Saturday, 9 August 2014

Waiting for Ragnarök - Oldhammer to win by default?

It's true. There's a new Space Wolf codex out for 40K, the fourth since the codex cycling began, and all three original characters - Ragnar, Ulrik and power armoured Njal - are still available, over 21 years after they first appeared in White Dwarf.

Off the top of my head they're not just the oldest official representatives of the named character models - with the original Ghazghkull and Yarrick long gone - but the oldest of everything usually thought of as old: the full sisters of battle range, the various metal guard regiments, and the 28mm leman russ and chimera, the DA and BA characters from Angels of Death, the infamous Ork warbuggy kit, the wartrakk, even the Eldar phoenix lords and jetbike, and presumably all of the warlocks currently available. Is there anything older still getting pride of place? Ulrik's on the first page of the webstore today.

After the discussion last week it may seem looking closely little has changed in all this time, but the change can be seen more clearly in the case of Ragnar in this conversion.

In the age of Oldhammer elevating forgotten, abandoned and superseded classics, and with the release schedule for 40K more packed than for decades, if not ever, and maybe a certain level of mainstream snobbery towards older sculpts, isn't this a little unusual?

What's protecting them? Is it GW at such a delicate point in its history that it prefers to focus on releasing new products - elaborating and recodifying - rather than going back and spending time on updating the old? Or is there something less obvious going on..?

While it may be too late for 'old' Oldhammer to benefit, with so much now so long out of production, it does suggest players who are fond of the intermediate and later years may have an easier time with a 'new' Oldhammer, which could then be labelled 'Midhammer'.


Kelvin Green said...

If those are the exact same moulds that were introduced at the end of the Rogue Trader era, doesn't that mean that Njal and chums are out of scale with the current Space Marine range?

Porky said...

I'd say so, and it's posture and general posing too. I'm a fan of Njal's expressive simplicity, and maybe that has carried the sculpt through relatively well, but spatial depth seems to have been one of the key variables for the change over the years, meaning it may be Ulrik that's aged best, as the least apparently flat.

smiler said...

Kelvin - I've got some of the old metals marines from the early 90s (though not the space wolf characters) and they are noticeably smaller than the modern multi pose plastics though they still scale well enough. The more modern hero models I've seen are much bigger, I'd expect resculpts (if they happen) to be easily twice the size of the current ones.

Of course with the scale creep of everything else 40k the marines have to grow otherwise they'd be dwarfed by the plastic cadians!

As for flat poses they're pretty much the norm on early sculpts, the charm makes up for it as far as I'm concerned.

Andy Hoare said...

Simple really, Jes Goodwin's sculpts have always aged well so there's rarely any need to update them.

Porky said...

That greater degree of timelessness is an idea that seems to ring true, but the natural question then is: what is it that makes them age so well?