Friday, 30 March 2012

Vintage White Dwarf 315. March 2005.

Another Friday and another vintage White Dwarf review. This one was again a purchase from ebay, this time when I was starting my Tau army. Y'all know the drill by now so let's get the breakdown started!

Editorial - This issue was edited by Owen Rees and he seems like a nice enough chap. Unlike last weeks issue there are no photos of the other contributors, and since this was from a period when I wasn't playing I have no idea who might be writing this.

New Releases - It kicks off with two pages of LotR Khandish models are there's actually money off offers such as 10% savings! This segways into the release of Thorgrim Grudgebearer for fantasy and then onto the Tallarn Desert Raiders. There's a page of Orks for Epic and a couple of Inquisitor models. Specialist games get more support with two pages for Mordheim, including a lovely looking set of card buildings called Blood on the Streets (I'm really digging card scenery at the mo!). The section is capped off with a two page Tau spread for the massively discounted army deal including a limited edition figure and some early releases. So that's 27 releases spanning 6 game systems.

News - A brief introduction to the Fall of Medusa V and details of what's coming up in future WDs. Then a few shots of various greens that the studio are working on. A page of Cities of Death saying it'll be coming in June (remember it's March so that's 3 months warning!). There's then some Forge World, Black Library and Golden Daemon news along with something for a company called Black Industries who I've never heard of.

Tau Empire - This covers the designers notes for the new Tau Empire codex. From what I've read of the previous codex this was a massive leap forward, pretty much a brand new army the amount it was expanded. The article contains a nice interview with the designers, some stats such as weapon profiles, different paint schemes, a bit about the history of the race and a couple of sample army lists including a breakdown of points. What is of special note is the box-out containing the release schedule for all the models going right up to the summer.

Death on Kol'n - A battle report for Tau v Dark Eldar. Again, full army lists with points detailed, more explanations of some of the unique rules, great home made scenery, and at the end of it all the new army won!

Tau Colour Schemes - A quick look at assembly, converting and using green stuff, paint guides and what squad markings to use.

Fists of Dorn - This is a showcase of Glyn James' Crimson Fists. From what I can tell Glyn is just a hobbyist and they've dedicated 4 pages to his lovely looking army. We're lucky if Armies on Parade even gets a look in these days.

Standard Bearer - Two pages going over the re-labelling of all the published material into easy to understand categories such as codexes and expansions. Not really needed in my opinion.

Mordheim: The Soul to Keep - I've never really paid much attention to Mordheim so I can't make a fair call on the content of this. It's the second part of what appears to be a massive campaign with new scenarios and special rules. There's even a third part next month, massive!

Lord of the Rings - This is quite a large chunk of the magazine, and I'm afraid I'm going to gloss over most of it! There's a bit about how to introduce friends to the game, quite a few army lists, a painting guide, iconography, a tear out playsheet, a new campaign, and finally how to collect model and paint a themed army. Tons of very useful information if you're interested.

Battle under the earth - This is a recreation of a famous battle between the Dwarfs and the Night Goblins. They created the board out of tiles from a DIY store and mixed in some really atmospheric pieces of scenery they'd created especially. There are special rules and victory conditions, fantastic army lists, a mini battle report and a look at some Dwarf heroes which include full Army Book entries with stats and points values.

The Way of the Necrarch - This is a Warhammer Tactica article all about how to get the best from your undead.

The Art of Warhammer - Another fantasy tactics article, this time about how to effectively use heavy cavalry in your games. There's diagrams, rules are referenced, overall much sense is made.

The Astronomican - This is what we know now as the Augury. Except this one contains interviews with guys working in the stores, showcasing what they've painted and what they get up to. A really nice insight into what a hobby centre should be about.

Fuel for the Furnace - A letters page! And yes, while I'm sure the ones chosen are from the most enthusiastic gamers (the ones who yell Waargh!) it's still great to see that they once listened.

White Dwarf Paint Station - To round out the issue there's a page dedicated to the Dwarfers personal projects. This to me was one of the best things about the magazine. It really showed me that the people writing about the hobby were into it on a personal level.

Unlike with my last review I don't have the same rose tinted glasses of nostalgia on when I read this issue however this is still a really great read showcasing some really interesting aspects of the hobby. Most of the articles piqued my interest and gave me plenty of ideas for adding flavour to my games rather than just having a flick through looking at the shiny new pictures. A solid 8/10 for this one.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

YouTube Tuesday: 40k Videogames.

For those of you reading this expecting some intriguing insight into the electronic counterparts to our tabletop hobby, I'm afraid you might be disappointed! My experience with playing these games is fairly limited but I thought it would be cool to put some footage together to see how the games have developed through the years.

So we start with the latest, Space Marine. I got this on PS3 the day it came out and it's probably the only game I've completed from start to finish! As an Ultramarines player I had no problem with the storyline and the action was fantastic. I haven't used any of the DLC that's come out but it's really cool they're continuing to support it.

This was the precursor to Space Marine and was a cheap download-only mini game. The action was intense and really captured the feel of non-stop waves of enemies to slaughter.

Dawn of War 2 was a strange hybrid of RPG and RTS. I never got around to playing it but really hope to eventually pick it up.

Dawn of War is the only PC based 40k game I've played. It came out around the time I was getting bored with Warcraft 3 and blew me away that I could play an RTS and recognise the units I was creating. They released a few expansions bringing in new races like the Tau and Necrons, sweet!

Squad Command came out on the DS and PSP. I totally missed this one when it came out but might pick it up for a lunchtime fix of Astartes.

This was out on PS2 called Fire Warrior. I've got a copy but didn't realise my PS3 isn't backwards compatible! So it's on the shelf waiting for when I get around to finding a cheap old console.

So there we have it, a very brief look at some of the awesome 40k videogames they've made over the years. I could keep coming but I'm going to leave you with one final trailer for the upcoming Dark Millennium which looks like it's going to suck up a huge amount of time when it finally hits.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Vintage White Dwarf 191. November 1995.

Hello and welcome to another hopefully weekly (maybe fortnightly) feature. I've recently been hunting on ebay for classic White Dwarfs that I remember for my early teens so I thought I'd share what's in them with everyone. Now my intention is not to try and prove that older issues are better than the newer ones, but if that turns out to be the case maybe we can see where things are going wrong in a constructive way, lofty ambitions indeed! These are going to be in the same vein as the new reviews breaking each issue down into its constituent parts. So here we go!

Editorial - Edited by Jake Thornton this was the first 'fat Dwarf' weighing in at 128 pages. The other photographed contributors were Adrian Wood, Gavin Thorpe, Ian Pickstock and Steve Anastasoff.

News - This spanned 6 pages and managed to cover new Dwarf Slayers for Fantasy, Ordinatus machines for Epic, an advert for Gaelcon, a page of Necromunda, the Screaming Death Warhammer roadshow, citadel Journal 11, Warhammer Quest Catacombs of Terror and Wardancer Warrior pack, 40k Assassins and Codex Imperial Guard. There's even space to squeeze in a box about what's coming in next month. That's a total of 5 different game systems!

Assassin! - This is a nice article from Ian detailing some of the background of the Officio Assassinorum and specifically the Eversor Temple. As well as the background there are rules (with points) for the Eversor and a box-out featuring Mike McVey's famous diorama.

'Eavy Metal - Mike McVey talks about how he goes about creating his dioramas. Most of these are still on display at Warhammer World and I can't wait to head back there on the 1st to get another look at them. The focus for these pages is his Warhammer Quest dungeon. There's plenty of close ups and captions to explain his thinking and processes behind creating something like this.

Questions & Answers - I don't know whether this section was created because the games used to be more complicated back then, or if they knew it was a great help to the community but this is a small collection of questions the now disbanded Roolz Boyz got sent about all the systems.

GW London Grand Re-opening - A one page ad for the newly refurbished store with loads of deals, offers and buddles such as - Buy 3 blisters, get the cheapest free! Amazing!

Wanna Join? - Necromunda had just been released and Andy Chambers wades in with a 6 page overview of the game. The words are brief but very descriptive and full of flavour and the photos of all the new miniatures really showcase the Goliath, Orlock and Cawdor gangs.

Dwarf Tacticus - Jeremy Vetock discusses how he goes about creating and collecting a Dwarf army, a subject close to my heart. He covers background, then links that to actual gameplay with examples, diagrams and tips. He also mentions keeping his own book of Grudges as a record of his armies exploits.

Card Pages - These are two thick card pages printed in full colour containing Treasure cards for WHQ, Epic Army cards and Wargear cards for 40k. These brought back so many memories of all the extra bits you used to need to play the games.

Ordinatus - Gavin Thorpe covers the new Golgotha, Armageddon and Mars pattern war machines for Epic with comprehensive rules for each.

'Eavy Metal Masterclass - Mike McVey answers some of the readers questions such as how to paint dried blood on swords. I guess this must have been invaluable back then before the net was widely available.

Tales of Victory - An interview with someone who isn't a member of the studio. Jervis was asking the questions all about the Chaos Dwarf army and went into quite a lot of detail over the 6 pages with plenty of shots of the army. Possibly a precursor to the current Armies on Parade.

Legions of Steel - This shows it's age now with tanks being so prevalent but back then tanks were a rarity so Ian talks about how to use them in a Guard army.

Modelling Workshop - A whole article about how to scratch-build your own Necromunda sub-urban decay! This wasn't using GW kits, just bits and pieces from around the house and has really sparked my interest in trying to build some myself.

Tyranid Invasion - Jervis introduces the new 40k campaign to decide the fate of Ichar IV.

A Horror Awakens - Warhammer Quest time and there are three new adventures to take your warriors through. It gives you all the rules and how to incorporate them into a campaign.

Gang Fight! - A gigantic Necromunda battle report between Gav's Goliaths and Rick Priestley's Orlocks. They show the full gang rosters and a two page spread each to explain their choices.There's a double page shot of the board and then each turn has photos, write up and maps to show us the action.

Mail Order - This is a blast from the past, showing prices of the recent releases (£9.99 for a codex) but the exciting part is the bits pages. Effectively a catalogue of all the individual bits from models so you can order them without needing to buy the whole kit. I really miss GWs old mail order department which i suppose has been replaced nowadays with all the internet bits stores.

So overall this was an action packed issue managing to cover so many systems and aspects of the hobby it blew my mind. When I read it years ago I don't think I really appreciated all the articles but now I'm a more rounded gamer it's a different story. If I had to give it a rating I'd maybe go as high as a 9/10!

ps I know some of the photos are the wrong orientation, Blogger seems to be making up it's own decisions!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

The First Heretic

What I find is the sign of a great Warhammer novel is whether I want to collect that faction after reading about them. This is totally the case after finishing my first Aaron Dembski-Bowden book. I probably never will as I'm not a fan of the daemon aesthetic but that's besides the point.

This is all about Lorgar Aurelian and his Word Bearers and what they get up to leading up to the events in False Gods, Galaxy in Flames and Horus rising. It opens with a load of Emperor worshipping, some kick-ass action from the Ultramarines and then the big guy himself turns up, fucks off all the Word Bearers so they end up looking for other things to do now they can't worship the Emperor. Queue much fighting, talking with a blind woman, disliking Custodes, exploring, getting possessed, writing books until they reach Isstvaan and join the heresy.

As with previous books, I found myself sympathising and feeling sorry for Lorgar. All he did was hold his father in high esteem and got well and truly shat on for doing so just as Magnus was in A Thousand Sons. He felt a lot more human than a lot of the Primarchs I've read about seem to be which was a nice touch.

The main protagonist is a chap called Argel Tal, which surprised me as I was expecting a lot more focus on Erebus. It was a good surprise as I'm really not a fan of that evil Chaplain. So anyway Argel is the Captain of the 7th Assault Company and we see his adventures in befriending the Custodes, travelling into the warp, fighting with his conflicting views on what's happening around him. It lent a very personal feeling to the story which made it a joy to read after the torture that was trying to get through Nemesis.

It was a fantastic novel and I'd definitely recommend this novel to anyone. Well worth a 9/10, which if memory serves me correct could very well be the highest score I've given a book so far! Prospero Burns awaits on my bedside table!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012


So this blog entry was inspired by Stahly over at Tale of Painters and a few of my recent purchases.

Now I'm a forum surfer and spend far too much time than is healthy browsing the Warseer forums, however from time to time I can't help feeling that there's more people on there that hate the game than love it! Anyways, one subject that always inspires a huge negative response is Finecast.

I hadn't bought any of the new resin models until I picked up the 25th anniversary model at the end of last month, closely followed by Draigo last week. I'd planned to leave the Crimson Fist wrapped up on my shelf but when parts of my Draigo sprue were miscast I instantly opened the packaging and was amazed at the quality.

The detail was so crisp, the curves of the power armour were super smooth and no parts had snapped or warped. This was a huge contrast to the issues I had with my Grey Knight.

So instead of complaining to the internet I gave GW a call, they said to email in some photos and they'd see what they could do. A few days later I was emailed and told they'd be sending me out replacement parts, which I thought was fantastic service.
They arrived today and when I opened the box saw that they'd actually sent me a brand new complete model, and it was perfect!

Yes I could be whining about how this kind of thing should never have happened in the first place (and could even be justified by how GW hyped it up as the biggest bestest thing ever when it launched) but I'm not going to.
I'm going to say bravo Nottingham for trying to push the boundaries, improve our hobby and still remain professional and hugely customer service orientated in the face of so much vitriol. Lets hope that the vocal few that spread the bad feeling don't end up ruining it for the rest of us.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Grey Knights v Tyranids

Earlier today one of my best mates came over for a battle. It was a number of firsts as well. It was the first game we've played on my Realm of Battle board, it was the first time I'd used my Knights and it was the first time the new Tyrannofex had been present.

My army consisted of Draigo, 5 Paladins, a Strike Squad, Dreadknight, Storm Raven and a Land Raider. I was facing a Hive Tyrant with guard, A Trygon Prime, Tyrannofex, Lictor, and couple of units of warriors, some Hormagaunts and termagants.

We rolled off and got command and control with a pitched battle set up. I won the roll so set up and went first. My Dreadknight advanced down the left flank towards the Hive Tyrant and the warriors while the Raven and Raider advanced on the rest of the army. Grey Knights have a lot more special rules to remember than my Ultramarines so I might have missed bits out but they seem very powerful. Of special note is the Storm Raven whose Mind Strike Missiles are amazing when they cause Perils of the Warp.

I'd forgotten that the Dreadknight couldn't assault after it had shunted but it managed to survive that round of combat until it was eventually taken out by the Trygon. The Paladins and their wound allocation shenanigans were brutal, surviving everything but a combined assault from the 'Fex, Trygon, Warriors and Lictor all at once. By comparison the Strike squad was less than impressive with the Trygon wiping them out in one go.

Assault 20?! WTF!
In the end neither of us had claimed an objective however a shot from a lascannon sponson was enough to finish off the final Nid clearing them from the table.

Draigo didn't do anything all game, I'd left him on my objective to guard against outflankers, and the new Tyrannofex was extremely daunting however against force weapons unfortunately his initiative of 1 didn't help. Against other foes I just know he's going to be a beast (like when my Tau come out of retirement!).

Overall it was an enjoyable game and I learnt a lot about my new army. I also learnt I'm going to have to really read my codex properly to make sure I'm getting everything right. Even without taking Psyfilemen Dreads and Death Cult Assassins it seemed a bit overpowered. Time will tell if my dice were just hot today or if it's a powerful list!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Nemesis Dreadknight now complete!

This model is epic in real life! In the photos on GWs website it looks a little strange but with it finished in front of me it's actually hard as nails. There were a few mishaps in the construction, I didn't realise the top piston bits couldn't be attached after the two halves of the body were glued together. Also the body of the pilot doesn't fit in if you haven't glued him in before construction. Oh well.

As with the Strike Squad I refered to a list from Wikipedia, this time of moons and comets orbiting Saturn and found the name Janus which I really liked so painted that onto all the parchment. It was only when I got to one of the pilots arms that the word Janus was sculpted on there! It must've been meant to be.

The base as you can see is unfinished. I can't find a large one that fits in with the others I'd already got for the troops. I've started experimenting with leftover bits from a rhino kit but am going to leave it for a while before I glue anything down.

Cheers for reading, laters folks!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Battle Systems: Tabletop Wargame Scenery first look

I discovered this company the other day when they added me on Twitter (here). It looks like a brand new venture and a really cool product. From what I can tell it's the brainchild of a man called Colin however I believe there is a team working on it. Rather than me trying to describe it here's their video to show it off

So as you can see it's a downloadable pdf which you then cut out, mount and assemble to create a futuristic interior gaming table. On their youtube channel (here) and also at their website (here) they have tutorial videos of how to assemble each pod etc.

The sets are very reasonably priced with the foundation set only £10.99 and the mega bundle £15.99. This gives you enough pods and parts to create a 3'x2' board from one printing. There's also some really cool looking bunker sections due to be released next month hopefully that sit around the interior parts to create a full building. Also if you look at the products page of their site (here) it looks like they've got plenty of ideas and expansions still to come.

My initial thoughts were about playing Space Hulk using this scenery. I guess that would depend on how big the floor squares are and how easily positionable the walls are to create tight corridors. Also this seems like a fantastic alternative (and cheaper!) to Forge World's Zone Mortalis set they released last month. If you haven't seen it here's the video

The advantage that you get with the Battle Systems product (as well as saving around 80 quid) is that the walls can be repositioned in endless ways meaning that you're not stuck with the same layout over and over. Rules for playing Zone Mortalis can be found here. On a related note this might be cool for playing boarding missions on from the Badab Wars books also from Forge World.

The next thing my mind jumped to was a small mission in the back of GW's Battle Mission supplement called Kill Team. It's essentially 200 point armies fighting it out. The small points limit means you don't have to worry about how tanks or anything will interact with the walls and confined spaces. Leading on from there you could play Operation Killzone which is a personal project to bring to skirmish back to 40k. Full details and downloads of the rules can be found here. Speaking of skirmish, if one day Colin and the gang make some multi-level scenery this would be great for Necromunda! I've been itching to get back into that game and this might be the boost I need.

So, as the title suggests, this is just a first look and impressions. I don't own the kit yet but I plan on doing so very soon and when I do I'll be posting a review proper. I definitely recommend checking them out.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Dwarfs and Tomb Kings v Skaven

A couple of weekends ago me and a couple of mates got together for another game of Fantasy. I was fielding my 1k of Dwarfs and had allied with another 1000 points of my friends Tomb Kings. We would be going up against 2000 points of Skaven, quite a horde!

I can't remember the armylists exactly but I was using the same army as last time. Ian used the same TKs and Dean had a few large units of clan rats, a Screaming Bell, Doom Wheel, and a few other bits and pieces.

We rolled off and ended up with a pitched battle. On the right flank we deployed our war machines along with my Slayers and Gyrocopter. Down the left was the rest of the army. On the Skaven side the Doom Wheel was set up to go after the war machines with the rest up against our bulk.

Exact details are a bit hazy (I really should write these reports sooner) but the Doom Wheel was a total menace firing it's special thing every turn whittling down the Slayers and making us very wary. His wizard (?) took out all the war machines in one swoop so that left us with the huge battle on the left. This was really tense with lots of maneuvering. Ians chariots were an absolute beast once again wiping out plenty of rats while my Slayer Hero, this time working with his arch enemy the Scorpion, were left in a bit of no-mans land and didn't have a huge impact.

In the end the Skaven were victorious but it was a close and fun battle with plenty of randomness both from units and from the terrain. A lot of lessons were learnt on my part. Things like rank bonuses are important so I need to up my unit sizes to 20. Also that units might need Heroes like Thanes in their midsts to bolster them against attack, and dispell dice are vital so a Rune Lord wouldn't go amiss.

Thursday, 1 March 2012


This was the second book by James Swallow that I've read, and as the first was Flight of the Eisenstein I was expecting great things. I don't know whether it was Heresy burnout but I didn't enjoy this book much and because of that it's taken me about 2 months to finish!

The story follows a group of assassins as they try to carry out a mission set to them by Valdor, the head Custode. There's plenty of variety in characters from the Custodes, Dorn, and all the types of assassins. My main problem with the story was how slow it was. It took a couple of hundred pages just to get to the action. There were small moments of excitement like when they go to collect the Eversor, known as the Garantine. But it generally trundles along at a pedestrian pace.

Running alongside the story of the assassins was a detective story about some cops chasing down a murderer. While it's nice to have a break from full-on Asartes action I didn't get on with a lot of the characters in this part.

Towards the end when the assassins were being chased through the city by the Sons of Horus and battling with Spear it really picked up and I enjoyed that a lot.

There's not a lot else I can really say about this one. If you're after something that explores other areas of the Heresy that isn't focused on Marines and like a good thriller then this is definitely a book for you. If you're looking for all out war like in the previous book, A Thousand Sons, then you might not get on so well with this one.

It's just my personal opinion but I'm going to give Nemesis a 3/10. It showed promise but unfortunately wasn't my cup of tea. The First Heretic is next, my first Aaron Dembski-Bowden book!