Friday 25 December 2015

Collecting Citadel Miniatures - A Concise 31 Year Timeline

With the year all but over and it becoming increasingly unlikely that I'll manage to get a post consisting of any finished paint jobs up before 2016 due to the diorama project being only roughly 50% complete and not looking to be finished before February, I've decided to compile a timeline of my history in the hobby to prevent the blog from getting a tad stale.

It all starts aged 8 when I'm round my older cousin's house and he and a mate are having a large scale battle on his bedroom floor (Warhammer 1st Edition I'm guessing). Having caught the Fighting Fantasy bug a year or so before, it doesn't take much for me to take an interest.
I buy my first Citadel Miniature from a place called Dreamz (basically a card shop that stocked a small amount of figures) in Newport on the Isle of Wight despite being too young; I think they were not for sale to children under 10 at the time. Sadly that figure is long gone but it was a 60p Half Orc like the one shown below.

Others followed soon after such as fantasy tribe skeletons and more half orcs. My Dad never approved; I was only permitted to buying Humbol red, yellow and blue and having to mix them to obtain other colours. Eventually I persuaded him to buy me a black, white and a silver. The results are pretty grim to be honest.

After stopping for a year (probably because I was disgruntled with my early efforts) I discovered that figures now came with plastic bases and shields. Among the first slotta based purchases were an AD&D Umber Hulk, and the Heroic Fighters of the Known World boxed set. A mate of mine brings into school The Third Citadel Compendium and for the first time I see hundreds of just some of the amazing miniatures that are out there.

The original copy of my mate's Third Citadel Compendium

With the mail of catalogue released and occasional trips on the boat from the Isle of Wight to Games Workshop in Southampton, my collection begins to rise and also my painting has started to improve; an older kid at school shows me how to drybrush and of course I'm using citadel paints by now. Plus Blanchitsu, 'Eavy Metal and my bible, the Golden Demon book of that year, Fantasy Minatures are great inspiration. Oh, to be as good as that, I wished.

With Blood Bowl 2nd Edition released by now I begin to start properly playing my first type of games, although some of  my mates were and remained over the years exceptional players (a couple of them would regularly beat members of staff at Southampton GW at the tender age of 13) so I used to get put off playing a lot of the time.

I drift out of the hobby for a number of reasons (trouble at home mainly, I think) and it will be three years before I make a return.

With the love rekindled, one of my best mates who is also on hiatus sells off a few bits from his collection (my own has been greatly depleted at this point). I self teach myself how to blend and am able to take myself to a new level. I wish I still had some work from this period but was frequently stripping and repainting as I improved. 

3rd Edition Blood Bowl and Necromunda releases see a return to gaming altough it's still tough going trying to beat any of my mates in Blood Bowl. With Necromunda I fare rather better.

I decide that this is the year I will make an attempt to enter the Golden Demon awards so spend months on coming up with an entry and eventually opt for a Necromunda Cawdor gang; the one I regularly play with in fact. With a couple of mates along for moral support I am blown away when I first see all the many incredible entries on display. I am even more shocked when I manage to pull off a third place in the Necromunda category. The following month I get to visit the GW studio (the new Lenton site has recently opened), the gang get photographed for White Dwarf and I get to take home a load of free lead (white metal). Yippee!

I spend many months obsessed with entering again and after many failed projects, submit three entries for this years' competiton. I remember it being an unpleasant experience due to feeling stressed and nervous all day (I suffered a bit from anxiety at that time) but was astonished to manage a second place, this time in the Warhammer single miniature category. Looking back of both years, I feel I was incredibly fortunate as there were some phenonenal entries submitted.

Both gongs (both damaged over time and glued back together)

After initially planning on a third Golden Demon entry, I drift off the idea. My mates have moved away, I've kickstarted a social life with new aquaintances and life moves off on other paths....

After a trip into Mum's loft, I retrieve all my stuff and get back on it. I am dismayed, however on learning that all the old range of Citadel classic back catalogue is now discontinued. With the introduction of ebay I am able to begin tracking down the now Out Of Production items that I need, in particular the Chaos Battering Ram that I have wanted for so long and had written off ever owning.

These days gaming is all but non existant and the hobby for me is now purely just a painting one. Painting is less frequent during this period; sometimes weeks or months inbetween projects before another dip out of the hobby for a few years due to my job forcing me to work away. 

Finally getting my life back, I return to the hobby and begin to finish off a load of half started projects such as my Rogue Trader Space Marine force and some Blood Bowl teams.

A quick shot of the Marine force so far

I begin to spot a number of inspirational blog pages when searching for images of other people's work so decide it's time to start up my own one. The Work of Shaitan is born. I finally finish the Chaos Battering Ram which becomes my debut blogpost. 

Meeting new faces from blogging, The Oldhammer Forum and later the Facebook pages have made this the most enjoyable period in my history of being associated with this hobby to be honest after some years of it being a very solitary pastime. 

My apetite for painting just seems to keep growing and projects ideas keep on becoming a reality. I believe the presence of all you other guys out there keep me going and prevent me stagnating when I see so much awesome work from so many talented fellows literally on a daily basis. I finally embark on my current diorama project which was originally conceived in 2001 has been extremely encouraging. As I said before, early next year should see it completed.

Well that's about it without getting too long winded. I'm sure there is plenty of other crap I could have mentioned. Have a merry Christmas and I hope to post the finished diorama up as soon as possible. I may take a week off it and paint something one off to post here but we'll see. I wouldn't want to lose momentum now!

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