Saturday, 10 October 2009

GW painting competition, thoughts on White Dwarf

In my first Space Hulk post (start of september), I wrote about a painting competition at the local GW here in Copenhagen, and the date set for entries and judging was today. So I went down there with Brother Claudio safely wrapped in foam.

Turned out that due to bad promotion, I was the only one with an entry - at least at that time of the day! Hehe, actually one might be inclined to believe that the manager had forgotten all about the competition himself: he looked quite shocked at first when I said I had come for the Space Hulk competition - but let's give him the benefit of the doubt! He recovered quickly at any rate, and seemed to love the model, which meant a lot to me, 'cos I know he's a very talented painter - great freehands on banners etc. Anyways, he gave me the newest White Dwarf magazine for free for showing him the model. Very nice, considering it wasn't supposed to be a reward for the competition in the first place.

This just happens to be my very first White Dwarf, unlucky for me it was heavily themed by 40k's Space Wolves. Unlucky, how? Well, first of all I don't play Warhammer 40 000, and secondly I just don't like Space Wolves! In my eyes, GW has tried to merge two excellent themes - ancient norse culture with science fiction - but with a disastrous result void of substance or logic. What's the deal with Space Wolf Terminator trying desperately to get drunk on ale, when their altered genes and armour system keeps them close to immune to toxification? The Space Wolf-concept feels like putting turkey and chocolate ice cream in a mixmaster for the dinner at New Year's eve, hoping it'll taste as good as the two seperate dishes...
Anyways, there were a couple of nice articles in between the "space vikings", and in particular I liked the War of the Ring campaign the studio team had put together - some interesting scenarios, mixing large scale battles with light skirmishes between scouting parties and vanguards. Inspirational!
I also liked the kit-bashing section for Space Wolves was rather nice, I think, as well was the 'Eavy Metal Masterclass-article, some nice tips but mostly good colour choices for desired effects. I did find the section about Battle Damage poor though, it seemed a very backwards and difficult method to me. Myself I prefer to paint "inwards", i.e. I paint a large spot to mark the extent of the battle damage, then highlight towards the centre in the metal-colour. The EM-team on the other hand seem to highlight in layers around a small spot of damage: very strange in my eyes...
There were also an article about Special Characters in the Warhammer game, and how you can build themed and very interesting armies around them, but while I at first was really intrigued by the idea, I think it was very poorly executed. They brought up the issue with certain characters story-wise having a connection to certain units; for example Korhil of the White Lions should have a retinue of warriors from Chrace with him. So they had a Lion Chariot and some Spearmen with lions on their shields. And uhm, that was it.. No tips as to how one can get a Chracian look on your models, nothing about what makes a model look like it comes from the Principality of Chrace - if they'd just explained a bit more, maybe taken the liberty to provide some extra fluff or some explanation as to why certain special character has certain rules, it'd be so much better. Why do High Queen Khalida Neferher of the Tomb Kings favour ranged units in her army? Why do Scar-Leader Kroq-Gar ride with a huge retinue of Cold One Riders? Not just "they do": we know that already by reading the rules! After reading the article, I was left with the feeling that I'd just read an advert squeeking "buy special characters, 'cos they're cool!" without offering any arguements as to why they are that. So much potential, wasted..

Pfeh, wasn't supposed to be a review of the newest White Dwarf, but guess that's how it is, sometimes one can't stop writing. If I'm to draw a conclusion, I have to say I won't subscribe to White Dwarf - at least not if this issue was representative for the magazine. There's too little focus on modelling, painting and battle-/scenario-variants or ideas to spice up the game, while there's too much focus on advertisement. And by advertisement, I do not mean all the pages listing products or showing pictures of new releases etc - even if it constitutes roughly 25 % of the magazine (I did count pages, yes..) - I simply skip reading those pages, so it doesn't really bother me. The problem seems to be that they try to sell something with every article, and if not for that they could've made a great, informative and very inspirational magazine. Too bad.


  1. You have just summed up what many of us gamers have been whinging about for some time - WD has lost its way and is now one big advertising rag.

    I have been buying WD since issue 245 - the launch of the last Space Wolf Codex, stopping for 30 issues when I left the hobby a couple of years back.

    The mag back seemed to have more depth to it with more story/fluff driven articles that elaborated and built on the stories that the mini's were telling. Now it seems to be the opposite. As you point out, every article seems intended to psuh a certain product.

    I still get it for the occassional bit of fluff and the nice photo spreads they do - lots of ideas floating around after reading a WD.

  2. Hey, have you ever TRIED chocolate and turkey? It's actually really good... (And "Space Vikings" got me into this dang hobby in the first place, but that's aside the point.)

    As to WD? Yeah, I feel your pain. I stopped my regular subscription years ago. I would only pick them up when there was some special rules stuff I was interested in... and the last one of those was the "Trial Assault Rules" just before 4th.

  3. Hehe, no I must admit I havn't tried chocolate and turkey, so I guess I should keep my mouth shut when it comes to the Space Wolves *smiles*

    Anyways, glad it's not just me who feels that way towards WD - or on the other hand, I'd wish I wasn't right, that I'd just gotten a bad copy out of hundreds of good ones... Awh well.
    The WotR-campaign was kind of cool though - anyone know if there's any Warhammer Skirmish /Warbands rules for 7th edition? Believe there were some for earlier editions..?

  4. Sadly White Dwarf is always like that nowadays. I was looking back through issue 134 (going back quite a way now!) the other day and the huge difference between that and the most recent Space Wolves issue is quite spectacular really. The newer one looks prettier but there really is no substance. Issue 134 had rules for using Space Marine Terminators, Orks, Tyranids and Scouts in Space Crusade (which is why I was looking through it), Heroquest stuff, a 40k Ork list building article all about a made up character called Ghazghkull Thraka (his legend went from strength to strength!) and loads of really interesting gaming and rules articles. Nowadays what you do get that might be interesting is empty and flawed as you've pointed out, the Warhammer special character piece could have been really good but it was so poorly written and thought out that it was just more bland space filler. Such a shame. I still buy it out of habbit more than anything else but it's an expensive habbit and all it will take is one more price hike and I'll most certainly not be wasting my money any more. The painting tutorials can still be good, the one they did on faces recently was really quite helpful for example but beyond that it's lacking.
    As for Space Wolves, I have the codex, the minis are lovely and they've fleshed out the character of the army a lot more now (still not my cup of tea, the codex is to represent my Angels Exemplar when I get to them). It's an interesting concept the Norse + Marines mix but it's always lacked depth to me. It's just some cool archetypes thrown together without much reason. Still, I think credit should go to Phil Kelly for trying something a bit different. The sagas and rules for making each character unique are an interesting step in a direction that GW seemed to have forgotten about for a bit, bringing the fluff and the game together! :o Going to stop now as this is a subject I want to post on in my blog! :D
    Oh and the most recent Skirmish rules were the 6th edition ones but they don't even have those on the GW website anymore which is a shame :(

  5. Oh yeah, and well done with the painting thing! I'm sure even if more people had entered you'd have done really well as it's a fantastic mini and you've done an incredible job on it. Did you enter it in Jawaballs' painting contest? I've been laid low so never got anywhere near my Space Hulk mini which was a shame :( Best of luck to you, I hope you win something with him!

  6. Thanks for the comment(s) Elazar!
    Yea I did enter Claudio in Jawaball's painting contest, havn't heard or read anything of it yet though. On the other hand, the deadline was this thursday, guess he needs some time to look through it all.
    Do not despair just 'cos you missed Jawaball's contest, though - there's a new contest going on at the Bolter and Chainsword forums, Blood Angel subforum with just about the same theme. I think I'm going to post up some pictures there myself, although I'm a bit intimidated by some of the other contesters: Roman from Massive Voodoo among others.. Anyways there's your second chance!

  7. Hi There I stumbled on your blog from Warseer. I have to disagree with what some people have stated about the White Dwarf. I also have a stupidly large collection of magazine. I think a lot of our perception of the Dwarf is so much worse has come from rose tinted glasses. We look back to when our imaginations were first fired and the mags were so awesome. Now I reviewed magazines from the different period they are not all the same quality but I honestly think the new one are moving in the right direction Anyway hope that does not come across as too ranty. I love your painting and can't wait till I get the chance to tear off my shrink wrap from my copy of Space Hulk. I am trying to wait till Christmas!