Warhammer is an expensive hobby and has been for a very long time. Grabbing yourself a viable force of Games Workshop’s tabletop miniatures — whether it’s in Age of Sigmar’s fantasy or 40K’s far future flavours — can cost hundreds and hundreds of dollars, even before all the kit to build, paint, carry, and play with it. But this 24-year-old kit takes the cake.
Hobby YouTuber Squidmar Miniatures (via Polygon) has charted the journey of the skyrocketing value of one of the rarest Warhammer miniature kits in existence. A 1997, tabletop-scaled, all-metal Space Marine Thunderhawk Gunship was given a custom paint job, turning a rare, unbuilt copy of the kit into the most valuable Warhammer model in the world.
Sold at auction to an Australian hobby shop for display at a truly absurd $48,235 (fun fact, that’s roughly 64 times the price of an army of pointy-hatted Lumineth Realm-Lord elves I just bought, readers), the assembled and painted ship is now officially the priciest Warhammer miniature ever.
The Thunderhawk Gunship — a Space Marine warship that’s essentially part heavy assault fighter and part troop transport for the massive, armoured troopers of Humanity’s Imperium — has had several models since this rare 1997 release. The current one, for example, will set you back a still-hefty $1,060.
What makes the original Thunderhawk so rare is that not only is it an all-metal kit (the modern one is resin, and therefore won’t make your arms buckle when you try to pick it up), but it was part of an extremely limited production run. Games Workshop produced a few for its own displays at conventions in the mid-‘90s, but then put the set to retail for $900 in 1997, where just 500 were made, and placed in numbered, lavish wooden boxes.
Assembled and unassembled versions of the kit have previously sold for a fraction of the price of the one here — according to Polygon, anywhere between $4,000 to $7,000. That makes Squidmar Miniature’s paint job on the already rare model add a frankly bananas amount to the frenzy around its auction. I’ll never complain at a box of five elves on kangaroos costing $85 ever again.