Is GW Really Releasing More Stuff For Warhammer 40K?

Since the arrival of Warhammer 40K 6th Edition, and in particular in this first half of 2013, Games Workshop updated an unprecedented number of Codexes. The first half of 2013 saw 4 new Warhammer 40K Codexes: Dark Angels, Tau Empire, Chaos Daemons and, in June, the Eldar.

Undeniably, Games Workshop changed how new stuff is released for Warhammer 40K.

But did they change how much new stuff is released by for Warhammer 40K?

Is GW Releasing more Warhammer 40K Stuff than ever?

Looking at the past few years and comparing them with the Warhammer 40K releases for the first half of 2013, I would argue: No!

Games Workshop is publishing more Codexes. True.

Nevertheless, similar to the eternal debate on whether or not “Space Marines” have “too many” Codexes in Warhammer 40K or not, I would argue that Codexes don’t matter. They aren’t the bottleneck in the production. Books are easy to make.

  • Games Workshop’s subsidiary Black Library publishes some 5 to 10 books a month… plus all kinds of eBooks and short stories.
  • The full-colour White Dwarf, filled with professional miniature pictures is out each month.
  • There is hardly a month these days when GW isn’t publishing some mission or scenario book, story add-on, etc.. to the iPad.

With the team they have, Games Workshop could likely release 4 or 5 (or more) Codexes a month if they’d choose to do that and devote their resources to it.

The logistics of a miniatures company such as Games Workshop revolve around the miniatures… and the amount of miniatures Games Workshop is releasing for Warhammer 40K hasn’t changed much in 2013 compared to earlier years.

Miniature Releases for Warhammer 40K Q1/Q2 2009 – 2013

Games Workshop Miniature Releases for Warhammer 40K

Looking at the Warhammer 40K releases in detail, the first half of 2013 did see about 33% more releases than the similar period in 2011 and 2012. These two years were more Warhammer Fantasy biased, after the most recent edition of Warhammer Fantasy late in 2010.

However, in the years following the release of Warhammer 5th Edition in late 2008 , the first two quarters in 2009 (Imperial Guard, some Orks, Ironclad and Land Speeder Storm) and 2010 (Tyranid “late-waves”, Blood Angels) were very similar to the output we’ve seen so far in 2013.

Why Did GW Change How They Release Stuff for 40K?

Of course, there is still an interesting discussion to be had on why GW changed the way they handle new releases. The Chapterhouse legal dispute, which (allegedly) led GW to avoid “miniature-less” new Codex entries similar to the Tyranid Tervigon, is often cited.

If there is a germ of truth in that, there may yet be (a teeny little bit of) hope that Games Workshop will – at some point in the future – get back to currently released 6th Edition Codexes to update some of the older and/or unloved miniatures, for example Chaos Space Marines Cult Marines, Tau Vespids or Eldar Aspect Warriors.

Alternatively, Games Workshop may simply be testing ways to make more profit without releasing much more miniatures, simply releasing them differently.

Either way, I believe it is important to point out that Games Workshop’s factories aren’t exactly running white-hot with capacities stretched to the breaking point. Not more so than in 2009, say.

People really need to move away from the fallacy of judging GW’s production output for a (or their “love” for a particular faction in the universe) by the amount of Codex books that are published.

The Codex books, ultimately, are the marketing-leaflet that wants to convince you to buy a given miniature. They are not themselves the main product. The miniatures are!




I am Zweischneid. Wargame Addict. Hopeless painter and founder of Pins of War. I hope you enjoyed this article. Don't forget to share your favourite miniature pictures and wargaming videos at
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  • 01000101

    I really like the new games workshop miniatures but I feel sometimes they just pop out new things and say “good enough” the daemons release was a good example of this (to me)

  • drone9

    I agree with most of what you say, but I do not agree with your conclusion. You are saying that what has widely been perceived as a positive shift (i.e. GW releasing a new Codex every other month) is only a new ploy to sell more models since the Codices are nothing more than ‘marketing leaflets’. I tend to disagree. While GW makes most of its money from miniature sales, without their game systems GW would not sell a lot of minis. And the Codices happen to be an integral part of the 40k system. By stepping up their Codex release schedule they give their game a widely welcome vitality boost. Of course this also leads to more models sold on the short run, though I doubt that it will lead to more sales overall. It remans to be seen what GW will do once all Codices are up to date. Even if GW is not putting out more models than before I believe the new Codex release schedule to be a very positive step for 40k and the community.

    • dynath

      I don’t see how recognizing a codex as a marketing tactic diminishes the enjoyment of the codex. Back in rogue trader days it was widely accepted that GW started writing 40k and Fantasy because they already made the miniatures, why not encourage people to buy them with their own game system. And that was when things were a lot more derivative of generic fantasy settings. 40k has come a long way but in the end of the day the game system is built to encourage model sales. Every codex adds new units to buy, revises unit caps so you can have more models, adds new wargear so you can add new variant models, and of course the big one, allow you to play a game with friends using those models. Doesn’t make the games less fun. It may be a leaflet but it still contributes to the enjoyment of the game. And he’s right, in this day and age a lot of people find it easy to publish stuff, but very few find the time to sculpt, mold, and mass produce a model kit. That’s where GW’s energy lies the codex just tells you how to use the models they make. Its still just as fun to read the codex and use those models don’t you think?

  • dynath

    I’d like to see this analysis again but this time accounting for multi-unit kits. My interpretation being that GW is producing less missing codex entries. IE 27 model kits produced filling 40 or more unit slots.

  • Blunt Truth

    Most important plastic release after Wraithguard: Roughriders!

    • Zweischneid

      I think there is a fair chance of that happening. They’re not even (!) available in Finecast I believe.