White Dwarf Review – March 2018

20180327_094443-1-1.jpgAlthough I’m not an Age of Sigmar gamer, it’s obvious that new Witch Aelves models quite a big deal.  There’s a lot of them and they’re rather awesome, particularly the new incarnation of Morathi, which is quite frankly amazing.  They also put me in mind of Ray Harryhausen monsters, from the Sinbad films and Jason and the Argonauts, which is no bad thing.

Along with the miniature releases for the Witch Aelves, they also get a Battletome this Month, which I imagine is great news for Age of Sigmar players.

The Tau Codex also sees the light of day this Month and as a Tau player, this is one I’ve really been looking forward to.  I would’ve liked some new models alongside the Codex, but Tau are fairly well catered for in most areas, with only a couple of exceptions; I’m looking at you Krootox Riders.

I can’t write about Planet Warhammer without mentioning Rogal Dorn, as the big golden bugger finally gets his release this Month and Forge World have done an amazing job on him.  Some people have criticised his pose, but I think the steadfast, immovable object stance really reflects the character of the man himself.

There’s not a great deal to say about the letters page; it’s fine.  I like that it’s in White Dwarf and very much want it to stay put but it’s rare when there’s anything standout about it.

Temporal Distort is a good one for me this Month.  Issue 153, from September 1992 was one of the earliest issues that I bought.  Although I’d already been into the hobby for a couple of years at this point, I hadn’t been collecting White Dwarf for more than six Months or so at this point.

My favourite part of that issue was the Battle Report, which was a Dwarves versus Bretonnians scrap.  The fighting was focused on a tomb and although I can’t quite remember why they were fighting over it, I do remember that it was the forces of the villainous Bretonnian Baron, Flaubert Bonsante that won in the end, sealing the remaining Dwarves into the tomb by collapsing the entrance with cannon fire.

There’s another Getting Started article and this time it’s The Horus Heresy.  Whereas these are still little more than an advert for whatever games system they decide to cover in a given month, they manage to fall just on the right side of worthwhile content.  I suppose at the very least they are keeping games systems visible that might not otherwise have a regular presence in the magazine.

Another short story, courtesy of the Malign Portents shenanigans and it’s about a hungry Troggoth looking for a meal.  The premise is simple and it’s a well written, cool little story.  I definitely want to see the semi-regular short story stick around.

The Designers Notes cover the new Daughters of Khaine stuff, with a particular emphasis on the new Morathi models.

Her big snake beasty incarnation is amazing.  Even if you don’t play AoS, or aren’t interested in the Daughters of Khaine, it’s objectively a fantastic piece of work; it’s a model that quite simply wouldn’t have been possible a few years ago.

To the best of my knowledge the art shown in Illuminations is always stuff that has been reprinted from elsewhere, but it’s nice to have the ability to leaf through it, without all the intervening text.  This month covers art featuring the Tau and it covers a good spread of stuff, from the cover of the first Codex, right up to current stuff.

The Battle Report covers a scrap between Witch Aelves, led by Morathi and Undead, led by Mannfred.

I hate to say it, but I found it to be a bit of a slog and a little boring.  This may well be because I don’t have much of an interest in either of the armies, not knowing a great deal about them in the AoS incarnations, so I suppose the problem may well have been that I just didn’t really care who won.  Both sides do have some amazing models though.

The collecting article shows off a Horus Heresy Era Iron Warriors army, which is of course led by Perturabo.  I’ve never really been a fan of the Iron Warriors from a background perspective, as, to me at least, they have a massive chip on their shoulder and sometimes come across as being a bit whingey.

They look great though.  The gunmetal, with black and yellow chevrons is a great look and I could almost collect an army of them based on appearance alone and Perturabo, although one of my least favourites in the background, has one of my favourite models.

It’s an amazingly well painted army and it’s likely to be one of those articles that I take another look at from time to time.

The Hall of Fame is has returned and they’ve changed the format a smidge.  Rather than just writing about the model that’s been chosen, a shortlist of models is presented, with a piece about why each one was considered, with the overall winner for the month presented at the end.

This month’s entries are entirely made up of recent models, with the winner being Festus the Leechlord and whereas it’s a fine model, I don’t think it’s been around long enough yet to be put into the Hall of fame.

In Tale of four Warlords they all add a character to their army, along with whatever else takes their fancy.  The format of this seems to be getting rather loose and I must admit, I’d rather it was a bit more rigid.

Part of the draw of this article, as least as far as I’m concerned, has always been seeing what folks manage to add to their force, within the restrictions set each month and I don’t think a character and whatever you can paint in a month is all that restrictive.

The Golden Demon Classic focuses on the Monster category and showcases the winners, with the gold going to an awesomely disgusting Hell Pit Abomination, by Kristian Simonsen.  It’s an amazing model and it’s easy to see how much time and effort went into it.

Silver and bronze go to Angelo Di Chello’s Shar’tor the Executioner and The Glottkin, by Mally Anderson and they are both also spiffy as heck.  I imagine everybody likes to see models like this and for me Golden Demon stuff is part of what justifies the cost of White Dwarf for me each month.

After the Golden Demon stuff, there’s an article about one of the mega displays at Warhammer World, The Death on Khendrel IV, which tells the tale of a Dark Angel assault on an Imperial world that’s been occupied by the Death Guard.

I love displays like this and can spend ages looking at them, with the best of them being the ones that tell little stories here and there on the battlefield, which this one seems to do quite well.  Displays like this are one of the reasons that I want to visit Warhammer World.

‘Eavy Metal Masterclass covers some of the stuff painted by Anja Wettergren, alongside an interview with her.

It goes without saying that her work is incredibly good, but her skill with blending is mindblowing; she transitioned seamlessly from one colour to another on the chequerboard pattern of a Harlequin Shadowseer’s clothing!

Although the stuff in Blanchitsu is always really good, this month is a particular treat as it features a warband by the man himself.  As you might expect they’re a grim bunch of individuals, made up of models that have been heavily converted, which are painted in the style that he’s become known for.

Stake a Claim is a mini-game that pits two Kharadron Overlords against each other in a battle over a freshly discovered seam of sky gold.  It seems like everything that you need to play is contained in this article.  I initially thought it used the AoS rules, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.

It must be played with the Kharadron Overlord ships, which means it’s really a game that’s only open to those with Kharadron armies, but it’s still nice to see and is something that could easily be woven into a campaign, giving them an excuse to fight each other.

The Genestealer Cult rules are great to see.  Not only does it expand Necromunda as a game, but it’s cool to see the dangling Hive Secundus plot thread, from back in the murky past picked up.

I remember me and my Bro talking to Jervis Johnson about this, at one of the late nineties Gamesday’s and it’s been a long time coming but it’s good to see that it was never forgotten about.

The rules look to be solid and I’d quite like to have a pop at my own Genestealer gang now.

The Painting Guide is chock full of stuff this month, with guides on Morathi, in her Oracle form, a Fire Warrior from Tau Sept and a Crisis Battlesuit from Vior’la Sept.  As far as the battlesuit is concerned, white can be quite a tricky colour to paint, so I can see this being particularly useful to folks.

The next article, The Hero Challenge, seems suspiciously like an excuse to showcase cool big dudes that folks have painted; not that I’m complaining about having an excuse to look at a variety of well painted models.

As is always the case with the Readers Models, it’s a good chance to see an assortment of painting styles and some very well painted models, with this month being no exception.  The ‘In the Spotlight’ section is the real highlight for me this time though.

It shows off the work of John Margiotta and he’s painted some awesome stuff.  He paints in a darker, grittier style that I’m particularly fond of, with his version of Slambo and Genestealer Cultists being the real standouts.

In the Bunker features the usual selection of stuff, what folks are painting, playing etc, but also the final part of the Flamescar campaign that they’ve been running for the past few months.  I’m interested to see what they fill the gap with next month.

Lastly, the final page shows off a very eye-catching, very orange Magmadroth.  I’m not a massive fan of the model, but it’s nice use of a very limited colour palette.

In summary, it’s a solid issue with some ups and downs.  The new Witch Aelf stuff is cool, particularly Morathi, and the Genestealer Cult rules for Necromunda are great.  On the flipside, I though the battle Report was quite weak and there was no feature on the new Tau Codex, which was disappointing.

Whereas I probably should give this issue a cheesy With Aelf themed score, I’m not going to.  Instead I’m going to give it three Tau Fire Warriors out of five.

 

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