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.

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White Dwarf Review – October 2017

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The cover of the new White Dwarf.

This issue seems to have come around incredibly quickly.  It doesn’t seem like two minutes since the last one was out and I can quite honestly say that I look forward to each new issue being delivered. *  Before Games Workshop switched back to the monthly format I think I bought White Dwarf each month out of habit, more than an eagerness to read it and it’s never a good thing to have habit as the only reason to do a thing.

A big, bold picture of a Stormcast guy graces the cover and it’s a nice, eye-catching piece of work that puts me in mind of the type of art you’d get on the cover of a comic.

Contents pages; why do you continue to vex me so?

Planet Warhammer has an awful lot of releases this Month.  There’s a mountain of Death Guard stuff, including the Deathshroud Terminators and the new tank, the Plagueburst Crawler, which I must admit I quite like.  Also, Shadespire, which I’ll go into a bit more detail about later.  I should also mention the Astra Militarum Codex, a release which seems to be getting a nice warm welcome from all and sundry.  Although no new model releases for them, which is a little disappointing.

There are a few new books out, but the one that stands out he most is the new Horus Heresy book, Ruinstorm.  I’ve fallen behind somewhat with the Horus Heresy series and it’s something I to want to rectify.  I didn’t even stop for any discernible reason and just kind of drifted away from them.

The letters page was a standard barrage of praise, with the only thing to stand out being a smirk-worthy reply to the Ask Grombrindal letter.

I should make a brief mention of the Warhammer Total War 2 feature.  There are loads of lovely screenshots and a fair bit of reading and it does certainly look amazing, but not being able to play it means my interest in it has been lukewarm at best.

Having mentioned my lack of enthusiasm for Age of Sigmar before I’m not going to go into it again, but Shadespire has really caught my eye.  It has a very intriguing ruleset, using elements of deckbuilding alongside the board-game aspect and it seems like it would be a fun game to play.  It’s also very nice-looking and that’s not just the models.  The board sections, all the cards and tokens all have the look of a well-produced game.  Of course, I only have the pictures to go on but I have no reason to believe the same would not hold true in the flesh.

The Death Guard designer’s notes follow the usual format, with an in-depth look at the design process, the models, artwork, rules and Codex.  It’s an interesting look at the development of an army and as such, a good read.

Thirty Years of Golden Demon serves as an intro to the Golden Demon Classic stuff that comes after it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good read and it stands up as an article by itself.

I haven’t entered anything in Golden Demon for years and haven’t even been near Games Day / Warhammer Fest since 2001 and if I’m being brutally honest, what I did enter wasn’t up to scratch.  The Nagash diorama however, is amazing.  It’s difficult to put into words how good it is, so amazing will have to do.

It’s a sign of the quality of this year’s entries that on any other year the silver and bronze winners might have walked away with the Slayer Sword.  I harbour half formed ambitions of entering Golden Demon again at some point, but if I want to be in with a chance of winning anything, I’m really going to have to pull my socks up and put a shift in.  I’d be buzzing about the place like I’d won the sword if I even made it to the final cut (I’m easily pleased).

It’s the last part of A Tale of four Warlords and it’s finished with a battle report, which sees the two Imperial armies defending against the Eldar and The Iron Warriors, both of whom are doing their own thing and it was a hecka entertaining read.

There’s a duo of Battle Reports this Month, thanks to the concluding part of A Tale of four Warlords, but this Age of Sigmar battle, pitting the Skaven against the Sylvaneth is the main one.  It was an enjoyable battle, with models from both sides dropping like flies and the pace was fast throughout.  It certainly wasn’t one that gave you any time to get bored with it.

The Gretchin Revolution is a feature about Maxime Pastourel’s Gretchin army and it’s quite a ridiculous spectacle to behold. ** It’s one of those articles that I’ll keep going back to for a while and it reminds me of the ridiculous armies of old that featured in White Dwarf on a semi-regular basis, many moons ago.  I’d say it’s probably one of my favourite articles of the Month.

As always, Illuminations is a treat for the eyes, with lots of pretty pictures to look at and this selection of Age of Sigmar stuff is no exception, but I must confess to being in no hurry to see a dwarf in his undies, though it’s a very nicely done piece of art.

Blanchitsu is a round-up of some of the warbands that took part in the Pilgrym campaign and covers three different warbands.  As usual they are exceptionally well converted models, with a visually striking paint scheme.

The Clash at Marrowbreak Spire is a massive battle scene, which shows the airships of the Kharadron Overlords attacking mountaintop tower belonging to the forces of the Flesheater Courts.  It’s a visually stunning battle, with loads of cool vignettes playing out across the whole board.  Mention should go to all the little tricks they used to make the airships look as if they’re flying; from clear plastic flying stands concealed by the stuff the made the clouds out of to the airship kept upright by nothing but the boarding ladder that the little blokes use to get in and out of their ship.

The article about creating your own Space Marine Chapter at first glance seems like a bog-standard space filler, and to a certain extent it is just that.  However, it does have some very useful advice on the sorts of thing to consider when putting a Chapter together; Chapter markings, home-world or fleet based, Codex adherent or not, that sort of thing.  Also, it mentions an invent your own Space Marine Chapter competition on the Warhammer Community website and it comes with a pretty spiffy prize.

Paint Splatter has a guide on Typhus and on Death Guard, in pre-Heresy cream.  There are also guides on three different Guard regiments.  The Guard stuff is interesting, as it covers two regiments that are made from converted models and conversions are always nice to see.

Temporal Distort features another vintage issue of White Dwarf that I remember well.  The cardboard Battle Bunker only saw action a few times on our table-top before it met its end; either sat on, or stood on, its true fate forever obscured by the mists of time.

The Reader Models are the usual eclectic mix of styles, awesomely painted and the segment includes a feature on the models from a painting competition held by the manager of the Shanghai Games Workshop.  The highlight of this is a Battlefleet Gothic ship, with some very impressive lighting effects.

In the Bunker is, as always, an interesting little window into what the White Dwarf team are getting up to.  This month covers the second half of their Warhammer 40,000 league and is presented in the same diddy battle report format as last Month.  Also worth a mention is a really strikingly painted Stormsurge battlesuit, showing just how eye-catching grey can be if it’s done right.

In summary; not quite the tour de force of awesomeness that the previous issue was, but still a very solid issue.  I’m willing to admit that my bias towards 40K might’ve coloured my opinion a wee bit, but last month’s issue did set a very high bar.

That said, this issue did have some very high-quality content.  The Death Guard designers notes and the Gretchin army were both favourites of mine.  With regards to the Death Guard, I’m very glad the design team decided to keep the World War One, trench warfare aesthetic, as it’s what I’ve always liked about them.

This issue gets seven and a half picklehaube’s out of ten. ***

 

*That may sound like the sort of syrupy praise White Dwarf gets on the letters page, but it’s true, I do look forward to it.  It’s far from perfect and there is room for improvement, what I said isn’t a fib though.

**Ridiculous in a good way.  The silly armies are awesome.

***As far as marks out of ten are concerned, I aim to keep it as nerdy as possible.

Project Roundup – Dark Imperium Death Guard

I’ve been painting a lot of Nurgle stuff lately; all the Chaos stuff from the Dark Imperium box in fact.  I’ve almost run out of them now and am down to the three Death guard from the Plague Brethren box that was released over the weekend.  This is the first time I’ve ever painted Nurgle stuff, and it turns out that I enjoyed painting them more than I thought I would; perhaps even enough to paint an army of them for myself and not just for work.

For a Warhammer 40,000 starter set the detail on the models is amazing.  I’ve painted stuff from all but one of the 40K starter sets, the one with the crashed Aquila Lander being the only one that I missed out on, and I can say with absolute certainty that these kits are head and shoulders above the rest.

There’s been a noticeable improvement in the quality of their plastics with each passing edition.  When the Space Marines and Orks from the second edition starter set are compared with Space Marines and Death Guard in this one, it’s like the difference between night and day.  Don’t get me wrong, in their day the plastics from second edition were the bees knees, but they haven’t aged well.

Several times with the Dark Imperium Nurgle stuff I had to go back and paint in a detail that I’d missed.  Sometimes it could just be a maggot, whereas other times I missed whole pipes and the buggers would be sat there in just their undercoat, mocking me (I’m looking at you Blight-Drone).  However, if the only thing I can grumble about is too much detail, then I think I’m onto a winner.

Looking back on this entry to my ongoing hobby ramblings, I suppose I can say that of late I’ve been enjoying my job, and I know I’m lucky to be in a position to be able to say that.

 

September 2017 White Dwarf Review

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The September, Warhammer 40,000 thirtieth anniversary issue of White Dwarf is a corker. *  Given the copious notes I took while reading it, it’s probably going to be a big ‘un too.

The issue looks like something a bit special straight away, as it comes in a protective cardboard slipcover, that has the highlights of the magazine emblazoned upon it.  I’m not going to lie, it felt a little bit like opening a pressie and I only went back to take a good look at the slipcover after I’d already opened it to get at the contents.

It has an awesome cover by Igor Sid which is a reimagining of the cover art on the Rogue Trader and he’s done a really good job on it.  I still prefer the original, but that’s just because it was emblazoned on the cover of the book that got me into 40K and I suspect there is a healthy dose of nostalgia involved.

There are two free gifts, which is cool.  Okay, one of them is a promo poster for Warhammer Total War and as such it’s essentially an advert, but that’s not the point; it’s a decent double-sided poster.  The other is a massive poster reproducing the cover art in full and it’s glorious.  It’s a shame about the fold lines, but that’s unavoidable with magazine posters.  I’m going to be getting a frame, so I can hang it on my Living Room wall, that’s how impressed I am with it.

The team page is usually standard stuff, but this Month they’re all talking about what got them into 40K and it made me realise how young most of them are, with one or two exceptions.  I started out with Space Crusade and moved up to the Rogue Trader.

The Editorial is very much a 40K is awesome sort of affair, which is fine.  This one probably couldn’t be anything else.

I’ll concede that the contents pages are nice and eye-catching this Month, despite my regular grumbles about them. **

Planet Warhammer starts with a two-page mini feature on all the editions of Warhammer 40,000, complete with little slivers of art from the cover of each edition.  It’s a nice little mini feature.

They’ve popped the anniversary Primaris Sergeant in the corner of this feature and I’m really in two minds about this guy.  He’s either understated and cool, or basic and boring.  Will I buy him?  Probably, so I suppose GW have done their job.

As for the rest of Planet Warhammer, there’s a load of new 40K releases, including Mortarion, a bunch of Primaris guys, a couple of Codexes and the Blightwar box for AoS, which I believe is a new starter set, with a bunch of spiffy models in it.

Special mention in the new releases however, needs to go to the big box of skulls.  Games Workshop are finally acknowledging their love of naked noggins.  Also, whoever came up with the cringeworthy Khornetainer pun deserves a prize of some sort.

This Month even has a release for the game that refuses to die, no matter how much GW seem to want it to, The Hobbit.  They even have a couple of scenarios later in the issue, which is probably cool for fans.

There’s the book and Video Game news.  I’ve become a bit detached from the book releases, barring Codexes over the past year or two and this Month’s releases have done nothing to pull me back in. As for the game releases, I don’t have anything I can play Warhammer Total War on and this makes me sad.

The letters page about the same as usual, apart from one letter pointing out the scarcity of women in the GW model range.  I like that they pop the critical letters in amongst the sea of praise every now and then.  As unlikely as it seems, given how vocal the fanbase can be, perhaps they mostly get positive stuff and the amount of praise on the letters pages is representative of the type of missives they get … Maybe.

Next is the 30 Years of Warhammer 40,000 behemoth, because it’s way too big to be an article; it goes on and on.  Not that this is a bad thing, as it’s a really entertaining read.  Appropriately starting with a cool two-page picture of the Rogue Trader cover and a big gatefold picture of the Imperium battling Mortartion and the followers of Nurgle.  It then goes through the history of the game and the intentions behind it, from its humble beginnings, to the juggernaut that is 40K today.

As I was reading the article, it brought back some old gaming memories.  For example, the time in second edition when a Vortex Grenade seemingly developed a personal vendetta against my army.  It wiped out almost my entire army by scattering just the right distance and in just the right direction every turn.  If I hadn’t witnessed it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it.  Needless to say, I lost that one.

There’s so much content to go over, that it’s tough to cover it all, without ending up with something so large I could put on the Kindle store and call it an e-book.

John Blanche gets a look in and is as interesting as always, there’s loads of lovely pictures.  There are spreads giving a bit of info about some, but not all of the races in 40K.  I should mention the particularly impressive photograph of Eldar, fighting Tyranids.  It’s one to spend quality time looking at.

They cover the evolution of the 40K miniature range, from its very small start, to the gigantic models and how we got where we are now.

There’s a bit about 40K on the tabletop and how it’s always been very much driven by the background.  Although the background hasn’t always been the best, I think this is a fairly accurate point.

It mentions the huge scope for creativity on the behalf of the player within the vastness of the game’s universe.  It touches on the many facets of 40K fandom and how without said fans, that none of it would be possible, which was nice.

I would’ve liked it if they could have interviewed a couple of the creators of the Rogue Trader, but I suppose a lot of them are the competition now, so that was probably unlikely.  Even so, there wasn’t even a peep from Jervis Johnson.

Next comes the Battle Report and this Month’s is a bit of a special one.  It’s two battles linked together, where the result of the first has an impact on when reinforcements arrive in the second.

The first battle is the Ultramarines, led by Roboute, squaring up to the forces of Chaos and it’s an entertaining, fast paced affair, with lots of death, destruction and explosions. While the second is the forces of the Crimson Fists, in a, backs to the wall fight for survival against Orks, on Rynns World and my favourite of the two.

While, in my opinion at least the current Battle Reports aren’t the equal of the ones I used to read, back in caveman times, I am willing to acknowledge that there may well be a bit of a rose-tinted glasses type thing going on.  I do miss the rivalries of old though.  Everybody is so nice to each other now.

The Ultimate guide to the Rhino is a good read and it’s a nice in-depth article about the old workhorse tank, with some nice photography and artwork.

In previous reviews I’ve mentioned how the current Tale of four Warlords hasn’t really been doing much for me and have speculated as to why this might be.  Well it turns out that the real reason may be that I was being a negative Nancy and I haven’t been giving it a fair shake, because I really enjoyed it this Month.  So much so in fact that I’ve been thinking about going back to the start and reading it again.

The new Generals Handbook is out for AoS and while it isn’t really for me, it seems like they’ve done a lot of work on it and it should be very useful to Age of SIgmar players.  I will say though, that AoS continues to have a model range that is knock your socks off awesome.

There’s a Hobbit article that I mentioned earlier and having zero knowledge about the game, I can’t really add anything to what I’ve already said.  Nice for the long-suffering fans though.

Next is a cool little two-page feature on Mortarion and what went into painting him.  I was initially a little on the fence about the new model.  My retro mind was finding it hard to accept him as the same guy as the old Epic Grim Reaper type dude that used to exist.  I’m satisfied now though, that with an appropriate colour scheme he could be thematically very close to the style of that classic model; all I need now are the quids to pay for the pricey bugger.

The Generals Almanac is all about playing your army leaders in your games of Age of Sigmar in character.  Although this is an AoS article, it’s a mindset that lends itself just as well to Warhammer 40,000, or any number of other games.

Kitbash is always a particularly interesting article, but this Month there seems to be more to look at than usual.  There are quite a few that are just simple head swaps, or similar, but even something as basic as this can radically change a model. Then there are the more complex ones, but even these feel achievable, with instructions on how each was done.

There isn’t a lot to say about Armies on Parade that I haven’t said before, but it’s always worth mentioning anyway.  There are some splendid armies on some awesome display boards and it’s never a bad thing to feast your eyes on such splendiforousness. ***

The special Primaris Sergeant is the subject of Paint Splatter, with a nice helpful guide on painting him as a Crimson Fist, which seems fitting.

Modelling and painting features some advanced basing techniques for the new Creeping vines.  There are some snazzy ideas on show here and I find myself inspired; I need some of these, they’re cool.  Although I must mention that Touch of Chaos base, because cool as it is, it must’ve been a pain in the bum to paint.

Next, we find out what the painting team are putting the brushes to in their spare time and I particularly like the Bloodcrushers, by Jay Goldfinch.  Juggernauts are my favourite model that I’ve never painted and that’s something I really need to rectify and they look fantastic in black.  Everything here is a joy to look at, but if I rambled on about everything that deserves a mention, I’d probably still be going next September.  What I will say though, is that James Gallagher’s Witch Aelves, Natalie Slinn’s Kurnoth Hunters and Tom Moores Gutbuster Ogors are all lovely looking models that deserve more than this brief mention.

The Readers Models section is always good to look at, as it’s nice to see well painted models done in styles other than the GW one.  Variety is the spice of life, as somebody who was probably quite clever once said.

In the Bunker has the results of a White Dwarf team Warhammer 40,000 campaign, which amounted to a series of very wee battle reports, which came as a nice surprise in an issue already packed with content.

In summary, it’s a solid issue, with a lot to recommend it.  it’s very 40K heavy, but given that it’s the 40K anniversary issue that was always going to be the case.  With this in mind, it was perhaps not the best Month to release the new Blightwar boxed set for Age of Sigmar, as it seems to have been rather overshadowed and doesn’t even get a mention outside the Planet Warhammer section.  It has some great looking models in it too, so this is a real shame.

Also, no Temporal Distort.  It’s one of my favourite articles, so I hope this is just a one off, due to space constraints; although if they only had one contents page?

So, considering that this is a Warhammer 40,000 heavy issue, I will give it eight and a half Primarchs out of ten. ****

 

 

*Also, a bit of a mouthful when I read that sentence back.

**Grumble not retracted.

***Definitely a word.  The spellchecker doesn’t know what it’s talking about.

****Eight standard Primarchs and one Alpharius.

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.

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.