If the first issue of White Dwarf
was June/July 1977 (pg
.26 of this issue), then shouldn’t the 40th anniversary be NEXT MONTH
I get why it isn’t next month, but for all the lauding of the occasion, they could have at least gotten the right month...
It’s not exactly news, but is highlighted here, that of the ten members of the ‘White Dwarf team’, only two have been in the role for over four years (and only one for over five). I certainly wouldn’t go so far as to suggest direct causation with the current state of things, but there may be some level of correlation.
- ‘A look back at the past 40 years of White Dwarf, then, is very much a look back at the history of Games Workshop, Citadel, Warhammer and Warhammer 40,00, too, and the role the magazine has played (and continues to play) in it all.’
Top editoring there, editor.
’The tale of the last 40 years of White Dwarf is really the tale of how we got here, to the best White Dwarf ever...’
No. And this very issue will prove it.
– The picture of Ahriman on the contents page(s) is the same size as the same picture from the Golden Demon article. I checked. I used a ruler. Send help.
– ’This magazine in your hands is the 549th issue of White Dwarf’
Oh, so they are keeping count then? Because there haven’t been issue numbers for several reboots now.
Page 4 promises ’an in-depth look at the incredible Arkanaut Ironclads’
. Remember that for a moment.
- Full page ad for global opportunities –
The Forge World releases aren’t given prices again.
The sky-Dwarf releases covering six pages of the latest releases section is a little excessive given the other coverage they get in this issue, and the coverage they got last issue.
Then we get a double page about the Ironclad. ‘In-depth’, it turns out, translates to a description running to a couple of hundred words and three annotated pictures of the model. In-depth.
The top of page 23 also says ‘In stores now’
, but the boxout on the same page says ‘Pre-order: Now’
, and the boxouts on both pages 22 & 23 say the Ironclad is available from the 6th May. More of that quality editoring on display.
- Double page spread for Warhammer: Age of Sigmar: Skirmish (coming soon). Yay, not-Mordheim -
Temporal Distort Special
– ’...alongside this month’s features, we bring you a look back at each and every issue of White Dwarf from those 40 years’
. Except those since the latest reboot. They’re not included here.
editions get no representation which is a bit of a shame.
I like the idea, and it’s fun enough. It would have been cool to have all of the issues as a four page spread or something in the style of the picture which takes up half of the first page of this article...
Wait a minute...
That picture with all the covers (pgs
. 2, 4 & 26)...
Some covers feature more than once!
Oh come on! Was it really too much effort?!
40 Years of White Dwarf
– This is a lot more wordy (and lengthy) than usual articles. The potted history of White Dwarf
starts off reasonably well – if being very brief – but deteriorates as the timeline nears the present day.
Like usual Temporal Distort articles, this just serves to highlight how much has been lost – Index Astartes? Gone. Substantially new background material (eg
. The birth of the modern Eldar in issue 127)? Gone. Worldwide campaigns? Gone. Card pull-outs? Gone. Terrain building? Gone. Substantial specialist games content? Gone. Original artwork? Gone.
’The format [of painting guides] took another huge leap forwards with the 2012 relaunch and the arrival of Paint Splatter...’
Compare the images of the Paint Splatter for the Slaughterpriest and the old Painting Workshop for the Word Bearer on page 32 – is the former really that much (if any) improvement on the latter? Sure there are a few more pictures, but there are almost no words by comparison.
White Dwarf... was thus in this era [under Guy Haley in the mid-2000s] able to dedicate whole issues to each new army, race, or kit as they first appeared. This approach was epitomised by the Giant issue, White Dwarf 316, where the stunning new citadel Giant kit was displayed in more detail than any kit before it, with painting guides, designers’ notes, a breakdown of every single part on the sprue, rules, a Battle Report and more’
The sheer brass balls required to present that as a positive... I’ve got nothing. How can I begin to respond to that!?
The latest reboot is described as ’the ultimate Warhammer magazine’
. That’s true, I suppose, insofar as it’s the only
Warhammer magazine, but the implication is clearly that it’s the best it has ever been (/can be), which is downright insulting to those who came before.
40 Years of White Dwarf: The Saga of Grombrindal
– A look at the history of the White Dwarf himself. At only two pages it’s pretty anaemic.
The description of how the character Grombrindal arose from the title of the magazine is in contrast to the description presented in the September 2016 issue.
The fifteen White Dwarf models are mentioned, but only two are shown. You’d have thought that showcasing all of them would have been a no-brainer here.
(Also I suspect that there might have been sixteen models, but I’m not sufficiently motivated to put in the effort to check that).
40 Years of White Dwarf: Tales Told by Dwarfs
– Two pages looking at fiction from/in White Dwarf
’...in the olden days it was often White Dwarf that featured them, either as extracts or whole short stories...’
’Even more interesting (for us at least) were those characters created for Battle Reports or army showcases that then became enshrined in the background of our universes.’
’His [Gav Thorpe’s] most well-known books include the Path of the Eldar series, which tells the tale of a trio of Eldar from Biel-Tan Craftworld’
... pssst... Alaitoc
. They’re from Alaitoc. Pro editoring.
– Yeah, in a bumper four page edition, a bunch of people say which their first/favourite issue was/is. As above, none is from within the last decade.
...There’s 80s amazon lady with pom
eagle on the cover of issue 81 again... Hello.
The White Dwarf Interview: the Dark Baroque
(John Blanche) – Some people don’t like Blanche[‘s work]. Those people are objectively wrong :shifty:
At eight pages this is another unusually lengthy article (although the first page is just a big sexy picture of Mr Blanche. I mean, erm, is unnecessary).
This is the only interview style article from any issue of White Dwarf
that I feel has actually worked.
I would have liked some more text (written by Blanche), and would still like to see more focus on Blanche’s concept work, which is teased with a couple of pictures here (...floaty-dwarf belly lasers..?)
’The box cover for Epic 40,000 from 1997... I painted the cover of the second edition of Warhammer 40,000 four years earlier... There are a few similarities, though. The central character, for example, might well be the same warrior’
. Time to do some archive delving of my own. Cue time travel wibbly-wobbly transition:
'Once again the Blood Angels were chosen because they would link into the Warhammer 40,000 cover. I asked John if the main character was the same as the hero on the front of the Warhammer 40,000 box. 'Hmm, I did consider this, but decided that seeing as both Games Workshop, and myself as an artist, are always developing it would be something of a retrograde step. Since Warhammer 40,000 was released, the Angels of Death Codex has developed the image of the Blood Angels so much... still, I suppose he could be the same warrior, but after he's seen a lot more combat'.
'Art Attack' in White Dwarf
.75 (April 1997)
Retrograde steps are all the rage these days.
– Two pages are devoted to the history of Blanchitsu (notice how the ‘reincarnation’ from 2012 features so much more blank/wasted page space than any of the other four spreads pictured), followed by two pages showing one of Blanche’s newer warbands – these were created post-Pilgrym, are we done with that now, or is it coming back next month? I need some sort of closure here! As usual, showing the whole warband and then each individual model right next to each other is a gross waste of space.
. I love you John.
– Even with text snippets by Blanche, this still feels like six pages of filler. It just doesn’t devote enough space/effort to the text to be anything other than a collection of loosely related pictures.
4o Years of White Dwarf: Golden Demon
– Two pages which effectively say ‘Golden Demon has been in White Dwarf
for 3o years’. Modern Golden Demon tends to feature between one and three models per double page spread. In contrast those examples from past decades shown here have probably half a dozen entries per double page.
I think it’s probably fair to say that the modern presentation is somewhat better than that of the 80s (pg
.61) (although as noted here, photography has improved considerably over the intervening time), but the 90s examples, and even up to the 2012 example (pg
.60) show more in less space – and didn’t string the content out for an entire year!
Golden Demon: Enemies of the Imperium
– That’s really getting quite tenuous as far as defining categories in a painting competition goes.
This feature runs for six pages, and shows six models. It doesn’t even feature all of the winners from the Enemies of the Imperium category (I assume) – just the vehicle and staff sub-categories.
40 Years of White Dwarf: ‘Eavy Metal
– A four page look at the various things ‘Eavy metal contribute to White Dwarf
. It seems a missed opportunity, given that the non-metallic metals guide for the Sanguinor is mentioned as still being regarded as the seminal guide on the technique, that the guides are never re-printed or made available elsewhere.
- Double page spread of buoyant-stunties –
40 Years of White Dwarf: Battle Reports
– Deep breaths, stay calm...
The very first battle report – ’24 Hours at Carik Mound’ featured ’a narrative story’
, and that had maps. Maps suited that game. The very first game! MAPS!
Look at ‘Last Stand at Glazer’s Creek’ – possibly one of the best battle reports ever – a heavily narrative report, with what would today be unbound armies, and a custom scenario, and that had maps. MAPS!
‘The Fangs of the Wolf’? MAPS!
‘Angels of Death’? MAPS!
Maps suited those reports!
There was none of this mewling hogwash about ‘ooh, we only include maps if the report suits them’.
And look at those classic reports pictured here – what do we see plastered all over the pages? Words. The first two pages of ‘Fangs of the Wolf’ are almost entirely text (a page of background story, followed by ‘Introduction’ and ‘The Scenario’. The same with ‘Angels of Death and ‘Last Stand at Glazer’s Creek’ (although with a big picture of Fat Bloke).
They highlight how heroes and their background were created via battle report. When was the last time anything like that happened? Imotekh being introduced in the ‘Chronicles of von Blacke’? Even then that was clearly retroactive placement.
There’s mention of how battle reports are ’one of the hardest and most time consuming aspects of the magazine to create’
. I find it difficult to be sufficiently charitable as to assume that the current state of battle reports isn’t due to a desire to cut corners, which is saddening.
Battle Report: Legend of the White Dwarf
(Fire-Dwarves vs. Nurgle, Air-Dwarves vs. Orruks, and Red- Blue- and a White- Dwarves vs. Nurgle and Orruks) – ’...we sat down with a stack of old White Dwarfs featuring what we felt to be the classic, iconic, legendary examples of such and asked what made them so memorable... The essence of 40 years of Battle Reports distilled into one mighty sequence of games...’
And this is what you came up with. This
For some reference, this series of three games covers sixteen pages. *pick a random issue* ‘A Chronical of Blood’ from issue 176 (which was nothing special unlike this series, apparently) is also sixteen pages, doesn’t have a full page taken up by an introductory picture, features two army lists, and has an almost-full page of background instead of the maybe quarter page here. Plus issue 176 had maps.
‘Coils of the Serpent’ in issue 209 (also nothing special) was also sixteen pages (I honestly did randomly select these past issues!) with army lists, maps, and two pieces of background text (plus one full-page picture).
‘Stomp an’ Smash’ in issue 188 (nothing special again, although part of a series of reports which featured the Imperator titan Cassis Belli
, is eighteen pages with army lists, maps, and almost a page of background – and only lasted two turns!
I have questions about the narratives of these reports:
- How does a floaty-Frigate fit through a realmgate?
- Why are the Chaos and Orruk forces working together?
- Why does the Auric City – an ancient Duardin stronghold look so much like a human ruin with a Dreadhold in it?
- If the Dwarf players hadn’t found the axes... then what..? Would the White Dwarf just not have turned up? It seems like the (not very surprising) big reveal was necessary for the report to exist, which makes me suspicious that it’s a set-up.
- So Grombrindal just left his axes in some old city?
In the conclusion they mention how Stapleton failed to cast Foot of Gork repeatedly, but as far as I can see, this is the first mention of it in the reports.
These being narrative reports, they obviously don’t suit maps. Except for turns one and two of the third report which get ‘arrows on a photo of the board’ style maps (not proper maps). Hmm.
Anything and everything which is a staple complaint of modern battle reports is present here.
Is this really your A-game Dwarf
Are you really happy with this?
- Double page spread of Age of Sigmar App –
Modelling and Painting: Paint Splatter
(birthday Grombrindal) – It’s a bit of a shame that after the article on the history of Golden Demon... there is no Golden Demon in this issue.
What’s here is okay. It’s odd that despite the text specifically mentioning painting bottles, the bottles aren’t included in the stage-by-stage pictures/colours.
Battleground: Imperial Might
– Notice that the description of ‘Battleground’ has been changed to read ’...we showcase some of the finest gaming tables and miniatures displays in the world’
since most of the boards featured haven’t actually been battlefields you could actually play on.
The display board depicting a muster on Cadia is very pretty. The fold out pages actually work here, where the added width is really needed.
I have questions/comments, though:
- Armoured companies are ten vehicles strong – a command tank and three squadrons of three. But the Russ formations here appear to be a command tank and squadrons of five.
- None of the infantry appear to be sergeants (or officers at all other than the guy with the cap).
- Isn’t it a bit late for the Alphic Hydras to be arriving? Especially since they’re stationed directly opposite the Lord Castellan.
- The numeral on Creed’s balcony is IV, but Creed is commander of the 8th. The numeral might not be a reference to his regiment, of course, but it’s conspicuous.
- The command vehicle for the second armoured company has Lascannon sponsons. Is this a Leman Russ Destroyer, previously only mentioned in Priests of Mars
- At the top of the pg
.98 pullout it says this is 999.M41. However Creed only became Lord Castellan following the Battle of Tyrok Fields, which at the very earliest, was in the last hours of that year. So the scenario as depicted here is impossible. I know: this is why I can’t have nice things.
40 Years of White Dwarf: A Tale of Four warlords
– The return of White Dwarf to a monthly magazine saw our classic article, now renamed A tale of Four Warlords, return. It combined all the best features of its ancestors...
But it missed the core point. Looking back at the very first ‘Tale of Four Gamers’ article in issue 218 (pg
.39), there are only two rules – the budget, and you have to paint everything in time for publication. Without the budget you just have four people adding whatever to their armies and the end result might as well just be a normal army showcase.
Looking at the five previous incarnations shown here, each one was worse than the last.
Also, that’s a big bacon baguette for £1.25...
A Tale of Four Warlords: The Warlords Go To War
– Corbeil: £97.50, Ashbey: £94.00, Harden: £128.00 (plus wherever the head for the tank crewman came from), Bilewicz: £129.00.
Parade Ground: Shadow War Kill Teams
– Six kill teams featuring various levels of conversion. It’s alright; nothing ever so inspiring. It could perhaps have been re-formatted to skip the pictures of individual models allowing for three teams per double page which would have allowed for 50% more to be shown.
- Double page ad for Black library app –
Gaming: The Masters of Fate
– Two pages by Jervis Johnson about how to become an ‘advanced gamesmaster’ for Shadows Over Hammerhal. Basically, describe stuff and know what you’re doing.
I guess if you have no idea what a gamesmaster is..? But then you’d probably want rather more than this.
Also what is that picture? Could you stage it any harder?
Rules for the four air-dwarf characters in Warhammer Quest. That’s nice. Would have been good if they could be cut out without chopping chunks out of the surrounding articles.
New Rules: That Still Only Counts As One
(Lord of the Rings minigame recreating the ’defing scene’
when Legolas fights on a mumak howdah. I guess if you’ve got a mumak and a Legolas lying around it might be fun. It doesn’t use standard rules though, so you can’t have other characters fight in the howdah, and can’t use this as part of standard games.
Why are ‘Legolas’ and ‘Mirkwood’ italicised throughout?
Spike magazine: Questionable Tactics
– A single page on illegal weapons in Blood Bowl matches.
Star Player Cards: The White Dwarf & The Black Gobbo
– Rules for... well you can work it out for yourselves.
Presumably these rules will either come with the models and/or be made available from Forge World.
Gaming: The Blood Bowl Playbook
– Effectively a six page Tactica article for Blood Bowl. It’s not rocket science, but given the page count devoted to it, this is probably the best White Dwarf
tactics article in five years or more.
Well played, Hewitt.
- Double page spread of Warhammer World -
– This really shouldn’t need to feature multiple models/units by single submitters; especially when there is a double page specifically devoted to a single painter here too.
In The Bunker
– I would present the entirety of the text block on pg
.144, without comment. But the final paragraph alone stands as a fitting conclusion to everything this issue represents:
’The past 40 years of White Dwarf are an incredible triumph and provide a mass of wonderful examples of what’s great and why, but you can always do it better. Nostalgia’s not what it used to be, as the old joke goes, and looking back you can see that with White Dwarf. Fond as we all might be of our own favourites, the real triumphs aren’t in the past, they’re where we are now: the Ultimate Warhammer Magazine.’