Warhammer Art That Inspired Me! What Art Inspired You?

August 16, 2019 by brennon

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Following on from last weekend's 40K Hobby Weekend I had a hankering to go back in time and look at the art from Games Workshop's Warhammer worlds, both 40,000 and Fantasy Battles, that inspired me to either start the armies I did or informed the kind of books I read from Black Library.


The first piece is possibly the one which properly got me excited about Warhammer in the Old World.

Chaos Warrior By Adrian Smith

Chaos Lord Engra Deathsword came as a poster in one of the old copies of White Dwarf I used to collect. At this point, I'd not really built much of an army for either the grim darkness of the far future or the Old World but this piece by Adrian Smith really hit home with me. I love the portrayal of the Chaos Warriors, these fighters clad in armour that was almost fused to their bodies.

The intense colours in the piece with the fire of a burning city behind him against the black armour was stunning and I always felt myself looking for all sorts of other details in the artwork. The dying Empire soldiers and the Chaos warriors in the background reminded me of classic artwork of battles I'd seen in galleries but given a Fantasy flare, a window into a world which was so alien from anything I'd seen before. This one image, for me at least, basically told me everything I needed to know about the world of Warhammer.

The Last Stand

The second image by Kev Walker was one that led me towards the world of Warhammer 40,000. The Last Stand shows a proud Space Marine, blasted and battered by warfare, his fellow Battle-Brothers dying around him, defending the banner of his Chapter and fighting to the last.

Last Stand By Kev Walker

Once again, this image really brought to life everything that was brutal and awesome about the Warhammer world. Not only do you have this noble and defiant warrior, standing tall against the enemy, but also the utter devastation that happens in the battles they fought. As you look into the background you realise that the forces of Chaos have completely overtaken the forces of the Imperium and this hero will soon be just another corpse amongst the masses. It will be to no one's surprise that I started a Black Templar force pretty much right after seeing this.

A Wolf Spirit

Keeping with the grim darkness of the far future I also wanted to highlight this piece of artwork which adorned the front cover of the Space Wolf Codex back in the day. I was, and still am, a lover of history and so seeing Vikings in space was pretty much the best thing ever. Again, this image really told you everything you needed to know about the Space Wolves and how they fought.

Space Wolf Codex Art

There is plenty more story to tell here as you can see. This Space Wolf holds the bridge alone, his helmet torn from his head and the enemy close by, threatening to swarm over him. It once again spoke to the heroic nature of Warhammer 40,000 and the plucky resolve that the Imperium had when faced with an alien menace. I poured through this Codex when my friend picked it up and was utterly taken by the idea of running a Space Wolf army. Alas, I never had the funds when I was younger to start a new army so had to make do with my Black Templar force!

The Shambling Dead

Going back to Warhammer Fantasy Battles, I once spent a week of holiday down at my grandparents by the coast. Alas, because it was Britain, the weather was terrible, so I could just sit in the house and read one copy of White Dwarf over and over again. That White Dwarf had the latest set of Vampire Count releases within its pages and whilst I never had an army of the dead, I do remember being struck by this artwork.

Vampire Count Zombies

This was the cover of that particular issue of White Dwarf and I remember looking at it and wanting to take a band of zombie slayers onto the tabletop to cut down these nasty creatures. My friend at the time also had a large Vampire Count army and so we would talk about their strategies and such all the time. I always lost to his army, but this spooky artwork was forever engrained in my mind. Again, it showed off the insurmountable odds that awaited the heroes of the Warhammer world.

Sigmar's Hammer

Whilst I didn't have an undead army, I needed a force to fight against my friends shambling hordes and so I turned to The Empire. After flicking through the Army Book in my local Games Workshop I was immediately taken by this image of the surly Luthor Huss.

Luthor Huss

This grim and dour Warrior Priest, covered in gore from battle and wielding the trademark warhammer of their order was enough to draw me into this army. Soon after seeing this I went out and got the big starter set for The Empire and diligently started building my first proper Warhammer army. I don't know where it is now but it was huge, to me at least, filled with ranks of soldiers with spears and halberds, handgunners, free company and Reikland Knights. Leading the way was my Empire Captain on Hippogriff but beside him always was my miniature for Luthor Huss and his cadre of about four Warrior Priests, ready to lay down the law and keep the soldiers following Sigmar's teachings.

More from that particular book stuck with me too, especially this image of Sigmar Heldenhammer holding back Orcs at Black Fire Pass. I always wanted Games Workshop to make this miniature but they never did.

Sigmar Vs Orc Alternative Art

This obsession with Sigmar followed me for years and I always added to this force. I even made a band of Free Company and Witch Hunters for Mordheim themed around the idea of it being an extended part of my force. Nowadays I know Mordheim was set way before the 'current' events of the Old World but back then, I clearly didn't care! I even wanted to make a force for Sigmar based around the Unberogen that Sigmar fought alongside, changing their worship from Ulric to him over the years.

Sigmar Vs Orcs & Black Fire Pass

I really wanted to take a band of the old Marauders from the Chaos Warrior range and make them into Unberogen, but I never had the skill or the money. I think now I might consider revisiting this project and seeing if it's at all possible, giving the Unberogen their time in the sun once again for Age Of Sigmar.

The Dawi Folk!

Last but not least we turn to my largest Warhammer Fantasy Battles army to date. When I saw this artwork on the front of a regiment box in Games Workshop I was intrigued. When I then saw my friend's Dwarf army I was hooked.

Warhammer Dwarfs By Adrian Smith

It took me a little while to truly get into the Dwarf spirit beyond playing as a warband of them in Mordheim. I tinkered with Dark Elves and The Empire some more but after a while, I cracked out an old boxed set of these 'Santa Dwarfs' and built them into a unit. Later in into 6th, 7th and 8th Edition I started building the army up even more and turned them into a full-on near 5000 point force.

This piece of artwork, again by Adrian Smith, was enough to get me invested in an entire army. The love continues to this day and I'm fairly sure at some point in the future I'll break out that army again, start painting and finish off all of the models in the collection.

The Future

I haven't really played Warhammer or Warhammer 40,000 since the change to Age Of Sigmar but I still appreciate the art which Games Workshop uses to illustrate the game. If there was one piece that almost stirred me to start breaking out the Stormcast Eternal again it was this one.

Stormcast Eternal Art

I think the reason that this particular artwork speaks to me is that it brings back all the memories of what drew me to Warhammer in the first place. It's dark, brooding, features a sense of hopelessness and the grimdark but then contrasts this with the valiant and steadfast Stormcast Eternal, striding forth across a bloody battlefield to cleanse it of Chaos filth. It is Warhammer in so many ways and gives you so many ideas as to how you'd pursue creating your own force.

These are just some of the pieces of artwork which inspired me throughout the years when it came to Warhammer 40,000 and Warhammer Fantasy Battles. What artwork pushed you in a certain direction?

Let me know in the comments below!

"What artwork pushed you in a certain direction?"

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