C is for Citadel Miniatures
The miniatures hadn't really evolved from the primitive "tin soldier" sculpts of earlier decades. For many wargamers in the 70s, my Dad included, it was all about Napoleonics. Large formations of miniatures which looked impressive due to their numbers and so they were sculpted to "stand off scale" quality. Yes you could see a nose and maybe an ear, but there was never any expression (or maybe that was cos they really were that stiff upper lipped back then). I ws never going to get excited about a featureless figure with no facial detail, this is my character I want to represent, he has to have a face!!
The early miniatures looked pretty primitive, by todays standards, and when in the Citadel launched it's slotta base ranges in the early 80s it was quite frankly a revolution. Gone were the mishappen lumps of solid lead at the bottom of each figure, which were never flat and which you had to file down (generating lots of lead dust) to make the mini stand up straight. Instead between its legs the mini had a strip of lead bearing the range number and the Citadel stamp of approval. An unintended consequence of this being that you can now easily identify any vintage miniature you pick up on ebay and prices of vintage miniatures particularly citadel have sky rocketed.
|Early slotta base minis from my own collection|
(LtoR: C10 Guard, ADD11 Female Magic User (Low Level) , C10 Brave)
There were some really useful ranges back then, Games Workshop released the first Warhammer Fantasy Battle rules in 1983 and White Dwarf was still mainly a roleplaying magazine. Higlights included:
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (ADD): The Player Character Packs featured 3 versions of the same AD&D class minis per blister pack. Designed to represent your character as it evolved through the levels you got a Low, Medium and High level version of each character, all sculpted by Aly Morrison. There were also Monster Packs with a varying number of minis all of the same race usually. There's a great photo archive of the AD&D range over at Stuff of Legends.
Talisman: All the player characters from the original Talisman Boardgame were represented and were designed to replace the original card standees which came inside the gamebox, and came with distinctive hex bases. As further Talisman supplements were released the range expanded to include the characters from Expansion, Adventure, Dungeon and Timescape.
|Two figures from the Talisman TL10 Blister Pack - Gypsy and Martial Artist|
Gothic Horror: For players of Call of Cthulhu, Citadel released this range even though at the time they did not hold the license for CoC minis, they did distribute CoC in the UK for Chaosium and later created the Halls of Horror floorplans to expanding their Dungeon Floors range of cardstock floorplans.
Citadel quite literally broke the mould and pretty soon other mini companies started to smell the coffee. Wargamers demanded better quality sculpts and new manufacturers were started up, some by the Citadel sculptors themselves, those that didn't redesign their lines just faded into obscurity.
Next: D is for... Dungeon Floors