Ruminations From the Vault

The Charm of Oldhammer: The Empire

Oldhammer? Sounds stuffy and boring! “How could something called ‘Oldhammer’ be of any interest to me, I’m young, hip, and self important,” you are probably thinking to yourself. Well let me take you on a trip all the way back to the best decade of all human existence, the 1980s.

The current edition of Warhammer is the new Warhammer Age of Sigmar, which is a fun romp in the manner of a modern Masters of the Universe, but with expensive plastic toys instead of cheap plastic toys. But back before Age of Sigmar, there existed Warhammer Fantasy Battles. And the first three (or four) editions of this game had one foot planted in the 1980s (and a smidgen of the 90s) and the other foot firmly planted in the dark and gritty 15th-16th Centuries of good old Earth.

In this series of blogs I’ll be guiding you, dear reader, on a journey to a time when Warhammer models were hand-forged in glorious lead, and the design aesthetic was quaint and characterful. We’ll explore the classic miniatures range of each faction and highlight some of the more interesting figures. Prepare to enter the world of Oldhammer!

Sigmar’s Empire

 Each of the smaller nations that makes up The Empire maintains it’s own uniform colors and heraldry, which makes for an abundance of modeling and painting opportunities for the discerning hobbyist! This was a time before Games Workshop began to sculpt their miniatures in a way that veered away from the original real world historical roots. You can really feel the gritty 16th Century ambiance oozing from the Oldhammer Empire figures. With just a dash of the fantastic of course!

The cavalry feature some design elements more from the Teutonic Order in the 15th Century, as you can see below. We can also discern details swiped from Polish Winged Hussars and other late Renaissance armies.

The infantry were sculpted with a myriad of poses and equipment, including some with modular weapons! Interestingly enough, a version of these “plug-and-play” infantry were produced in plastic for inclusion in a very rare variant box of the Milton Bradley/Games Workshop HeroQuest board game. Many of the units would not appear in later version of Warhammer, such as the Reiksguard Foot Knights.

Oldhammer Empire miniatures are ideal for creating your own old-school rank-and-file armies for Warhammer Fantasy Battles or Kings of War. But their utility does not end there. Because of their characterful poses and interesting details, they could be used in all sorts of miniatures projects:

  • Path to Glory warband
  • Warhammer Skirmish warband
  • Frostgrave warband
  • Mordheim warband
  • Warhammer Quest hirelings or heroes
  • Any other fantasy skirmish game!

Next Time…

We’ll dip our toe into the Realm of Chaos with Oldhammer Chaos Warbands! Find out what mutant horrors infest the dark forests of The Old World and the northern realms of Norsca and the Chaos Wastes!