Thank you to everyone who read and enjoyed the first part of the Skulz articles, in case you missed the first Skulz retrospective, here’s the link. Today we continue with more on the Skulz program and the miniatures offered as rewards in the program, all in search of that sweet nostalgia hit.
The 40k Counterpart to the Bretonnian General mentioned in Part I was this Space Marine Captain (which ironically only last year got an unofficial remake in the form of the new Black Templars Marshal).
The Black Templars Marshal debuted in the summer of 2000, coinciding with the publication of Codex: Armageddon, which gave Black Templars rules for the first time, and the re-release of an updated boxed set for Warhammer 40,000’s third edition, which had at that point been out for nearly two years.
Originally this model was only available through either the limited time offer in the Warhammer 40k 3rd edition starter set or for 25 Skulz. He also made an appearance in the “Heroes of the Adeptus Astartes” box set, released as part of Games Workshop’s 25th Anniversary in June of 2000, meaning that for a time, the Space Marine Captain was potentially available in three places: The limited starter sets with a silver sticker, the “Heroes of the Adeptus Astartes” and of course, for 25 Skulz through the Skulz Program. The model would later be re-relased as part of a Space Marines army box as an exclusive pack-in miniature.
Rogue Trader Re-releases
But these weren’t the only Limited edition models that GW brought back for Skulz, they also brought back four miniatures from the days of Rogue Trader.
For 10 Skulz only, you could either get the legendary LE02 Imperial Space Marine, an Eldar Great Harlequin, a Flashgitz Freebooter Captain, or the classic Imperial Assassin. (Sidenote, the classic Rogue Trader Imperial Assassin recently got a glow-up in the form of a new miniature – the Adamus Assassin for Horus Heresy).
While not all of the flyers mention these miniatures as prizes specifically, there are mentions of them in other places, such as in White Dwarf 246, which mentions that one fo the 10 Skulz prizes is “a classic Citadel miniature (choice of 4 miniatures)”.
While “Imperial Assassin” is still fresh on your mind, I should mention Skulz was also one of the two ways to get your hands on a copy of Codex: Assassins 3rd Edition (as you might know from Codex Compliant). A copy of this book would cost you 10 Skulz as well, so could technically get a playable army with 20 Skulz (so roughly 200 pounds, which checks out) if you were cheeky – get the army book and one Assassin to boot. To this day I find it odd that GW released Codex: Assassins in only two locations – a single issue of White Dwarf and through Skulz for what is essentially 100 Pounds in mail orders.
Dwarf Lords of Legend
Before we get too deep into the book section of Skulz and its prizes, we still have a few miniatures to cover – specifically the rarer ones – such as the unreleased Mechanicus miniatures set or the Dwarf Lords of Legend.
Starting with the Dwarf Lords of Legend, these guys came packed with a special plinth and even a certificate. Truly a rarity – in turn they would cost you… 50 Skulz. Don’t get me wrong, that’s still about 500 pounds (or 750$), but when you consider later prizes like a Baneblade costing 300 Skulz tokens, they seem rather cheap, especially since they’re so nicely packaged with a certificate and plinth. As with the RT minis these were classic Fantasy Battles Dwarfs repackaged, though the extra gubbins justify them as more of a Skulz unique thing(plinth and certificate).
Space Marines Standard Bearers
The first special miniature made exclusively for Skulz was this Ultramarines Standard Bearer, which came with a molded metal base – very uncommon at the time. Again I am not a big fan of that posing, but the details – especially on the crumpled banner – are pretty damn good. Although I always find it silly when marines are holding bolters one handed, like with the Terminator (the senator variant) and the shotgun. This guy was also available for 50 Skulz.
One of the more peculiar models made for Skulz was this Diorama of Space Marines raising a flag. The Diorama cost 50 Skulz.
My only critique with this diorama is that no matter which angle you photograph it… it doesn’t quite look right to me. The models themselves look to be recreating the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima. It isn’t the first time GW miniatures took inspiration from real life art, such as the mounted Archaon clearly being inspired by the painting of Napoleon crossing the Alps.
The Scarab Examination Table
The Skulz rewards program came out two years before the full re-release of the Necron army with the 3rd edition Codex, so at the time of the program’s announcement Necrons were still working with the original range of chunky metal models – and this included scarabs. This examination table diorama was shown off in some issues of White Dwarf with articles detailing the Necrons, and harkens back to a time when the Necron fluff had them as mysterious raiders who would disappear without a trace. You could get the examination table for 25 Skulz, either to build your own dioramas, or to use as an objective marker.
The Adeptus Mechanicus Set
The last of the miniatures only available through Skulz was a big set and the entire reason I made this deep dive into Skulz. This was an unreleased set of Mechanicus miniatures, which at this point was a rather underrepresented faction – the last time they’d had rules was back at the start of 2nd edition, in the Codex Imperialis book packaged with the boxed set. The Mechanicus would get a proper codex until 7th edition, and when Skulz released all we’d had of the faction were tech priests and servitors to work with, despite the Mechanicus having many more ranks.
The set came with Magos and his little Familiar, two rather boxy Servitors, four Enginseers, bulking out the options of sculpts (at the time we had two sculpts, which both had the same pose.) and lastly an artisan, which in-universe refers to the guys actually researching and building stuff. Additionally, you would also get a Forge World Mechanicus coin.
These guys were costly – you had to put down 100 Skulz, which is 1000 Pounds in mail orders. The fact I was able to purchase mine (even with missing the token and familiar) for only $130 is very lucky.
The Original Baneblade
The last proper “miniature” you could get through Skulz was the Forge World Baneblade. It would cost you 300 Skulz, that is… 3000 Pounds Sterling that you had to spend through mail order. To be fair, it was money you would spend on what you want – still – that’s a massive prize spike. Many 40k players would love to have one today, though!
To end the section with something a little cheaper, you could also get the two Citadel Paint Sets each for 25 Skulz.
With the last of the miniatures out of the way, next up are the busts and terrain kits. Two scenery sets were available – either a Warhammer Fantasy or Warhammer 40k scenery set. The fantasy set seems to have consisted of a bunch of trees and some ruins, while the 40k one had all the battlefield accessories, such as tank traps, ammo crates, oil barrels and palettes. You could get either of these for 50 Skulz each. Additionally, there was also the classic Warhammer Fantasy Fortress Set for 100 Skulz.
Onto the busts, as many old schoolers know, these were a staple of early Forge World in the 2000s.
They would produce a wide range of busts based on Warhammer Fantasy and 40k as part of collector’s ranges. The two Busts you could get through Skulz were the Fantasy Orc boss which you could get for 50 Skulls and also the Warhammer 40k Space Wolves Terminator Bust which was available for 50 Skulz. There’s really not much to say about these busts; they’re solid sculpts, but were nothing exclusive to the Skulz series as far as I’m aware and also not as limited as the standard bearers.
What was exclusive to Skulz were the pins and keychains GW put out, two of which were basically large metal casts of metal bitz, specifically of the Dark elf infantry head and 40k plastic ork boyz. Some other cool gubbins were the Aquila Pin and the Bolt Pistol keychain.
There was also either a dwarven or sigmarite hammer that was available as a keychain.
The rest of the prizes that weren’t model-related varied pretty significantly. You could get some simple stuff like a little wallet with an aquila on it for 10 Skulz, one of 3 Warhammer mugs for 10 Skulz, an aquila shaped belt buckle for 25 Skulz, a Skulz logo T-shirt for 25 Skulz, a Skulz logo pen for 25 Skulz as well.
When it came to reading materials, there were a variety of things in the Skulz program. Among these was a one year White Dwarf subscription for 50 Skulz, a signed copy of either the 3rd edition 40k or 6th edition Fantasy Rulebook (presumably signed by the authors), each for 100 Skulz. The cheaper unsigned versions went for 25 Skulz each. For something cheaper, you could get the 2000 Annual catalog for 10 Skulz or a Codex covers, or a John Blanche art book for 50 Skulz each.
Beyond art and books GW also offered gaming essentials, you could get a Goblin green gaming mat for 25 Skulz, a huge staple of early Warhammer. Before they were super common from other companies you could grab a figure case, tool kit and modeling kit for 50 Skulz each, or you could even go big and grab the Mega Paint Set that included every GW paint for 150 Skulz. Other prizes included experiences – there were Games Day VIP tickets available for 25 Skulz each.
Hopefully you enjoyed this trip through the virtual GW museum – we researched all of the 50 or so prizes available throughout all of Skulz’s life. It wasn’t entirely clear when the Skulz program ended – lots of times things like this go out quietly – but it was great while it lasted!
And as a little afterword of me the Author, I would like to extend a huge Thank You to the Goonhammer Team for allowing me to write about obscure old things on their Blog.
Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.