A trip down memory lane … first time to Warhammer World

Easter Sunday, April 4th 1999, was the first time for me to be at Warhammer World. Visiting the museum and store at the "new" (back then it was) Games Workshop headquarter in Lenton, where they are located until today.

But how did I, a merely 15 year old lad from the west of Germany get to the British midlands? My father took us for a trip to England, doing some groundhopping in and around London, and was looking forward to pay a visit to Nottingham, a city that took to him, when he was there a few years earlier, for the UEFA quarter finals second leg with Bayern Munich against Nottingham Forest. And what a happy coincedence, that there was more to Nottingham than just football. Today it is the other way around, when I'm at Nottingham, I usually drop by the stadium City Ground and bring something back with me for him.

While cleaning up and taking stock of my collection, I stumbled upon the tickets for the museum from that day, and would like to take you with me to a trip down memory lane. There were two types of tickets, one for the gamers which cost a few pounds and the ones for the "squigherders" (that was at least the name, the tickets had at Games Days for the parental chaperon) that were free, for those who accompanied the juveniles.

Games Workshop - Warhammer World Ticket

On the ground floor, they had a shop, that covered beside the range (which was a bit different back then) a lot of merchandise and special items. I can remember that they had a stand for t-shirts in the middle, with chaos and imperial insignia on them, and you could get some "legendary miniatures". Here a dwarven company comes to my mind, I think a box of eight dwarven adventurers in a special set (the models may have been plated in some special colour / lead, but that might just be my memories messing with me). For me the most impressive part was, that they had a spin cast chamber right in the store and they would cast up miniatures, they didn't had on stock directly for you. Oh and of course, back in the day you could buy individual bits. But as I was just over 2 years in the hobby, everything in a foreign currency and I had to process all that influences at once, that didn't came to me right away.

Games Workshop - Warhammer World Flyer 1999 Games Workshop - Warhammer World Flyer 1999 Games Workshop - Warhammer World Flyer 1999

Up the stairs was a "museum", an exhibition with multiple large setups and old miniatures. I remember the first thing on the right with this guided tour was a full Space Marine chapter, it was of the Ultramarines. The poster boys of Games Workshop and an icon for the brand.

Warhammer 40.000 - Space Marine Chapter of the Ultramarines

I didn't care that much for the Space Marines, but seing to many of them at once was quite impressive and it became even better, when the GW employee picked up the Thunderhawk and asked me if I wanted to hold it. That thing was pure metal, as such incredibly heavy and invaluable by my measures. The model was released in 1997 and cost 400 GBP (or 40,000 pence 😉 ), but that was something only the english audiance was aware of, as it was announced in Citadel Journal 22. Once again, something even as the info that it existed simply out of reach for me as a teenager and my German issues of White Dwarf. But there is a Video on Youtube doing an unboxing of the old one, incl. the worthy metal wooden box.

Citadel Journal 22 Citadel Journal 22 - Metal Thunderhawk Citadel Journal 22 - Metal Thunderhawk

It was a bit of a zig-zag how they lead you through that floor, there was another setup inbetween the Space Marine chapter and the next one, but I don't remember. The huge Siege of Terra display on the back right corner simply cought my eye (I only find this picture of it on the back of one of the White Dwarfs). It was probably the largest display Games Workshop had so far, as it covered the Imperial Fists and White Scars defending the Imperial Palace, with the aid of a Warlord Titan against the Chaos legions (who had a Chaos Warlord Titan themself). The Lucius Pattern Warlord was simply incredibly large. On the other side of the wall to the left was another Warhammer 40.000 diorama, Orks Drift or the Massacre at Big Tooth River (More pictures on DakkaDakka). With a huge speed cult fighting against the Imperial Guard, Tallarns and Praetorians if I'm right. The orcs even had a huge Stompa. This display was shown at the Games Day 1997 in Birmingham.

Games Workshop - Siege of Terra White Dwarf 218 - Massacre at Big Toof River / Ork Drift

Turning around from there, was the Chateau d'Or table from the instore campaign, to promote the release of the 5th edition. The Bretonnians brought an ancient relict with them back to the old world and the Lizardmen left Lustria to reclaim the artefacts for the old ones. A few people could win a trip to come to England and play the final battle on this table. It was shown in the German White Dwarf issues 17 + 18. I had a chat with Jürgen from Krauthorn, and he might have pictures from the 1997 Games Day showing this table.

Warhammer Fantasy - Battle of Chateau D'Or Warhammer Fantasy - Battle of Chateau D'Or Warhammer Fantasy - Battle of Chateau D'Or Warhammer Fantasy - Battle of Chateau D'Or Warhammer Fantasy - Battle of Chateau D'Or

There were a few cabins with old miniatures from the pre-slotta range, along with props and costumes from some early Warhammer themed movies and instore promotion. The two Space Marines shown on the ticket where there, along with a Chaos Space Marine Berzerker. Other than that, I don't remember that much from the exhibition unfortunately.

Along with the tickets I even found the recipe from that day. My dad bought me a Rhino for 10 GBP. The exchange rate on that day was 1 GBP = 2,9 Deutsche Mark or roughly 1,45 EUR, so quite a good rate for buying in the UK. And as it was one of our last days in the UK, my dad was keen to spend any change that would cost more to be changed back in the Marks. Especially as the Rhino cost about 40 DM back in the day.

Games Workshop - Warhammer World Recipe

And fun fact, I even still own that box until today. Covered the Rhino in one of my oldhammer articles.

Warhammer 40.000 - Oldhammer Space Marine Rhino Warhammer 40.000 - Oldhammer Space Marine Rhino Warhammer 40.000 - Oldhammer Space Marine Rhino

My dad asked me again, I was sure, that I had everything. Well, we went back in and spent some more. I got myself a Khorne Dogtag (where I later replaced the chain with a leather band, as the chain wore down the tag and was rather noisy - boy I wore that thing for a long time) by Bulldog Buckle / Battlegear (they did a broad variety of pins and pendants with Games Workshop insignia and you can find them occassionally on eBay) as well as a Titan Legion T-Shirt (I still have that one as well, maybe I'll take pictures of the wargaming shirts I own). And to start of a special relation ship, a boxed set of the new plastic Soldiers of the Empire with the crossbow upgrade. Again, with the GBP/DM exchange rate, quite the steal for a German customer.

Bulldog Buckle - BattleGear Chaos Dog Tag Bulldog Buckle - BattleGear Chaos Dog Tag
Warhammer Fantasy - Soldiers of the Empire Regiment Boxed Set Warhammer Fantasy - Soldiers of the Empire Regiment Boxed Set

The gaming area was rather basic back in the day. It was more like a large gymnasium with simple gaming tables back in the day. They had a few simple cabinets there as well, covering further props, among them a Blood Bowl jersey and gear. Along with huge banners on the walls, that were painted for the Games Days and by the shops. And while I was watching those and the cabinets, I noticed a tall man next to me - Jervis Johnson! With me being a Blood Bowl fan from day one (it was my first tabletop game), I had to get a signature. He signed one of the Troll magazine issues that I just got in the store downstairs. It was fun having a chat with him, I mean he's Jervis "Jim" Johnson. I even still have that magazine in my collection today.

Games Workshop - Jervis Johnson Blood Bowl - Bob Bidford & Jim Johnson Games Workshop - Troll Magazine #17 March 1999

The Troll was a special brochure they handed out monthly, with special offers and mail order bundles. In the White Dwarf they were sometimes covered in the last few pages. Usually they picked up conversions from the current issue or army projects, later more specialist games products. I took pictures of the whole issue for you to give into.

Games Workshop - Troll Magazine #17 March 1999 Games Workshop - Troll Magazine #17 March 1999 Games Workshop - Troll Magazine #17 March 1999 Games Workshop - Troll Magazine #17 March 1999

Unfortunately I don't have more pictures from the trip, but I have asked my mother if she has captured that day, so maybe I can provide these later.

That was my first trip to Warhammer World and surely not the last, as you'll probably know. I covered further visits on the blog, like in 2004, as a "layover" on our way back from Scotland. How about you? Do you have pictures of the Warhammer World / Games Workshop from that time? Do you have additional information on the museum or its exhibits from the 90s?

Posted by Dennis B.

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