Sunday, 23 October 2011

Warhammer 40,000 Races

By The Megapope   Posted at  13:40   ramblings 5 comments

Ah, you must be Colonel Whitey. I'm Captain McWhitesalot
and this is Sergeant Whiterson..., not alien races. I mean human races.

Where are they all?

Like... take space marines. There's the White Scars, who are clearly Mongolian inspired, the Space Wolves descend from some kinda northern european colonised planet aaaaaand scrolling through the rest of the first founding Legions the rest are all white skinhead marines apart from maybe the Salamanders who I understand (correct me if I'm wrong) used to be possibly of African origin but are now literally black skinned mutants with glowing red eyes.

Yeah. That's... that's a thing.

There's an Imperial Guard army who are vaguely middle eastern in the same way that the White Scars are vaguely Mongolian.

Opportunistic? Curved knives? Turbans?
Check, check, checkmate! 
And let us not forget the hugely diverse range of other regiments on offer, such as the Catachan jungle fighters (white), Cadians (white), Vostroyans (white, generically Russian), Mordians (white, generically Soviet Prussian officers*), Storm Troopers (recruited from worlds all over the Imperium and yet miraculously, white), Attilan Rough Riders (generically Mongolian.. someone at GW clearly had a hard-on for the great Kahn), Valhallans (white, generically Russian/Northern european).

Oh, yeah. And uh... these space Germans. Cough. 

To be fair we're way more WW1 Germans and besides if you want Nazi
overtones there's a double headed Eagle banner in the last post...

Okay so yes, GW are a British company that came from the early 80s when no white male geek could be reasonably expected to be inclusive or draw on ideas from other cultures without being dicks about it and over time this kind of culture becomes ingrained into an institution. 

On the other paw though, Games Workshop are now everywhere on the damn planet, spreading across continents like the Imperial Palace of the far future. One might think it a good idea to start shaking up the look of their models, even if it meant just putting more non white faces on the backs of their human army boxes. 

I get that the Imperium of Man is a religio-fascist hellhole and that a bunch of Brit game designers will certainly be leaning in a certain direction when it comes to finding imagery for a repressive, dark, gothic future... I guess all I'm really suggesting here is that now in the 21st century it might be nice to scroll through the major armies of a galaxy spanning futuristic human empire and not find a massively dull litany of whiteness. Let non white folk be sinister and horribly nasty too, it's only fair.

*Cheers for clearing that up, Vomkrieg. I don't know nuffin'! 


  1. My impression was that pretty much all races were destroyed or bred out during the conquest of Terra, and all humans are from a fairly uniform stock. The similarities in culture between 40k humans and real life would be more a case of convergent evolution than those people actually being descended from Earth cultures. For instance, if wearing towels wrapped around your head works for Arabs, it would probably also eventually be adapted by many desert dwelling human populations with access to textiles. Also, its always been acceptable to paint your armies any skin tone you like, I think its just heaps easier to use the handy European colours they provide. My other thought is that if they ever considered producing paints like 'Oriental Tan' or 'Negroid Black' they probably decided not to risk getting shouted at. I paint my marines to be all altered by the same gene-seed, more like an army of clones, but the Necromunda gangs and Guardsmen Ive painted have whatever skintone I think will compliment their appearance and backstory. GW left a lot of room for people to do what they wanted regarding cultures and human races, I guess their more official cultures all carry the English identity of the Brits that created them.

  2. Yeah... I kinda get what you're saying, but I think the first part has never been supported in any kind of official capacity. I vaguely recall there being something stupidly huge like around a million worlds inhabited by humans, and there is absolutely no fucking way you could possibly get any kind of homogenised stock out of that many diverse worlds, spread so far apart and colonised so long ago.

    I know because its a made up setting and all the easiest answer is always the best one: GW were just lazy and didn't think of these things because they were a bunch of young white dudes.

    I've seen them include tutorials on other skin tones in the painting guides so it's not like a vague idea of inclusiveness hasn't occured to them. Catachan jungle fighter I think it was, showing Latino and African ethnic skin tone variations.

  3. Mordians are Prussian, So German.... even whiter than white.

    Also, they produced "dark flesh" which i used to paint some black guys in my scouts... although they ended up looking south Asian instead of African, which was fine.

  4. In addition, there was no way I would have painted Marcus "Siege" Brisbane anything other than black.

  5. Two related articles shown from a friend who had her comment eaten by blogger for some reason:


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