I have been gaming for a fair few years now, my first experience with Warhammer was the first edition when it came out.
There were so many releases back then that I wanted, but alas the pocket money only stretched so far and it never stretched as much as I wanted.
Across the pages of White Dwarf were adverts for lots of lovely models which I was never going to be able to afford to buy. Occasionally I would see something and I would send off for it.
One advert for a product that remains a strong memory for me was the one for the Blood on the Street Arcane Architecture Village Pack One. This was in the October 1985 edition of White Dwarf, issue number seventy.
After the wholesale slaughter and destruction at Orc’s Drift (Citadel’s latest Warhammer supplement) the time has come to rebuild! Now’s your chance with our first Arcane Architecture village pack. This pack heralds a series of card model buildings designed for the fantasy gamer, Village pack one contains 12 different full-colour building models designed by the award-winning and talented David Andrews. Also Included is a complete guide to The Riding – an out of the way part of the Warhammer World where out of the ordinary things are a part of every day life! The villages of The Riding are described In detail, together with their various Inhabitants. Card colour counters and Warhammer stilts are provided for all non-player characters. Background Information, local rumours, events of interest and scenario suggestions are all included – and can be readily adapted for use in a Warhammer game or fantasy role-playing adventure. An invaluable in any role-playing system. Available now at your local retailer – or post free direct from the Citadel Mail Order Trolls.
Playing lots of Warhammer Fantasy Battle at the time, this seemed an ideal way to quickly create towns to fight in.
Now buying stuff back in that day was nowhere as easy as it is now. I didn’t have a credit or debit card, I only had a savings account at the local bank. There wasn’t a world wide web to order form anyhow, and without a bank card I couldn’t phone the Citadel Mail Order Trolls. So I asked a parent to write a cheque which I dutifully sent off to Citadel Miniatures at Chewton Street in Nottinghamshire.
Now I know differently, but at the time I assumed somewhat naively that Citadel would have these in stock and I would get them by return of post. So I remember calculating in my head roughly when it would arrive. I would patiently as long as possible for the post to arrive before heading off to Sixth Form College and if it hadn’t come, rushing home afterwards to see if it had come later. It hadn’t…
In the end it took weeks to arrive. Either they had sold out their initial stock and did a reprint, or more likely they advertised the product before it was actually ready to release. Which it was I would never know. Though this experience did put me off mail order for a fair few years.
When it eventually arrived, I was amazed. I had spent £5.95 on a booklet and a load of card. That’s a little disingenuous, this was a fantastic product which had huge potential.
Knowing what I know now, I probably would have scanned all the card buildings into a computer or copied them onto card using a colour photo-copier. This wasn’t possible, as a) I didn’t have a computer let alone any kind of scanner (or colour scanner). I remember buying a black and white scanner in the mid-1990s for £500 or thereabouts. I don’t think consumer scanners were even a thing in 1985! As for a colour photo-copier, well there was a black and white one at college, but colour, wasn’t that science fiction?
So despite not having a copy, I dutifully cut out all the card building pieces and glued them together. They were fantastic, Dave Andrews had done a magnificent job in designing these.
We used them a lot in too many games to mention. Any photographs you ask (knowing how many photographs I have on this blog)? Well as well as not owning a computer, a scanner or a colour printer, I also didn’t own a camera! I didn’t really start taking photographs of models until the late 1990s. So I have no visual record of these buildings. I am not sure exactly what happened to them in the end, as used them for a fair few years, but I think they may have either been left behind when I went off to university or they got crushed and binned after a move.
Whatever happened to them I have great memories of those buildings and the games we played in and around them. I was always disappointed with Village Pack Two, Terror of the Lichemaster, which wasn’t as good, but added to the building stock.
With the wealth of plastic scenery kits these days, these card buildings look a poor relation, but at the time they were so much better than anything around, and unless you were going to spend hours making your own scenery, they added much needed depth and excitement to games of Warhammer.