To paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of my banning are greatly exaggerated. And I haven't been anywhere - I just chose not to post until now, mainly because I wanted post 5000 to have a little more than my usual nonsense.
So here we are, 5000 posts later. I originally joined Dakka to jump into an ongoing argument between Mauleed and a poster some of the old-timers will remember by the name of 'Drew Riggo'. He was to Dakka then what JohnHwangDD is to Dakka now (Not a word Fraz!). Unlike Jonnyboy though, Drew eventually went away. Mauleed was to Dakka then what Stelek was to Dakka before he was banned, but unlike Stelek, Ed was given time to mellow and eventually dropped much of the attitude he had. As it turned out, I ended up seeing where I was going wrong and switched sides, joining Mauleed because he actually knew what he was talking about. I don't really know what happened after that, except that I got back into 40K
quite seriously then (this is mid-way through 3rd Ed, after a long break after the end of 2nd Ed), learnt a lot about Guard from the person that I still consider to be the Guard Guru above me - Janthkin - got into a lot of fights with Snord and Bugswarm, and generally fell into the Dakka community. And here I am, however many years later, with 5000 posts.
So, this retro WD
review, what am I revewing? Well ever since Kyoto did his first review I've wanted to do one as well, but wanted to do it at the right time, so for quite a while I've been planning this for post 5000. The issue in question is White Dwarf 187 (July 1995). So this is an issue from nearly 14 years ago. Why this one? Well this issue is interesting in that it contains what is basically the first ever 40K Apocalypse game in White Dwarf
, where for the first time (and last time, as far as I can recall), they threw out army lists and points values and just grabbed a bunch of models and had a huge tank bash. This issue is important to me also because it highlights the single greatest thing in 40K
2nd Ed to me - massive tank battles. I got into 40K
because I love sci-fi tanks, even though the only kits at the time were the Land Raider, Rhino and Predator. This was just after the start of GW
's first plastic revolution, as the Russ was out, the Chimea was out, the Demolisher was released in this issue, and the Hellhound and Basilisk weren't far behind (along with the first ever Codex: Imperial Guard). So this game is a huge battle between a horde of Marine tanks and Guard tanks, the forces led by people like Andy Chambers and Jervis Johnson (back before he started fething up 40K
). This battle also highlights why I hate 40K
's current ruleset so much, because vehicles are a joke, and have been a joke since 3rd Ed came out. I loved the detailed and needlessly complicated tank rules from 2nd Ed, and this battle has it all.
So, without wasting any more time, let's get onto the review. This will come and bits and pieces, as I have to go and upload the scans now. I'm simply posting this here now as a place holder, as I wanted post 5000 to be this post, rather than a mass picture upload.
Any Cover-2-Cover review of mine should start with the cover, so here is the cover.
For an issue all about tanks, it sure is a strange cover, no? Actually it's not, because Issue 187 was actually the release month for Warhammer Armies: Dark Elves, the first in that edition of Warhammer Fantasy (4th Ed I think...). So we got a cover with a Khornate Witch Elf wearing clothing that would be considered modest by today's standards, a small Cold One trying to get an upskirt peek at a Dark Elf Sorceress, and an angry looking Dark Elf Warrior with a stupid helmet riding a huge Cold One that looks nothing like the actual Cold One models.
Don't believe me, well take a look at the first of this month's new Dark Elf releases:
Uhh! Ick! Horrible. I really didn't like the Cold Ones when they came out, and not just because they were metal models. They just were trying to go for the whole Jurassic Park Raptor look, but did not pull it off at all. Designed by Trish and Aly Morrison (with the rider, I assume, by Colin Dixon). I know a lot of people have said that Citadel's chief monster-makers at the time weren't all that good, and this model really highlights that fact.
But what else came out for Warhammer and especially Dark Eldar fans in July '95? Well, take a look for yourselves:
Look pretty cheap don't they? What was amusing is that this issue has the Australian and New Zealand Price on the front, but still has £ pricing inside. Not much good for a kid who can't work out exchange rates himself. But yeah, it's Dark Eldar all the time for July '95. GW
released things like this all the time during this period - first month would be the Codex or Army Book plus a splash of new releases, and then new releases would trickle in over the next few months. You never really knew what was going to get released or even if something was going to get a model kit to go with it. Contrast that to now where the first month is the Codex or Army Book plus a splash of new releases, and then nothing for anywhere up to a year before a second wave. Add to that that we never really know what's going to get released or even if something is going to get a model kit to go with it.
And people say GW
have changed for the better...
Anyway, let's take a look at 40K
's releases for the month, and they're a weird and wild collection of random minis from random armies.
So we've got the first model (and still the best) of Tigurious, the ugly Termy Chaplain, the might Leman Russ Demolisher
(the true star of this issue really despite the DE
release, as you'll see later), and then Tyranid Termagants.
Yes, listed as a 'preview' to the upcoming (and first ever) Tyranid Codex, GW
saw fit to release blisters of the new metal Termagants early. Wouldn't it be cool if GW
did that now, releasing a nice model before the Codex came out.
Also released this month was the first Warhammer Quest
suppliment, Lair of the Orc Lord, the Imperial Noble Character Pack (one of the two WQ
models I don't have, annoyingly), as well as the first ever Thunderbolt and Marauder models for Space Marine
(real Epic, not that Epic 40,000 nonsense that came years later).
But let's move onto the first and main article in this issue of White Dwarf, Ian Pickstock's expose on the newest edition to the Imperial Line up. I am, of course, talking about the...
Does anyone actually remember Ian Pickstock? What ever happened to him?
Anyway, because there was no Guard Codex yet, all of these things were presented with full background and rules. Every Guard regiment so far (Catachans, Cadians, Atillans, etc.) had been given a whole article going over their fluff and rules for using them. This happened with everything though. A few years later when the biggest ever Codex, Codex: Chaos, came out, they still put the background and rules for Abaddon, Ahriman and Fabius Bile into WD
even though the Codex was out. It was nice in some ways, as you got ready to play units before a Codex came out, or if you just wanted to try something out, but later on it became pretty worthless as WD
was full of redundant articles (rather than just being redundant, like it is now).
But this article went over the history of the Demolisher, gave us some nice pictures, and all of the rules. Let's see a few of them then:
When I was much younger, I used to look at all these nice staged photos and work out in my head who was likely to win. I'd say the Berzerkers are in trouble here.
Keep in mind that the Demolisher wasn't just a new tank, the Demolisher Cannon was a new weapon to 40K
, so it got its own little mini-article explaining what it was and what it did.
You're probably wondering why I'm posting this pic here. Well I'm simply doing what GW
has done in the middle of this article, posting a random picture of this month's new Marine releases smack-bang in the middle of the article for Demolishers. What's more amusing is that nothing in that photo is still sold today except the Jetbikes.
Oh, and reverting back to a 12 year old for a moment, those Eldar are totally boned! The Heavy Flamer and Storm Bolters will eliminate the Jetbikes, the HTH
Termies will cut the Guardians up good and Tiggy will annihilate what ever's still left standing with Ultimate Force Storms of Wrath and Hellfires and gak like that. 2nd Ed Psychics were stupid and silly, but damn were they fun.
The rules, in case you want to field one, and now a very special picture:
In its full glory I present the Datafax card for the Leman Russ Demolisher. This is why I love 2nd Ed and this is why I've hated every edition since - all the vehicle rules since these things went away have sucked. Crew, Ram Values, speed bands, weapon data as long as my arm, and hit charts for each part of the tank! There's a reason I play more BattleTech than 40K
these days, and that's because every 'Mech has its own sheet with its own stats, weapons, critical hit chart and so on. 40K
used to have something similar, this Datafax system. Sure, it was stupid in some regards (each bike had a Datafax card, so a squadron of 5-Marine bikes had 5 of these you'd have to keep track of), but damn it was fun.
And the Demolisher's armour was just scary. 25 on the Turret? 22 for the side/rear? WOW! Not even the Land Raider had that. And its tracks were 17 rather than the 15 of the Russ. That was a huge difference. For anyone wondering how you'd get 25 on D6
+S armour penetration, the answer is there was no D6
+S penetration. If you look at the weapon charts, every weapon has its own armour penetration value, so a Lascannon is 3D6
+9. The Multi-Melta is D6
Good times... good times...
And then to round off this article, another out-of-place picture:
The caption here is amusing - the T-Gaunts are ambushing the Mordians... by running towards them... across open terrain... in full view. No, it's the approaching conga-line of 'Stealers that are the Mordian's biggest problem. Oh, and by 12-year-old-comparative-force-strength-maths, the Mordians are boned. Genestealers could take down Marine Captains in 2nd Ed without raising a sweat, a bunch of wimpy Guardsmen would be no issue for even 3 of them.
On another note, looked at that ruined chapel they're fighting on. It showed up earlier in the pic with the Guard raping the Berzerkers. Whatever happened to this great scratch built terrain? Has it been destroyed? Sold? Stolen by Andy Chambers or Nigal Stillman as they left the offices? Where did it all go?
But we're leaving out our Fantasy fans, and as the DE
did some out in this issue, we should probably take a brief journey to...
Deep and brooding and filled with walls of text, I decided not to scan most of this section because scanning pages is tedious and because I doubt my 14-year-old issue of WD
could take much of it. In any case, here are the pics I did get:
's ability to sculpt women improved at all?
Virtually all metal. Fantastic.
For the record, I miss Mark Gibbon's stuff.
Next up we have a very brief look at the new Epic releases for that month:
Aren't they cute!
And a nice big Epic spread pic featuring Epic Tyranids (Domanatrix!!!), original Stormblades, some Stormhammers and that horrid 2nd Generation Warlord model:
And now we move on to the other big release of the month, Warhammer Quest's first expansion pack - Lair of the Orc Lord.
Lair of the Orc Lord was a great set, and if you have a full one lying around you can make a pretty penny on eBay. I'm not about to sell my copy though, so don't get'cha hopes up.
The models in LotOL were great. The Big 'Uns are a bit understated given today's Ork models, but Gorgut is an imposing model, Skabnoze makes a great Shaman in any army, and who can pass up Gotlin in a Jester Outfit, or a Squig with a Mohawk?
The best part of LotOL was this:
I love Bogoff, partly because he's called Bogoff, partly because he's a Snotling (and Snotlings are funny) and also because he's one of the best Encounter Cards in the game. He just nicks your lantern and runs off!!! Frustrating as hell for the player's, but not for the guy playing the monsters. Hilarious stuff.
The article on LotOL ends with this little section:
There was only one more expansion pack for Warhammer Quest - Catacombs of Terror, that came with some great Tomb Guard, an ace Necromander, an angry Skeleton on a Throne, a Hunchback and a book on a stand! No other expansions were ever released, which is a real shame as a Skaven or Chaos Dwarf one would've been nice. We got articles for Skaven and Chaos Dwarfs later down the line, around Issue 200 when GW
started putting card-inserts into their issues (and could therefore give us Warhammer Quest new board sections on something other than plain paper, but no actual releases. Sad really.
Two more things before I get onto the big Battle Report. First is this:
In 1994, this is what it took to get 1st at the Golden Demons. No offence to Gary Taylor, but it's amazing how much things have changed. You can do a half-way decent paintjob on some completely unconverted models, have basic basing and some random bits to make mono-filament on one of their gun barrels, and that's 1st Place. Today people hardly enter stock models, and there's just as much greenstuff and kitbashing involved as there is painting techniques.
And that's not the only example, take a look at this 1st Place Single Miniature winner:
It's converted yes, but the level complexity of this compared to some of the masterpieces we see yearly from the French Golden Demon is just mind boggling. I mean, I think he's a cool model, but then again I think this guy...
... is also a cool model.
Finally, before the report, the other thing was a comment to all of those to mock modern WD
for just being a redudant form of product placement and blatant advertising pretending to be a hobby magazine, GW
's advertising was no less blatant back in '95, as this shows:
Personally I love this bit:
WOW! TRANSFERS!!!! OMGWTFBBQ!!!!!!
But here we are, the moment some of you have been waiting for, the Battle Report from White Dwarf Issue 187, the biggest (at the time) report that they had ever, ever done! Yes, it is time for:
Yes, this one is so big it has three writers - Andy Chambers, who I'm going to refer to as Corey Heart for the rest of this review (cookie for the reference), the Sultan of Bland, Jervis Johnson and the... future editor of White Dwarf for a few months, Jake Thorntorn. What ever happened to Jake Thorntorn anyway?
Battle Reports in White Dwarf used to be the reason you bought the damned magazine in the first place. They were funny, informative, filled with walls of text that gave blow-by-blow accounts of games, detailed maps that showed everything for each turn, and you got to see some great painted miniatures. This report is no exception, with Jervis giving a full two page introduction to the reasons for the battle, how it came about, what the background and rules were going to be, the terrain they were using, how people could do the battle themselves. It was great.
They were punctuated with bits of fluff, which was quite amusing in this one, and the odd picture. Emphasis on 'odd' though, as we do get this ancient piece of artwork springing up:
I don't really know what this pic has to do with the upcoming report as there were no real infantry in it and certainly (and inexplicably) no Land Raiders present.
Jesus Christ! Look at the size of that Plasma Cannon! It's bigger than him!!!!!
The next section, written by Andy 'Corey Heart' Chambers, is two and a bit pages of what's happening with his army, who's playing, what his plan is and how he's going to deal with the enemy Marines. But let's show off this Grand Armee of the Sunglasses:
Whether you're 12 or 25, that is a cool army. And at the time, the idea of having three Russes, let alone SIX
was a crazy thought. Of course, today I own 5 times that many Russ Hulls and 12 times that many Chimera Hulls, but still, for the first Apoc
game ever, this was awesome.
One important thing to note is the infantry in the front row. As I said earlier, GW
didn't ever really tell anyone what was coming up, and there wasn't much in the way of the internet at the time to get rumours flowing. There are Cadian Meltagun Guys, Cadian Missile Launchers, Catachan Flamers and Lascannons and a Cadian Autocannon there in that pic. These models had never
been seen before - never previewed, and they weren't released until the actual Guard Codex came out a while later. The only Cadian models, for instance, that were on sale at the time was the box of ten, which had a Sergeant, a Flamer and Heavy Bolter Team, and the kick-ass Lieutenant with the pump-action Shotgun and the baseball cap. I thought for a long time that these models were conversions (the Cadian HB
Gunner fit on the Tallarn Autocannon's gun... but how'd they make the loader? A lot of modelling putty I assume).
I was quite happy when later on I found out that these were real models.
(Sorry for the line down the middle. This was a two page spread, so I did my best).
Commanding the Grand Armee of the Sunglasses, would be:
Corey Heart, during his 'Really Bad Hair
Gavin Tyler, who's clearly caught his bad hair from Corey.
James 'Who?' Funnell
And Phil Lowles. I'm sure the next thing Phil heard after taking that phot was "I said smile you moron, not grin like a idiot!
These guys, other than Corey of course, were all junior members of the design team. Anyone know if they went on to bigger and better things (or in the case of James Funnell, bigger and better glasses?).
But who would face down Corey's horde of tanks? Well none other than the sexiest team of 40K
players ever gathered together. I'm calling them Team Sexy. Who are Team Sexy you ask? They are...
Such an attractive man.
Doesn't Ian look so smug there? He's the resident tread-head, so he's given the lion's share of Team Sexy's tanks (the Space Wolves, oddly enough).
Yeah, that's really him.
I actually like Adi Wood. He always had such bad luck in Battle Reports. Funny guy. Where did he go?
And Team Sexy's tanks?
Behold the studio's entire
collection of Marine Tanks at the time (sans Ultramarine Land Raider), plus borrowed Space Wolf tanks from Ian's personal collection and another guy! Still I like it, oh, and Rapier and Tarantulas!! And a medic on a Bike! And the Ultramarine Captain with the world's shortest Power Sword.
The player's weren't allowed to talk to one another except in small recorded messages at the start of each turn, so co-ordinating their actions was a bit difficult. They had to have a plan before the game started. Interestingly enough, this
is no doubt the origin of the 'Jammers
' Strategic Asset in Apocalypse. Jervis first used a version of that rule in this battle, and it returned many years later in Apoc
The battle itself is pretty cool. It starts off badly for the Marines with their tanks getting shot up at long range. All but the Space Wolves jump out of their transports as the Land Speeders flank left. The main baddy, Varlak, had to escape in a Chimera, and the 7 Russes and 2 Chimeras started the game off table, coming in randomly. The Marines only had a limited window to get in and kill Varlak, their best hope being the Land Speeders (and Corey Heart knew this of course). The game shifted when the Dark Angels, who had taken the wide right, got their Terminators (who could ride in Rhinos back then) into HTH
with a group of 3 Russes. The Deathwing guys tore the tanks to pieces, and from there the Guard crumbled. The Space Wolves tanks swarmed the bunker complex and took out everyone, Varlak made a run for it, but the final Speeder (the Space Wolf one) swept in and fried that sucka like something that finishes my analogy.
Here are some pics:
Marine tanks try to get to the bunker complex as fast as they can!
The Guard's left flank collapses as the Deathwing rips an entire relief column to pieces in HTH
Having popped one of the Chimeras already, the Land Speeder gets a good shot at Varlak and takes it, ending his heresy in a single blast of super-heated air. Meanwhile, a column of Space Wolf tanks loaded with angry Blood Claws sweeps the bunker complex, killing everyone and everything.
This is one of the great maps they used to summarize the turns (although each turn did get a lengthy explanation from the players going over what happened and their choices, plus a few of the little communiques they sent to one another at the start of each turn). Maps like this made Battle Reports useable, and if I do another Retro Review I'll show you when GW
finally dropped the ball with WD
in Issue 216 (the last issue from the 2nd Ed era I ever bought) - it's all to do with bat reps and the way they were presented. I know these sorts of maps have now returned, but there was a dark period in WD
's history where battle reports became a series of one or two isometric photos of the battlefield with some notes written beside them and that was it
. No explanation of turns, no detailed analysis or funny jokes - just the set up, the army pictures, some photos, and then a confusing conclusion that made no sense to anyone who hadn't been there to watch the game.
And now some 'Live' shots of the game:
Corey lookin' good as always, Adi can't work out why he's wearing sunglasses inside, and I think Ian just wants his autograph. I have no idea who the guy on the right is. These pictures also give a good sense of scale, as the 'glossy' shots above tend to cram everything together.
The caption here is amusing - 'Confident' does not describe Corey's team mates. Phil and Gavin look despondant, and I don't think James can see anything. Then again, neither can Corey, what with those sunglasses he's still wearing inside. I wonder if it's dark outside...
The game over, Corey finally takes his sunglasses off and they discuss what happened. Jake also joins us to help bring a little sexy back into this photo.
We'll cap off the Heretic report with what Corey said at the end:
Almost at the end.
Every White Dwarf ended with a two page spread about their Mail Order department, followed by pages of bare-metal models showing all the parts and new releases and whatnot. But did you ever wonder who the Mail Order Trolls were? No? Well neither did I, but in case you ever woke up one night screaming because you're unsure what the person who packed your order's face looks like, here they are:
Hmm... maybe it'd better to imagine them as actual Trolls. That said, that tall guy with the frizzy hair in the front row (middle) could be a troll. That is a guy, right?
Only two shots from this section, just to give you an idea:
Out of all the pages in there, I chose this one because it shows of a few interesting things.
For starters, there's something called a Tempest. The Eldar Tempest was the Scoripon before the Scorpion was the Scorpion. Next, check out the Wave Serpent! The Firestorm's also very different, and I'm guessing the Warp Hunter is what would eventually become the Cobra. And there's the original Eldar Nightwing, plus a super-heavy Fire Prism, a funky looking Doomweaver. Strange how things change.
And finally, every Cover-2-Cover review ends with the back cover
Again, what happened to all this terrain they made? Can they only display terrain in WD
these days that they can actually sell as kits? Will all Bat Reps take place on that idiotic Realm of Battle Board from now on, covered only in official GW
sanctioned terrain? Where did all this great stuff just go?
And that's it! That's White Dwarf 187 from July 1995, the first ever Apoc
report, the first release of the Demolisher, the first and only appearance of Team Sexy, and heaps of other stuff.
Oh, and for those keeping score, the Marines won the BatRep because they had one of that month's new releases (Tigurius!).
Have at it boys. Tell me what you think. Share you memories of days and White Dwarfs gone by...