A far more promising issue this month. Standard reviewing procedure applies. Skip to the end for the final thoughts and scores.I have tweaked the order of things to make a point however, and as such this starts will a list of all the "wasted pages".
I've put up my thoughts of the Daemons Update already, but it needs a score, so at 1/2 a point per page I make it (+7). I hope we see more extra content in the future.
Inside front cover- Pg 3. Two double page spreads for the new Daemons. Fair enough it's to show off the army, but that seems to be done well enough elsewhere. (-4)
Pg 5. Artwork divider for New Releases. I can't penalise this as I didn't knock any off for the same sort of thing in Ravage.
Pg 14-15 A Finecast double splash page for Daemons, which gets followed by a model breakdown on the next two pages. One of the two is pointless. (-2)
Pg 19-20. More Fincecast with an army shot and only two models shown and priced. (-1)
Pg 45. Another photo of Daemons, this time taking up the whole page. Given the whole issue so far has been centred around them this seems unnecessary. (-1)
Pg. 46-47 The Battle report opens with a double splash page of a picture from the battle, with a tiny sidebar of text. I think pages would be better spent getting straight to the battle (-2)
I make that 12 pages of badly used space. Not too bad out of 121 pages, but that's 10% of the magazine gone. In terms of money that's only 45p, but I still resent it.
On with the rest of the review then, but I feel the above makes a point.
Cover - While I like the artwork we have seen it in last months White Dwarf, which means I can't give it a positive score.
Pg 4. Editorial & Contents. The Editorial feels a bit weak, giving an overview of the contents of the issue, rather than discussing or examining it. The contents seems to break things down only very broadly, but I'm going to borrow it to make a point, leading on from the blank pages above. Note that this goes by the actual size of the articles, not as they are listed in the contents. (-1 for incorrect numbering)
New Releases 17 Pages
Daemons - 14 Pages
Modeling Workshop - Daemons - 4 Pages
40K Battle Report - 12 Pages
Allies in 40K - 8 Pages
Librarians Of Tzeentch - 2 Pages
Fantasy Battle Report - 12 Pages
Arena Of Death - 4 Pages
Blanchitsu - 4 Pages
Working with Finecast - 4 Pages
Armies On Parade - Page number wrong in contents- 2 Pages
News - Not mentioned in the Contents - 5 Pages.
Your Local Store - 9 Pages
I make that a total of 97 pages. The remaining 24 pages are filler of one sort or another, either listed above amongst the wasted pages, or being article related marketing.
Looking at the break down of the articles it's a bad month is you don't like Daemons or Chaos with 48 pages worth of Daemonic content. Time to dive into it I suppose
Pg 6-13. New Daemon Releases - I've already covered my thoughts on these models here. They are displayed well, with a nice mix between 40K and Fantasy models shown.
Pg 16-17. A showcase of some of the models available for Daemons in Finecast. It's a fairly mediocre selection, but it at least shows some of the more unusual models (Fiends and Beasts of Nurgle for example) (+1)
Pg 18. Plastic Bray Shaman - Another good addition to GW's line of Plastic characters, including a picture of the sprue (+1)
Pg 21. LotR Finecast. Like the Daemons there are a selection of models rather than a useless army shot (+1)
Pg 22-23. Black Library get a two page spread of new releases, a book extract (+1) and push their audio dramas under the "Listen While You Paint" banner (+1).
Pg 24-25. HOBBIT DOUBLE PAGE SPLASH! A nice promo shot for the film with Bilbo, Gandalf and all thirteen Dwarfs. It'll be interesting to see what this means for LotR as a system (+2).
Pg 26-37. Daemons. A really nice intro piece for anyone unfamiliar with Daemons in either Fantasy or 40K, that gives two pages a piece to each of the main gods, and to the undivided forces (+5).
Pg 38-39. Chaos Daemons box set splash. Two pages with all the plastic kits, new and otherwise for Chaos Daemons. A really useful page for anyone suddenly taken by the idea of starting an army( +1).
Pg 40-43. A Modelling Worskhop showing a converted Soulgrinder (+1), the Slaanesh Chariot in plastic (kinda pointlessly), and the Plaguebearer set combined with Plague Marines (+1) and a Dreadnought (+1) and an unusual purple scheme on the Plaguebearers themselves (+1).
Pg 44. One page add for Daemon related events in store.
Pg 46-57 Battle Report Eldar Vs Daemons. I've made my though clear on the first two pages of this in the wasted pages section above. My other standard complaints about the current style of battle reports remain. Turns are run together (-1), and pages favour picture over text or maps.
Pg 58-59 Apparatus Of War - Another bit of relevant marketing gives two pages of what you need to play 40K. This at least makes things seem relevant, enough not to make the wasted pages at least (+1).
Pg 60-67 Battle Brothers - A piece on Allied forces from around the studios, that works because these are converted forces. It's always good to see other peoples models (not to knock 'Eavy Metal). Sadly it misuses two page of intro with repeating pictures of armies, but as this is giving a different angle on the models it can be forgiven. (+6)
Pg 68-69 The Librarians Of Tzeentch A background and stats piece on the only Special Character released this month, The Blue Scribes. Shame about the spelling mistake (-1) and the single system focus of the fluff (-1). The stats at least offer an insight into the difference between the armies in the two game systems (+1).
Pg 70-81. Battle Report High Elves vs Daemons. Continuing the split coverage between Fantasy and 40K the Daemons feature in another Battle Report hitting creatures with pointy ears. As with the first report of the month turns are run together (-1) and we're given no decent maps (-1)
Pg 82-83. Warhammer Essentials. The Fantasy equivalent of the Apparatus Of War piece (+1). It seems that the Engineer's Ranging Set is back on the shelves while stocks last.
Pg 84-87 Arena Of Death. Some of the new plastic Fantasy heroes are pitted against each other. I remember the first Arena of Death and it's nice to see it make another return. (+4)
Pg 88-91 Blanchitsu. Oh WOW. Four pages of conversions based upon the plastic Nurgle Chaos Lord. It a John Blanche article (+4), and it's full of fantastically converted and painted models (+4) more of this in White Dwarf.
Pg 92-93 Warhammer Plastic Heroes. Another product double page splash attached to a relevant article that serves as a good reminder of what models are available. (+1)
Pg 94-95. A Forge World double splash page that shows the huge Greater Daemons towering over a battlefield of standard models. It's a nice advertisement for them (+1).
Pg 96-99. Working with Finecast. This article is no doubt needed (+1), but doesn't really deal with the quality problems we've seen with the material. That however is not White Dwarfs fault as I iamngie word needs to come down on high about admitting mistakes like that.
Pg 100-101. Tools Of The Trade. Two pages of Citadel tools (snigger) linknig into the previous article (+1)
Pg 102-103. Armies On Parade - Ork Army. A well painted and heavily converted Ork army. (+2)
Pg 104-120 News, Events, Local Stores, Games Day, Subscription. The usual stuff here.
Interior Back Cover. Dark Angel vs Chaos Space Marine picture with WD393 date for the 25th August.
I make that a total of +31, which is impressive. A considerable improvement over last month's -19, although not up to the heady heights of 226's score of +59. It's looking good next to Ravage #2's score of 16
There does seem to be a will to cater for someone who's picking up a White Dwarf for the first time, and are being introduced to the hobby. I like this, as GW does need to make itself more accessible, especially with the Hobbit, and the hopefully attendant surge of interest, coming soon.
While the Battle Reports are still very weak to my mind, the other sections and the lean towards showing conversions and none studio painting is a good one, as long as the quality remains high, and doesn't overwhelming the 'Eavy Metal side of things. I wonder if the focus on conversions has caused the loss of a painting article this month. Or maybe someone has realised how poor a format was being used.