Sunday 23 December 2012

Machinaries of Destruction: A history of Citadel's siege weapons

Hello and welcome back to Realm of Chaos 80s in a post that hopes to deliver something that this blog has been lacking over recent weeks, content!

After the success of my post concerning the history of the Regiments of Renown, I became interested in  Citadel' s range of siege weapons and chariots, specifically those released during the Third Edition era. After all, I knew little beyond the box sets. Where these the only options available to the old school collector, or were there others? 

Before I begin, let me define what I mean by ' siege weapon'. I decided that this should mean a free standing weapon manned by a crew, so no bazooka units here I am afraid. A chariot remains a chariot. 

So in a roughly chronological order, let us begin. I'll do my usual notes about each model and I have tried to find colour painted versions and catalogue details for each example. I hope that I have unearthed everything, but I am sure that I may have missed one or two war machines, if so, please contact me so I can update this post. After all, this information is scattered across the web and it is nice to have everything on a single page.


These are the earliest mention I can find of Citadel releasing War Machines. A chariot, pulled by boars, a Dwarf Bolt Thrower and a unusual looking orc artillery piece with crew. The dates for these models would have been around 1982-3, so they are very early. Sadly, this image is all I can find about these early models, but at least we have some idea about what they look like. Anyone have any further information?

Orlygg's Want Factor: Unknown - have not really seen enough to know.


This example is a bit of an interesting one. It's a rather illusive model, as I can only find two images for it. These are published below for your information.

Original Citadel Ad.

Painted version, minus the crew!

The chariot and wolves were sculpted by none other than Rick ' Mr Warhammer ' Priestley, and is even signed by him. Nick Lund designed the crew. Personally, considering the model is one of the few sculpts that Priestley contributed to the range, that makes it rather special. Its rarity is also a factor. As far as I can tell, the crew includes Eeza Ugezod as well as a driver.

Anyone have any further information  or  images, please let me know! 
Orlygg's Want Factor: 8/10


This is another curious one, as it was designed by GW' s first resident artist, after Blanche, Tony Ackland. 

I've seen this model on eBay a number of times, usually selling around the £30 Mark, though I have never seen the crew, who I presume are all pre- slotta solid bases. I really like the model, and it bears a strong resemblance to the later Skull Crusher war machines. Again, a true slice of history and a rare one too!

Orlygg's Want Factor: 8/10


Now the following models are the real work horses of the range, being continuously repackaged throughout the 80s and the early 90s. They were mostly sculpted by the Perry twins. Drawing heavily from history, there are very few fantasy elements included with these kits. 

The base of the Imperial War Cannon, based on early medieval cannons with no wheels and were simple placed on the ground. A range of crew models appeared alongside this model.

This is the actual cannon which clots into the base shown above.
This image shows some of the crew miniatures released with the kit. The cannon shown here is a later replacement (with added wheels and smaller size) to the one shown above.
Orlygg's Want Factor: 4/10 - I own the first cannon and two of the crew. I expect I will eventually get around to picking up the others.


Here are the same two models (with an additional bolt thrower) being used with dwarf crew. These were repackaged kits from the late 80s. 

There was also a ballista version, using the same crew as above, only with Notlob's artillery piece alongside. 
There were an earlier series of solid based crew men.
Orlygg's Want Factor: 7/10 - I want a good sized old school dwarf army one day, so these siege pieces will be essentials. 


Some later '80s craziness now. If I remember correctly, Aly Morrison was responsible for this kit and it comes from that hyper creative period at GW when the designers just made interesting models that excited them and the Studio just wrote rules for them. Hobgoblins had, at this point in Citadel's history anyway, long been available, but this was certainly one of their last releases. 

The kit was also produced in a Nippon version, one of the few GW releases for this distant realm. Again, the crew was sculpted by Aly Morrison but rest of the model is the same. I am not sure which actually came first, I have a suspicion that the Nippon rocket was the original and it was later reproduced with a greater fantasy edge with the hobgoblins.

Hobgoblins. Now a rare sight in Warhammer, sadly. 

An even rarer sight, Nipponese troops!

Orlygg's Want Factor: 10/10 


More '80s madness, the snotling pump wagon! This is the best version of the model in my opinion. It has the grotesque faces of Kevin Adams' gobbos, that anarchic early Warhammer feel and plenty of imaginative detail. Later versions often lacked one, or indeed all, of these vital elements and were the poorer for it. One of the most iconic Warhammer models, full stop. 

A cut down version of the model. There were rules for a light and heavy version of the machine.

Orlygg's Want Factor: 20/10!


Here we have the orc version of the bolt thrower.


 I am not sure whether to include these with the other C22 releases or scoop them up with the later Realm of Chaos range. It really doesn't matter really, as these are very good models, which are still highly sought after.

Petard crewman 1
Petard crewman 2 : I am a real fan of the chaotic samurai look of these models.

Chaos dwarf bull centaur 1

Chaos Dwarf bull centaur 2

The Tenderiser

The Whirlwind

The Petard

Swivel gun crew 1

Swivel gun crew 2

Swivel gun

The Juggernaut!
Another essential collection of models here with the chaos dwarfs. I cannot say that I own a single example, though I have bid on them many times. I know that the big hatted chaos dwarfs have their admirers, but I prefer these everytime.

Orlygg's Want Factor: 100/10


Now we arrive at the first of the Machinaries of Destruction range. These models were released during the mid 80s around the same time as the Regiments of Renown, and they share with them the  packaging, complete with the zany stories and full rules.

This first model, which in many ways is the natural successor to the Goblin Warlord's Chariot released earlier. The example here was painted by Kevin Adams and comes complete with one of his brilliant bases, green stuff sculpted foliage included. I like this model, though it is not my favourite goblinoid chariot. The wolves are particularly sinister on this model, and the goblin boss is very characterful.

Orlygg' s Want Factor: 6/10


 This model has a lot on common with the TA4 discussed earlier, and I spent some time trying to work out if this set was based on Ackland' s original or was a repackaged kit. I am still not sure.

Well what do you get for your money then? For starters, this is a big kit, certainly by 80s standards. The baroque detailing on the machine is also fascinating and alludes to the days when greenskins were imbued with a low cunning rather than a generic brutality. The orcs themselves are characterful as any other of Adam' s models.

Essential to any and all old school orc generals.

Orlygg' s Want Factor 10/10


Gun powder and Warhammer share a strange history, I seem to recall that ' back in the day ' this relationship was seen as a novel one. Firearms and fantasy hadn' t really mixed before as ' it wasn' t in Tolkien, mate'.

Those of you who have read through the blurb on the back of the box may well have read the dreaded phrase ' fine- cast', but you have no real need to fear. The kit is solid metal. As with practically anything that the legend Kevin Adams is has produced over the years, this is another excellent set. End.

Orlygg' s Want Factor: 10/10


I disliked this model on release. Today, I can appreciate the graceful power and dynamism of Goodwin' s and Naismith' s work.


Orlygg' s Want Factor: 7/10


Now we have an example from the range that I actually own! Again, this model is by Adams and continues to show the goblinoid bias of this particular range, though this bias is pretty indicative of Citadel in the 80s, as orcs and goblins were very much the en vogue baddie.

Keen eyed readers will also see the inclusion of Notlob' s Orc Artillery here. As these have been discussed with the old RoR models there are here just for completion. The Man Mangler does show off the painting skills of Adams, for it must be noted that his painting skill was high. Its a strange concept today, a sculptor that paints. Its funny how you cannot seem to do both these days, eh?


It seems that you got two for the price of one with this set. Two goblin chariots (really, what is this obsession with the greenskins in this set of releases?) with a varied range of drivers and character models. Kevin Adams must have been extremely busy that year!

What more can I say about these models that has not already been said of others in the range? If you like the 80s look and feel of greenskins, you are going to love these models. If you don't, you won't. Personally, I love them and hope to own (and paint) them at some point in the future.

Orlygg's Want Factor: 10/10


Now for something completely different! Its not a goblinoid model for starters, but this release does follow the zany background that made 80s Warhammer so unique. Yes, its a catapult designed to throw the decapitated heads of goblins (so the greenskins managed to get in there, somehow!) Sadly, the more humorous side of the dwarfs has long since departed GW Towers, with the rather generic dour dwarfs of the modern age.

Interestingly, the idea is not that fantastic. The projection of physical remains is as old as war, and there are many, many examples of armies in the past using debased remains as a pyschological weapon. Again, this is a model that I actually own, though I lack the crew. I have my eyes open for them at the moment, so if you see any of them for sale on your eBay travels, please do let me know.


These are another set of models that I own and I have written about before. A brilliant set packed full of character models, a chariot and a catapult. What is not to like?

Is that a banner pole I can see on the back of the box? Standy up pole with fetishes hanging off it? I have certainly never seen this anywhere. Any one know any more?


Bob Olley has a distinct style. He is a bit of a 'marmite' sculptor, as you either love of hate his work. Initially, I was not a fan of his work, but as my interest in this period of GW back catalogue has grown, so has my interest in his work. Olley's sculpting is noticably different from other contemporary Citadel fair.

Yes, its those greenskins AGAIN! They certainly have the monopoly in the world of war machines. Now, is it just me or does that bottom of that Goblin Stone Thrower look suspiciously like the bottom of the Gob Lobber? It seems that Olley produced the top part of the model and the crew but re-used previous pieces.

Despite this, this model is high up on my current want lists. So any heads up would be gratefully received.

Orlygg's Want Factor: 10/10


Mail order only, this Bob Naismith sculpt is a bit of a mystery. Was it ever actually released? There are (or were, as it is not certain they still exist) two versions of the crewmen. Its not a nice model is it, lets be honest, and I feel collectors would really only want it due to its rarity. But to be fair on the model, it is hard to make a judgement based on the poor quality images that we have here.


It transpires that the greenskins did not have quite the monopoly on large scale weaponry that we thought. The following releases show what was available for the 'stunties', undead and others.

The flame cannon I own as is a great model, I too am lucky enough to have a flame cannon somewhere. The final piece, the Gyrocopter is not yet part of my collection. I am not too sure about the model myself. 

Flame cannon up close and personal. Love the crouching crew!
This is the model I am working on at the time of writing. My favourite chaos chariot ever. Subtle and savage in equal measure.
The elf repeating crossbow is a nice model. It was released for the Dark Elves too!
Here is the Dark ELf version of the repeating crossbow. Strangely, they needed an extra crewman!
Hey, look at those siege weapons? Are they not a hodge podge of other models - I am sure that those are the  Man Mangler wheels, the imperial cannon chassis and the old ballista top. These models certainly did their time for Citadel!  

With the release of the Norman inspired Bretonnians, saw a release of a range of historical artillery, some of them old releases, some of them new. Here they are from the 1992 catalogue.

I really like the Bretonnian range from this date, and I know that the Perry models are still very popular with historical gamers today. 


I am not a fan of many of the Marauder sculpts. They were too chunky and representative of the over sized nonsense of later editions of Warhammer - Red Period etc. However, some of the ranges are excellent, especially the Imperial Dwarfs, which in my opinion, are some of the finest dwarf miniatures ever released. 

The Morrisons (with later support from Colin Dixon) produced a wide range of models over the four or five years they were in existence for. Those that I could track down are listed below for completion. 

Those greenskins are at it again! It seems that orc war machines were the space marines of their day and good old GW pumped them out with alacrity. This set is a beautifully sculpted one. Brilliant characterisation on those orcs and a believable stone thrower. 

And ANOTHER greenskin chariot makes an appearance! How many do we need? It seems that we are spoilt for choice  when it comes to these things. This on is okay, and the design is beginning to take the creative form we are familiar with today. 

Another one? Good God!

These three models are part of the excellent dwarf range I mentioned earlier. They begin to show the style of later Warhammer (4th edition onwards) in their design, with a closer reliance of Renaissance themes rather than true fantasy ones.

Well, there we have it. I am sure that I may have missed something! If I have, let me know and I'll add it to the post. As I think I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I hoped that this would easily list all of the Engines of War released by GW during our period of interest. I feel that I have given it my best shot and there are certainly a large number of models I had no previous knowledge of their existence. Things should be a little clearer (I hope) when searching eBay in future.

Now, lets have a look online for that Dark Elf Chariot...




  1. wow, what a great blog post.

  2. Great retrospective! Would you consider the Undead Plague Cart to fall in this category?

  3. It could be included, along with Bugman's Cart (both versions). I wonder if anything was missed?

  4. I didn't realise the dark elf chariot was unreleased. I was watching this one on eBay:

    Funnily (well, not really...) I remember seeing one of these just when I started with the return to the 80s. It was an unpainted, unassembled one that had a buy it now price of £20. I didn't know what it was, so I just left it...


    1. So unlucky Garth! We all do that from time to time! Perhaps you' ll find another one one day, perhaps with the Lichemaster as a crewman!

  5. Great post that brings back some good memories.


  6. Awesome article Orlygg! You've put a lot of work into that, and it was a great read! I thought I knew a lot about citadel's miniatures and the Warhammer universes, but it seems I still have a lot to learn. :)

  7. The banner pole from Skeleton War Machines was also one of two available as poles in the Orc Shaman or General blister.

  8. Great, great post and brought back many memories. Certainly the golden era for inspiration, quality of casting and design. Lover the greenskins from that era... but maybe I'm just getting old!

  9. Ah, great memories. I have a LOT of that stuff in the attic at my parents' house - which I moved out of a couple of decades ago - I dread to think how long it would take me to find them. I mainly collected dwarves and chaos; my 3rd edition opponents HATED to face the chaos dwarf mortar in particular. Still, all's fair in love and war, particularly when you are up against a line of wood elves who won't close for combat...

  10. Hi there all.

    I have recently come across all my old Warhammer citadel collection. This article was absolutely fascinating and really brought back a lot of memories. I also noticed that you scored each war machine/chariot, with a wanted rating.

    I do have a very large and extensive collection which I am currently cataloguing and getting ready for selling. So if you are interested in models of this era, and some even earlier, then please feel free to get in contact.

    kindest regards,


  11. Hey you forgot Bert by the Goblobber Crew :-(
    This model and the Bugmans Cart are the most wonderful miniatures from the dwarfs!

    Greetings from Germany^^


  12. Wow, some great suff. I forgot all about the Gob-Lobber!
    I think my first siege engine was the Nan-Mangler, and boy was I disappointed to find that you had to sculpt the faces onto the shields yourself. I eventually added the Iron Claw goblin chariot to the collection, a pump wagon (still a favorite), and a Marauder goblin chariot.

  13. This very morning I opened a box and found the unreleased Dark Elf Chariot, the Chronicle Goblin Warlord's Chariot and much more... Seriously.