Khorne – the evolution of khorne bunny ears 1985-2015

Looking over (and painting!) the new Khorne Blood Warriors, it occurred to me that their helmets have gone beyond barmy. Yes, it’s pretty clear they worship Khorne, do they really need a huge Khorne-icon built into their helmets? For method killers, surely this is impractical for cumbersome. Khorne wants blood, not your head getting stuck to something.

Where did it all start, I wondered. Well, I decided to look back. I like looking back, the models are beautiful.

Back in 1985, which appears to be when Chaos Warriors first arrived at Citadel, we got some typically heavy-armoured warriors with horns, choppy weapons and some “evil” markings.  Bob Naismith, the Perry Twins and Aly Morrison gave us these classic C35 warriors. Ulrik and Daethskar have fancy horns on their helmets, but nothing beyond typical “we’re the bad guys”.


Moving forward to 1988, Jes Goodwin is added to the sculptors and begins adding his unique style to the range. Naismith and Morrison continue to produce some fine examples.


Here we have the first appearance of “ears” on the helmets, but Khorne was yet to distinguished in the range. These are straight up chaos and sets a trend that stands true across the most modern of chaos ranges.


In 1988 and 1990, the fabled tomes “Realm of Chaos” were unleashed on the world. These went into incredible detail of the chaos pantheon and identified the four chaos powers. Khorne had arrived. Here’s the 88/89 catalogue selection for the warrior range. There’s still general horns and nothing akin to the ears of today.


One figure stands out with plain “ears” again, but nothing too elaborate or overly stylised just yet.1

However, this is also when Jes really began to blow us away with new champion sculpts that are still very popular to this day.

2Here we have a fine example of a Khorne symbol shape appearing within the helmet’s form. The triangular base and horizontal capital are prominent here.


The earliest and most Khorne-like head-crest has to be within the Renegades range of 1988.


The whole renegades range had such vivid details and decoration, they remain fan favourites to this day, as the whole range became somewhat watered down, losing this individual character of old.

This one example is heavily stylised and remisicent of Khorne. I believe this is a Naismith sculpt:


And this is undeniably a Khorne-shaped helmet, very reminiscent of the Blood Thirsters of the time. Perhaps even intended as the “Head of a Blood Thirster” chaos gift.


This god-symbol head style also featured in the Beastmen of the time too, with various horn arrangements.

1989bThis sculpt is certainly the most Khorne-like symbol to date with the double prongs on the sides and same shape, perhaps the first example of Khorne’s stamp appearing in its entirety as a head piece, in the citadel range.bmWhat followed became the trend – the familiar bunny ears of Khorne Berserker Space Marines of the World Eaters, though somewhat a less complete Khorne icon than before.

This style was established by 4 sculpts from Goodwin – one of each power. The World Eater stands the test of time and is still clearly the trend setter.


In 1992


In 1993 1993

In 1997


and the plastic range


While all “bunny ears”, none of them are wholly khorne symbols. This seems true for Warhammer too.


Where did it go too far? This seems to be with the latest batch of Khorne models for Warhammer.

We have the Wrathmongers from End Times:


…and the incredible Age of Sigmar Blood Warriors:


Is this a return to classic style, or has all subtlety died?

Rusty Dice

Aint nothing but a horn

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3 Responses

  1. brecht says:

    Skullcrushers were the gateway to the wrathmongers :p,
    Thanks for the amusing article.

  2. Muskie says:

    You’re missing the original plastic Bezerker as well as the Khorne Assault Troops who are half naked and don’t have the bunny ears. I almost have all the Nurgle 40K guys and have most of the Khorne 40K guys as well as some Renegades and Chaos Warriors and Champions, the painted ones should appear on my website if you dig.

  3. Rusty Dice says:

    The article is looking at the evolution of the helmet. It is not a comprehensive guide to every khorne helmet ever made.

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