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Watch the unboxing of the most ridiculous Warhammer 40K miniature ever made

The all-metal Thunderhawk Gunship is among tabletop gaming’s most legendary models

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Games Workshop gets a lot of grief for the cost of its Warhammer 40,000 tabletop miniatures game. Few will argue that its models aren’t among the most highly detailed and ambitious on the market today, but there was a time when even Games Workshop went a bit overboard. I’m talking about the legendary Thunderhawk Gunship, among the most expensive Warhammer models ever created.

I’ve been following YouTuber Emil “Squidmar” Nyström for a few years now, gleaning tips and inspiration for painting miniatures. He was able to locate and purchase one of these original Thunderhawk Gunship models. Only 500 or so were ever produced for sale in 1997, and each one cost a whopping $649.99. Adjusted for inflation that’s around $1,050.

Why are they so expensive? This was a time before all-plastic miniatures were the norm, and the entire model is made out of metal. The model plus its box weighs more than 22 pounds. There are 204 pieces, and the points of contact are completely flat. Putting the whole thing together with super glue sounds like a nightmare ... but he’s going to give it a whirl, and share the results with his audience.

A Thunderhawk Gunship circa 2021. Photo: Games Workshop

Nyström has been teasing the project for a while now, but on Thursday he dropped a proper unboxing video. Check it out for a tour of some genuine tabletop history. And if you’d like your own Thunderhawk, know that they’re still up for sale at the Forge World website. The new sculpt is made entirely out of resin and will set you back $735.

Warhammer 40,000 is now in its 9th edition and selling well, thanks in part to a new high-profile boxed set and a mobile app. There’s also a new line of paints that makes getting your armies up to snuff much easier than ever before. Finally, there’s also a small footprint version of the game called Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team. With it you only need a handful of models and some simple scenery to get started in the grim darkness of the far future.

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