Thursday, September 15, 2022

Rogue Trader Adventurers from 1988


The RT601 range of Rogue Trader adventurers came out in the Spring of 1988, just months after the 1st edition of Warhammer 40,000 hit the shelves. In my eyes, the range was a crowing achievement: 32 miniatures showing the wild diversity and imagination of Games Workshop's new sci-fi universe. Each figure pops with character and story-telling potential.

From White Dwarf #99
Originally, Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader was a hybrid between a roleplaying game and skirmish wargame. For instance, it required a Game Master to guide the players through scenarios and campaigns. The rulebook is crowded with charts that randomize the equipment carried by soldiers and heroes, a feature that only makes sense in a roleplaying game (like the random encounter charts in AD&D). And finally, there was the justly famous "Plot Generator" at the back of the rulebook, which threw players into contact with new worlds, alien civilizations, planetary governors, imperial assassins, and dastardly pirates.

But to run these scenarios, you need miniatures to play the dramatis personae: the politicians, rebels, engineers, navigators and rogue psykers. And that's where the RT601 range of adventurers came in! 

And yet for all the splendor of this range, it was an evolutionary dead end. As we all know, WH40K grew into a tournament games of army lists, not a plot-driven adventure game. And so the RT601 range was the first and last great spurt of character-miniatures.

I'm pleased to report that I finished collecting and painting all 32 miniatures in the RT601 range. Let's take a look at the first six miniatures!

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First is the RT601 "Eldar Trader". In Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader (1987), Rick Priestly writes that the Eldar are "clever traders" who eschew conventional space travel. Rather, they use small warp-gate networks centered in their craftworlds to move their goods between planets. The haughty expression of this model is priceless. I can almost hear him saying, "You don't want carpet. You want area rug!"

Eldar Trader RT601 Adventurers Citadel Rogue Trader 40K


Let's continue looking at some of the non-humans. Second comes the RT601 "Squat Miner". Once again, we are treated to a great facial expression and an insouciant pose. How sweet it is to get some Warhammer miniatures who are not sporting weapons! All this fellow has is a drill, bad teeth, and a cheap cigar. For you collectors out there, this seems to be one of the rarer sculpts in the range.

Squat Miner RT601 Adventurers Citadel Rogue Trader 40K


Third is the RT601 "Squat Engineer". There are lovely details on his hazard suit. I'm particularly fond of his eager expression. He looks like "stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes, he something something something upon a peak at Darien."

Squat Engineer RT601 Adventurers Citadel Rogue Trader 40K


Next is the RT601 "Halfling Cook". In Rogue Trader, Priestly gives a description of Halflings that would make Tolkien moan in his grave: "They are idle, hedonistic, gregarious, over-friendly, and sexually promiscuous... Their lives are spent eating until sick, drinking copious amounts of intoxicating liquid, and procreating uncontrollably. These small, loud, hungry and lecherous creatures call themselves Halflings, but other humans know them as Runtlings, Stunties and Ratlings... They have earned themselves a role amongst the stars working as cabin crew and runarounds...".

I tried my best to make this fellow look loud, hungry and lecherous.

Halfling Cook RT601 Adventurers Citadel Rogue Trader 40K


Fifth we have the RT601 "Navigator". Navigators aren't quite aliens: they are mutants with a tendency to be "tall and spindly, and their flesh may have a peculiar transparent quality... Hands and feet can be ridiculously large and are frequently webbed." This is indeed a tall, gangly miniature with over-sized appendages. I went the extra step and gave my Navigator a third eye.

Navigator RT601 Adventurers Citadel Rogue Trader 40K


Last we have the RT601 "Ventolin Pirate". Ventolin, of course, is an asthma medication administered through an inhaler. I like Curis' suggestion at Ninja Bread that the Ventolin Pirate is a conhead alien who requires Ventolin gas to survive. In any case, he's a great miniature, with fine details and a striking design.

Ventolin Pirate RT601 Adventurers Citadel Rogue Trader 40K


Thanks for coming by! And remember: stay loud, hungry and lecherous!

Halfling Cook RT601 Adventurers Citadel Warhammer 40K


21 comments:

  1. Great work on all Matthew, they certainly are a characterful bunch, and like your colour choices for each. Rogue Trader was a very characterful system, with strange creatures and dangerous plants and worlds, a lot of that was lost in later editions.

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    1. I completely agree about the splendor of Rogue Trader. There's no way you can call these fellows "Grimdark" - it's all colour, all the time.

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  2. I absolutely adore this range and recall many nights drooling over that catalog page wish so badly that I could own them all. (I managed to collect the halfling and one of the female marines a long time ago, but have no idea what happened to them.)

    Eager to see what you've done with the other sculpts in the range. I'm especially liking the eldar's black and white stripes!

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    1. I wish I could take credit for the idea behind the stripes, but I shamelessly borrowed it from someone else's pic on CoolMiniorNot.
      In any case, I hope you are able to dig up that halfling cook - I'd love to see what you do with him, Dai.

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  3. These would all find a nice home in the new Stargrave rules, which seems to be what RT used to be.

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    1. I completely agree. In fact, my interest in Stargrave was a big part of why I started collecting these - it is the true heir of Rogue Trader. (I also have high hopes for Space Station Zero, but I just ordered it today and haven't read the rules).

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    2. I bought the Space Station Zero rules last week and just played my first game (the write-up's on my blog). It was a ton of fun!

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    3. Matt, your battle report was GREAT. Seems like a real nail-biter - exactly what you want from a game (especially a solo one). For those who might be interested, Matt's report is here:
      https://pmpainting.blogspot.com/2022/09/space-station-zero-first-game.html

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    4. Thanks for the shout-out, I really appreciate it!

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  4. Yes, absolutely lovely classic minis!
    They have a soul!

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    1. I'm glad you like the write-up! More to come - including a guest post by my least favourite person, Geriatricus Maximus.

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  6. Wonderful painting on a bunch of classic sculpts! These early RT models really are outstandingly good, each one has a ton of character and the way you've painted them brings that out in droves. Nice!

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    1. Thanks Matt - I thoroughly enjoyed your latest battle report - and just posted a link to it in the comment above. Keep 'em coming!

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  7. Very excited to see you work your way through this line. Some very cool stuff in this mix! Great color choices too!

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    1. Thanks Hobbs! These guys are certainly less "grimdark" and more "Rainbow Brite"

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  8. Hmm, they all look lecherous in their own way! What a lovely job on all of them, they have their own charm, they look individual, unique, and that's what RT was all about. I think you really captured the essence and gave each one the looking they were needing

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    1. I often think of you and your work when I'm working on these sorts of minis, Suber.

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