Underestimation

Do a White Dwarf review each Month I thought.  It’ll make for an easy blog, I read it anyway.  Unsurprisingly I was wrong, it’s not even slightly easy.

It takes at least double the amount of time to read an issue when notes need to be taken and I hadn’t realised how much of each issue I just skipped over because it didn’t interest me, or I didn’t feel like I needed to read it; I’m looking at you Lord of the Rings articles.

When I’m reading with a review in mind I need to read every last smidgen of content, or it’s just not a proper review.  For example, I’d usually skip over a lot of the Planet Warhammer section, just stopping at the bits that piqued my interest.  Now however, I need to take it all in.

It does have its advantages though, as well as drawbacks.  Some of the articles may be ones that I would’ve jumped past previously, but now I read them for review purposes and I find them to be thoroughly decent reads.  It makes me wonder what good stuff I’ve missed out on in the past, due to prejudging an article.  It doesn’t always work out that way.  Sometimes I’ll read an article and it’s about as much fun as going to the dentist. *  Still, I can’t write a review without taking in the good and the bad.

One thing that has come of this is the realisation that my handwriting is bloody awful.  I’m making my notes in a nice, swanky pleather journal that I’ve had for a year or two, as it’s easier than doing it in a Word document while I’m reading a magazine.  My writing is incredibly messy and has a lot of scribbled out words.  Being left handed probably doesn’t help, pens and whatnot, but that’s a blog for another time.

I mentioned up at the top of this blog that it takes a fair bit more time to read White Dwarf when I’m reviewing it.  The current issue is a prime example of that.  I was expecting to have my review ready sometime over the weekend, but it’s far more likely to be Monday, or Tuesday.  I seem to be making more notes this time, hopefully that’s a good thing.

I packed in for the night to write this because I couldn’t face the next two articles without a break (Age of Sigmar and Lord of the Rings respectively) and I realise that I should’ve pressed on because now they’re the first things I’m going to have to read in the morning, but I just couldn’t do it.

The review should be here in a couple of days.  Until next time take care of yourselves, and each other. **

 

*My Dentist is a hecka nice guy, but it’s still a trip to the dentist.

**Channeling my inner Jerry Springer.

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Wordless

When I started writing White Dwarf reviews a few Months back it was my intention to do a review of every issue, this hasn’t happened and the August issue has passed me by.  The fact that this has happened bothers me, but I can’t blame anybody but myself for it.

It was only when the September issue dropped through my letterbox yesterday that I realised I’d procrastinated my way through an entire Month, at least as far as writing anything was concerned.  I’ve had a Month full of stuff, but it would be a fib if I said there has been so much going on that I couldn’t have fired up a Word document.

It’s not even like it was a bad issue.  It wasn’t a great one, but it was certainly above average.  It had all the usual plus points and all the usual drawbacks.  Anybody who has read my other reviews will know about my ongoing issue with the contents pages for example.

I kept putting it off until tomorrow and before I knew it my chance to write it had passed and I’m not going to make the same mistake again this Month.  I’m going to get stuck into what looks to be a very cool White Dwarf, as long as you like Warhammer 40K at that is, because there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of anything else.

The aim is to get the review up over the weekend.  That gives me a few days to read WD, make some notes, write the review, tinker with the review and then publish it.

My writing mojo seems to have returned to me, so regular wordiness should now resume and this little nugget of a blog won’t feel quite so lonely soon.

The Return of a Classic

Necromunda picture*

There has been Games Workshop news and I’m really excited about it.  They’re re-releasing Necromunda, with new models, updated rules and one would assume, some super snazzy scenery.

I imagine most people at least know of Necromunda, but for those who don’t it’s a tabletop skirmish game, played with a handful of models, over dense, multi-level scenery.  The best thing about it though, is the way your gang changes over time, a result of what is essentially levelling up.

The events in each gang fight, paired with the way each individual advances, along with equipment available to you, turns each miniature into a little person, a person whose survival you can become quite invested in; at least that’s the way it was for me.

Although I haven’t played it for quite some time, at one point it was my most played game.  I must’ve had hundreds of fights, spread across several gangs and although I remember all of them fondly, my favourite will always be my Escher gang, The Bloody Roses.

They were a motley assortment of ladies, who suffered a great deal of instability in the leadership department.  Some were killed by my nemesis, a Van Saar gang called The Hussars.  One was deposed in a leadership challenge, the woman who won being captured by the authorities some time later, never to be seen again and the last leader of the gang was about to retire when I drifted away from the game.

This is just a small sample of the stories that created themselves and played out on the table-top and I could probably write a blog several thousand words long about all of them.  Necromunda was one of the greatest gaming experiences of my life.  That may sound a little over the top, but it’s true.

Now I know the saying ‘You can’t go back,’ but if I can recapture even a little bit of that magic, that would be flippin’ grand.

 

*The contents of the original Necromunda boxed game.

White Dwarf, July 2017 Review

 

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I enjoyed writing the review of White Dwarf so much last Month, I thought I’d make a regular thing of it.  Also, it’s nifty little bit of writing practice, which can never be a bad thing.  So here it is, White Dwarf review, number two.

There’s another nice cover picture.  Space Marines doing their Space Marine thing.  It’d be nice to see one of the other Chapters on the cover, but it’s a good cover nonetheless.

I’d thought that they’d done away with the issue numbers, this is not so however, they’ve buried them in the small print sidebar on the White Dwarf team page.  Since they’re still keeping track of the numbers, I don’t know why they don’t let them find their way back to the cover again.

The editor intro is pretty by the numbers stuff, but I wouldn’t want to see them get rid of it; it’s a pretty essential part of the makeup of the magazine as far as I’m concerned.

Two pages for the contents is a bit of an ongoing bugbear for me.  It’s not needed and one of the pages could be used for absolutely any bit of meaningful content they’d care to put on it.  It’s a small thing but it really bothers me.

Planet Warhammer.  Not a lot to say really. It’s got all the latest releases, well presented, with a nice eye-catching selection of pictures.  There’s a nice bit of the latest Forge World stuff, a little interview with Phil Kelly and a look at the awesome Magnus the Red and Leman Russ diorama.  All in all, the section does what it sets out to do and I can’t say fairer than that.

Sandwiched between this and the letters page is a two-page advert for the upcoming Path to Glory game.  Interesting.

Speaking of the letters page.  There is a little bit less glowing praise this Month.  Nothing I would call criticism exactly but there are a couple of interesting letters there.

Temporal Distort is one of my favourite articles and always sends me on a nice little nostalgia trip.  The Battle Report in the featured issue was, I believe one of the last, before they really started messing around with the format of them.

The model of the Year.  Magnus is indeed an awesome model and I’d very much like to paint him, but he wasn’t my model of the Year (the cargo containers, if you’re wondering).  Not that I’ve got anything against the choice, it’s a very worthy winner.

There is also a very interesting interview chat with Matt Holland in the Model of the Year article, which was a good read.

The Interview.  I continue to be impressed with this article.  It’s consistently of a high quality and always seems to be a good size.  This Month they’re talking to a group of the sculpting guys about how they got into the job and the collaborative nature of the process. It’s a genuinely interesting read.

The Tale of Four Warlords still doesn’t really grab me.  As I said last Month, it feels like it’s lost some of its shine. This is a shame, as the participants are always enthusiastic about what they’re up to.  There are as always, some nice little painting guides and a bunch of snazzy pictures of offer though.

The Golden Demon article is headlined by a fantastic looking Warhound Titan, with some mind-blowing freehand work.  It really needs to be seen to be believed.  It almost puts what follows, in the shade; which is a shame as it’s all of the very highest quality.  I like the little bit of blurb about each of the winners.  It’s always nice to gain a bit of insight into another painter’s methods.

Illuminations covers Orcs this Month and although I’ve already a few of the pictures, it’s never a bad thing to look at pretty pictures.  Also, Orcs make a nice change.

Tactica Imperialis covers how the new Warhammer 40,000 rules work, from army building, to the table-top.  It’s a pretty interesting article, worth reading whether you’ve seen the new rules, or not.

The Battle Report this Month is Orks versus Tau, which isn’t a match up I recall seeing before.  It’s still a little light on text for my liking and the little summary bits in the margins are wasted space, as they just repeat what’s already been said.  It’s good to see the return of the little front and back end stories though and there are a couple of amusing orky moments during the battle.  A good read, despite its flaws.

Next there’s an article about the new Age of Sigmar skirmish game, War in the Shadows.  It gives a brief overview of the game and a mini, two-page Battle Report.  It seems quite a bit like Shadow War Armageddon and if that is indeed the case, it’s no bad thing.

The Collecting article covers a Stormcast Eternals army by James Karch.  It’s a really nice-looking army and it looks pretty dapper in maroon.

Painting and collecting follows a few Games Workshop folks as they each begin an army with one of the Start Collecting boxes.  It’s always nice to see ‘Eavy Metal models, but this is a nice chance to see some stuff painted in none GW styles and there is some good stuff here too.  Also, a Taurox Prime with the guns mounted on the roof; conversion?

Paint Splatter has some nice, basic guides on Ultramarines, Plague Marines and Poxwalkers.  Good stuff for anyone just starting out, or looking to get an army on the table quickly.  There’s a more in-depth guide for the new Primaris Librarian.  I’ve got one of these guys and am really looking forward to painting him, as soon as I’ve worked my way through the pile of plastic that I have outstanding.

Modelling and Painting.  It’s an interesting read as far as it goes, but I miss the scenery articles of old, when they told you how to make things from scratch.  This mostly just tells you how to spend your quids and wield a paintbrush, which is a shame.  These things are a real missed opportunity.

Blanchitsu is another one of my favourite articles and I enjoy it without fail every time it appears, it was a real blast from the past this Month though.  There were hecka old models and references to old White Dwarfs a’ plenty.  Some super cool ye’ olde concept art and as usual really nicely painted models too.

It goes without saying that Parade ground has some spangly looking models, but I particularly like the Landraider, the Kastellan Robots and the Onager; they’re all painted in styles that I’m fond of.  There’s a particularly nicely painted Taurox Prime too, unfortunately I’m just not a massive fan of the model itself.

There’s such a variety of models and styles of painting on offer in the Readers Models section and as such it’s always a treat to look at.  The real stand out model for me this Month is the Onager, from Forge World Metallica.  The work that must’ve gone into it is amazing.

I always like reading the In the Bunker piece, near the back. It’s good to see what the White Dwarf folks are up to and it gives the magazine a personal touch that was missing from it for a long time, when everything in each issue was anonymous.

In summary, a solid issue, worthy of a respectable eight out of ten.  There’s some really good articles in here, some of which even have a bit of depth to them.  Most of the Age of Sigmar stuff was a bit of a chore for me, but I suspect this is more a reflection on me and my general lack of interest in the system, than the quality of the articles themselves.

Can’t Write, Busy Writing

The gap between my last blog and this one wasn’t meant to be this long; nor was this my intended writing material.  This blog was supposed to be a short story, a Warhammer 40,000 short story and it came about as a direct result of the daily prompt being recommended to me.

I was vaguely aware of the daily prompts, as my bro has written more than a few blogs and short stories based on them, but it wasn’t until he suggested I had a go at them that I ended up there.

The word was ‘Savage’ and I decided that I could build a cool little story around it.

I’m not sure of the exact date, but that must have been about two weeks ago.  I started writing what I intended to be a tight, focused story based around my 40K Ultramarine army and I suppose that’s where it went wrong.

Ultramarines and me go back a long way.  Way before Games Workshop built them up to be ‘Down with the kids’ and pretty much reviled by almost everybody else.  I first latched onto them when I was a nipper and got Space Crusade for Christmas* and they weren’t much different from most other Chapters then.  GW Space Marine love was a wee bit slanted towards Blood Angels, if anything.

Not only have I been sucking up as much Ultramarine background as possible over the years** but I’ve also spent a large portion of that time adding to the backstory of my army and building the characters up, tweaking it here and there, as particularly interesting victories, or defeats came along.

I should’ve known beforehand that the story wouldn’t be as short as I intended to be but I ploughed on regardless.  As a result, I’ve gone from something That I intended to get done in five hundred, to a thousand words, to a story that’s teetering on the edge of four thousand.

A side effect of this, is that it’s now large enough that it’s going to take longer to tidy up, as well as the extra time it took to write, so I’m going to have to shelve it for a smidge. Hopefully then, I can get back to it in a week or so.

* Easily in the top ten of most awesome Christmas presents ever.

**A good deal of it stomach churningly bad.

All Words And No Content

I have no idea what this is going to be about.  I fired up my laptop, opened Word, then spent ten minutes staring at a blank screen.  So, it seems like I’m writing about not having anything to write about.

I was full of enthusiasm and drive when I sat down, with the intention of hitting the keyboard for a while.  I hadn’t planned what I was going to write about, but I had a couple of half formed and nebulous ideas floating around in my noggin and usually that’s enough; not this time though.

Is having nothing to write about a good reason not to write; maybe.  However, I could also see it as an exercise, or a challenge even.  If I can write a decent sized blog when there’s nothing in my head to fuel such an endeavour, then surely, I can write anytime I want to.  At least that’s what floated into my head as I started typing this paragraph.  Of course, it’s also possible that it’ll turn out that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

It’s undoubtedly the case that I can only get so far on momentum and bugger all else, but who knows, maybe what I end up with will be interesting.  If only because I manage to write a fair amount of something about nothing.

Usually when I’m writing, I’m listening to music.  Currently I’m listening to the soundtrack to ‘We Bought a Zoo’ and it’s a nice feel-good series of tracks, which I would recommend to anyone looking for something to write to.  I’m managing to write about nothing and am racking up quite a word count while I’m doing it, so maybe it’s got magic powers?

As of the first word of the paragraph you’re now reading, my word count was two hundred and eighty-six words*.  I have no idea how long I can keep going without touching on something vaguely approaching a topic and in fact I’ve already felt like I’m running out of steam a couple of times, so who knows.

When I’m blogging, I normally like to finish off by writing a little, in conclusion part; wrapping the whole thing up in a little summary parcel if you will**.  With that in mind, that’s my next paragraph, as I feel like I’ve just about run out of steam now and am in danger of repeating myself, just to keep going.

There you have it, a blog about writing about nothing.  To be quite honest, when I started typing this, I thought I was just writing for the sake of writing and up to a point that is true, but I think I’ve also written something that’s been of worth to me.

Of course, just because I got something out of it, it doesn’t mean that you, the reader will.  You may find it boring, or pointless; perhaps boring and pointless.  You may find it to be self-indulgent claptrap.  Whatever you think about it though, I appreciate you taking the time to read it.

I promise my next blog will be about something; hopefully.

*Final word count five hundred and forty words; nice.

**Reading this back, that comment makes me sound like I’m channelling my inner Alan Partridge.

The Big White Dwarf Review 1

20170703_214531-1It’s been out for a couple of weeks now but I thought I’d have a stab at doing a review of this Month’s White Dwarf.  I’m planning on doing this every Month, hence the rather hopeful number one in the title.

The cover has a cool picture of a Space Marine’s helmet, which I’m fairly-sure is the cover to the new rulebook.  I always prefer proper artwork, rather than a photograph of the model of the Month for the cover.  It’s not that I have anything against GW’s photography, in fact it’s rather nice to look at, but there’s enough inside.

The contents are spread over two pages. Two pages for contents seems a little unnecessary, but it would feel like nitpicking to say it’s a negative; it is undoubtedly page filler though.

The section on this Month’s stuff is, as you would expect, pretty 40K heavy, however there is a reasonable spread of other stuff too.

Some Bloodbowl rules, which felt a little out of place in a section of the magazine usually reserved for new release news, but it was nice to see nonetheless.

Then there’s the new Age of Sigmar skirmish game and although it’s not really for me, at least for the time being, I can see it being popular AoS players.  Releasing it in the same Month as new 40K does seem like a bit of an odd choice though.

There’s some nice-looking Forge World stuff and a few pages about comics, books and games and that pretty much rounds off the whole this Month section.

The letters page is okay, but it’s all glowing GW is awesome kind of stuff.  When they relaunched the Monthly WD, there was a bit of mild criticism, which balanced all the praise out a bit.  I find it a bit hard to believe that every single person that sends them a letter, sends one full of glowing praise.

After this there’s a nice, big 40K designers notes feature, complete with a two page battle scene and an impressive gatefold section, with loads of Ultramarine, Imperial Guard and Nurgle models to look at.

There’s also some nice Imperial Fists artwork lifted from the rulebook, that’s well worth a mention, because Imperial Fists.

A bit about why they felt eighth was needed, nice artwork, bit of a chat about the new rules, wee bit of background.  All in all a pretty good article.

There’s a piece about the new Primaris Power Armour, a smidge about the Death Guard and an ‘Eavy Metal Showcase with some pictures of Primaris guys in assorted Chapter colours.  It’s all a bit light on reading and fairly-standard stuff, but nice enough to look at.

Next there’s an article showing a couple of the GW folks playing a game of new 40K.  Not a Battle Report, but a demonstration of how an average game works.  There’s nothing wrong with it as such, but it comes across as incredibly staged and seems a bit pointless, given that there is an actual 40K Battle Report later in the issue.

Then we have an article about the new Index books.  These are designed for the sole purpose of providing army lists until the codexes are released.  A few guys talk about how well their armies work with each Index and how awesome the new books are.  Despite it being essentially an advert for the new books, it’s a decent read.

It’s at this point that I feel the need to ask a question.  When did the Tau gain an apostrophe and become the T’au?

The Battle Report comes next and is Ultramarines versus Death Guard and minions.  The basic premise is that the Ultramarines are sorely pressed by an inexhaustible horde of Nurgle dudes and need to hold out long enough for the smelly fellers to decide they’ve had enough.

It’s fast paced and an interesting read; a pretty good advert for new 40K.  I wish they wouldn’t spend quite so much time talking about how awesome Roboute is though.  I’m a big fan of the Ultramarines; they’re my main guys in 40K and I’ve got an army of them with models that go all the way back to 1990, but even I’m starting to find it a little wearing.  The battle is generally a pretty good advert for eighth though.

Perturabo, Primarch of the Iron Warriors is front and center in their Golden Demon Showcase and a pretty-spiffy model it is too.  I’m not really a big fan of him from a background perspective; I always thought he came across as a bit of a sulky whingebag, but it’s a spectacular paint job.

All the models in the showcase are fantastically well painted and even though some of the painting styles aren’t to my taste, that’s just me and they are all models that deserve to be there.  An honourable mention does go to the Sigismund model though, as I always like to see Fists.

Tale of four Warlords is always a decent enough read, but it seems to have lost something for me since the earlier ones from years gone by, I can’t quite put my finger on it.  Lack of a budget perhaps?  Cool painting guides though.

I find my motivation for AoS to be lacking and just can’t work up any enthusiasm for it, but there are undoubtedly some awesome models out for the system, a lot of which are showcased in this Age of Sigmar armies article.  It’s always a pleasure to see well painted armies, so this article stands up, based on that alone for me.

The Ultimate Guide to Khorne has some nice artwork and is an interesting read, but Bloodsecrators* is an exceptionally silly name.

After this is an article about the GW artists.  It contains some nice insight into how they work and is a really-interesting read.

The Collecting and Painting article is about a Harlequin army.  It’s an incredibly impressive force to look at and the article contains a handy dandy little guide on painting the diamond pattern that Harlequins use so much.

In the painting guide section, there is a guide on Ultramarines and one for the Plague Marines.  I have little use for the Ultramarines one, having painted loads of Team Roboute guys over the years, but it’s well presented and will be useful to a lot of folks.

The Plague Marines guide however will be very handy for me, as I’ve never painted them before, so it’ll be nice to have something to refer to if need be.

I always enjoy reading Temporal Distort, it’s a nice trip down memory lane.  It’s yet to feature a WD that I didn’t read when it was new though, so it can make me feel a bit old.  As an aside, Abaddon is showcased in that particular WD; he really needs a new model, he’s tiny.

The readers models section is always nice to look at and I always cool to see models from people on my Twitter feed turning up there.

In the Bunker is always an interesting look in to who’s doing what and is always a decent read.

Generally, a solid issue.  It could still do with tightening up a bit here and there, but it’s head and shoulders above anything they’d put out for a long time, before the relaunch.  If I was to mark it out of ten, I’d probably give it a nice respectable eight.

*Bloodsecrator sounds like the name of a Dethklok song.