Sunday, June 16, 2013

The European Range

Citadel miniatures ad from Dragon Magazine c. 1988

Here's an early run-in I had with Citadel miniatures way back in the late 80s that helped kindle my interest in miniatures and Citadel in particular.

The European Range Adventurers

Citadel Miniatures ad for the European Range from the April 1988 issue of Dragon Magazine

I got Dragon from the library around this time and with it explored the shallow end of the RPGs and miniatures pool for the first time. D&D had for me then a certain mystique about it owing to a few sidelong encounters with it in childhood and a few Grenadier miniatures I had stashed away, but for some reason I had thought it was out of production or at least difficult to obtain. Getting a feel for what was going on with it in the late eighties through Dragon was fun at first but ultimately disappointing. To this day I find little of interest in what TSR published in the second half of the 80s. The windows Dragon offered onto other games were the main attraction for me and this ad is a prime example. Soon after this I moved on to White Dwarf magazine and was hooked.

If you've been following along you're familiar with my American style D&D miniatures collection, but back in the day, after picking up a few figures of different kinds on impulse I settled into the British/Citadel mode and stayed there until around '96, when I lost interest altogether for a time. Maybe that will come as a surprise, I don't know!

I like many miniatures from many different times and in many different styles but those from the time leading up to 1990, those which I got glimpses of here and there, like in this ad, have always been among my very favorite, and the aesthetic resonates with me with growing intensity as the years pass. At this moment when I first was exposed to it, however, it was already poised to give way to the so called GW "Red Period." Even at the time, though I glommed on to whatever was being fed us in White Dwarf like most kids, I the older stuff called to me. Now and then you would find some in a remote game store. On car trips with the family my parents would often concede to stop at any store we passed that was listed in the White Dwarf dealer list. You could find product that had been hanging on the peg for five years or more and sometimes even at a bargain. Adventurers like those above were particularly scarce but I did manage a few along with a considerable variety of other Citadel and Marauder fantasy fare.

But it wasn't until ebay that seriously consider undertaking miniatures adventuring whole hog in the European style. Now I've got a collection I could only dream of back then, and what's left is to see if I can get it painted. Hopefully this can serve to pave the way for me to post more in the British mode as I'm putting some energy in this direction generally. My unpainted figures are generally stashed very compactly in small boxes but step one is I'm standing the figures all up in their slottas in the black trays I showed off earlier. All the fantasy factions and races are represented save a few and this includes quite a few adventurers of the sort shown here (though even now I have only a handful these sculpts in particular). I'm also going over my Rogue Trader stuff, which I have a lot less of save umpteen orks, but which is a more common commodity generally when you look at my friends' and my collections together, making it an easier thing to get games going. We've already got one Rogue Trader game done using my own WIP miniatures story game rules, which I'll also hopefully be talking about in a lot more detail.


  1. I love that the mysterious dwarf wizard is included in this page. If only I could actually stumble across a copy.

    Nice post!


    1. Yeah, he's pretty great. Haven't seen him either but I do have a Marauder one and by coincidence I have another Citadel one heading my way from Ireland after an ebay win. He's got a staff and crystal ball. The one in the ad, though, with the action casting pose, probably tops them both.

  2. I heartily concur that the stuff being put out by TSR in the late 80s is distinctly lack-lustre. The D&D boom of the mid-80s was done, and there's a sense of the party being over. GW managed to keep the faith for a few more years whilst transitioning into a miniatures company.

    Does make me wonder what associations "European" had with the intended american audience, how "European" was meant to signify.

    Similarly didn't Ral-Partha come out with an "All American Range"?

    1. As a kid my association was probably "expensive" and "hard to get," lol. Maybe not A class marketing.

      You're right about the All American range, I looked it up:

      Huh, Bob Olley has some figures in there. Have I been wrong all this time thinking he was British?

    2. Oh, and they also had an "Imports" range:

  3. What's also funny is while early in the Ral Partha imports line the miniatures being released were early citadel FA and FF releases but later they featured orcs miniatures ect. sculpted by Ral Parthas own Dennis Mize...must be a marketing thing