Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Let’s read – The second Citadel Compendium

I figured it was about time to return to my “Let’s Read” – this time with the Second Citadel Compendium (the first one that I actually own a physical copy of). Just like last time you can follow along over at Stuff of Legends, here (I'm only including a sample of pages in this post).
As you can see from the front page, this is the-one-with-the-amazons. We are also still firmly in 1st edition, pre-slotta territory, so a lot of the content is admittedly too old for even die-hard oldhammerers to really care about, unless you really love amazons (and why wouldn’t you?).

There’s nothing really interesting in the “welcome” section (other than noting that Nick Lund’s Chronicle Miniatures was joining Citadel), so we’ll skip ahead to the first real article, the Rigg’s Shrine scenario.
“Scenario” may be stretching the definition by today’s standards. It’s closer to a gazetteer for an RPG with some extra rules for sneaking around and looting thrown in, but then again, 1st edition Warhammer was an amalgamation of RPG and wargame.

Actual scenario ideas only take up a couple of paragraphs on page eight of the compendium, but before that, I feel we need to return to the drinking game from last time, as the introduction mentions the future Lustria supplement for Warhammer *drink*.

Other than that, I don’t have too much to say about the scenario. Zhu has written about it (and Warhammer’s amazons in general), so if you’re interested, I suggest you head over here.
The following article is in response to at lot of questions Citadel had been receiving (imagine that; interacting with your costumers, how very novel) and explains how figures were made back then.

I’ve never looked into the process before, so I found the article to be very informative, and I imaging that the readers back then felt the same way.

Next up are the results from a competition from the first compendium.
Seems like people really got into the spirit of things, and it’s cool to see the three best entries getting made into miniatures by one other than the Perry twins. Quite a collector’s object I should think!

We then get to the Compendium Selection of figures. Like in the first compendium they are line-drawings and not photos, which is sad, but at least the general quality of the drawings has gone up.
A lot of these figures are really iconic, not least because some of them were used in the popular 2nd edition scenarios. The selections also include many stables of the Warhammer world, such as Cold Ones, Chaos Hounds, Goblin Fanatics, Chaos Warriors and Beastmen.
And let’s not forget the awesome Amazons:
After the general selection we get the first wave of Regiments of Renown. These are cornerstones of Citadel’s history and should be fairly recognizable to most of the Oldhammer community (Bugman’s Dwarf Rangers, of cause, being well-known even today).
We then have the Specialty Sets, which, like in the first compendium, are shown in photos instead of drawings, and which, once again, underscore just why Citadel preferred drawings at the time – the pictures are, frankly, barely legible.

Tony Ackland’s Arcane Monstrosities fare better (both as drawings and photos), probably because the models are larger.
I would dearly love to get my hands on these, but I’m not really prepared to pay the monstrous price they command (pun intended).

On the next page we have a model I just might shell out the cash for: The Great Spined Dragon. To this day some people will argue that it is the best dragon figure ever produced in this scale, and I’m inclined to agree.
A few pages later we have another very interesting page: an ad for the newly released citadel paints, along with a short note on how to use these new-fangled water-based paints. This includes some advice you certainly won’t find in official GW publications today, such as: “Car body primer is just as good and usually cheaper”.
A few pages later we have a painting article written by none other than Kevin Adams. Like the one in the first compendium it’s supposed to be a guide for beginners, though this one spans several pages and goes into much greater detail.
The article is actually really good (IMO), and it’s quite funny to glimpse into a time when acrylic paints weren’t the automatic choice for miniature painters. The section about painting skin also really made me want to try out some alkyd paints to see how smooth a blend I can achieve with them.

We also get another great quote from a Citadel/GW that cared about other things than selling more and more stuff, when Kev discusses the Citadel paint range and notes that: “If the price of the artists colours makes them an unrealistic proposition, then this range is a good alternative.”

After the painting article we get a primer on assembling metal miniatures. It’s basic but functional.

The following page is a contest, where you have to try to draw a cross between the eyes if an invisible Balrog. Can you find it (I certainly can’t)?
After a few pages of reader art we get to the Eldritch Epistles (i.e. the mailbox), which is always worth a close read.
There’s an interesting discussion on the merits of using D6’s vs. D10 or D100. The answer ends with the (to my knowledge) first account of GW using a 6+ followed by a 4+ roll of get something close to a 10% chance of something – something they would make regular use of in later editions.

Also of interest is a question about how many different Citadel models there actually were – the answer being “we honestly don’t know”. In this age of 3D-printed master sculpts and titanium molds, this might seem odd, but as we’ve learned from reading this compendium, back then the hand-crafted master sculpt would usually be destroyed to make a rubber mold that might then only last a few days.

Further molds could be made by using cast figures, but usually at the cost of reducing detail on the final product. In the end, the benefits of mass-producing a particular sculpt had to be weighed against the desire to make the best product possible, and to Citadel’s honor, they often chose the latter.

It also suggests to me that a collector of early Citadel figures should try to go for the unlisted (and thus not mass-produced to the same degree) ones, as they’d be more likely to be a “first generation” cast, but that’s just conjecture.

Rounding off the compendium are a couple of ads, including a color add for the Citadel paint set.
So that’s the second compendium. Not quite as many groundbreaking articles as the first, but with an absolutely iconic selection of miniatures. 

Next time I’ll take a look at the Citadel Journal from spring 1985.


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