An all-metal Thunderhawk Gunship, a rare Warhammer 40,000 miniature produced by Games Workshop in 1997, recently sold at auction for $34,882. That’s the highest price ever paid for the rare model, which was assembled and painted by Emil Nyström and the team at Squidmar Miniatures. Confirmation of the sale was made in a video posted Monday on YouTube.
The Thunderhawk Gunship is a heavy assault craft from the lore of Warhammer 40K, designed to ferry Space Marines to and from hostile environments. It’s also one of the most complex models Games Workshop (GW) has ever produced. Not only does Nyström do an excellent job documenting the assembly and the painting of this epic miniature, he also does a tremendous job digging into its history. That includes speaking with the original sculptor, Tim Adcock.
According to Nyström’s research, only three of these models were produced in the first run. They would serve as display pieces for Games Workshop’s Games Day event in 1995. Only later, in 1997, did the kits finally go up for sale to the public. Each of the 500 numbered Thunderhawks came inside its own wooden box, which together with the 204-piece model weighed in at 22 pounds. They cost $649.99 plus shipping, or more than $1,000 adjusted for inflation.
Today a fully painted Thunderhawk, while rare, isn’t terribly hard to find. Units from this 1997 run go for around $3,000. Unassembled models go for a lot more, somewhere in the neighborhood of $5,000. That makes Nyström’s sale all the more remarkable, considering that he added value to the miniature by painting it up.
The record-breaking Thunderhawk is currently on its way to the buyers at The House of War, a game shop in Australia. Let’s hope it makes it there in one piece. Nyström’s next project? The largest model currently in the GW catalog. It’s called the T’au Manta assault ship, and it’s larger even than the company’s massive Warlord Titan.