I got my hands on a copy of White Dwarf presents: Warhammer 40,000 Battles, a compilation of White Dwarf articles for 2nd edition 40k (rules for Adeptus Arbites, Razorbacks and bunkers, as well as a selection of battle reports). I had a quick read through the battle report used as the introduction to 2nd edition 40k; Andy Chambers' Blood ANgels against Jervis Johnson's Orks. With those two participants, the conclusion is obvious, but it was still an interesting read.
Firstly, the choice of armies. on Andy's side, we have the army commander - Brother-Captain Erasmus Tycho, looking like this. He chose a captain, then went on to select the rest of the army, leaving the selection of his wargear until the end when he knew how many points he had left. As it turned out, he had no points left, so Tycho took to the field equipped with ... a bolter.
Other interesting choices were a squad of Terminators in a Rhino, and a Dreadnought, included for heavy support, but also because it was the latest toy.
In total, he had a Captain, a Tactical Squad, a Devastator Squad, a Terminator Squad in a Rhino and a Dreadnought. 26 Marines and 2 vehicles for 1,500 points.
Notably, despite the battle being a "1,500 point" game, Andy's army list came in at 1,522 points, so the Orks got some extra points for wargear cards.
On the Ork side, Jervis' army was basically a matter of "what do I have that's painted", with some very small mobs by today's standard; all the Boyz mobs were of ten models, or fewer. The Nobz mob consisted of five models. The venerable old battlewagon kit makes an appearance (one of its last, IIRC). He had 60-70 Orks, a Dreadnought and a Battlewagon.
On to the battle; the missions were Dawn Raid for the Marines (get a squad or vehicle into the enemy's deployment zone) and Assassinate for the Orks (kill the enemy commander). Since there were no bunkers, it was a standard 4-turn game.
The Marines started well, with the Dreadnought on the left flank shooting down its Ork counterpart with its multi-melta, and the Terminators moving (nearly) into position in some rocks. Unfortunately, it went a little downhill in the next few turns; the Terminators lost two of their number to Ork fire, and importantly, Captain Tycho was killed by the Ork Weirdboy's psychic bolt in turn two. Some rather disastrous shooting from the Marines ensued for a couple of turns, but in the end, they managed to eke out a win; 9VPs to 8 after the entire Ork army failed to finish off the Terminators.
Compared to today's games, the differences were interesting. After reading the "6x4 is no longer practical" thread, this game featured two relatively tiny armies duking it out on an 8' x 4' board, and it ended up supplying the backstory to one of the current special characters. The attitude to army selection also mirros mine (or perhaps, that's where I took my inspiration); army selection based at least partly on "what's painted?" and "what looks cool?" and not worrying unduly if you go over the limit. Also, I'd forgotten about Andy Chambers' crazy 90s hair.