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Pro painter makes deluxe version of retro Warhammer board game

Miniature Artist Michael Schott applied his pro painting skills to the 1992 Warhammer board game Battle Masters, with stunning results.

Older Warhammer fans and retro collectors may remember Battle Masters, a Warhammer board game stuffed with miniatures from the early 90s. But you’ve probably never seen it painted as well as it has been by miniature artist Michael Schott, who spent seven months painting every miniature in the box to a professional standard.

Battle Masters was created as part of a deal between Games Workshop and Milton Bradley Games to create Warhammer board games aimed at children, to entice youngsters into the wargaming hobby. The most famous of those, and probably the most successful at the original business goal, is the dungeon crawler HeroQuest – Schott discovered miniature gaming via its sci-fi sibling StarQuest (aka Space Crusade).

Warhammer Board Game Battle Masters - Chaos Knights

He came across Battle Masters in 1992, sold in Germany under the name ‘Claymore Saga’. “The sheer number of miniatures with which you can play epic battles overwhelmed me”, he recalls. It’s a truly massive board game, coming with a 4 ½’ by 5’ battle mat divided into a hex grid, and over 100 miniatures representing the forces of Chaos and the Imperial army.

Schott sold his original copy in 1996, but says he “increasingly regretted this decision”. Finding another copy has “long been a dream” for him, and he ultimately acquired two used copies from eBay to rebuild a complete set. You can find the whole of his project on his Instagram.

Warhammer Board Game Battle Masters - Goblin Wolf Riders

Schott “actually planned to paint Battle Masters as a speed painting project”. But he says that “my inner monk wanted me to paint the miniatures on a different level”. He’s applied his full skills painting miniatures to a pro standard to the models.

Warhammer Board Game Battle Masters - Orcs

The first big challenge for the project was conceptual, not practical: it was tough to find a color scheme for the army that “on the one hand makes the units recognizable as an army, but on the other hand also underlines the individuality of the units”.

Warhammer Board Game Battle Masters - Ogre

Adding icons to unit banners and shields was another difficulty – the prospect of painting each one freehand was not promising. Schott says he “spent about 3 weeks creating signs for all the units in Photoshop and printing the decals”.

Warhammer Board Game Battle Masters - Imperial Knights

If you want to try something similar and apply your grown up painting skills to a massive board game from your childhood, Schott has some simple advice: “Stick with it and don’t give up.”

Warhammer Board Game Battle Masters - Imperial Cannon

He adds that it’s important to “keep motivating yourself with small sub-goals”. It took him seven months working “almost exclusively” on Battle Masters – each individual unit he completed helped give him the boost he needed to move onto the next part.

Warhammer Board Game Battle Masters - Chaos Archers

Schott’s gorgeous Battle Masters set isn’t just for display – he plays it with his middle ten year-old son. However he notes he has “absolutely no luck with the dice”, and has yet to win a game.

Warhammer Board Game Battle Masters - Chaos Warriors

Wargamer heartily endorses wargaming and miniature crafting with your kids (standard hobby knife safety guidelines notwithstanding). We recommend you check out our coverage of the ‘non combat tabletop’ indie scene for some great kid-friendly miniature games, and this article on turning a massive DnD inn terrain set into a dollhouse.