White Dwarf - May 2013 (401) Review

Another month, another issue of White Dwarf.  We're starting to see some bigger changes from the format that has pervaded the last seven months, with tweaks made in the 400th issue being expanded upon.

There are two problems with the cover to my mind. Firstly the glaringly obvious joint on the Phoenix, which is a real shame given the quality of the rest of the model, and the paint job. Secondly there's the background, which though it sets off the model, is too indistinct. I'm caught up more in wondering what it is than anything else.
Opening Salvo 
Still mostly talking content. Give us something interesting.          
Unless something happens with this, I'm not mentioning it again.            
New Releases  
26 pages of High Elves, 2 pages of Hobbit (wholly focused on Radagast on that ridiculous sledge, 2 pages on the LE t-short of the month (is this a thing now?). A 2 page Games Days ad, that seems incongruous amid the other content, 4 pages of Black Library news, the first thing I actually want to read (rather than flick past, having already seen pictures online). The three pages of Forge World stuff seems really dated, with the Abaddon vs Loken piece released in Feb. Digital Products takes a page, and we round off with the two pages of release dates and prices, which include an out of place piece of Space Marine art.           
Army Of The Month      
A truly gorgeous Blood Angels force this month, from the brush of Mark Bedford. Look near the page hold for some tech adept conversions. It's disappointing that this is only 6 pages long, and contains only three paragraphs, as I could quite happily read more about the conversions, painting, and background of the army. There isn't anything in the Paint Splatter either. 
Jervis Johnson 
Jervis puts pen to paper for the second and final part of his piece on GM'd games. I can't help thinking that the two parter would have fitted into one issue with a smaller font and a photo of Jervis that doesn't take up half a page.          
Battle Report    
We are getting more distant shots to give an overview of the battlefield, as well as a deployment photo (weirdly coming before the armies are detailed). I think we might be seeing a slow improvement to things. Half marks. 
Armchair General           
A new feature that boils down to a single page piece padded out to four pages by photos. It has promise, but we need more words.     
A focus on the ladies of 40K. It's getting redundant to saw that the conversions in this section are glorious, but they are.                
Citadel Hall Of Fame      
The Hellbrute takes the stage this month and it is a truly lovely model.  
The Time Of Dragons    
An eight page feature on Dragons, with a look at the background from Mat Ward, and Trish Carden talking about sculpting and model design. It's a nice feature and something it'd be nice to see more of.               
Parade Ground
Dreadnoughts, and, nope, just Space Marines Dreadnoughts. 8 pages of th hulking things. These are becoming a bit too homogenous.   
Kit Bash               
6 pages of conversions, ranging from Warshrines, to Elves to Cultists, with a good range of conversions, from subtle to huge and imposing.   
Parade Ground (2)         
Back to machines with two legs. This time Titans.             
Golden Demon
2 pages on GD models from Japan          
Paints Splatter 
6 pages of High Elves, and 2 pages, oddly, of horses of different colours.              
Jeremy Vetock 
A ramble about getting models from plastic to painted this month.         
The Month In...               
White Dwarf     
Battles and models from around the studio.       
The Design Studio          
Surprising no one it's the High Elves in the spotlight this month, with the design studio talking at length, and Mat Ward taking a page.  I like this piece, but it feels like it ought to be in the main body of the magazine.
Forge World     
One massive tank, a bike, and some very well painted Marines.               
Black Library     
Guy Haley talks about Baneblade.           

Parting Shot      
The Goblin King in all his horrific glory.   
At last a redesign, with things all lining up nicely.              
Back Cover         
More elves on the icy backdrop               
There have been some obvious alterations to some sections of the magazine this month, and all for the better I think. There's still a lot more change I'd like to see, with the New Releases section shortened, so the magazine isn't spending over a sixth of it's page count on the army of the month. The gatefold page could fit a hell of a lot on it, rather than just the army picture. There seems to be a lot of wasted page space, with a feeling that photos are being used to pad out the magazine to 152 pages, rather than articles, if that makes sense. It'd be interesting to do a word count between a new issue and an old one, and see if this is a case of rose tinted reading glasses.

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