good reason) but rather saw several of the more recent codexes have any outstanding units get models as well as a 25th anniversary (beautiful) Crimson Fists captain. Space Wolves got several, er, Wolves, while Tyranids got a few of their missing big bugs in the form of the Tyrannofex/tervigon and the Tyrant/Swarmlord. It's worth noting here that we also got an entirely new range of paints for our minis. The necrons got lots in the form of most of their missing special characters, triarch stalker, wraiths and spyders and tomb blades. Then both Necrons, Orks and SPace Marines got air support, foreshadowing the changes to come.  6th edition landed with the new rulebook and the last two necron special characters. The time between rulebook and starter set saw chaos daemons get several units ported into plastic as well as an entirely new unit (slaanesh chariot) which got rules in White Dawrf - unheard of for some time at that point. September brought the Dark Vengeance starter box with all its splendid models and Games Day gave us the Blood Angel Captain. Last to come in 2012 was the Chaos Space Marine codex, the first of the new generation books, with a few new models alongside it (dinobots, raptors). In addition, White Dwarf (for better or worse) went upmarket and glossy.


As could be expected, Dark Angels were to be next and the book and new models allowed players to field either a mixed or monowing army like never before, thanks to new flyers, land speeders, black knights and deathwing knights. The codexes were coming in thick and fast with 3 more in the first half of the year. First came Chaos Daemons in a dual release with Fantasy, giving us new chariot and herald models as well as giant flies. Tau next, with plastic pathfinders, bigger broadsides and the one of the largest standard codex models to date: the riptide. Never to be outdone, the Eldar were hot on the heels of the Tau and brought with the the Wraithknight; a huge kit that towers over the standard units in any codex (it even look down on flyers), as well as a new pair of flyers and plastic Wraithguard. We also got a treat in the form of the first codex supplement: Iyanden. Apocalypse was redone the next month alongside some suitably large (and pricey) kits for both chaos (Lord of Skulls) and Necrons (tesseract ark). Space Marines got some (more) Captains and both Tau and Chaos got supplements in the form of Farsight enclaves and Black legion. September saw Codex Marines get a massive revamp, with some new AA tanks, centurion battlesuits, plastic characters and plastic updates to both Vanguard, Sternguard and the ever reliable Tactical squad. The end of the year saw mostly book releases, with Adepta Sororitasand Inquisition getting a digi-release, Clan Raukaan and Sentinels of Terra supplements for Space Marines and (the controversial) Escalation and stronghold assault being released to supplement the 40k rules. Christmas also gave us boxes such as the Stormwing which were not only great value but also gave us formation rules to add in to regular games. (let's not forget Cypher on Christmas day either)


We kicked off with Tyranids getting an update a mere 4 years after the last one and also getting some new units (and losing some in the bargain) in the form of the Harpy/Crone and the blasts from the past Exocrine and Haruspex. Speaking of which, right around the corner is the Imperial Knight, which brings us up to date. Also, white Dwarf has gone weekly and Warhammer Visions is the new monthly mag. Who knows what the future holds now that WD rules and dataslates / formations are here. There is much talk of Imperial guard and Orks as well as a Space MArine chapter getting updates this year. Is the Militarium Astra a new name for the Imperial guard or a codex containing rules for knights and other fighting units of the Imperium. Is there a new edition of 40k just around the corner? Who knows? What's for sure is that the last five years have meant a lot for GW and that they now stand on the edge of greatness being able to produce rulesets and plastics of all sizes at such a rate. Truly a great time to be a hobbyist. Cheers. 


  1. Wow! All that in 5 years? Lots of models to tempt us, but I wonder lately how much playtesting is going on.
    Also, you haven't mentioned Finecast...

  2. oops, finecast slipped through the net. if memory serves I think the first models were the dark eldar haemunculi covens, which would put it in mid 2011. correct me if I'm wrong though.

  3. I seem to recall some of the DE models had a short metal release just before Finecast arrived, but not my army so I can't remember exactly which ones.

    1. They did, I bought metal incubi right before they were released in finecast