Sunday, 16 October 2016

White Dwarf Review: Issue 2

So the new White Dwarf then, not bad is it? I mean it's not perfect and it's by no means as good as the 'Fat Bloke' days (though I am forced to admit that my nostalgia tinted glasses mean that little ever could be) but as a magazine worth reading, yeah, not bad. Lets take a look at issue 2 shall we?
This is the second time i have had to write this review thanks to the previous version not saving on my notebook. Grrr. Still, that isn't the only reason for this review being a bit briefer than issue 1's. I'm not going to be reviewing every issue, well at least i'm not planning to, but I am interested in charting the first few issues to see what kind of improvements are rendered in it's early stages. So think of this as more of a brief overview rather than a detailed breakdown. That was done with issue 1 and is HERE should you so wish.

So, onwards! Once again the cover is artwork, though we know that this is not always going to be the case. Here it's the Genestealer Cult codex cover which makes for a rather impressive magazine frontage.
Inside it is revealed that Jes Bickham was only a launch editor and that the White Dwarf is under new stewardship, this may well turn out to be a positive move as fresh hands and eyes will prove more conducive to change in the magazine as at the moment it has Jes' undeniable mark upon it. Jes is off to the studio so all the best with that.

Planet Warhammer once again deals with the new releases and other goings on. I do feel that upcoming events could be included here which would preclude the need to devote a double page advert to them later in the magazine.
The new releases are of course the Genestealer Cult, a widely positively received range. It all looks pretty good though I must say i'm not a fan of the Metamorphs which kind of look like Tyranid hybrid kitbashes, still they are very nasty in the game, i'd be surprised if at least one unit didn't sneak into my army. 

I picked up Gulliman, review coming soon-ish

Elsewhere the description for the dice is different and indeed vastly superior to the actual product. WD is made well in advance and I guess the manufacturing changed after a print deadline. A shame. There are also Silver Tower cards and the Arcane Heroes set, a box which delivers appreciable savings over the individual clampacks. It must be noted that not all the releases in the weeks covered are featured with the recent battlemats nowhere to be seen. The new textured paints make it in though, apparently they will be featured more next month.
The releases do not quite stretch to the end of the month either. For example we have no idea what is up for pre release this week from the White Dwarf, this allows GW to sneak in big releases to the end of the month which will be covered in the next months issue. Devious.
I'm doing this from memory but next is the letters, including a familiar name. Hi Ross! Still other than that its the same, still not Grombrindal answering. Shame.

Next up is a piece about the new Warhammer Comic from Titan, Will of Iron. A preview copy of the comic is included free with the mag. It's alright, I certainly wasn't blown away. I felt that it wasn't a patch on my 83 or so issues of Warhammer Monthly nor the Boom Studios titles which were recently rereleased. The artwork is competent enough but very starkly coloured, over saturated and cartoony. Still the article itself is good giving a hefty insight on the construction of the comic and if anything being more interesting that the preview comic itself. I've got my local friendly comic shop putting Will of Iron aside for me so I daresay a proper review will pop up once i've read a few issues.
Hall of fame is Smaug. Cant really argue, it's one hell of a model. however, i'm sure that like Nagash, it has been featured before. The article is quite cool though, with some interesting tidbits about the model that I previously hadn't known.
Army of the month is another 12 pages of someone's army, Space Wolves this time. It is a nice army to be fair. 
The Jes Goodwin article is next. Its a hefty chat with the miniature maestro at ten pages but if i'm being honest I was a little disappointed. I felt that the topics covered fell someway short of what I had hoped and the whole thing is FAR less interesting than you would think. Still, i was surprised to learn he was born in Hockley, Essex. Maybe he pops into Wayland Games from time to time when he revisits his old stomping grounds.
Temporal Distort looks at one of the issues from the 'LOTR days' where half the mag was dedicated to the Tolkien game. Again, its alright, basic and superficial, i'd like to see this section given a little more love. Hopefully it goes back a lot further too.

Armies on Parade presents more readers models and again they are all rather good, it's inspiring stuff, particularly the Mechanicum force but i can think of other things i'd rather read.
The Ultimate Guide is Genestealer Cults naturally. It's a pretty good article, though it is somewhat distancing itself from the classic fluff from the 90s. Still, there are some good bits in here and the designers notes are also worth a look. I do rather hope that this section doesn't just focus on the new release for that month though, that would get a little dull and mean there were things that would never get featured.

Battle report is next. Its Deathwatch vs the Cult, In a sneaky move by GW. The preview for this months issue had Deathwatch fighting 'The Alien Menace'  with pictures of them and tyranids, good bait and switch GW. Fine devious work. It's a good report, you can tell what happened and get an idea of the tactics though they are not really explored in any depth. I did bemoan the lack of points but if you open the fold out section you will find them there, though only the army totals are featured.

erm... Illuminations? I think that was next. It's all AOS stuff, heroes and monsters and although I may not like what GW has done with the universe and the aesthetics of much of the range, the artwork is undeniably stunning, great images. I'd still like to see Artist featured ones though like the old Des Hanley one I found in an old issue the other day.
Golden Demon is stuff that I have seen before. Nice models and inspiring enough but not really doing all that much for me. Bit of a waste. I read it all online ages ago.
Ok, i'll admit i'm just putting these in as I remember them and ill rearrange them later when i get home. Paint Splatter returns to show us which Citadel colours to use this month. But WAIT.. is that...?

YES! the return of the Eavy Metal Masterclass. This is an in depth tutorial on faces, and whilst it might not be quite as good as its primogenitor which I still have in folders and refer to regularly, its so far above and beyond Paint Splatter that its a major plus point in my book. I hope this is a regular feature.

Tale of Four Gamers continues, the participants have all increased their armies but there appears to be no consistency in the reinforcements. This really kills it a bit for me and though the models are well painted (particularly the Nurgle force) and its interesting to watch the armies expand, there is little investment to be had and i'm finding this edition to be a pale shadow of it's predecessors. The lack of a budget removes a level of immersion, I mean even when they were using monetary values we ALL knew they were just getting the stuff from the warehouse but it made it seem like they were collecting the armies like we were, I just don't get that here. Hopefully as they start playing a few more games it will become more interesting.
Sprues and Glue shows how to kitbash Guard and Cult models, Its a good article, I think i'll grab me a Cadian HQ box. 

Blanchistsu has reverted to people imitating the style of John Blanche, to be fair they are quite nice as always, but this feature in particular runs the danger of becoming somewhat derivative.  I hope they find a way of jazzing it up whilst still keeping it Grimdark.
Parade ground features a Stormcast Eternal army, meh, don't really care. Its just another reasonably well painted army. Id feel the same if it were a 40k force, just for the record. This isn't my AOS prejudice rearing it's head here.  

Readers Models, well i shouldn't need to say anything here tbh.
The usual, in the bunker and such sees us out. This time its all models from the Arcane Heroes set.

So in summary little has changed, we can see the formula that the mag is going to follow and barring some drastic changes next month, which does have a big release admittedly, I think my opinion will not change all that much.
And that opinion is that the new WD is a perfectly serviceable hobby magazine totally in line with the current GW. It's not perfect though and this is why i think that.
Far too much space is devoted to other hobbyists models. I see models the equal of this every day on various Facebook groups and pictures of stunningly painted miniatures are not exactly hard to come by. Therefore I slightly resent paying for a magazine which is over a quarter filled with other peoples models. Army of the Month, Armies on Parade, Golden Demon, Readers Models AND Parade Ground is just overkill and using  40 pages that could far better be utilised with other features.
I think this is a side effect of the magazine absorbing Warhammer Visions. Time will tell if this split identity issue will be resolved when Visions relaunches. Personally I have a limit of how much of other hobbyists models I want to see. Imagine Empire if half of it was Youtube videos.
The adverts are also becoming a touch more noticeable. Though they are not particularly intrusive nor numerous,nonetheless a good few pages are lost, 14 in fact. These adverts I guess are a necessary evil after the tidying up of the hawking in the new releases section but one cannot feel that things like event adverts would be much better served in an appropriate section rather than a double page spread in the mag.
The writing overall isn't too bad but I would like to see more depth, its all a little superficial and friendly. Though I do enjoy reading the mag I cannot say it takes long and its normally finished in a hour or less. And that's with a reduced AOS presence, an Age of Sigmar focused issue would potentially represent much less value to me.
Still, i'll carry on the sub for at least a while, though it is far more expensive than it used to be, in the hope that White Dwarf will become something I just cannot resist. I do have a few ideas of what could be included to make this more likely.
Index Astartes: This was the benchmark in articles in the old White Dwarf, so popular that it was released in collected volumes that now fetch staggering prices on Ebay.  Indeed, I kept them from the White Dwarfs and have them in ring binders. Originally focusing on the Founding legions it was then expanded to include other chapters and more esoteric elements of marine background. It was then expanded further with Index Xenos and Malleus. They were great reads and with the wealth of additional material presented by the Horus Heresy series and other publications they are surely ripe for an update.
Heroes and Villains: Much like Index Astartes this was a fluff series that focused on characters from the various universes. It wasn't just lore, there were also strategies and rules presented. In fact it must be said that after last months glut of rule updates this issue is rather bereft with only an additional mission that was fought as the battle report.
Codicium Imperialis: This was a great series that focused on great events and battles of the 41st Millennium, More fluff basically, that's what I want!
Also maybe something on scenery building, not just using GW stuff but maybe something akin to the Forgeworld Masterclass books which i found immeasurably useful.
Other than that it would be nice to see a little more love toward the older stuff, it's all very new and shiny at the moment with little attention paid to anything from GWs past. Even the  Jes Goodwin interview was guilty of this.
Still it's early days so far and with the new editor I am hopeful that the magazine will continue to change, we'll find out in Novembers issue...
When Prospero Burns.....

No comments:

Post a Comment