I’ve dragged my feet with this month’s review. I don’t know why, as I can’t imagine it being particularly bothersome to write. For some unfathomable reason, for the past couple of weeks I’ve been plagued by a serious case of I’ll do it tomorrow. So, without further meandering, here it is.
It won’t come as a surprise to most people that this month is a big Custodes month and as such there is a mountain of gubbinz in Planet Warhammer relating to them. The new releases section in this issue is incredibly busy and it’s also worth pointing out that the Orlocks finally join the Eschers and Goliaths in Necromunda, along with the latest Gang War supplement, which allows gangs to take hired guns; spiffy.
There’s also a Thousand Sons Codex, and a bunch of Age of Sigmar stuff, including scenery, a new background and rulebook and a handful of new characters. It all has a heavy leaning towards the Malign Portents thingy that’s looming, with the book being specifically for that.
Fyreslayers and Skaven both get warbands for Shadespire and there’s a new Eisenhorn book, complete with super spangly new Eisenhorn model, which I believe is on limited release, at least for the time being.
I seem to be less of a crusty old cynic this month, because I quite enjoyed the letters page and there wasn’t really anything that stood out about it, it was just a nice, pleasant read.
August 2001 is the issue covered in Temporal Distort and I remember this one pretty well, although I thought it was a smidge older than it is. The main events in this one was a bunch of stuff for the Inquisitor game and the Albion campaign for Warhammer.
Inquisitor was one of those games that I always wanted to get into but never quite managed. I read the rulebook, a weighty tome, packed with background material and I even played a couple of games in the Liverpool Games Workshop, and also at home with my youngest bro Bob, but I never really got any further than that, which is a shame because, complicated though it was, it was good fun.
Following Temporal Distort is a wee Bloodbowl article, which is little more than a two page advert for the game. This isn’t such a bad thing I suppose and as long as it’s reasonably entertaining, the inclusion of this sort of thing every now and then doesn’t do any harm.
There’s a feature on the Inquisitor Martyr game which is available on the Xbox and Playstation apparently. I had no clue it was out on console, I genuinely thought it was a PC only thing, like Dawn of War and the Warhammer Total War games. Well I’ve certainly been disabused of that notion now and have found out some things about a game that I knew little about.
After this is an interview with Phil Kelly about the new Malign Portents book, which gives a decent look at the book and a few hints about what’s to come. I might finally be starting to warm to Age of Sigmar, at least its background. In the past I’ve often found the AoS stuff to be a bit of a chore to read, but I’ve not been finding it to be too much of a slog recently and that’s a big step up for me.
The anniversary of the Black Library is upon us and as part of that there is an in-depth piece about the history of it. How it started, its first books, the rapid expansion and all that good stuff. There are little chats with several BL authors and it’s a solid, top notch read.
Given the massive amount of Custodes releases this month, the issue wouldn’t be complete without a huge article about them. It follows the tried and tested formula for new release articles. That being a detailed look at the models, how they work on the tabletop and a good look at the design process.
The new miniatures look awesome and if the rest of the stuff is as well put together as the Trajann Valoris model that I’m painting at the moment, it’ll be a great army to collect. Also, gold is a great colour to paint with these days. Many moons ago gold paint was bloody awful and I avoided it like the plague.
After the introductory article last month, Tale of four Warlords covers the painting of their initial purchases, with everyone managing to get their stuff done in time. Although all the nascent armies are well painted, I just can’t take to Andy Keddie’s Daughters of Khaine; the colour scheme is far to weird for my liking.
The Battle Report pits Custodes against Necrons and while it initially seemed like a bit of a random choice of foes, they explained their reasoning behind it. Apparently, it was simply that the two forces have never faced each other before and Necrons haven’t seen a battle report for ages; that’s a good enough reason for me.
As always, it’s kind of difficult to talk about the battle without spoilering the heck out of it, so I’ll simply say it was a good read and it was good to see the two armies being put through their paces. I will say though that I was left with some questions regarding the Custodes, so I’m going to have a read through the Codex and see what’s what.
After the 40K battle report I certainly wasn’t expecting another one, so it came as a bit of a surprise to see a Blood Bowl match report immediately following the 40K battle report.
The game pits the Elfheim Eagles against the Mongrel Horde (Elven Union and Chaos Renegades, if like me you don’t know a great deal about Blood Bowl). Although I don’t currently play Blood Bowl, I always enjoy reading about it but not knowing the rules means some of it goes over my head. Despite this I’m always happy to consume Blood Bowl content, probably a result of the built-in silliness of the game (it makes a nice change from all the unrelenting grimdarkness).
Following this are the concluding parts of the Cinderfall campaign for Warhammer Quest and the final few scenarios showcasing the rules from LotR Battle Companies book.
Tactica Hereticus is a chunky wedge of article, covering Thousand Sons tactics and given that the new codex is released this month, it’s probably of use to new and old players alike.
A Necromunda scenario, The Gauntlet, is slotted in near the back of this month’s issue and whereas it’s not a scenario that’s Orlock specific, I imagine that it’s there, at least in part to give Necromunda players something fresh to do with their sparkly new Orlock gang.
It’s played on the Badzone Delta – 7 board sections, which are particularly deadly, with a fair few special rules attached to them and looks like really good fun. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if the board took out as many fighters as the opposing gangs did.
This month’s Golden Daemon stuff is from the GD Classic, Blood Bowl and Warhammer 40,000 team and squad entries respectively and all the stuff on show here is truly exceptional.
Picking a favourite from wonderful gatherings of models like these is always incredibly difficult, I can only imagine how hard it must be for the judges at these events. In this case though, I think the Orc team just about edges it (If Twitter wasn’t fibbing to me, they’re called ‘Da Beastie Boyz, presumably GW wouldn’t name them in print because they wanted to play it safe, from a legal standpoint). The team, as well as being amazingly painted, gives a look at the zanier, sillier side of the hobby, which is something I’m always happy to see more of.
On the Warhammer 40,000 side of the Golden Daemon fence, I found picking a favourite a smidge easier and that would be the squad of Genestealer Cultists. It’s a well put together colour scheme; not too bright, or flashy, just a squad of models, well painted in colours that work really well next to each other.
I’ve noticed lately that there has been an increasing amount of talk surrounding colour theory. I’m not going to lie, although it’s something I’ve always been aware of, I’ve never really paid much attention to it. I usually just go with whatever feels right when I’m painting. It’s piqued my interest however and it makes me wonder if maybe I should read up about it.
The Battleforce Challenge, which began last month, reappears in this issue. I really like this one. Paint a Battleforce, or similar sized boxed set over the course of a month. It’s a simple format, but a nifty idea nonetheless.
This month there is a Daemons of Khorne army, Imperial Guard army with a Knight in it and a Cult Mechanicus force. I must admit though, I struggle to see which Battleforce equivalent box an army with a Knight in it came out of and I wondered much the same with regards to the Mechanicus force.
It’s a good article and I’d like to see more of it, but it’s only two months in and they’re already breaking their own rules for the forces people are painting.
After the awesome scratch-building shenanigans of last month, the modelling article is unfortunately back to its usual format of taking off the shelf kits and doing something a bit different with them.
This is fine I suppose, they have some nifty ideas but I think I was spoilt by the scenery articles of old with awesome scenery built from scratch.
They cover combining the scenery kits with foliage, skulls and the like. It all undoubtedly looks very nice and the kits do go well together, it just seems a little a little mundane after last month.
I’m not sure how I feel about Paint Splatter covering the basics of painting every month. Useful as it might be to some folks, surely there are better places for this sort of thing than in a magazine, where space is at a premium (the paint app for example). It feels like a space waster and they could fit a whole painting guide into the space they squander with this.
I do however like the way the guide is giving folks a minimum amount of painting needed to get their little plastic people onto the table, along with everything you need to know to take your paintjob further; this month the guide covers an Orlock, from Necromunda.
The Readers models feature such a variety of models and painting styles, that I find it virtually impossible to pick a favourite, so I’m not even going to try. If you get the chance, you should certainly have a look, as there is some truly splendid work on display here.
In the Bunker is the usual melting pot of hobby goodness and seems, if anything, to be more of a riot of stuff this month than is usually the case, which is no bad thing. There are also some pretty pictures of models, which is always nice to see.
In summary, a good but not a great issue. There are no bad, or particularly dull articles but there are a couple that are blatant filler material and a couple more that could be better put together. Also, no feature on Eisenhorn? He barely even gets a mention in the Black Library article and they could have quite easily had a two-page feature, covering a brief history of the character and a bit of blurb about the previous iteration of the model. It’s an article that would’ve almost written itself and could’ve taken the place of one of the filler articles; it’s a real missed opportunity.
It was largely a decent issue though, so via my not at all rubbish sounding rating system, the February issue gets seven Guardian Spears out of ten, just about; six felt a little unfair.