Review: White Dwarf, Issue #41

White Dwarf, Issue #41 (Warhammer: The End Times/Warhammer 40K)
Publisher: Games Workshop
Cost: $3.99
Release Date: 11/8/2014
Get it Here: The Black Library (Or your local Games Workshop store)

It’s been two months since I last reviewed an issue of White Dwarf. I’ve really enjoyed the new format and especially enjoyed the Nagash and Space Hulk oriented issues, but I had no interest in Nurgle, Dark Eldar or Tyranids, so I didn’t pick up any of those. Generally, for me to get an issue (and thus review it), it has to pertain to one of my armies. Now, I don’t have Tyranids, so why would I get this issue since that is the focus? Well, it’s because I DO have some Tyranids. I have a ton of Space Hulk Genestealers and the new models interest me enough, design-wise, that I was thinking I could perhaps do something with them and have a small Tyranid army to test my Chaos Space Marines and Guardians of the Covenant teams with. Since there is a “rumour” of a Tyranids/Blood Angels campaign and/or boxed set coming out later this month, perhaps I could turn my Space Hulk figures into an expansion for that. Well, that’s my justification for picking up this issue. Let’s take a look at what is inside it.

“Opening Salvo” talks about the new Tyranid models that came out this weekend, then jumps directly into the new releases. The Tyrannocyte is the equivalent of Space Marine drop pod… except that it is alive and carries horrible monstrosities within it. You get a nice write-up of the model’s back story and how it works. It looks fantastic, and I have to wonder how such a large model is supported by those tiny tentacles. The other model that can be made with the kit is the Sporocyst, and it too looks pretty cool. Where the Tyrannocyte is a Drop Pod, the Sporocyst is kind of a living bunker and spore mold generator. I love the spore mines and Mucolid Spores that you can make with this one. The only problem is right now you’ll have to buy multiple kits to make Mucolid Spores. Hopefully Games Workshop will start selling these separately as they’re fantastic. After these reveals, the “New Releases” section breaks up to talk more about the new model kits and how they can be put together in different ways. You also get a picture showcasing all the new models, which really does look fantastic. I can’t imagine anyone actually winning with just these kits, but the picture at the end of the article looks damn intimidating.

After this, White Dwarf tries to sell you the new Dark Vengeance expansion kits. This is a good idea, but WAY too late. I mean, I picked up Dark Vengeance in 2012, and we’re just now getting the idea of expansion kits for it in 2014. Most people will have moved on or fleshed out their starters by now. I know I have I picked up some Deathwing Knights and a set of Dark Angels Veterans for Space Marines, then a Heldrake, Forgefiend, Sorcerer and some Warp Talons for my Chaos crew. If only they had released these expansions back then, I’d have totally snagged both. The Dark Angels expansion costs $140 and comes with a set of Deathwing Knights (which can also be built as a Terminator Command Squad or just Deathwing Temrinators), a Ravenwing Command Squad (or Ravenwing Black Knights) and a Ravenwing Dark Talon (or Nephilim Jetfighter). Sold separately, these nine (yes, only nine) models would cost $220, so you’re saving eighty bucks with this bundle. It’s a terrific deal. Likewise, the Crimson Slaughter expansion gives you sixteen minis at a reduced cost. You get five Cultists, five Raptors (that can also be built as Warp Talons), five Chaos Terminators and a Land Raider. Together these would sell for $171 dollars, but the bundle costs only $135, for a savings of $36. Obviously, the Dark Angels set is the better deal, but you do get less figures. Either way, it’s nice to see Games Workshop actually putting a discount in their bundles.

These aren’t the only new releases in this issue. There’s a brief overview of the Nurgle based $195 Pestilence Swarm set. It sounds like a lot, but the bundle saves you $50. White Dwarf also tries to sell you on the Trial By Blood and Sons of Wrath books. They’re extremely overpriced in my opinion. $80 for a 48 page book? Ha ha ha, no. Finally, we get a look at some new Forge World pieces for their Horus Heresy line. There’s an Archmagos Draykavac and a Triaros Armoured Conveyer. I love the latter and it’s one of my favorite vehicles for the 40K (30K?) line. Draykavac just looks stupid. Like most Forge World stuff though, these are really overpriced for what you get, and so I have no interest in purchasing them. The only Forge World piece I want is the Dread Saurian for my Lizardmen, but $200 for a single model? No thank you. I’ll just convert something from my many (cheaper) Bones.

“Rules of Engagement” is the token Warhammer Fantasy bit this month, and it’s a pretty cool battle idea. This scenario simulates a small force making a last stand against overwhelming odds. Really, this could probably be done with 40K or even The Hobbit. It’s for 3-5 players. Each army has the same point build (say 1,000 points), but then you have a round robin where each player takes a turn as the tiny group, while the other players act en masse as the larger army. The goal is to see how long you can last, or perhaps even win! It’s a very interesting idea, and it will be interesting to see it in play. The smaller army stands a better chance now in The End Times with everyone being able to take magic that summons undead. If it’s a small army, have Arkhan the Black in your crew and have it keep summoning to build up your forces. Fun little scenario.

“The Rules” gives you the point cost and stats for the new Tyranids released this week. No, Games Workshop will not be updating the Tyranid Codex, so this is really the only way to have their stats on hand. The section starts off with a look at ways to use the new minis, like sticking a Carnifex in a Tyrannocyte or sending out a whole cluster of Mucolids. A lot of fun ideas here. Then comes the actual stats. The Tyrannocyte is more than twice the points Space Marines pay for a Drop Pod (75) but it’s a living creature that can move around the battlefield killing things once it lands. It can also take a beating better and has FIVE Deathsplitters that can be replaced with barbed stranglers or venom cannons. Nice! A Mucolid Spore Cluster only costs 15 points per model (you can have up to three) and that doesn’t count the free one you get in your Sporocyst. These spores are fantastic. 3 wounds with a Strength 8 AP3 explosion for only 15 points… AND they can target fliers? Oh man, every Tyranid player will want these for anti-air support. Finally the Sporocyst costs 75 points, but you get that free Mucolid Spore and spore mine clusters with this guy. It is immoveable, but it works as a great objective guard and a psychic resonator. All of the new models are fantastic in design and stats.

After that the magazine goes a bit downhill. There’s a weird “Hall of Fame” article which spends multiple pages talking up the Eldar Wraithlord. Personally, I think it’s a bit ugly and looks like a rejected mecha design from a manga, but hey. “Sprues and Glue” talks about putting together leftover Tyranid bits to make weird creatures and objectives on your battlefield. “‘Eavy Metal” showcases two paint jobs for miniatures rather than providing something of substance. None of these articles are very good or interesting, meaning that so far, the only real piece of note is the article on new Tyranid Stats. Disappointing.

Thankfully, there is one other really good article in this issue, and that is “Paint Splatter.” This article gives you a fantastic look at complimenting your paint job with shading. Even better, it gives four different paint/shade combinations on the same figure to show how very different a piece can look. I really love the use of Seraphim Sepia over a Skull White undercoat. This would look great on some of my Tomb King Skeleton Archers. Besides a look at some different colour combinations, you also get advice on how to apply shades, what brushes to use and even how to make your own shades. It’s fantastic and great advice for less skilled painters like myself.

The magazine wraps up with the usual “This Week in White Dwarf” filler. There’s an article written from the Astra Mullitarum’s POV about Tyrannocytes, which is filled with some bad advice. There’s a picture that shows the Mucolid Spore is even bigger than a Hive Tyrant (!) which is a pleasant and shocking surprise. There’s a quick plug for the new (terrible looking) Horus Heresy: Drop Assault freemium game. The game’s website advertises it as a tactical game, but it looks more like a (reverse) tower defense game, and those almost always suck. Of course, the only iOS GW branded game I’ve enjoyed is Warhammer Quest. Carnage and Storm of Vengeance are terrible, and I haven’t even bothered with Space Wolf due to the horrible reviews it has received. I am looking forward to Space Hulk: Ascension for the PC however.

More short pieces of babble finish off the magazine. The Model of the Week, Bit of the Week, Weapon of the Week and Ask Grombindal pieces are a waste of page space as always. All these pages could be used for one nice in-depth article, a battle report, advice to newcomers or anything of substance really. I’d love to see that, but it probably won’t happen. Heck, even a short story would be better than the usual collection of crap than ends an issue of White Dwarf.

So unfortunately, issue #41 of White Dwarf only has two quality articles – the stats for the new Tyranids and the Paint Splatter piece. It’s unfortunate that White Dwarf couldn’t keep up the level (and amount) of high quality articles we saw in the magazine all summer, especially in regards to Nagash and the Undead Legions. Maybe it’s only firing on all cylinders when Fantasy is the focus. Who knows? Honestly, unless you play Tyranids and especially want the new models, this issue is a disappointment and an easy one to pass on.

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