Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Codex Nostalgis


I received something quite special in the mail today - a very well kept copy of the Codex Imperialis from the Warhammer 40.000 2nd edition box. 

This was my introduction to the larger 40k universe back in the early 90's. Before that I had mostly read about my darlings the orks and glimpsed snippets of the rest of the world in scattered White Dwarf articles, so this was the first time I really got a feel for whole story. I remember how reading about the Emperor, the Golden Throne, inquisitors and the the workings of the Astronomican completely blew my fifteen year old mind. Reading it again for the first time in 20 years really brought all that back and reaffirmed my conviction that this really is the ultimate introduction to the 40k universe. It´s all there - at least as far as the imperium is concerned. 

The writing by Rick Priestly and Andy Chambers outshines most recent publications. In effective, matter of fact text they present the horror of the 41st millenium in a way that is both imaginative and inspiring without ever being ponderous. It´s also laced with that dry wit that marked out the GW sourcebooks of old. 


Personally I´m very fond of the black and white illustrations mainly by Blanche and Mark Gibbons (plus some gems by Jes Goodwin and Adrian Smith). These two were the main illustrators in most GW publications during this period and I´ve always felt they complimented each other rather well. John sketching the gothic world in ink spattered grimdark and Mark nailing the characters with his more cleanly rendered slightly cartoony style. This is very much a mater of personal taste though. Also the layout and quality of the printing is admittedly rather basic by todays standards - the most recent 40.000 backgrond book is vastly superior in this respect. But still, it gets the job done.  

Really happpy to have this treasure in my bookshelf yet again. Now I´m going to try to get my hands on a copy of Rogue Trader and the Realm of Chaos books... That´ll probably prove to be a lot more difficult and a hell of a lot more expensive...

=I=

30 comments:

  1. What a coincidence! I actually just picked up the books from the 2nd edition boxset this week. I started with 3rd edition so it was wonderful to flip through all the goodies I had never seen before. Theres quite a few copies of Rogue trader on ebay now but the realms of chaos are quite a rare find

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    1. The third edition tried to be so annoyingly mysterious all the time. I kinda prefer the 2nd ed - where the world is presented much more matter of factly.

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  2. Have very warm memories of this book and of the last glimpses of Squats that it allowed 40K.

    Hated the miniatures from the box though, even back then. Just made my poor young teenage mind scream "Chess-pieces!".

    Congrats.

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    1. Yeah it was nice reading about the stunties again. That said I can sort of understand why they got axed - their background feels very derivative and isn't very inspired. The eldar and orks are quite different from their fantasy counterparts, but the squats remain dwarfs in space. If they ever get redone the beards gotta go...

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  3. Codex Imperialis is perhaps the best book ever made by Games Workshop. It's accesible, dark, funny and evocative. That it is filled with great art just makes it better.

    It was my first contact with warhammer and miniature gaming so it has a special place in my heart.

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  4. I love this book. It's good to read it alongside the corresponding wargear book, too, which I feel does something very similar but on a micro level.

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    1. I sadly didn't get that one... Is that where the army lists are?

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    2. What tim said ;-) - the wargear book doesn't have army lists just weapon description , stats and some interesting stories and cool artwork..

      I dont have the codex imperials though , thanks for the heads up ..i will track it down at some point..

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    3. The army lists were in Codex Army Lists which was a place holder until each army got a codex. Not the most creative name by any means

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    4. Golly. So how many books were the in the box? Four?
      Rulebook, codex imperialis, armoury and codex army lists? Anything else?

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    5. Jeff - something else: Dark Millennium, the 2nd ed expansion concerning Psykers ;-)

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  5. 100% with you there -- I bought a copy from ebay a couple of years ago in order to have this back in my collection. I'll never forget the Saturday morning I spent in bed burning through this book as a lad -- it simply blew my mind (so much so, in fact, that I felt compelled to write a gushing review of it some twenty years later). The JB artwork of the Imperial throne room is one of my favourite pieces of 40k artwork (and forms an excellent triptych together with the illustration of the outer throne room that precedes it and the picture from the Emperor himself that appears in the 3rd edition BRB.

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    1. Yeah those three drawings are some of the most, if not THE most, iconic to ever come out of Johns pencil. I remember being completely mesmerised by the golden throne illustration.

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  6. Brings back memories - wistfully reading and rereading and dreaming of armies I couldn't possibly afford!

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    1. Creating armoes in your head was always more fun than actually building them...

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  7. Haven't read it but the drawings I've seen and those are amazing. Funny, just bought The Lost and the Damned on EBay. 82 pund + shipping (don't tell the wife) ;)

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    1. Thats not too bad - most copies of LatD I've seen are north of 150£...

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  8. I still have mine, and all the 2nd ed. codices too. Amazing how brightly coloured all the covers are, the 41st millennium looks like a pretty fun place.

    I always loved Mark Gibbons, his style went well with my Marvel Comic favourites, Joe Mad et al. I don't think I really appreciated John's artwork at the time, but Mark's stuff - like that Avatar - I could really get into: it made me want to glue more and more chainsaws and powerfists onto things (something I've never really gotten over).

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    1. Yeah, but a lot of them are stunners. I love Geoff Taylors covers on the old codices - there was just so much going on and they had an incredible sense of scale.

      MG was easier to appreciate at the time than John, that's for sure. But I actually think it was codex Imperialis and his drawings of the throne room that won me over...

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    2. Agreed, I like the Eldar cover in particular. All that techno stuff in the background is really distinctive, a real sense of scale as you say

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  9. Jeff, I've just picked up a copy up for £9 - do you want it?

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  10. Sorry - forgot to say, it's a used RT. Well loved, but all there!

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    1. Wow! I'd love it! What you want for it?

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    2. jeff - would it be easier if I gave another way of contacting me?

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  11. £9 plus p&p sound ok? PM me on bolter and chainsword (I'm Alfred _ the _ great all as one phrase) and we can discuss addresses and stuff.

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  12. I still remember leafing through my copy of the 3rd edition rule book (I'm young) soaking in all the great art work as I was too little to actually care about the rules and seeing that image of the Custodes made me stop in my tracks. There are so many details in that picture I easily spent hours studying it.

    10/10 my favorite piece of 40K art.

    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Ooops!
      Sorry mate - I'm crap at going back to old threads...

      A friend actually gave a copy of RT after this post so I'm good. Sorry for not coming back to you.

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