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How GW remastered the Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader rulebook

YouTuber and former Warhammer studio member Louise Sugden explains how she painstakingly digitized the original Warhammer 40k rulebook for a modern reprint.

Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader rulebook original cover

Louise Sugden, a Warhammer 40k YouTuber and former member of the Forge World design studio at Games Workshop, has explained how she converted the decades old Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader rulebook into a digital format for a modern reprint. Talking to fans in a Twitch stream on Sunday, Sugden goes over the painstaking, months-long process.

Released in 1987, Rogue Trader was the starting point for Warhammer 40k and a huge part of Games Workshop’s success as a company. It introduced most of the major Warhammer 40k factions recognisable today and set the stage for the never-ending conflict between the Imperium of Man, Xenos races, and Chaos renegades.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of 40k in 2017, Games Workshop issued a reprint of the historic first edition rulebook. The new book is a digital facsimile of the original, which Sugden says she painstakingly reconstructed.

The Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader rulebook was remastered for a facsimile print by Louise Sugden

The starting point was a “pristine” Rogue Trader copy from the Games Workshop archive. Sugden says she melted the paper glue holding the book pages together with a heat gun and gloves, and carefully separated each page with a scalpel. Pages were physically cleaned and stored in individual archive pouches.

Sugden says it took “about two weeks” to scan in every single page of Rogue Trader, and months to digitally clean up scratches and marks from the scans. Nothing was removed or added to the text: “We had to keep it exactly the same, down to the last pixel”, Sugden explains, including the original page numbering and spelling mistakes.

Sugden says “I think they trusted me to do it because they know how much I love it… I went hard because I was personally invested in Rogue Trader”. Rogue Trader wasn’t Sugden’s only major project while she was in the Forge World studio – the new map of Warhammer: The Old World is her work.

When we interviewed Sugden after she left her Warhammer TV job, she told us how much she loved the Oldhammer aesthetic and the artifacts of the Oldhammer era at Games Workshop. You can find more Oldhammer history on Sugden’s YouTube channel Rogue Hobbies, like this history of the Squats (the precursors to the Leagues of Votann).

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Sugden isn’t alone in her love of retro Warhammer. There’s a growing scene of indie miniature makers creating new models with retro aesthetics; Knightmare Miniatures just wrapped up a successful kickstarter for Oldhammer-inspired ogres. I can certainly relate: my Age of Sigmar army is largely made of Marauder Miniatures dwarfs that are older than I am. (No, it’s not very good, but that ain’t the point).

If you’d like to get your hands on the Rogue Trader reprint, copies are sold at GW’s Warhammer World visitor centre in Nottingham UK. Our Warhammer World guide has advice for international travellers and UK locals alike who want to make the trip.