White Dwarf Review – February 2018

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.


Heavy Metal

There was a time when I lamented the phasing out of metal models and while I still enjoy painting a one piece single miniature that’s made of metal, I now have a somewhat modified opinion of metal versus plastic.

Quite simply, when it comes to larger, multi-part models, plastic is easier to work with.  It mostly cooperates, does what you want it to do and goes where you want it to go.  A similar model, cast from metal however, hates you and wants you to fail.

A plastic model will be clipped from the sprue, glued together, cleaned up, maybe a smidge of liquid green stuff here and there and hey presto, you’re ready to rock and roll.

With a metal model, you clip off all the little tabs, spend ages hunting down all those chameleon like spindly bits of flash, spend the better part of a couple hours going at it with files and modelling knives and then when you think you’re ready to assemble it, you find more of those spindly flash things.

Then you start drilling copious amounts of holes into it, so you can pin it, just to stop in collapsing under its own weight.  When it’s finally assembled, then you have to break out the green stuff to fill in all the gaping chasms that have been left by ill-fitting joins. *

After all this you can start painting it.  You’ll probably get the undercoat on and notice another one of those spindly bits that you’d mistaken for a detail, so you have to carefully remove it.

Also, it weighs a tonne, so don’t drop it, or you’ll be more than a little bit sad.

Even once you’ve painted the model, there is a practical benefit to plastic, over metal, the weight difference.  There was a time that the average carrycase was incredibly heavy, not because it felt like it was filled with metal, but because it was filled with metal and depending on the army, you might be lugging two of them.

So, in general for multi-part stuff at least, plastic is better than metal and whereas I wouldn’t exactly say that I hate working with metal, it is at the very least a challenging and time consuming material when it comes to larger scale stuff.

20180122_175521-1.jpgThis blog has been brought to you by a Doombull.  A model currently held together with five pins and in need of two more.

Now resin.  Resin is a ramble for another time.


*Special mention needs to go to those little bits. The ones that are too small to pin and are annoyingly reluctant to adhere to anything, except your fingers.

Focus, Focus, Focus

I lack focus when it comes to painting my own stuff.  I can be happily painting a model on a Friday and then when I come back to painting on a Saturday, I’ll sit down, pick up a completely different model and start painting that.  My painting area is a wasteland of half finished models and it’s a problem I’d rather like to deal with.

It’s weird really because this hobby malady only effects my own models and when I’m doing commissions, I’m not the fastest painter in the world but I’m pretty relentless and usually meet my targets.  When I started out I’d overrun sometimes but thanks to some incredibly understanding customers I had the time to sort that problem out and it’s probably because of those top-notch dudes that I’m still commission painting today.

I think the reason I’m not as disciplined when it comes to painting my own stuff, is that there are no repercussions if I float away from one of my own models, it’s only myself I’ve got to worry about and it seems I’m a very lax taxmaster when it comes to keeping myself on course with my own models.

This is a problem that I touched on in my Pile of Shame blog a while ago and it seems I didn’t listen to myself then, so here I am revisiting it again.  My Pile of Shame has not diminished.  Some of the models have been plucked out of it and painted but others have been added and although the Pile of Shame is not a literal pile of models, it’s how I’ve come to visualise it and it’s not a pretty picture.

So here we are, still in January and the year is still fresh, so I’m going to attempt to demolish the Pile of Shame and get to a point that I can actually buy some new models without feeling guilty about all the old ones gathering dust.

I’m always going to have unpainted models, I can accept that but I want to get rid of all the part finished stuff.  The cleaned, assembled, undercoated and then forgotten for something new and shiny stuff.  So that’s what I’m going to be targeting this year.  Not the things still on sprues, or nestled comfortably in their packaging but all those other poor sods that are, quite literally in some cases, gathering dust.

White Dwarf Review – January 2018

20180102_085302-1.jpgThis issue is packed to the brim with Nurgle stuff, Age of Sigmar Nurgle stuff to be precise and it all kicks off with a super snazzy piece of cover art, featuring a Lord of Blights.  The viewpoint is set at a low angle and I imagine it’s from the perspective of a cowering peasant whose village has been overrun and is about to meet a very unpleasant and pustulant doom.

Codex Chaos Daemons gets its new release this Month and that’ll be one of the few mentions 40K gets because it’s almost wall to wall AoS from here on out.  There’s the Maggotkin Battletome, that serious looking gentleman from the cover, a gaggle of Daemons and my favourite release of the Month, the brand spanking new Great Unclean One.

It’s a very impressive model, packed with detail and character.  There are all manner of ruptured guts, boils, scabs and general grossness.  It’s massive, almost the size of the Forgeworld version I believe, it’s a painter’s dream and I very much want to paint one.

There is another of those cool character Nurglings that comes with the model too and I think those little chaps deserve a special mention.  These cheeky little guys have been popping up in a lot of the Nurgle releases since the current 40K was released last year and they inject a nice bit of humour into the kits; which is kind of appropriate when you consider the carefree lives these little stinkers lead.

The letters page is kind of just there.  Nothing stands out, either good, or bad but it was a decent read nonetheless and I hope it sticks around.

As I mentioned earlier, we’re a little light on 40K content this month but there is a wee getting started article for Orks.  It’s a bit of a light and fluffy page filler but it’s not bad. I would much rather have had the Adrian Wood interview that’s hanging around on the Warhammer Community (if you haven’t already, take a look, it’s a great read) but I’ll take my 40K where I can get it this month.

I’m not too impressed with the latest Temporal Distort.  August 2013 is hardly a classic from the mists of time.  With all the wonderful issues that have come and gone over the years, why pick an average one that’s this recent. I’ve probably got older condiments in my fridge.

The short stories that used to crop up in White Dwarf were always something I enjoyed and it’s nice to see a couple this month.  They’re part of the lead up to the Malign Portents thingy that’s coming for AoS and they’re quite good. I hope this becomes at least a semi-regular feature.

Reading is a passion of mine and one of my favourite pastimes.  I was frustratingly slow to learn, I’m told, but once I picked it up, my appetite for reading was voracious, but that I think is a blog for another time.  My point, I suppose, is that I read a lot and as a result of that, and my love of 40K and 2000AD, I’ve read an awful lot of Dan Abnett’s stuff.

The interview with Dan Abnett is the highpoint of the issue for me.  He’s one of my favourite authors and I’ve read a lot of his stuff.  Not all of it, I’m not superhuman.  He’s written so much that there may be two of him; human cloning perhaps?

He spoke at length about Gaunt’s Ghost’s.  A large part of this was about continuity and how tricky it can be to keep everything straight and also quite a bit concerning character development.  I could go on about the interview for far longer than necessary but suffice to say, there’s a fourth Eisenhorn book coming, which is apparently old news.  Well, old news it may be but it’s new to me and I’m super stoked.

I’m really liking most of the new Nurgle stuff coming out, so I found the Nurgle Designers Notes to be an interesting read.  The names of some of the characters are a bit wide of the mark, but I suppose you can’t have everything.  I particularly like the way that since Dark Imperium was released last year, they’ve been plastering their models with nurglings.  Nurglings are some of the most characterful models that Games Workshop have ever produced, right up there with snotlings and it’s good to see them being embraced in such a big way.*

This cheeky chappy isn’t one of the most recent batch but he’s a good example of the new wave of nurglings.

They also seem to have re-connected the fantasy and 40K worlds.  There was a time that Warhammer Fantasy shared its continuity with 40K.  I can’t remember the exact details but the Old World was in an impassable warp storm, or it was trapped in the warp, or something like that.

Over time they rolled that back, presumably because it would’ve been a continuity nightmare to keep it all straight and as far as I know it was no longer the case.  Well now they’re re-linked, sort of.

They mentioned in the designers notes that the Chaos Gods and daemons of Age of Sigmar are the exact same gribbly nasties that plague the Warhammer 40,000 universe.  As it stands it’s not a game changer for both sets of background, but it’s kind of cool.

The review of the year does exactly what it sets out to do and reviews the year, doing it quite well.  It’s a nice read and there’s not much more I can say really.

Something I wasn’t expecting is the Imperial Guard mutation health warning advert.  It’s slotted in between two articles with no mention and is just sat there with no context.  I love little surprises like this.  It’s silly, smirk-worthy and I hope we see more of this sort of thing.

Despite not playing Age of Sigmar, at least thus far, I can get on board with a good battle report and this month it’s Fyreslayers against the Maggotkin of Nurgle.  An interesting pair that I don’t recall seeing match up against each other previously.

I can say nothing about how tactical, or balanced the armies were, except to say that two Greater Deamons seems like overkill.  Both forces did look cool though.

There’s a good bit of back and fourth in the scrap for the first couple of turns and it looks like it could go either way for the first turn, or two but it becomes obvious early on who’s going to win and by the end of the game, the result is so one sided there is only a single army on the table, with not a shred of its opponent left.  Whereas this does happen on occasion, this time it felt pretty overwhelming, as if one side was totally outclassed and never stood a chance.

The Ultimate Guide covers the undead, with a bit about all the assorted minions of Nagash and a wee bit about the big cheese himself.

I was unsurprised to find that the undead work much along the same lines as they did in Warhammer, with the background even being quite similar.  Personally I have no problem with this because as an Age of Sigmar background rookie, it was nice to have something familiar place into context.

New stuff is always good and this month there’s a scenario for Necromunda, a quest for Warhammer Quest and the first two scenarios of a campaign for LotR.

Barring one game of Necromunda, I haven’t had a chance to get stuck into any of these games yet and whereas it seems unlikely that I’ll ever play LotR, I can see myself playing Warhammer Quest, even if it does lack the depth of the original.  As for Necromunda, I’ll definitely be playing that; I just need my pennies and my spare time to catch up with my itent.

The Golden Demon stuff is, of course amazing. From the wee LotR single miniatures, to the massive 40K behemoths, they’re all top drawer.  My favourite this month though is the Nurgle Dreadknight, for its pure retro coolness.  It looks like it’s stepped right out of one of the early to mid-nineties Golden Demon awards and that’s a period of the hobby that I loved.  There was some really crazy and imaginative stuff floating around then and obviously that’s still the case now, to a point but then, you couldn’t move without coming across a model, or army converted to within an inch of its life and it was awesome.

After the GD stuff there’s an ‘eavy Metal article about painting Nurgle stuff, both daemons and people.  It has contributions from several painters and covers why they chose particular colour schemes and which colours compliment each other, as far as the assorted ways you can paint Nurgle stuff is concerned.

As a painter, it’s always nice to read this sort of article and I’ll always be happy to see more along the same lines.

A new Tale of four Warlords begins this month and even though it’s Age of Sigmar, I’m determined not to rashly pre-judge this one, as I did the previous 40K one.

Barring the last couple of parts, I just skimmed over large parts of the last one and now wish I hadn’t because I really enjoyed those last couple of parts.  Well, I’ve learnt my lesson and this time all the words and pictures are going into my noggin.

The armies this time round are Maggotkin, Witch Aelves, Malignants and Ogor Beastclaw Raiders and since they’re all just starting, there isn’t a great deal of content to it, barring them all having a bit of a chat about their chosen colour schemes and what they bought to start them off.  There’s nothing about why they chose what they did, which is a shame but you can’t have everything.

The modelling article this month gave me a real feeling of nostalgia.  It was proper scenery building, drainpipe offcuts and bits box junk.

Dan Harden needed some scenery for his Tau, Armies on Parade board and he built a tower, a water tank and a shield generator and they all looked really good.  Okay, so most people don’t have access to such amazing bits boxes but it’s a really good article and a massive step in the right direction.

The big army of the month in the collecting section is a massive Ork Horde, by a guy called Iain Gonzalez.  It’s an impressive beast of a force that has been put together in chunks over the course of a few years, using simple, but effective painting techniques and it really captures what I think an Ork army should look like.

There’s also a piece featuring a bunch of Blood Bowl teams that folk have painted and it’s a bunch of models that makes me want to paint my own team and play.  It’s one of those games that I’ve always thought looks super-fun but just never seem to quite get around to it.

The Battleforce Challenge is, unsurprisingly, exactly what it sounds like; a boxed army, be it a Battleforce, or one of the larger Talons of the Emperor style boxes, painted to completion in a month.

It’s a design studio challenge but one that could be easily adapted by a gaming group, or even an individual looking to set a painting target.  It’s sounds like a lot of fun but I’d certainly need to focus myself, as I’m a bit of a painting butterfly as far as my own stuff is concerned.  I paint a heck of a lot of stuff but find it hard to stay pointing at any one thing.

As would probably be expected the modelling and painting section is Nurgle all the way this month.  It’s got a guide for painting Plaguebearers, Beasts of Nurgle and a more general painting guts guide.  There’s a lot of good content here and personally, I’ll find the bit about painting guts particularly useful, as I’d like to step up my gut painting game.

I don’t have a favourite from the readers models this month.  Every single one of them are very well painted indeed, but, for me at least, there’s no one model that has that extra bit of wow that would push one ahead of the others.

In the Bunker, much like the rest of the issue is very AoS heavy, with the only concession to Warhammer 40,000 being a look at some of the little yella fellas from Matt Hutson’s Imperial Fists army.

The main feature is the continuing Firestorm campaign, which this month takes the form of a wee, four-way battle report.

As seems to be becoming the norm, a solid issue.  A little light on 40K for my liking, but it can’t be bolters and battle-tanks all the time I suppose.  The Nurgle stuff all looks awesome, although as mentioned earlier, I’m not really taken with most of the names; a lot of them sound daft, daft in a bad way.

The Dan Abnett interview was my favourite thing in the whole issue, as you may have noticed, I’m a bit of a fanboy in that respect and I would quite happily have read it if it had been twice as long as it was.

The January issue gets four out of five jolly little Nurglings.


*Not literally.  That would be rather messy.

Back in the Underhive

The post game carnage.

I went to my Mum’s house on Sunday for my dinner, as I do on a regular basis and ended up playing a game of the new Necromunda while I was there and along with a very tasty dinner, cooked by my Mum, the game made for a very pleasant day all round.

My youngest bro, Bob had bought it on release day, along with the Gang War supplement and asked me if I wanted the first game with him; of course I wasn’t going to turn down such an offer and just as soon as he’d glued enough gangers together, we played the introductory game in the box lid board section; using the game boxes as scenery and board sections is a pretty spiffy idea on Games Workshop’s part.

I played as the Eschers and Bob played the Goliaths and right from the start the differences in the stat lines of the two gangs set them apart.  In the previous edition, starting stats were identical and the changes came with advancement, whereas this helps to establish an identity for each of the gangs from the rules, up.

As is traditionally the case, my shooting was poor and neither of my lasguns could hit the broad side of a barn, and my champion wasn’t much better with her plasma pistol.  I scored a few hits.  Not as many as I should’ve done but a few. The thing with shooting at Goliaths isn’t hitting them, it’s putting them down; they are seriously resilient.

It seemed as if the writing was on the wall from the off but the Eschers have an ace up their sleeve, the chem thrower, that thing is awesome.  It works in a similar fashion to flamers, at least playing without the advanced rules it did.  I expect it’ll be a bit different with all the advanced stuff layered onto the game.

I managed to get close enough to a couple of Goliaths over the course of the game to take them down with it.  I did this by hopping from cover to cover in true Necromunda style, until I got close enough to blast a dude with it.

Unfortunately, my chem thrower lady was taken out before she had a chance to get a third shot off and my chances of a victory were as good as over at that point, as I only had one lasgun ganger left and she was taken out in short order.

At one point it was looking rather good for the Eschers.  I had three gang members left and had whittled the Goliaths down to two, but as anyone who’s played either edition of Necromunda knows, luck can desert you in a moment and leave you high and dry, wondering how you got into your current pickle.

We only played the game with the basic rules, as per instructions but despite not using any of the advanced stuff, it felt like Necromunda and it’s good to be back in the Underhive.  Now GW just need to release the rest of the gangs, so I can blow all my money on Necromunda gubbinz.

Bob celebrating his victory and not at all rubbing it in.

White Dwarf Review – November 2017

The November issue of White Dwarf is out and has been for a few of weeks, so my review of it is a little later than I intended; time seems to have got away from me a little bit this month.  Anyway, late or not, here it is.

It can’t have escaped the attention of anyone with more than a passing interest in Games Workshop products that a Necromunda release was coming, GW haven’t exactly been quiet about it.  I love this about Games Workshop as a company now.  They don’t deny that releases are happening anymore, they shout it from the rooftops and unsurprisingly it seems to be working for them.

A lot of folks have been getting hecka excited about it and I’m one of them.  Necromunda was a pretty big deal for me last time around and I played hundreds of games of it.  This may sound like an exaggeration, but it really isn’t; I love that game and I got really invested in the lives, and deaths of my gang members.

The wraparound cover of the new White Dwarf (the box art I believe) tells you what you need to know; Necromunda is here and there’s loads inside to read about it.

Planet Warhammer has the boxed game and everything that goes with a new release.  Scenery, gangs (just Escher and Goliath so far), cards, dice and an expansion.  I don’t know what the general feeling on the expansion is but given the contents of it, it feels a little cash grabby to me.

Playing over terrain, Juves for your gang, looking after your territory and gang progression itself are all locked into what would essentially be day one DLC if this were a console game.  To me, all these things are what made Necromunda great and are why I loved it in the first place.

That said, when I can afford the base game. I will probably buy the expansion too, as the core game seems a little pointless without it.  What’s the point of playing endless one-off skirmishes with no repercussions?  It is a bit of a cheap move on GW’s behalf though.

There’s plenty more Necromunda content further into the issue and I’ll cover that in a bit, as there is stuff that’s not related to it in the release section and I should probably give that a bit of a mention.

Shadespire has a couple of new releases in the form of expansions featuring Orruks and Undead respectively.  I don’t own the game but I’ve been lucky enough to get a look at the models from both of them and they are pretty damn fine miniatures; the Undead in particular have a very Jason and the Argonauts sort of look to them.

The breakneck pace of codex releases continues this Month with Tyranids and Craftworld Eldar, and there’s a spiffy little chat with Jervis Johnson and Robin Cruddace covering how they went about putting the Eldar codex together and it’s an interesting little read.

Also, the Eldrad Ulthran model from the Deathmasque box is finally available separately and it’s certainly not before time, I’ve been waiting to get my hands on it since I missed out on Deathmasque.

There’s also some nice looking 40K themed playing cards, with art by John Blanche and a bunch of new hobby supplies, with the standout among them being the painting handle, which is proving to be very popular, if my Twitter feed is anything to go by, with some people buying five of them for batch painting purposes.

After that there’s the usual spread of book and video game stuff, with nothing particularly jumping out at me from either section this Month.

The letters page is fine, if a little bland and immediately following it is Temporal Distort, which is a nice enough read but I consider anything North of the year two thousand to be fairly recent, nevermind two thousand and ten.

As might be expected there is a fair old wedge of Necromunda content this Month and it kicks off with a hefty designers notes piece, which is immediately followed by a comprehensive background section delving into everything you need to know to gain a decent overview of the world, the hive and the gangs.

The Necromunda goodness doesn’t end there, as following all this is a battle report, featuring a clash between the Eschers and the Goliaths.  Mechanically it seems to move a lot quicker than the original version, although whether this is a good, or a bad thing I really couldn’t say.  Personally, I always liked the micro-management style of play in the original, although I know that wouldn’t be for everyone.

The Seasons of War, Firestorm campaign pack seems like it will add a lot to games of AoS, allowing players to link their standalone games into an ongoing campaingn.  Although I don’t currently play AoS, this is the type of thing that piques my interest and time / money permitting, I could see myself getting into the game.

As part of the article, they cover the first part of a campaign and although there’s not much to the battles, the battles themselves aren’t the point of this article and it gives a nice feel for how it all hangs together.

Armies on Parade is, of course, always chock full of lovely looking models and this Month is no exception.  I do have a favourite though, and it’s the Khorne Warband; it’s amazing.  I’ve only ever painted a smattering of Khornate models over the years, never an army (mainly due to procrastination), but They make for eye-catching forces, whatever games system they’re hanging around in and I always enjoy seeing them.

To say that the Golden Demon Classic winners featured next are amazing would be an understatement.  Every single one of them is a masterclass in painting awesomeness and they’re a joy to look at.

They’re not the type of paint-jobs that make it easy to pick a favourite, but if I had to it would be between the Orruk Megaboss by David Soper (who won for the first time many moons ago with a characterful Nurgle Predator) and the Vanguard Palladors by Chris Clayton.  If you get the chance you really need to soak in work that’s gone into these things.  It may sound a little pretentious, but it’s painting like this that makes a case for model painting being art.

‘Eavy Metal Masterclass is a new article, which is essentially an interview with a member of the ‘Eavy Metal team and this Month they chat with a guy from the team called Tom Winstone and show off a lot of his beautifully painted models.  It’s a format I can really get on board with and I hope it sticks around.

The Tyranid designers notes are an interesting look at what went into making the new codex what it is.  With a wee bit about the background and how the Hive Mind is adapting to the Great Rift.  They also go into a bit of detail about the rules and the things they feel they got wrong last time and what they’ve decided to do to rectify these issues.

This Month the featured army in Collecting and painting is a 40K Knight Household, by James Perry and it goes into a fair bit of detail concerning his collecting and painting process and is a genuinely entertaining read.  It’s a good article, with a nice, solid format and even when it’s an army that doesn’t interest me from a background perspective, it’s never wasted space.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same of the next article.  I’ve never been invested in any of Games Workshop’s Lord of the Rings stuff and often find the articles to be a bit of a chore but it’s a shame for all the remaining fans of the game that coverage has become so lacklustre in recent years.  That said, it’s hard to doubt the enthusiasm of the writers of the new Battle Companies supplement, as they really seem to care about the game and its source material.

It says something about the level of commitment that GW have to the LotR, that in the Month the game gets a release that could conceivably breath new life into it, it gets four pages of coverage in the arse end of White Dwarf.

For what it’s worth, Battle Companies seems to be a pretty cool idea, and if GW could be bothered with it, the game could have a bit of a resurgence.  They seem quite content to let it wither away though.

The modelling and the painting articles largely cover Necromunda, as is to be expected, but also has a variety of guides for an assortment of Eldar and mini guides on techniques such as different skin tones, which is something that a lot of people will find interesting.  It’s always a good read, but it’s an article that always makes me buy another pot of paint, or two, or three, but I suppose that’s kind of the point, so well played GW.

Blanchitsu covers what, unfortunately looks like being the last we’re going to see of stuff from the Pilgrym campaign.  Blanchitsu is always on the extreme edge of the hobby but Pilgrym has made this the weirdest part of white Dwarf for quite some time and I’m sorry to see the end of it.

For something a bit more conventional, the Readers Models has, as is always the case a wide variety of nicely painted models to look at, but the thing I like most about it, is that it’s a great showcase for non GW painting styles.  There’s nothing wrong with GW’s house style, it’s very eye-catching but a bit of variety is always nice.

Lastly, in the Bunker is a bit more wee than usual but they manage to fit a lot into a compact three pages.  An awesome Deff Dread conversion, a Necromunda game board, a bit about Shadespire, a spangly Lord of Change paint job and a few bits and bobs besides.

There’s a lot of Necromunda coverage in the November issue but I think they would have been remiss if they’d done anything else, given how long folks have been waiting for it.  That said, they haven’t done too badly as far as balance is concerned.  It’s a little light on non Necromunda stuff but they do manage to shoehorn a little bit of AoS, 40K and even LotR in there.

I love it because it’s so Necromunda heavy, but looking at it objectively it’s not perfect and if I was to be tough on it, I could say that a lot of the non Necromunda stuff feels a little token, but Necromunda! So, I’m going to give it eight Underhive Scum out of ten.

Dinner and a Game of Shadespire


My Mum makes an awesome Sunday dinner and while I was down there this past weekend, visiting and eating some super tasty beef bourguignon, I was asked if I fancied a game of Shadespire; by one of my Bro’s, not my Mum.  It seems he picked it up on release day.

I’ve been quite intrigued by Shadespire and have been thinking about buying it at some point, so this was the ideal chance to try it out, so I could see if it would be worth spending some quids on.

I played as the Stormcast guys and I really enjoyed it. *  It’s a cheesy phrase, but it seems like an easy game to learn, but a difficult one to master.  It was a pretty stop, start affair, as I’d only had a brief glance at the rules, but it seems to be a game that’ll run smoothly when two people who know what they’re doing play.

Even though the board initially seems limiting, once you add in the objectives and the decks of cards, it makes for an in depth, but quick experience.  Having only played one game, I couldn’t say for sure, but it seems like you’d have to play it a lot before it became repetitive, or boring.  It looks like Games Workshop are going to be giving it a lot of support too.  There are at least two expansions coming up and I would expect most of the Age of Sigmar factions to get their own expansion pack.  Then there’s scope for extra board sections and whatnot.

I’ve made no secret of my lukewarm feelings towards Age of Sigmar, but Shadespire has a really good ruleset and some top-notch models and the fact that it’s set in the AoS world doesn’t impact on the enjoyment of the game one way, or the other.  In fact, I feel like if I had the pennies to spare, it’d be a good gateway into the AoS world.


*I won, which may have helped my enjoyment a little.  I don’t have the best track record when it comes to gaming and have lost games in some of the most hilariously unlikely ways over the years.  More recently my win ratio has been increasing though, so maybe my luck’s changing.