Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Individually Approved

Earlier this month, I wrote a post about the lines of D&D and AD&D miniatures that Citadel briefly produced between 1985 and '86. As one might have expected, the line was heavily advertised in the pages of White Dwarf. In issue #69, the above ad appeared and it really caught my eye, not only for its Warhammer-esque artwork and photos of the actual miniatures themselves, but also for its placement of Gary Gygax himself within it.

This particular image of Gygax is one I am sure I have seen before in another context – indeed, possibly in another advertisement – but my aged brain is simply unable to recall it at the moment. Regardless, I think the prominence of Gygax, "originator of the fantasy role-playing game industry and an author of the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS®," is noteworthy, especially in September 1985, a mere thirteen months prior to his formal departure from TSR Hobbies. 

The supposed fact that Gygax had "individually approved" each figure is presented as a point in favor of these lines and I imagine that, in the minds of many, it might well have been so. I don't think there's ever been a figure in the history of roleplaying games quite like Gary Gygax. He was likely the first – and only – celebrity the hobby has ever known, someone recognizable by name and face and opinion in a way that I don't think anyone, before or since, has ever been. To some, he was a hero, to others, a devil, but there can be little doubt that we shall not see his like again.


  1. The argument from authority is strong with this one! By the way the John Blanche artwork was also the "FREE!! D&D" poster that came in White Dwarf 68 - and often missing from second-hand copies, and also formed the box covers of the BDD box sets. At the time Citadel had the D&D licence they also had the Lord of the Rings, and that is where my pocket money went (after any new Fighting Fantasy books or White Dwarf). Although we played AD&D regularly, it was more a 'theatre of the mind' experience and none of the models exactly suited our characters so didn't appeal - although the Ranger models supplemented my ME Rangers of Ithilien, and my friends Warhammer Dwarf army featured several of the ADD Dwarfs. If memory serves, at this point GW/Citadel had spinner-racks of miniatures in almost every high-street toy shop and were easily available, without having to trek to a specialist games / hobby shop - unlike D&D itself.

  2. Gary was no Stan Lee, but he was our Stan Lee.