Sunday, 3 November 2013

Quote-o-rama: The Challenges of Casting Old Citadel Miniatures

Recognise this Rogue Trader Miniature?

Unless you are an avid reader of Eldritch Epistles or a member of the Oldhammer Community on Facebook, probably not. It is, as far as we can tell, an unreleased, never before seen, 80s miniature by Bob Naismith.

It was discovered among Bryan Ansell's vast collection of miniatures by Steve Casey, author of the said blog, Eldritch Epistles.

It wasn't the only one, as you will see if you follow these links.

Anyway, the discovery of 'new' old school miniatures, and the re-release of old Citadel favourites at the Wargames Foundry has got many a tongue wagging. "Is is possible to cast up and sell these lovely old '80s models because I want one?" has become a frequently asked question on forums and groups online and beyond. Well, the miniature you see above sparked a fascinating debate about this very issue and I have selected the interesting quotes to share with you here. The first is from Bryan Ansell, former Managing Director/Owner of Games Workshop and Citadel Miniatures and the second is from Rick Priestley, creator of Warhammer and Rogue Trader among a great number of other wargaming titles.

Bryan Ansell: I doubt that many (or perhaps any other) exist: we had not considered the idea of them being collectable in the future. I don't have any idea how I came to keep that one. The copyright is owned by GW anyway: I only have rights to the models that I took out when I ran things and was a owner.This mostly occurred when it was me and Steve and Ian: when I rescued some hundreds of the solid base models that would otherwise have been lost. But I didn't do that with any view to posterity or collectability: I was just keen to find something from my father to do in his retirement! Later, when foundry was moulding and casting for games workshop it seemed appropriate to send along anything of a potentially historic nature that was being discontinued along to foundry for them to manufacture. Unfortunately, by that time I was spread quite thinly: so I probably missed loads of stuff that could have gone to my father and been saved. Obviously, I'm very glad it turned out that at least a proportion of the solid base models survive for posterity: but I don't think anyone was thinking in those terms back then.

I don't know: but they most certainly do own the rights. I don't really know whether any/many of the old master moulds survive. A not necessarily reliable bloke who worked at workshop and then came to work at foundry once told us that he had been sent out in a van with a load off master moulds with instructions to split each mould into its two halves then dump one set of moulds on one location and the others on another. That would be a terrible shame if it was true, but I have always strongly suspected that it is not true. 

Well, there are also sets of master castings, so the loss of the moulds is not fatal usually. We have a huge potential range of models, certainly more than 25,000 and I think that we have both master castings and master moulds for everything. Even if you didn't really expect ever to run a mould again it would be foolish to meltdown the 20 or so master castings when they take up so little room. However if you have chucked out the moulds: you would no longer have that extra security of knowing nothing could possibly go completely wrong (other than the building burning down) we keep our master moulds here at Stoke Hall.

Rick Priestley: I think a lot of old moulds were destroyed when, or just after, we moved to the Lenton site (the old British Gas HQ), although I certainly didn't witness this and can't say for sure. However, it's more likely that masters were kept, as we had a big fire-proof strong room built to store masters, and it's must easier to keep a few dozen masters securely than the moulds. Later on, when the various GW sales companies were allowed to sell whatever they liked out of the back catalogue, a lot of older models were remoulded, though not necessarily as old as these fellas! I would very much doubt that any of the current management would have any interest in, or knowledge of, these older, models - so I wouldn't have thought anyone really knows what happened to a lot of this stuff. 

Oh - I have an idea the really big dragon and giant that Alan and Michael made were bought by a third party - I think GW basically sold them on to someone who wanted to produce them (but never did). So, I don't think they exit at GW anymore - could be wrong - but I think that's what happened.

The general view seems to be 'don't hold your breath' but Bryan has admitted he doesn't really know what masters and moulds lurk in the depths of Stoke Hall. So anything is possible.

Thoughts and comments guys?


  1. My thought is simple :
    Let's make a stand on GW's parking with someone holding a big sign with "please let us cast them" with very friendly faces.
    I know GW is quite resistant to whining (and they better be...) so let's be gentle about it and ask them politely, possibly offering some chocolates, washing a few cars and things of the sort, until they reach the "whatever..." point and let us do what we want...

    At least I would like things to be this way and be able to buy a sphincter beast and this astronaut

  2. I can confirm a lot of moulds were scrapped after the move to Lenton, as they went to a local recycling plant that a friend of mine worked for at the time. Pretty certain the ended up in landfill.

  3. I believe I found a painted example of that guy on pg189 of the Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader book. Mixed in the "column of penal warriors", look for the 8 ball. Somebody with better eyes then me can confirm or deny it?

    1. I'd say Tartar has a good eye. Looks like him from what I could see. Small pic though.

  4. It would really be great to have most if not all of the old models back. if I look at the prices some of the older models (marauder Chaos Dwarfs for example) reach at Ebay and how rare some are. It will be a big push towards building up regiments for our beloved collections when one can easily optain them for a reasonable price. I know that mould making, casting,etc. come at a price but better then searching the web endlessly for the one model to finish a certain regiment.

  5. I don't think there's many of us who would disagree that there's never been a better time to recast and sell old 80s figures than now. The Oldhammer spirit has, and still is, gaining momentum and I reckon a lot of the old classics (and unreleased minis!) would definately sell quite well. You have no idea how much I'd love to come down to Foundry, browse the racks of "Not Rogue Trader", "Not Realm of Chaos" and "Not Warhammer Goblinoids/Undead/Slann/Fimir" ranges, and then buy whatever I wanted without worrying about someone else offering more money for them! :( I'd much prefer to give Foundry my money!

    It's probably never going to happen though. Not least because GW (despite having nothing to do with those models anymore) would be guaranteed to kick up a fuss and unleash the full force of their legal department on anyone selling such minis.

    1. I've got some not-fimir you can browse... :) it's a shame 'current management' have no interest in the nice roots of their company. But then again, if they did the markup would probably be even higher than the silly ebay prices!

  6. As recent as 2006 I saw the master castings of the old Citadel giant in a store cupboard in a meeting room at GW so it's possible that's still knocking around somewhere.