Very recently I discovered Skull Pass GW concept artwork.
I’ve been looking all over the internet for several years gathering ideas and inspirations and somehow, have never come across this watershed moment in Goblin design style at Games Workshop.
What you see here is the initial concept art by “DG for GW” aka David Gallagher in January 2005, just before the new edition of Warhammer launched with the great Skull Pass boxed set of Goblins, introducing new Night Goblins and Spider Riders. Yet for some reason, GW retained the old comical style goblins of Brian Nelson which have aged badly amidst opposition army models.
To my utter delight, it appears at this seminal moment in reinventing the Goblin line, this artist and GW was thinking the same as I. Below is a composite of unaligned goblin infantry ideas.
Discovering this artwork has been very weird as the style and themes are exactly what I have been trying to achieve.
I’ve compiled the most interesting design commentary scribbled in the margins below:
“Goblins – should NOT be cute or cartoon line
– ragged nasty look
– tunics open at the sides
– any armour should be in bad condition, incomplete or very composite looking
– weapons crudely made
– Bits of rag, dead rats or meat
– small pouches, teeth, scalps or crude knives, could hang from belt
– mail worn directly
– facial scars“
Damn straight my green brother!
There is a host of other comments and ideas surrounding the Night Goblins and Forest Goblins, much of which has carried over to the current Goblin line as we know them.
David was tapped to do the Battle for Skull Pass cover as well as box art for the then Goblin line among others. When you look at the art he produced for these, in light of the initial designs above, I truly think we missed marvelous boxed set for Goblo Horribilus, the Common Goblin.
Looking at these sketches, I feel the Total War crew may have latched onto David’s thoughts as many units in the Goblin forces bear more than a passing resemblance to this decade old artwork. Particularly the Wolf riders.
Thankfully, with some effort across multiple boxed sets, David and myself are now of similar minds.