Two figures with a common origin but different destinies here today. The first is the Nurgle Champion of Chaos with Halberd, a 1990 The Lost and the Damned release of one of Jes Goodwin’s, who shares a base sculpt with “Mace” and “Sword 3”. Back then, many of the artists and sculptors in Workshop were still that little bit subversive, and liked to sneak in little “inappropriate” things into their artwork. Some were quite subtle, and others much less so. The original runes of the chaos gods had a few variations to them. While many have remained over the decades, some were quietly taken out back and shot. The most obvious one that’s been excised being the version of Nurgle’s rune/icon that this chap sports on both his breastplate and also atop his head, which featured on quite a few models of the time, as well as internal artwork. I never viewed that one as particularly subtle, but others to this day still somehow deny what their eyes see.
The second model in this update is harder to place with accuracy. The earliest I can find him in the old catalogues is in the 1988 Catalogue, which was the first time that Citadel/GW had really started to properly document and …catalogue their figures. I suspect that the sculpt was released around 1985, as the model is featured in the ’88 catalogue alongside many of the C35 models that were also in the Third Citadel Compendium (1985). I suspect he’s from late-’85 to perhaps 86. Probably pre-’87 as the Chaos Warriors featured in those catalogues take another distinct design turn (Slambo and his ilk) before they changed yet again with the release of Realm of Chaos. The C35 era-Chaos Warriors would probably have been called Champions if such things existed in the same distinct way at the time.
Update info from Somet: The undead champion is an older sculpt than 1988 as you suspect. He was a preslotta model recast as a slotta base when GW converted some of their older models over in 1985. From the back his armour looks like he was sculpted by the Perry Twins and shows similarities to the armour on other early C35 Chaos Warriors (the ‘Elric’ model I blogged about for example) and the Men at Arms range circa 1983. If you look at the Spring 85 Citadel Journal on SoL I think you can see a poorly illustrated side view version of him in the C35 range.
As for the painting on these two – The Nurgle Champion always had a slightly ropey paintjob, which I cleaned up while keeping as much of the original paint and feel as possible. His armour had some significant tide marks from early washes which I cleaned up. I also had a play with Ryza Rust and Typhus Corrosion on his armour and toned down his overly-garish pouches.
The Undead Warrior was originally painted a horrid bright red (Khorne, right?) and then never finished, and then stripped a few years ago. I had gotten as far as re-priming him black, and then having him sit annoyingly on my desk for another couple of years. The only way to finally end that annoyingness was to paint and finish him. I decided that I’ve got plenty enough Chaos Warriors and Champions in my collection and mentally reassigned him to Marouda’s Undead Army. I figure he can lead the small and slowly-growing “Oldhammer Skeleton” regiment. As part of the undead army, I had a palette worked out for him quite easily. I went for an aged-bronze look on his armour (ith a tiny bit of turquoise for the glow of the eyes on his helmet, red spot colour for his bright plume, and red-brown for his gloves. Bone was obviously the prefect fit for his shield, to which I added ruby-red for the eyes.
I find it amusing when “Oldhammer purists” wax poetic about the simple beauty plain flat shields and arcane armorials while bemoaning and decrying the more modern tendency towards shields (and models!) with fully sculpted details. How conveniently they forget the Marauder Miniatures sculpted shields, those of the Warhammer Fantasy Regiments and indeed, models like this guy and his peers. Me? I like both. Being able to like both is a thing. I love an excuse for a spot of cool freehand, but also enjoy working on a lovely pre-sculpted and detailed shield, like this one.