Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Unreleased Citadel Rogue Trader era Adeptus Arbites in the Bryan Ansell collection

It's not unusual for images of previously unseen unreleased Games Workshop figures to appear on the internet, and probably the best overall source for these is the Collecting Citadel Miniatures wiki. What is unusual, however, is for new figures to appear in older ranges that might previously have been considered to be completely documented; I recently discovered two figures in Bryan Ansell's collection that fit this criteria.

The figures below are labelled "Arbites" on the front of the tab and "GW 1987" on the rear of the tab. So here I present two unreleased Adeptus Arbites from the Rogue Trader era:

It was only while writing this post that I realised how similar the top figure is to the old Citadel Judge Giant figure, so much so in fact that I think they must share the same base figure (pic on the right taken from the Collecting Citadel Miniatures wiki):

It's not so easy to see in the pic above, but the Arbites still retains an eagle badge on the left breast, but it's not quite the same as the eagle seen on the Judge Giant figure. The crouching figure is reminiscent of some of the Rogue Trader Space Pirates range, but I haven't been able to pin down a donor figure. Oddly, the kneepads of the crouching figure look more like the kind that were found on Citadel fantasy fighters of the era.

I've been looking through the original Rogue Trader rulebook and the Book of the Astronomican and I couldn't find any illustrations of Adeptus Arbites that fit with the above. But what I did find on page 139 of the Rogue Trader rulebook is a description of the Adeptus Arbites which contains the following text:

Their uniforms are basically black leather breeches and jacket, with extra padding at the elbows, knees and shoulders - this helps to emphasise their already considerable bulk. Heavy gloves and boots protect the hands and feet, whilst the head is encased within a simplified and practical version of the helmet worn by the Adeptus Custodes.

And in case you weren't aware, this is what the Adeptus Custodes looked like in the Rogue Trader era (pic taken from the Collecting Citadel Miniatures wiki):

Which fits in nicely with the helmet design of the unreleased Adeptus Arbites. Interestingly, the first Rogue Trader releases also made an appearance in 1987, the same year as indicated on the unreleased figures (scan image courtesy of the Stuff of Legends):

This initial range was minus an Adeptus Arbites figure so it's tempting to think that the unreleased Adeptus Arbites might have originally been destined for this first release, and were either pulled due to a design or casting issue, or were simply overlooked in error or perhaps didn't fit on a mould for some other reason. The Adeptus Ardites that finally made it into design were by Jes Goodwin, and example of which can be seen here:

It seems as if Jes toned down the pointy helmet somewhat...

If anyone can shed a light on these two unreleased figures, or would like to speculate as to their design please feel free to leave a comment.


  1. I'm wondering if they fell foul of losing the IPC/Dredd licence, as they're very close, sculptwise, and based on the Giant figure, as you've noted? Interesting artifacts, though, and another two figures I'll be unlikely to ever add to my RT collection!

    1. Could be that - but back then perhaps they could have argued that they were sufficiently different to Dredd to warrant casting. Who knows?!

  2. Spotting common donors is a very good game indeed, especially when one is just oversculpted on top of the other (like the eldar captains from your last post).
    I have to say the previous range was far more nasty looking compared to the more martial arbites by Jes. Very good models.

  3. Still after 'some' of those Imperial Bodyguards. Top minis. Great article!

  4. The other one looks like an SJS Judge from the JD8 blister. My betting is they're either test scuplts for a range that never was, possibly due to the IP issues (not that that stopped them recycling the original LOTR range using the simple expedient of scratching the names and copyrights off the slotta tab...), or perhaps just cast up for an 'in house' game, never intended for a proper release.

    They do look a little rough; the shoulder pads were obviously hacked from some unsuspecting Marine, and the heads (eyes especially) are very basic. Reminds me of Trish Morrison's resulpted 1987 Villagers; the text on the tab is identical to her output around that time.

    1. Alan you are right! It does indeed look like a SJS judge. I'll have to do an updated post. Thanks! Also thanks for your comment in the tab text - you sure are sharp-eyed :-)

  5. I think that they look too scratchy for release. Probably someone knocking up a few models for there own use. I bet Alan Merrett would remember

  6. Available from Foundry miniatures now. These two, plus three other figure. £19. Mine arrived this morning. No slotta tab, just a moulded base.