Citadel Miniatures

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The mark of the beast

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 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...


This is apparent when you pay around 30 pounds for one Mek Gun kit(Oh fuck off Teaboo. You think you have it bad? Americans pay 40 Pounds for that same model. That's converted from American dollars.), but the real problem is that you usually need a shitload of models for both AoS 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, whatever quality they put into the models.

Or, you could of course come over to the dark side.


A quick look at some of the paints over the years, and roughly why it's gone to the fucking dogs.

Whatever you feel about the models, by FAR the most controversial thing regarding Citadel these days and has largely been throughout the last two decades is their paint, the pots they come in, and and the jumps and hoops they've forced themselves to go through in order to both make a profit and sell a half-decent acrylic paint to their customers, and immediately spend their time fixing what was previously not-broken. The thing is, the paint itself is fine. Perfectly serviceable. It dries quickly, thins nicely, and comes in all colors of the rainbow. A well-practiced mini-painter can take a primer'd land raider and make it look like it's gone through hell and still functions using a base, a handful of layer paints, and a decent set of brushes. They've even come up with special contrast paint that's designed to cut at least half of the number of layers you'd normally put on certain models down, and their technical paint is some of the most involved and easy to use in the business. Even the most hardened anti-Citadel painter will still have a pot of 'Ardcoat or some other paint that absolutely saves time.

No, the issue is mostly the pots themselves and what they do to that paint.

See, back in oldfag times, Citadel paints used to come in round or hexagonal with simple snap covers that both quickly formed an airtight seal, and opened just as easily. Sure, the hinge on it usually broke about the fourth time you opened it, but it still did it's job perfectly well and kept your paint gooey and consistent. And then Citadel changed the top of the paint pot to a rounder, "Bolt slug" design that was...controversial, to say the least. First of all, it coincided with a massive change in the way the paints were ordered and named, meaning almost every old painting scheme that had been around for almost a decade was either useless or wrong, and that pissed neckbeards who had a half-painted army they were getting around to right the hell off. Second, the pots were getting progressively smaller; going from 20ml of paint to around 17.5ml, and were not priced to match. And finally, arguably the most infuriating, was that these new caps provided an absolutely miserable seal on air, and the paint would either dry out intolerably quickly, or glue itself shut; forcing you to either have a flow improver bottle on hand at all times of the day in order to even put on primer, or throw them out and go buy new ones, in a scheme that seems just so classically "GW". Oh sure, they've gone and "improved" the design from the stupid black shell design, but it still comes with it's own set of problems: Paints can still gum up the ring intended to help clear the bottle of air, and opening them is now a game of wondering how much force is going to spill paint all over your unwashed body. And that is a dangerous place to be, since now the paints are even smaller than they were, now roughly 12ml of paint per pot. There is a reason most people recommend Vallejo or Reaper paint to this stuff, simply because of how poorly designed and infuriating working with Citadel paint pots can be. Most even suggest if you can't find a suitable replacement to go buy your own dropper bottles and decant that shit.

TL;DR: there is a reason most hobbyist paint companies and hobbyist painters use Dropper bottles for their paints these days. Citadel has yet to learn it.

See Also[edit]

  • 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.