White Dwarf #389 Reviewed!

Well, White Dwarf #389 is out…and this is the first chance I’ve had since opening the store to do one of my White Dwarf reviews. The last two issues were forgettable blurs for me; apart from some wave two Necron release pictures and information, I can’t remember much about the last two issues of the magazine. I guess that must mean that they were forgettable in their mundanity (far better that that than being noteworthy due to exceptional awfulness).

Issue 389 is almost noteworthy for awfulness…almost. I lay full blame on the Space Marine Stormtalon for this—not that the Stormtalon is truly terrible….I just think it will be one of Games Workshop’s more …polarizing model kits. That, and why anyone would choose to release this kit—and show it off—right beside the AWESOME Ork Bommer and Necron Night/Doom Scythe models is beyond me. The Stormtalon just doesn’t compare to those two kits. As a Space Marine player, opening up this issue and seeing the Stormtalon alongside the other two kits, I’d be feeling like GW was giving me—and all Marine players—the short end of the stick.

I mean, what, with something like EIGHTY percent of all the armies being played right now being Space marine armies, hasn’t GW firmly established that only red-headed step children play armies that aren’t Space Marines? But I digress…

I keep flipping through this month’s issue, waiting for one of the pages to grab my attention and get me to stop flipping through the book, to slow down and take a closer look…perchance to read. But that hasn’t happened yet; I just keep flipping through page after (fantastic looking) page of photos of the new flyer models. I guess fairly forgettable is how this issue will have to be noted as.

This month’s table of contents and Editorial blurb doesn’t happen until page six—no big deal but I guess the change I had mentioned back in my review of 386 (where the table contents also has photos of all the issue’s writers), has already been dropped. The fact that no change has any permanency says to me that White Dwarf is just throwing anything against the wall to see what will stick—but isn’t allowing any real amount of time to actually check whether ideas are sticking or not. (It’s kind of like they’re the FOX network and EVERY new layout idea is a mid-season replacement.)

White Dwarf 389

Pgs 0-1: Two-Page Spread: 40k: Death From Above! Advert for the new flyer kits and with notes on what pages the rules for the Marine and ork “planes” can be found on.

Pgs 2-3: Two-Page Spread: 40k: Necron Doom Scythe and Night Scythe advert …and on what pages they can be found on in this issue.

Pgs 4-5: Two-Page Spread: Warhammer: What page Orc and Goblin army coverage can be seen (notice I didn’t use the word “read”?).

Page 6: Message from the Editor: Andrew Kenrick lets us know that flyers are the focus of this month’s issue.

Page 6: Table of Contents

Page 7: Advert: A mug shot of this month’s new “planes” …and we’re told to pre-order them from the GW website. Oh yeah, there’s some Warhammer coverage on page 80. Liars. (Page 80 is a 2-page spread of a Blood Angels army.)

Pgs 8-13: New Releases: The Space Marine Stormtalon Gunship model kit exposé. We should also turn to page 24 if we want to know how to paint the model kit.

Pgs 14-19: New Releases: The Ork Bommer model kit exposé. We should also turn to page 59 if we want to know how to paint the model kit.

Pgs 20-23: New Releases: The Necron Doom/Night Scythe model kit exposé. We should read last month’s White Dwarf is we want to learn how to paint up a Necron vehicle (not necessarily this one).

Pgs 24-28: Warhammer 40k: How to paint an Ultramarines Stormtalon Gunship. Page 28 has a check list (complete with check boxes!) of all the colours mentioned in the article…and a check box for the spray gun.

Pgs 29-45: Warhammer 40k: “The Battlefor Cardrim” is a ten-page fiction piece that opens with “Waaagh! Skullkrumpa descends upon the world of Cardrim and only Joghaten Khan of the White Scars chapter can stop them.” Indeed, Mr. Cruddace, indeed. After eleven pages of (dare I say) fluff, follows another six pages showcasing painted models that are meant to have been the armies we’ve just read about in Mr. Cruddace’s story (namely a White Scars Army, an Evil Sunz Ork and a Necron army).

Pgs 46-48: Warhammer 40k: New Mission: Scramble! In keeping with the theme of this issue, the Scramble mission puts heavy focus on flyers as one player’s army attacks the other’s airfield. (Page 48 is simply a couple of allegedly mid-game photos of some White Dwarf staff playing through the mission.)

Pgs 49: Advert: GW Hobby Centre grand openings. Nothing to see here; move along.

Pgs 50-51: Advert: Other flyer kits available.

Pgs 52-62: Warhammer 40k: Army project: painting article on how to go about painting White Scars marines and Evil Sunz Orks (the showcased armies from ten pages ago).

Pgs 63: Advert: The 40k Assault on Black Reach starter box.

Pgs 64-65: Standard Bearer: Jervis writes about how multi-faceted THE HOBBY™ is and how we shouldn’t focus on just doing one thing or one style of play—and how there really isn’t one “proper” way to enjoy one’s time with Warhammer (which is a VERY good point to make). Best line from this month’s article: “tournament games can appear to require hours of preparation studying the rulebooks and army lists in order to take part, but the truth is most tournament players just turn up to play a few light-hearted games.” That sentence sure doesn’t seem to resonate with the north American take on Warhammer tournamenting!

Pgs 66-69: Warhammer 40k: Stormtalon Gunship full rules and (more) pictures of the assembled and painted model. (At this point, I’m suffering from Stormtalon fatigue—I’ve seen the model more than enough already! Though I feel I should give GW the kudos again for putting the full rules in the White Dwarf magazine!)

Pgs 70-77: Warhammer 40k: Ork Bommer /Dakka Jet / Blizta-Bommer full rules. Unlike the Stormtalon Gunship, the extra pictures of GW’s 3-in1 ork flyer kit only convince me more about how awesome the kit is: I don’t play Orks, but at this point I’m seriously wondering if I shouldn’t pick up one of these kits just ‘cuz.

Pgs 78-79: New Releases:  Black Library. I guess the front of the book is no longer where one should look to see what new things are coming out this month.

Pgs 80-81: Armies on Parade: Paul Norton’s Blood Angels army.

Pgs 82-83: Advert: Forge World’s Monstrous Arcanum book is now available.

Pgs 84-85: New Releases: New plastic hero models for Warhammer Orcs & Goblins: a Savage Orc Big Boss and a new Goblin Shaman!

Pgs 86-87: Advert: FINECAST™ Goblin releases are coming on June 9th.

Pgs 88-94: Warhammer: Duncan Rhodes talks about painting up orcs from ‘Da Stone Toof’ tribe. Models are shown, step-by-step photos of savage orc paint jobs are presented. Page 94 has a check list (complete with check boxes!) of all the colours mentioned in the article…and a check box for the ‘How to Paint Citadel Minatures’ book.

Page 95: Advert: Orc and Goblin box sets you can buy to make your very own Stone Toof tribe of savage Orcs.

Pgs 96-97: Advert: FINECAST™ Dark Elves, Lizardmen, Tomb Kings and Orcs & Gob Goblins releases that are coming on June 9th.

Pgs 98-99: Golden Demon Gallery: A focus on Empire models that have placed in past Gamesday Golden Demon competitions.

Pgs 100-103: Scenery Showcase: Warhammer. A mausoleumand its outbuildings make up this Reiksguard Chapter House. All in all, pretty cool to look at; but just as with the Golden Demon article that precedes this one, it feels like a two-page throw-away article. And really, it is.

Page 104: Advert: Warhammer scenery kits you can buy to recreate the Reiksguard mausoleum and outbuildings.

Page 105: New Releases: New releases from Fantasy Flight Games. PLUS  (limited) information about Gamesday this July 28th. Seriously, White Dwarf: new releases being mentioned on page 105—what gives??

Page 106: Advert: Birthday celebrations for GW Hobby Centres this June and July.

Pgs 107-117: And thus we conclude this month’s White Dwarf with the No Man’s Land that is The Augury (adverts & independent stores’ events info). Andrew Kenrick’s cut-and-paste text below the title is still on display in this month’s Augury. (The repeated sentences, “A directory of everything you need to get involved in the Games Workshop hobby community! A directory of everything you need to get involved in the Games Workshop hobby” in the header sub-text is now at month ten of remaining unfixed…it’s like GW is treating admitting and fixing a mistake is akin to the USA negotiating with terrorists: it.just.isn’t.done.).

Thoughts on the Issue

I’ve already peppered my thoughts about this issue while giving the run-down of the table of contents. I want to dislike the Stormtalon Gunship more, but I know had it come out on its own and NOT alongside the Ork and Necron “planes” I would have thought the Stormtalon to be a weak—but perfectly acceptable—release.

I get it, GW, you released airplane kits for 40k this month. By the end of this issue, I was SO tired of seeing the flyer kits, that I was fatigued by further pictures of all the same stuff—which is absolute crap, seeing as how that Ork jet is SO awesome. Reading this month’s issue as reminiscent of the time I went to my grandparents and spent an evening sitting through their slide show of a trip made to the Grand Canyon—all VERY interesting, really, but by hour two I was done…and by at hour three I no longer cared (at least I think it was three hours long; life is a blur when you’re twelve).

STREET BEEF

Of all things, my beef is with the wonky layout changes in this month’s issue. I don’t know why, but finding out what new GW-licensed products Fantasy Flight Games is putting out his month only once I’ve flipped through 105 pages of 40k airplane kits really grated on me, once I figured out what the White Dwarf was up to. The same goes with the Warhammer Fantasy new releases being shown on page 85…after the front page of the magazine told me to look at page 80 for Warhammer information. It’s just sloppy workmanship.

You know, I was even going to go off and rant about the sloppiness and evident apathetic attitude of the magazine editor; but I don’t know what struggles Andrew Kenrick goes through every month to string this rag together, so it’s probably quite unfair for me to throw around words like apathy too much.

It’s too bad about this issue; I think I’m angrier about it more than I ought to be; I’m just having a hard time with how heavy the magazine is flogging the flyers. And that’s where I am with this issue. Roughly thirty pages of the magazine WEREN’T graced by photos of flyer models. The rest of the pages were so saturated with the new flyers that I struggle to care. (And perhaps the editor struggled to care as well.)

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3 responses to “White Dwarf #389 Reviewed!

  1. I`m a lot like you. The Stormtalon doesn’t grab me, the Necron flyer screams Cylon, but those Ork flyers……. very nice. While it is nice to see new units in the White Dwarf it does take us back the days of second/third edition where you needed to bring your rulebook, codex and half a dozen magazines to play a game. It would be nice to see the new units available as a pdf download at the end of the month to alleviate this challenge.

    • Yeah, a pdf download would be pretty awesome–still, I won’t complain about new rules showing up in the White Dwarf!

  2. Pingback: White Dwarf #390 Reviewed « Imaginary Wars Blog

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