First off one thing that I’ve realised is White Dwarf no longer promote an issue number and have instead gone for a calendar month as the issue identifier. This is likely to make it easier to manage internally – I know it’s the reason we do so where I work.
This issue follows a similar layout to last month but down to 136 pages (last month was 152), matte and spot glossed cover and a pair of fold out pages which gives a huge quadruple page spread of the latest “big” miniatures. This month the magazine comes with a Warriors of Chaos “army” leaflet and the usual Christmas gift guide. Unlike the last issue all of the Warriors of Chaos have been photographed with icy blue backgrounds rather than the lava red they used for the demons. I actually quite like this new style as it does add quite a bit of atmosphere to the photos and moved it away from “box product shot” into a little scene that is unique to White Dwarf.
There is a lot more reading content in comparison to “old” format again which is good, however there is also a lot of wasted space or more accurately space that could be better filled. A number of features that were in last month’s magazine have reappeared including 3 “regulars” – Jervis Johnson, Jeremy Vetlock and John Blanche. The first two are really interesting reads – both double page spreads and lots of procrastination. The John Blanche feature however I’m just not fussed on, for a start it’s 4 pages, the first of is a 40k’ified self-portrait, the next is mostly white space with one of his miniatures and a block of text, the rest really just follows on from last month with him raving about how the individual plastics that have be released for Warhammer are amazing for his Inquisitor band. I quite like John’s work (for most people it’s like Marmite in that you either love it or hate it) but felt that those four pages could have been utilised far more effectively. I’d actually rather read more Jervis or Jeremy as it’s just more interesting. If he has to put something into the magazine then crop that section to the same format as Jervis and Jeremy and let him procrastinate about a single subject each month. I think this would provide far more interesting reading, let him talk about inspiration, how he’s helped to shape the 40k universe, the design process behind a particular product. I just don’t really want to read something verging on a sales pitch.
There is a good mix of releases this month including some more paints (edge paints that are pastel in colour), a new complete paint set in funky card box with pull out drawers, a red paint station, basing sets, lots of Warriors of Chaos bits, few 40k mega forces and a 40k defence trenches. My biggest impression of all of this is “how much does that cost?” More so than most months, the majority of new releases are £40 or more. The mega forces are £150 (though do cram in £210+ each), the paint station is £40 and the defence trenches are £150. Although you do get some very reasonable offerings in the way of the basing sets, I just feel that Games Workshop is really pricing itself on the edge of what’s acceptable for a hobby.
Feature wise you have the usual musings on the new releases. The battle report was in my opinion a bit rubbish, the two armies were Warriors of Chaos (as you’d expect) versus Ogres. The two sides seem to have been specifically picked to ‘pimp’ Warriors of Chaos, the Ogres had very little in way of big units and the Chaos army was basically just composed of actual Warriors which as most people know are one of the toughest units going in Warhammer. The painting section of the magazine was for the first time in ages, quite a good read. The techniques being displayed were better than the usual offering of “blob paint, wash, drybrush” although not ‘Eavy Metal standard it was more in line with what you’d expect from a magazine about miniatures & gaming. Towards the back of the magazine is a lovely article from Dave Andrews where he shows how he constructed the new defence trenches – basically out of plasticard and green stuff! As weird as it sounds, just looking at it you think “I could do something like that”. Personally I’d love to see more scratch build articles appearing in the magazine – so how you can model Extra Armour onto a tank using plasti-card, or how you can build a bunker from foamboard, etc.
If I were rating this magazine, it would likely be on a 7.5 / 10. It’s not quite got enough new content to hit the 8 mark but I didn’t feel I was getting the new releases rammed down my throat which is a good thing.