The latest White Dwarf from Games Workshop. I already forked an article about the controversial battle-report found in this White Dwarf. Time now, to run through the rest of the magazine. I clearly wont be able to cover every bit, which is arguably the reason I find reviewing the White Dwarf tedious.. it’s very hard to do it all justice in one “score”.
So take the 2 stars with a grain of salt. It’s more an expression of a gut-feeling, than a well-founded review. I run through some of the main points that caught my attention.
#1 – ‘New Releases’ and ‘The Design Studio’
The lead-story in this (and every) White Dwarf is the huge photo-section on the new releases. It is as pretty as it is sprawling, offering little beyond advertising the new products.
- Dark Angels Space Marines releases – 28 pages
- The Hobbit Strategy Battle Game releases – 8 pages
- Black Library and digital products – 4 pages
- Forge World – 4 pages
- Licensed games – 2 pages
- Release lists & crap – 4 pages
A total of 46 pages showing pictures of the new miniatures (and related products). The problem, obviously, is that these are the very pages, which tend to get plastered all over the interwebs a few days or weeks before the White Dwarf is releases.
To the degree that Games Workshop clamped down on leaks and rumours, the more people hunger to be the first to scan and post the first White Dwarf out to the web. The Dark Angels pictures from this issue leaked well before Christmas.
This makes these near-50 pages seem pointless. Nearly everyone, who is looking forward to it, has already seen it on the internet.
However, I found an interesting complement in the last pages towards the end, when the White Dwarf interviews the design studio (see pic above). This brief section is filled with insights from the sculptors and artists on the things that went into the miniatures. For example: Why they decided to shape the back-vents of the Terminators as gothic arches. Which art inspired the sculptors. What thoughts went into the new banners. Great stuff!
It was these last few pages that made me skip back to the first 50 pages to look for the details in the product shots Perhaps, they would consider putting more design-studio insights into the lead-article on new releases (even at the price of smaller pictures).
It certainly would make them more “readable” and more interesting as an article – even if the pics themselves have been spoiled. I’d love to see that.
#2 – The Articles
Page 54 starts the actual articles (though many, like the Battle Report, obviously feature the new products a lot). These includes an “Army of the Month” showcase of Tyranids, the Battle Report, 16 Golden Demon coverage (see pic above), a terrain-articles, paint splatter and a few more bits and bobs.
Now, most of it is fantastic to look at. The Golden Demon minis are absolutely stunning (and include a unit of Sanguinary Guard by James Wappel). The Tyranid-army-of-the-month has nice conversion. The “Blanchitsu” pages show-off awesome conversions for Grey Knight henchman (a much under-appreciated Codex.. from the hobby side), etc.. .
However, I found that there is very little to actually read. Only two, maybe three articles (not counting the battle report) that would qualify as articles in a stricter sense of the word.
- There is 2 page piece by Jeremy Vetock on gaming at home and away
- An (actually insightful) column by Jervis Johnson addressing a reader’s disconnect between the polished studio-vision of the Warhammer hobby and the gritty reality of plastic-grey and dipped armies.
- There is also a Stormshield-Terminator vs. Grey Knight Terminator smack-talk, which may qualify as a more light-hearted article
Yet the overall impression remains: there was a lot to look at, but preciously little to read.
For a weighty magazine with over 150 pages, I was “done” with it surprisingly fast.
#3 – The Verdict
Overall, this remains my main concern with the White Dwarf: the lack of articles to read.
If I don’t buy the White Dwarf to blog about it – as I did this month – my main reason to buy it would be from a station or airport stall, perhaps even as White Dwarf from iTunes, knowing I will be stuck on a train or airplane for a while.
But – as it stands – I think there just isn’t enough content there in those 150 pages to keep me reading for a journey of an hour or two (much less for a quiet evening at home).
I love looking at pictures of well-painted miniatures (why I run a site like pinsofwar.net). I certainly would not want to miss showcase articles of great miniatures, as the Golden Demon feature in this one.
Nevertheless, I believe that there are limits to how much eye-candy can fit into a magazine like this. In this age of online-galleries, flickr, facebook, CMON, etc.. , the appeal of paying hard cash to gawk at pictures of awesome miniatures (still not the real thing) is limited.
More hobby-focused writing would – in my opinion – greatly improve the White Dwarf, giving the reader more mileage (sometimes literally) for their 5 1/2 quid.
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