White Dwarf #391 Reviewed!

As has been my trend over the past few months of White Dwarf issues, I’m reviewing the magazine well after its release…and well after it’s likely sold out everywhere—which feels like an odd thing to say about the White Dwarf.

So I’ve been saying for a while that it’s felt like White Dwarf has been trying to make some changes (that would stick) to the magazine to increase its readership. Well, this month is the third month in a row that the magazine has sold out across town (as far as I can tell); and I think the editors have stumbled upon the secret behind selling White Dwarf to the masses: exclusive content. This month sees the release of a bunch of new chaos daemon model kits, some being plastic re-sculpts, some being entirely new models. More importantly there are new rules—and updated rules—for all the models released this month, and the only way to get those rules is by purchasing this month’s White Dwarf issue to get the separate Daemons Army Book / Codex booklet that comes poly-bagged with the issue.

I’ve decided to not review the daemon rules that accompanied this month’s magazine as I know there’s plenty of people out there on the internet that have already done reviews of the booklet—heck, even I helped review the 40k portion of it on Jaded Gamercast!

WHITE DWARF #391

Pgs 0-1: Two-Page Spread: 40k: The new chaos daemon models on full display in 40k flavour.

Pgs 2-3: Two-Page Spread: Warhammer: The new chaos daemon models on full display in Warhammer Fantasy Battles flavour.

Pgs 4-21: New Releases: Daemons, daemons and more daemons!!!

Pgs 22-23: New Releases from Black Library

Pgs 24-25: Advert (?): The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey.

Pgs 26-37: Daemons: White Dwarf goes over all the pantheons of the Daemons of Chaos…complete with which paints you’ll need to paint up the minions of each dark god.

Pgs 38-39: Advert: A good variety of the myriad box sets available for Daemons of Chaos on display over these two pages.

Pgs 40-43: Daemons: A bunch of different modeling projects are shown off and presented as what’s currently on many of the studio painters’ painting tables.

Pgs 44-45: Advert: GW hobby Centre grand openings this month.

Pgs 46-57: Warhammer 40k Battle Report: The bestest friends in the galaxy—the Eldar and the Dark Eldar—decide they need to fight some Chaos Daemons…and get decidedly pantsed.

Pgs 58-59: Advert: Warhammer 40k 6th Edition accessories available for purchase.

Pgs 60-67: Warhammer 40k: Battle Brothers: allies in 40k 6th Edition. Highlighted are Imperial Guard / Space Wolves, World Eaters / Khorne Daemons & Howling Griffons Space Marines / Grey Knights.

Pgs 68-69: Daemons: Rules for the Tzeentch Daemons, The Blue Scribes (riding a rather magic carpet-looking giant blue-flour daemon tortilla) are given here for both Warhammer Fantasy and 40k.

Pgs 70-81: Warhammer Battle Report: Daemons face off against High Elves and wreck them! Good to see GW has gone back to the tried and tested formula of “the newest releases always win their first battle report.

Pgs 82-83: Advert: Warhammer Fantasy accessories available for purchase.

Pgs 84-87: Warhammer Arena of Death: Generally a floor-sweepings filler of an article of how in a one-on-one fight an Empire Captain beat a Saurus Oldblood, a Savage Orc Big Boss beat a Wight King, and how a Goblin Shaman beat a Beastman Bray-Shaman. (Yawn.)

Pgs 88-91: Blanchitsu: Maybe it’s ‘because I’m old enough to remember reading the original Blanchitsu articles back in the early 100s-era of White Dwarf, but I give a lot of forgiveness to the models John Blanch paints. Though a bit …painterly (read: messy), I absolutely love how accomplished he is at creating evocative paint jobs. Anyhoo…this installment of Blanchitsu looks at the versatility of the Warhammer Nurgle Chaos Lord model. John Blanche isn’t the art director of Games Workshop for nothing; in this simple little toss-off of an article, he provides plenty of inspirational for our viewing pleasure (only two of those presented are done by him).

Pgs 92-93: Advert: Warhammer plastic character model kits currently available. Seriously, these awesome kits beg the question, “Why use Finecast™ at all?”

Pgs 94-95: Advert: Forge World: A diorama featuring many of the Chaos Daemon models currently available from Forge World.

Pgs 96-99: Hobby Damage Control …or, “How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love Finecast™”: Finecast™ is so superior that GW had to create all kinds of tools and methods, how-to articles and products to compensate for the inherent awesomeness of this amazing new miniatures material!

Pgs 100-101: Advert: GW hobby & modeling supplies you can buy.

Pgs 102-103: Armies on Parade: Mat Spencer’s Space Ork army.

Page 104: New Releases: Fantasy Flight Games releases this month… at the back of the magazine.

Page 105: Advert: Gamesday 2012.

Page 106: Advert: GW Hobby Centre “birthday” celebrations.

Pgs 107-120: The Augury (adverts & independent stores’ events info). Guess what? After a full-blown year of having a cut-and-paste mistake in the title banner of this section (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”) has been fixed! The sub text of the heading once more properly reads, “A Directory of everything you need to get involved in the Games Workshop hobby Community!” I’m so happy that this typo has been fixed after only a year that I’m only going to mention in passing that Ty Finocchiaro’s Elves beating the also-shown Knights of Dol Amroth for the “LotR Best Painted” Throne of Skulls award has the funny smell of him winning due to having friends in high places rather than due to merit. Seriously, check it out (oh wait, you can’t because the magazine has been sold out for a week now).

Back Inside Cover: Coming Next Month: Librarian fight? Chaos Marines? Sketch book of 40k art? I no longer care because I’m obsessing over how the editor managed to get the number wrong concerning next month’s North American issue. (Hint: it’s supposed to be issue 392…NOT 393….oh Andrew Kenrick, will you ever make sure nothing flies below your radar?)

Thoughts on the Issue

If selling out of White Dwarf each month is their goal, ‘Workshop is really on to something here: all they have to do is include new rules to the game that can only be found in the magazine in each month’s issue—undoubtedly followed by making sure to take a long time getting around to offering downloadable versions of those new rules from their website. And then under print the issue so that each month people are clamoring to get their hands on the rag as soon as possible…just in case there’s anything useful in it. (Mind you, with the news tidbit that GW has hired a third party “internet” marketing company, I suspect it’s quite likely we’ll be seeing those downloads available a lot sooner after the magazine’s release date–and downloadable for an…appropriate fee).

STREET BEEF

My beef this issue is kind of not about the magazine; apart from some of the usual tropes (like the new releases predictably defeating any challengers in the featured battle report), this month’s issue was generally good: the Chaos Daemons booklet is awesome—especially because they chose to make a separate booklet instead of a series of articles nestled in the magazine’s interiors across a couple months…meaning it’s a cinch to bring the new rules to the game–unlike the Sisters of Battle mini-codex that was published in the White Dwarf some time ago. Apart from the Fantasy Flight Games releases at the back of the book, the layout was logical and decidedly not maddening. And the cherry on top was fixing some cut and paste mistakes that have been present for the past year (yay!).

My beef is how this issue of White Dwarf has hijacked the Daemons release. Yes, hijacked. The Daemon models in this month’s releases run the range of being pretty nice to being utterly fantastic. And yet…their release is going to be decidedly soft—all because buying the models is entirely reliant on people buying this month’s issue of White Dwarf, the issue my store sold out of in one day, the issue that the Games Workshop in the mall near by sold out of in three days—heck, the issue that the GW headquarters in Memphis was sold out of before they shipped out all their orders on the Tuesday before the magazine’s street date (and I should know because they up sold me extra issues…and didn’t ship them to me because they were already sold out—but don’t worry: they still billed the store for them! File that one under “it’s not fair to expect GW’s warehouse to know what they do and don’t have in stock).

My beef is that if Games Workshop is planning on putting vital information in their magazine, they need to stop acting in what looks like (to me) a cowardly manner that displays a lack of confidence in their product; they need to produce enough issue to ensure their fans—their customers—are able to buy the magazine without fear of the magazine being sold out the day after the official street date.

But I’ve been getting the sense that GW has adopted the attitude that it’s better to sell through 100% of something by producing 30% less of it rather than making 30% more money but having some remaining items to have at hand to sell over the long term (magazine issues …or gamer editions of 40k 6th Ed. …or what have you).

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2 responses to “White Dwarf #391 Reviewed!

  1. It must be difficult to determine what exactly constitutes “advertising” in recent White Dwarfs, since the whole bloody magazine seems to have devolved to a sale brochure (albeit one that people actually pay for) for the latest new releases.

    But more importantly…you’ve included a photo of Johnny LaRue. Well done sir!

    • I think the only thing I don’t like about how the White Dwarf is one big advertisement for GW products is how GW has opted to NOT go for the soft sell (IE: they could just show how much cool things they can do with all their cool things and let us, their customers decide we need to buy into some of that coolness…..instead they show new stuff, talk about how AWESOME the new stuff is and then show off a two-page spread of the boxed products).

      I totally get that the magazine is there to sell further product, and I’m okay with that–most magazines exist to sell their readership something or other. I just wish it was the magazine’s goal to inspire me and then have product sell due to my being inspired; instead we get a magazine that points us by the nose to each box set and vaguely hopes it has done the pointing in such a manner that dullards might consider the magazine as “inspiring.”

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