Sunday, 13 November 2016

White Dwarf Review: Issue 3

Right, i think this will be the last one for now, i'll do another review if the magazine substantially changes but  I think we are just going to be retreading a lot of old ground from here on out, we know more or less how the new White Dwarf works now. Of course if you DO wish for reviews of every issue please leave a comment below and I may be swayed.

Onwards to Issue 3:

A break from artwork this month as the models from the Prospero Burns Horus Heresy game dominate the front cover. Part of me wishes that this had still been the artwork from the boxed game, though i'll be honest the size and layout may have been difficult to translate to a magazine front cover. Besides, it meant we got a sneak preview of the Custodes weeks in advance (though the Sisters of Silence were craftily hidden). I still prefer artwork on my magazine cover though.

Planet Warhammer has a big splash on Prospero Burns as you would expect. Looking more or less like an improved version of Calth I can see this one selling particularly well. I've already got mine! Mk III armour really looks the part and oddly enough i'm more impressed by these than the other elements of the game. Still, a full review will be incoming on that in due course so i'll not dwell on Prospero Burns here.

Elsewhere we get new scenery, for both 40k and AOS and new scenic bases for heroes. At 20 quid for a set of 8 40k or 11 AOS bases of varying sizes its not a bad deal compared to the competition but some of them look rather impractical. There is also a new mini version of the Mould line remover  with inbuilt file and canister for holding superglue. Genius idea and day one purchase for me. The other noteworthy release is a Citadel Tints set, 10 for 30 quid though as they are 3 ml pots this seems expensive to me. Hopefully a video will be released that will sway my opinion.

Black library is covered as usual as The Beast Arises series comes to an end, there is also a very expensive new Salamanders novella about the artifacts of Vulkan for the Heresy. £35? On your bike! I'll presume that the limited edition and we'll get a sanely priced release down the road. We are getting a Heresy novel every month now anyway, i've no need to fork out beyond that. I'm also massively behind on my Heresy reviews so i'm in no rush to pick up even more overpriced novellas.

So after Planet Warhammer and a brief piece about Total War Warhammer (there is a code to download Grombrindal as a hero in the game on the front of the mag) we are onto Golden Demon. Again.  GW seem to host a GD at every event they run now so I do not see this feature ending anytime soon. Nice paint jobs but some excellent tips aside, a bit redundant. Some of the models aren't even that well painted. I feel GD has become somewhat diluted now, more akin to Armies on Parade or a store painting competition, i think it has lost some prestige. It was a special event when it was held once a year at Games Day, this has now changed, familiarity breeds contempt indeed.

The running  order of articles is switched up, I guess in an attempt to keep things fresh, A Tale of Four Gamers is next as once again they seem to have added as much as they have been able to paint this month to their forces. This is the first time I have been let down by the Nurgle army as the Slaughterbeast looks very mediocre, i guess the distinctive painting style is shown up a bit on large models. Better is the Terrorgheist in the Undead force.  The theme this month appears to be monsters. Apparently there are three months left for this series. I'm sure i'll have run out of interest before then. There is no reason or order to the army building it's just add as much as you can in a month. Not a patch on the originals.

Temporal Distort is next and I got my wish from last month granted as it goes all the way back to 1995, just before I got into the hobby proper. With Epic Tyranids, Drawn Battle Report maps and the introduction of the Valhallans there was a heady sense of nostalgia on reading this article, in fact i'd really like to see it extended a bit, a double page spread just doesn't seem enough.

Hall of Fame is the Landraider, no complaints here, it's a truly iconic model in every sense of the word. A lot of the material is reused from previous issues but it's been a while so I think this gets a free pass. Another Jes Goodwin Masterpeice, in fact i'd quite happily see similar featured every month. Some of those old articles about the design process were fascinating.I still remember the one about the Falcon Grav tank way back in the day. Now that was a revolutionary plastic kit at the time (which has still held up well)

Next up is The cover feature which is of course, Prospero Burns, presenting a good look at the set up, the models themselves, a bit of Heresy history and designer notes. Pretty much everything apart from the rules actually. It would have been nice to see even the most basic of play throughs. Perhaps they realise most people just get these boxes for the models. A shame. I'd rather hoped for more especially after wasting half hour of my life watching the developers video for a paltry 6 minutes of gameplay explanation.

Ultimate guide to...  is Commoragh, most of it you'll know but it's nice to see the Dark Eldar featured as I had feared that it would just become a plug for whatever the new release was that month. The Dark Eldar haven't been shown much love or attention recently and they are an amazing range (Jes Goodwin again) crying out for an update to make them playable, let's hope it comes sooner rather than later.  I have a massive army collecting dust right now.

Army of the month is a nice Blood Ravens Army, this is where the fold out section is too. It's nice but not spectacular. Something other than Space Marines next month please!

The battle report is an AOS affair but what is this? Points? Army lists? Icons and Arrows on a proper top perspective map?!?. They almost convinced me AOS is a serious game.  In all honesty it is a cracking write up, you very much get a good idea of what the game is like even if it does still seem horrifically unbalanced towards the Stormcast Eternals (though the army points values are equal). Great stuff and certainly the standout surprise of the issue. I still don't like the simple core rules of the game or the majority of the models but i'll be damned if they don't do a good job of making it look good.

Armies on Parade gives us a few excellent entries, some really inspired and crazy stuff here. Illuminations is Prospero Burns themed, Battlegrounds is a big BIG Chaos Fortress.

The rules section gives us a Contemptor based seventh mission for Prospero Burns and 30k rules for Sisters and Custodians (40k rules are downloadable from the website though I do not approve - I think they should remain Heresy only - but hey, gotta boost sales I guess) and a warscroll for the new Stormcast model.

Blanchistu is taking a month off, a good idea as it gets a bit samey, it looks like we'll get some gaming action from Blanchitsu next month though as people take their warbands to battle. John looks a bit frail these days i hope he is in good health other than the effects of his stroke a few years back. Losing Wayne England this year was a big enough blow.

Sprues and Glue is around basing in a plug to the new releaases and the Paint Splatter focuses on last months new textured paints with a detailed guide to continue the basing theme. Eavy Metal Masterclass carries on this time focusing on cloaks. Hopefully it will be a regular feature. Lastly there is a page on using the new tints, bizarrely using printed swatches rather than actual pictures of the ways you can change the colours. It's not particularly useful and doesn't compel me to fork out £30 quid for them, hopefully Duncan will do a video.

You know what closes out the mag, no need to repeat it. It's not changed in three issues.

And that's issue three done and dusted. My opinion hasn't changed much. This is by far the best version of the magazine that we have had since the Fat Bloke days when White Dwarf was edited by Paul Sawyer. That said there are a few niggling problems (still)

A fair few typos are creeping into the magazine. I have seen about six or seven in this issue. Now I do hate bad spelling and grammar at the best of times but in a professional magazine it's particularly galling. Nor is White Dwarf the only culprit, with Black Library novels and even Games Workshop Promotional material being subject to errors. I'll volunteer as a proof reader if it helps! So there is that, which is a shame as the rest of the mag looks nice and professional and slick (if a little sterile). I realise i'm as guilty of typos as the next man but then i'm not charging people six quid to read what i write.

Still too many non studio models, though sensibly Parade Ground appears to be missing for this issue. The adverts are fairly restrained though they do take up about 10% of the page count. One of the most pleasing things is that Subscribers genuinely get the magazine early, and not just a few days,.  It's a good thing too as there is little other incentive to subscribe with a 15% saving on the cover price still representing a 33% increase on the subscription I have held for 6 odd years.

As far as i am aware, this is the last WD with a freebie in it, now i'm not saying that they absolutely must have a freebie every month in order to make it worthwhile, but i'd like to see them throw a poster or something in every now and again, time will tell on that front, at the moment i think it's overpriced.

So that's three issues, and my overall review is that its a decent read, it doesn't take very long to get through and its not exactly rammed with material but what is here is mostly worthwhile. It is very pleasing to see just how many nods to the past there are as for a long time GW has completely neglected it's past. Yes many of the articles are inferior to their old versions but it shows a willingness from the company that bodes well for the future. I'll keep my subscription going for now, getting the mag a whole week early is quite the boon and I
do like a great deal of what's in it. Why not drop a comment below to let us know what you think?

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