Dark Elf (WHFB 1st/2nd Edition) - Collectors Guide
The purpose of this page is to collect images of all the extant Dark Elf figures in the history of Citadel Miniatures in rough chronological order by release date. In their earliest incarnations, Citadel Dark Elf miniatures owe a lot to traditional Dungeons & Dragons Drow- They are frequently painted with blue skin in early Citadel catalogue material and there is a higher percentage of female models in the Dark Elf line than any other, reflecting the matriarchal nature of Drow society.
Night Elf Patrol
The history of Citadel Dark Elf figures begins with the Night Elf Patrol- "Evil Elves of the Underworld". They were originally released in a boxed set of 10 individually-named figures, with an additional (nameless) Night Elf Lord figure released singly as part of the Fantasy Tribes line. Concept art for the Night Elf Patrol features prominently in early Warhammer material, including the first edition Warhammer rulebooks and the Forces of Fantasy supplement. In background terms, Kraal Hearteater (the father of Mengil Manhide) is a member of the Night Elf Patrol. This line is closely related to the Dark Elves of Norse Mythology- they are rather wizened and very small in stature. The line is attributed to Michael & Alan Perry (some of their ealiest work for Citadel Miniatures).
Preslotta C09 Dark Elves
The next expression of Dark Elf figures in the Citadel range is the preslotta C09 line of figures. This line includes figures called "Witch King" and "Witch Queen", but the figures predate the creation of the Malekith & Morathi background material by a decade. The armor & weapons of the C09 preslotta Dark Elves are similar to those of the Night Elf Patrol, but the C09 Dark Elves are taller & more elegant in stature, closer to their High Elf cousins. the terms "Dark Elf" and "Night Elf" are used interchangeably at this point and some C09 Dark Elf blisters are labelled "Night Elf". The C09 code designation was also used for a separate line of generic (non-Dark Elf specific) preslotta Elf figures. The C09 line of Dark Elves includes 19 figures as coded by RAFM miniatures (the Canadian Miniatures company that handled US production & distribution in the early days of Citadel Miniatures), leading some to suspect that there is a lost 20th figure in the range. This line includes proto-Witch Elves (called "Berserkers" or "Female Fanatics" at this point) as well as character figures and regular male & female Troopers. Missile troops are armed with a mixture of bows and crossbows (the Repeater Crossbow has yet to become the Dark Elf signature weapon).
Preslotta C21 Dark Elf Cold One Riders
The C21 line of Dark Elf Cold One Riders provides the cavalry element for the preslotta Dark Elf range (there are no horse-mounted Dark Elves of any kind at this point). In it's earliest conception, the Cold One is supposed to be a huge, terrifying multi-wound model analagous to a modern-day Carnasaur (although the figures themselves are quite small). The line includes a Cold One-mounted Dark Elf Hero, Sorcerer, and four different Troopers (including a Musician). The same Cold One figures were also used as mounts for preslotta Slann & Lizardman figures (a tradition that continued until very recently, with the creation of a Lizardman-specific plastic Cold One for late 6th edition Warhammer).
RR4 Preslotta Mengil Manhide's Manflayers
The preslotta era of Citadel Dark Elves concludes with the earliest version of Mengil Manhide's Manflayers, a Dark Elf Regiment of Renown (Mercenary Company). the original preslotta line includes Mengil himself and a (nameless) male Musician and female Standard Bearer, plus one type of Trooper. These were sold in boxed sets of nine figures, with one random Command figure and 8 identical Troopers. Theoretically, one had to purchase 3 separate boxed sets (comprising 27 models) to assemble a unit with a complete 3-person Command group. Despite the presence of the Dark Elf Champion Ean Hawkbane amongst the preslotta RR4 figures shown on SOL (Stuff Of Legends), there is no preslotta version of Ean Hawkbane and the slottabased version was not sold with preslotta figures. The background material on Mengil Manhide remains essentially the same from the preslotta era to the present.