Friday, August 3, 2012

Vintage Codex Art Part 1 - Chaos Marines

With the new Chaos Codex on the horizon, let's step back and take a look at thier humble beginnings from a design POV.

A long time ago I stumbled upon a collection of scanned Old School Codex artwork. In this first installment let's examine some classic Chaos artwork.

Image 1- Mark Gibbons
The Khorne Bezerker to define all Bezerkers. Classic styling and probably one of the first representations of Khorne armour by Mark Gibbons. This image obviously set the standard for Khorne to come.

Image 2 - Dave Gallagher
This is quintessential Abbaddon. I believe this was the painting that solidified the iconic armor he's been wearing for 16+ years now. Man where has the time gone?

Image 3 - Mark Gibbons
A classic Khornanite terminator. I mean just look at the detail in this painting. The shading is incredible, the detail on the chainfist is awesome. Just so cool.

Image 4 - John Blanche
This looks like a classic John Blanche. You can spot his art from a mile away. Obviously this is some kind of Demon world. I really don't want to know what's in those waterfalls.

Image 5 - John Blanche
This is obviously another John Blanche. Honestly I'm not the biggest fan of Blanche's Artwork. It's cool, but somehow "childish" looking to me. Never the less, this is a cool piece of classic Bezerkers. 

The various helmet styles would serve well for troop conversion inspiration for the an asipiring Khorne cultist. 

Image 6 - Artist Unknown (if you know it, tell me)
Here we've got a rather stocky looking vintage iron Warrior. I don't see an example of the now standard caution stripe motif, but I do see a ton of old school styled chaos skulls. Where have these skulls gone in modern 40k art? 

You would think the spent bolter casings would be flying away from his face instead of in front of them? Regardless the Gothic ornate detailing on the backpack and odd almost Orkish animal jaw bone on the helmet add a nice touch of detail to this piece.

Image 7- Mark Gibbons
Ah yes, Fabius Bile what a dapper gentleman with is goth skull cane. A classic villian and he still looks pretty much the same these days with the exception of the skull and crossbones on the Xyclos Needle Gun and the Slaanesh symbol on the shoulder pad. 

I like the minion sucking fluid out of the severed marine head in the background :D

Image 8 - Wayne England
Not only is this a classic of codex covers but it is an amazing example of 90's style airbrushed art. In the early 90's airbrush paintings were everywhere, on everything. I used to even work at a shop on the boardwalk in Wildwood, NJ that specialized in airbrush t-shirts and lisence plates.

In this example you can clearly see where the artist used masking film and stencils to generate the main shaped of the painting, especially around the mouth and chaos lettering. Very cool stuff.

Image 9 - Artist Unknown (if you know it, tell me)
What we're looking at here is some classic Alpha Legion. What I find so awesome about this image is aside from the really ornate scrollwork in the bolters; is the 3 serpent headed marines. A very cool mutation and visually representative of the 3 headed hydra icon of the Alpha Legion.

Until next time :)


  1. Heh, I thought all the pieces, except Blanche's, not only not looked vintage but looked *new*. Guess that's my age showing :D

  2. The Iron Warrior is firing his bolter left handed, so if the breach isn't interchangeable and it's cobnstructed right hand standard then there's no way to stop the shells passing in front of his face - unless he switches hands of course....

  3. hehehe, I was just going to say what Partridge King already mentioned.

    As far as Blanche's work goes, he has always been one of my favorites, I think his "off" style is part of the charm of his work, I love looking at all the little details he puts into his stuff.

    You used to work in Wildwood NJ? I live in Cape May, if you are ever in the area we should definitely get a game or 3...

  4. Thanks for sharing. I hadn't seen a lot of these.

  5. If it Helps, the 6th image is by Wayne Reynolds. These are (mostly) all scans from the 2e Chaos codex that was fronted by the Abbadon pic you have up there. Though images no.3 and no.1 are originally from the Black codex included in the 2e box set, the chaos airbrush image is from the cover of the 3e Chaos codex.
    I may have been playing this game for far too long...

  6. I think image 6 is actually Wayne England. I've always thought it was just a generic chaos marine too, and not specifically an Iron Warrior. The image comes from a time before the Traitor legions (at least the non-big 4) were so clearly defined. What looks like the Iron Warrior symbol on the shoulder pad is I think is actually just a skull on a chaos icon - pretty standard chaos marine styling for the time. Perhaps it is supposed to be an Iron Warrior though, and they were just so rare at the time that I didn't recognise it...

  7. Image 6 is Wayne England, without a doubt.