Monday, 1 August 2016

Warhammer Chic? A look at the Citadel patches of yesteryear

Yesterday, I spent much of my time rooting through my lead mountain in an attempt to get back into serious painting. I have so many miniatures left unsorted that my only option of transporting them was to gently pour them into a deep wooden draw and stagger with them to the boot of my car. I swear that the combined weight of all that Citadel made by car slightly askew as I drove it to my new house!

Anyway, amongst my numerous finds, and it is amazing (or should that be worrying?) how many figures you forget you own after years of collecting, I unearthed these two embroidered patches from 1990. Finding them brought back a recollection of purchasing them in the Southampton Games Workshop on a visit to the place with my parents.

Prior to this, I had completely forgotten that they even existed, let alone that I owned a couple of them. I remember that at that time I considered going out in a blue denim ensemble the height of style and poise. I had a jacket and matching jeans and these bad boys were destined to be sewn upon the shoulders. For whatever reason, that obviously never happened. I cannot recall why, though I expect it was one of two possibilities: one my mother didn't want me defacing my clothes or more likely, the rise of the shellsuit made these distinctly '80s style assessories redundant.

Whatever the reason, finding these two patches has really tempted me to find some suitable jacket and finally adhere them to the shoulders after twenty-six years of waiting. Did any of you dear readers achieve this peak of fashion back in the day? Or are any of your STILL wearing them proudly? I'd love to know!

But the story does not end there. I had a nagging thought that there were additional badges in the range as I have cloudy memories of a glass cabinet near the counter with all manner of bric-a-brac laid out for purchase. Browsing Solegends for a while I stumbled across the collector's page for badges and was delighted to find a full catalogue of the other patches.


I find this Dark Angels patch quite interesting because of the utter absence of green. That particular shade has become synomynous with the chapter and it is refreshing to see some iconography of theirs not swamped in the colour. The icon itself hasn't changed much either in a quarter of a century, beyond some refinement to the shape of the sword and wings.


The Imperial Fists' symbol has also seen refinement with the line along the bottom of the gauntlet long removed. The colour use is now different, with a black fist in a white background edged in black much more common.


As you can observe, the Space Wolf symbol has seen the most change, not only in shape and size, but also in colour selection. In fact, the wolfshead looks strangely primitive, though this may have been down to the limitations of the embroiding technology at the time rather than a deliberate design choice. The addition of an early Imperial Eagle is also a nice touch.

An additional comment for all of the badges is that each chapter are referred to as Imperial Marines, rather than the more generic Space Marines,  inline with the original Rogue Trader plastic multipart kit.


I love this final badge. The choice of colours, blue and yellow, is most pleasing to my eye and the shape of the patch is striking. The addition of the skull in the centre is also a nice touch. A great design.

I must admit to really enjoying this little research mission and it just proves a point I have made many times. Even after many years collecting and writing about Citadel Miniatures and it's products and publications 1985-92, there are still new things to discover and learn about. Confession time remains though, and I am intrigued to know how many of you dear readers picked this up back in the day and if any of you managed to attach them to your clothing or bags.

Orylgg

14 comments:

  1. I am proud to say I own the 'Dark Angels: Imperial Marines' badge pictured above though as yet it remains to be attached to any form of clothing.

    Interestingly the reason it is red and black is because at the time this was the colour of the the Chapter. It was only in the early nineties that they transitioned from black to green.

    I heard a story at GW about this in the mid -90s that may or may not be true; but I shall reiterate it here in case any of your readers can confirm or deny it.

    Apparently the reason for their colour transition was due to an error by one of the free lance artists. If you remember the cover of the original 'Space Marine' first edition game (more commonly referred to as epic) there is an iconic image of a blonde Dark Angel and his brothers involved in an intense gunfight backlit by an orange background. The Dark Angels in this picture are in dark green armour with yellow eye lenses. Apparently these marines were supposed to be Salamanders, who at the time were one of the big four chapters of marines covered in the 1989 painting guide... So this makes sense.

    Apparently the artist used the wrong chapter badge and these salamanders were irrevocably transformed into Dark Angels which led to the introduction of the new paint scheme for the chapter. After this incident the Salamanders were gradually replaced by the Dark Angels as one of the big four....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Legio. I have also heard versions of this story, and it is a good one. Jim Burns painted the now iconic image used first on the cover of 1st edition Space Marine and included in it a homage to the famous still from the film, Scarface. But I have always had my doubts about GW changing it's suggested colour schemes because of this painting alone, after all, we have learnt that John Blanche and the art department were quite precise with what they wanted at times, and that artworks often went through a series of changes before completion. Talking to Tony Hough over the years has resulted in a few examples of this, with the most famous being the changes in a piece of art due to a character looking 'too Italian'. So if a few chapter badges were painted incorrectly, why not just get them changed? Unless serendipity was in play, possibly?

      Perhaps we will learn more in time! (:

      Delete
  2. Just a titbit of trivia for the first two patches, I actually work for the company that produced them for GW and they're woven patches not embroidered patches (two different processes) though the other patches are embroidered from the look of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I noticed that something was amiss, but without all of the patches physically in front of me I didn't want to judge. Can you elaborate on how the two patches I have were produced?

      Delete
    2. They are woven on a loom (a bit more modern than the Victorian cotton ones mind) in long strips, then a backing is glued on these to provide rigidity and to cover the weft (the loose threads on the back of the patch). Once this has been done the strips are cut and overlocked into the individual patches you have there.

      Delete
  3. I would totally use them. Man I miss those days. Have some bolt thrower blasting while painting

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, you don't see many young people with patches these days. I can remember people covering their jackets and bags with them back in the day. I always thought people who did so were 'tough'. But, what did I know, eh? (;

      Delete
  4. Jim Burns was the artist who painted the awesome Space Marine box art. I had a Dark Angels badge sewn on my college jacket, unfortunately the badge was considerably cooler than I was.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At least you had a Dark Angels badge. And a jacket. (; Many of us had neither!

      Delete
  5. I luckily have all the same patches. I was given them by a (Sheffield?) GW store manager back in the late 80's when he found out that I had travelled all the way from California to visit family and GW stores!!
    I never sewed them to anything and still have them in my display cabinet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps we should start a resurgence of wearing old GW patches!!!! Or, perhaps not!! (; Nice to hear that someone has the full collection of these patches though.

      Delete
  6. Perhaps it would be fun to find out how many tee shirts were produced though the years,the earliest onesI've got is the or dakka dakka one and the inquisition badge one,plus most of the gamesday ones and a few staff ones that a friend gave me plus staff boxer shorts with gw plus an imperial eagle on,hope you have a good oldhammer weekend I shall have to miss this year as it clashes with a paintball game

    ReplyDelete
  7. Perhaps it would be fun to find out how many tee shirts were produced though the years,the earliest onesI've got is the or dakka dakka one and the inquisition badge one,plus most of the gamesday ones and a few staff ones that a friend gave me plus staff boxer shorts with gw plus an imperial eagle on,hope you have a good oldhammer weekend I shall have to miss this year as it clashes with a paintball game

    ReplyDelete
  8. I had all those patches and an 'Imperium Approved' patch.
    I also had a black Officio Assassinorum teeshirt (Emblem was on the left hand side with a banner from shoulder to waist on the front) from then that was my pride an joy until a girlfriend binned it. :(
    I do still have a pewter Inquisition keyring that is almost worn down to a barely recognisable shape. It goes everywhere with me.

    ReplyDelete