Well then, Warhammer 40,000 is 25 years old. Today is its official birthday. A very happy birthday 40k, you changed most of our lives forever. I thought that this would be a good opportunity to talk about the birth of my own wargaming hobby as it is almost as old!
22 Years ago I was a tiny wee 10 year old Jeff living in a market town called Wisbech in Cambridgeshire in the UK. I had always liked putting models together - a Lego fanatic - and had played about with Airfix stuff. I had heard some of the older kids in the playground talking about this game with Chaos and Orcs and dragons. Then a guy called Daniel Norman gave me this:
White Dwarf 139 has a special place in my heart. I must have read it thousands of times over the years. It had the background for the ancestor of Battlefleet Gothic - Space Fleet - in it, suddenly there was this world of kilometers long starships and space travel in a hell dimension all illustrated with twisted gothic artwork. It contained within it a complete step by step guide to how Mike McVey chose, created and painted the studio's brand new Blood Angels army. This was where they decided that devastators would have blue helmets, that sergeants would have reversed shoulder pads, everything. It was also where a generic blood angels captain got his name. Tycho. 21 Years later I would finally realise the dream I had then of owning that 3rd company army. The nostalgia almost puts a lump in my throat.
We didn't have a proper Games Workshop in Wisbech (still don't) but there was a shop called Prams and Toys that stocked various bits and bobs. Amongst them was this game. Heroquest. This was the first miniatures that I ever legitimately owned. My others had been scrounged from friends. Oddly enough Wisbech was the site of the old Games Workshop plastic manufacturing plant down Weasenham Lane - now Renedra plastics. There was a sort of tradition of "Urban Scrumping" of miscast sprues out of the bins of this place and most hobbyist kids in Wisbech had a few "hot" RTB01 marines in their collections! Heroquest was an odd game, slightly larger in scale miniatures than 28mm and designed by MB and GW together. I enjoyed it but sensed that there was more out there. Then came the day when we were going to London and we would be in Oxford Street. I harrassed my parents until they agreed to find the Plaza store and I saw my first GW. This place was an Aladdins Cave to an 11 year old Jeff. Wonderful. As luck would have it they were having a shop soiled sale and I picked up a copy of Waargh the Orks! cheap and this: