Citadel Miniatures is Games Workshop's paint-and-miniatures production division. GW funded their founding, and licensed miniature production to them, and then bought them outright. They are often brutally overpriced for what they are, but are still reasonably good quality (except for fucking Finecast). They used to make miniatures for all kinds of games, but nowadays they only make models and miniatures for games in the Warhammer 40,000,
Warhammer Fantasy Battle, Age of Sigmar, and The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game lines.
Citadel was founded by Bryan Ansell in 1978 to produce and manufacture 25mm scale historical and fantasy miniatures and games to be sold by Games Workshop. By 1982-83 Games Workshop was depending on sales of Citadel Miniatures and Games to survive. Around this time Bryan Ansell bought out all of Steve Jackson's and Ian Livingstone's shares in Games Workshop and absorbed Games Workshop into Citadel. All the Games Workshop operations (including White Dwarf) were moved from London to the Newark / Nottingham area to become part of Citadel with very few of the original Games Workshop staff staying on. Steve and Ian went off to live in Spain for a while. The company expanded rapidly and in 1991 Bryan Ansell sold his shares to Tom Kirby to concentrate on building houses and having children, but retained the entire Games Workshop collection of painted miniatures and artwork as well as rights and moulds for many of the ranges of miniatures which he now sells through his company Wargames Foundry.
The models of Citadel Miniatures are generally detailed, detailed and robust. You will only rarely have problems with compatibility between the different parts, which tends to be the case with many other corps who makes models. They do have some mold lines, but usually not too obstructive. The design of the models also tend to fit very well together regardless of faction (so the Tyranid and Space Marine models look different, but still seem like they fit in the same universe). But, regardless of this flubdubbery, Citadel Miniatures have one, singular problem...
THEY COST TOO FUCKING MUCH!
This is apparent when you pay around 30 pounds for one Mek Gun kit, but the real problem is that you usually need a shitload of models for both Fantasy and 40K for them to be effective in crunch. In fact, both games are based around quantity rather than quality (in general at least), so get ready to murder your wallet over and over to pay for your plastic crack, however quality they put into the models.
They (may) have the best metallic and technical paints available and quite some colours to chose from (150 in total), but they're expensive. Pots cost £2.55 a piece - This is a hurdle for some, as you can get more paint for a bit less at other people, but to its credit, Citadel Paint is very consistently of great quality - Each paint has a specific feel to it, and by combining the right amount of water (usually just a tap) you can make exactly the paint you want, where the cheaper paints tend to be thin from the get-go. To the creatively impaired among us, the paints also fit together very nicely, so Rakarth Flesh (a white-ish tone) fits perfectly with Ushabti Bone and Screaming Skull, making for easy blending of the right colours. If you have the money and the patience to blend each stroke with water, Citadel isn't a bad choice. Just a costly one.
Some time ago Citadel released a new line of paints named Contrast which are designed to save up time by creating shadings and highlights (hence the name contrast) just with a couple of layers, in words of Citadel's people they are made to add new options to your sets, reviews done by different painters find them quite good, mostly when it comes to skin, and natural materials, they can also be used to add to metallics and create degrade effects, not bad at all if you don't mind paying a bit more than average and it saves up lots of time when you go with horde organic armies.
- Forge World, GW's more specialist miniature studio which somehow manages to be even more overpriced. Because sculpted resin is worth twice its weight in gold, apparently.