Sunday, 13 March 2016

Rare Miniatures For a Niche Game

Inquisitor was always a niche game, with a limited number of miniatures that were not all available between the game's release and Specialist Games' demise a couple of years ago. The initial line of models released to coincide with the rulebook became available in 2001, with a number of additional models, and conversion kits for the original line released over 3 years until the demise of print support for Fanatic Magazine. As I recall, the Callidus Assassin and the Thorian Inquisitor were the last miniatures released, both coinciding with the Thorian Sourcebook (writing this, I have realised just how short a shelf life Inquisitor had, and it's quite incredible really that its short run managed to capture and sustain the imaginations of so many players). The availability of the miniatures dwindled over the years, as moulds failed and the components, or “bitz” catalogue was discontinued, until the plug was pulled on all the Specialist Games miniature ranges in 2013. Ebay and other trading sites are the only place to get models now, and the number of untouched kits is falling.

Even amongst this small window of opportunity, there were a number of kits that didn't make it through to 2013. There were a couple of reorganisations of Games Workshop's online store that saw models like the Unbound Daemonhost, the Purestrain Genestealer, and the Bodyguard disappear from the range. Kal Jerico famously became unavailable as it turned out GW didn't have the rights to sell the model as his image belonged to the artist of the comics. The mould for the Vindicare assassin died, but not before a number of very poor quality casts were sold. These models, and a few others like Inquisitor Scarn will fetch a high price on Ebay because comparatively very few were actually sold when they were available for purchase.
A converted Unbound Daemonhost

Amongst all these scarce models there are a couple that are like gold dust. The Imperial citizens were four miniatures released during the Fanatic Magazine run, as an attempt to populate the 41st millennium with characters that had no place on the battlefield and would lend some authenticity to Inquisitor games in the deep and dark places of the Imperium. NPCs were in short supply and these four provided a welder, dock worker, rat catcher and messenger boy to litter the scenarios of eager GMs. Sculpted by Bob Naismith, they were nowhere near the prettiest and well-executed models of the range, but they had an ugly charm quite unlike the noble and dashing Inquisitors that would have to work around them in-game. The release window for these models was probably around 6 months or so, and therefore they sold in small numbers. The welder and dock worker were bundled together, and are occasionally seen online and in the wild; the rat catcher and messenger boy however are the rarest of all Inquisitor miniatures.

My Armageddon Ork Hunter with rat-catching bionic arm.

Chance would have it, I acquired all four in a big Ebay job lot in about 2004, long before it became obvious that the rat catcher and messenger boy simply weren't leaving GW's warehouse even when specifically ordered, as happened to an acquaintance of mine. At the time I split the lot with a friend, and he took the body of the rat catcher and head of the welder for a model of his own, which I don't believe I ever saw. I had the rat catcher's rather fantastic bionic arm which went on my Armageddon Ork Hunter, and the rat catching pole, which went on a mutant. The chest from the welder went on an arcoflagellant, and the legs on a scrap-armoured desperado. The docker never got painted and lies somewhere in a bits box. Which brings me to the messenger boy.

The rarest of the rare?

I slightly converted him with an auspex, some gubbins and Eisenhorn's scroll cases, and named him David Burrell, an archeotech prospector in service of Inquisitor Goddard. He was a mainstay of his war band, and despite his incredibly average stats, infamously blew the head clean off a cultist in the Dark Magenta battle reports of years past.

For years I have been on the lookout for another messenger boy model, as aside from David the only other pictures I saw of one were in the original Fanatic Magazine article. Does anyone else have one? Is he truly the only one ever sold to the public by GW? I'd love to know if anyone else has one.

The Carthaxian Inquisitor

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