Continuing our monthly review of White Dwarf as a regular feature on Chicago Dice, I bring you issue five, January 2017. Due to a shipping error, my issue did not arrive until last weekend and I must ask for forgiveness for this late review.

I’ll highlight each of the main features from the issue along with a few photos. I will keep these as a running report on the new version of White Dwarf and how it fares month to month.

Planet Warhammer

As with all other issues, Planet Warhammer covers all of the new releases from Games Workshop this month. In the 19-page section we have a look at Fall of Cadia, The Triumvirate of the Imperium, Disciples of Tzeentch (along with a full line of models), Faction Paint Sets, Iron Hills Dwarves and the Stormbird from Forge World, updates on five GW IP video games, several new Black Library releases and The Spire of Dawn. Wow, that is a lot of product.

I love the idea of the Faction Paint Sets. For $15 you get a set of six half-sized paint pots and a paint guide for a specific army. These are amazing for new and young hobbyists who might not be interested in diving headlong into painting an army. The lower price point brings down the entry barrier and makes it easier to start painting.

It’s not all good in January. The Spire of Dawn is a questionable release at best and an insult at worst. Just when I, and many others, were getting over the sting of the Old World and Warhammer Fantasy being erased, GW re-releases the amazing Isle of Blood starter set, but this time with round bases and rules for Age of Sigmar. Let me be clear, I have no problems with Age of Sigmar, but I do have an issue with Warhammer Fantasy models getting reboxed and rereleased with an AoS twist. For over a year we have all been waiting to see what the AoS take on the Elves will be and so far, well, it looks like they are the same as before. Ouch. I guess there is no reason to let those plastic models go to waste.

Gathering Storm cover story

Two minutes to midnight. That has been the setting for the background of Warhammer 40,000 for as long as I can remember. But now, it looks like the clock is moving one step closer to striking 12. Fall of Cadia is the first chapter in Gathering Storm, a series of books that so far, bear a striking resemblance to Warhammer Fantasy: The End Times. What kind of impact The Gathering Storm will have on the Warhammer 40,000 game is anyone’s guess but most of the folks I have talked to are worried. And for good reason. The last time Games Workshop launched a massive campaign it brought about the end of Warhammer Fantasy and well, lots of folks raged. The salt was real. I hope that GW learned some valuable lessons from the last time a story arc destroyed a planet and united the Elves (new releases photos show Eldar and Dark Eldar under one banner) and are able to pull off The Gathering Storm with more tact. For now, I’ll sit back, pull up a chair and grab some popcorn. It’s about to get awfully interesting. Oh, I almost forgot to mention, the new Saint Celestine model in nothing short of incredible.

The Review of the Year

This 13-page feature covers all the major releases from Games Workshop in 2016. In 2016 GW put out 60 plastic kits and 11 boxed games. That is a massive amount of product and if you take a look at the releases this month, there are no signs of slowing down. I won’t cover each month, but some of my favorites are the Ironjawz in April (love me that turtle dragon), Genestealer Cults in October and the plastic Custodes in November. I barely scratched the surface of all the amazing releases from the year (Blood Bowl, Magus the Red, Deathwatch, Silver Tower, the Start Collecting! boxes, The General’s Handbook, and the Rubric Marines just to name a few more!). The feature ends with a call to email team@whitedwarf.co.uk with your favorite model of the year. It’s always great to see GW reaching out to the community.

Battle Report

Man, so close. Battle Reports in White Dwarf run the range from useless narratives with a couple random photos to detailed accounts of competitive games. What we have here is right in the middle. The deployment and turn-by-turn are detailed and provide a full overview of the game along with a running total of victory points. But the army lists only provide a points total for each side but not for individual units. One of my favorite (and most useful) aspects of battle reports are seeing how the players construct their armies and the choices they make. I want to know if a unit is being used for a competitive reason or because it looks cool. This battle report is one of the best reports of an actual game of Warhammer 40,000 I have read in a long time but it still needs more information on the front end.

Battleground

January’s Battleground is a bit different. Instead of showing off gorgeous terrain on a table, we get a look at one of the dioramas displayed at Warhammer World – The Battle of Vesh’Yo. This massive diorama displays the forces of a Tau colony attempting to stop the attack of an enormous Mechanicum army. The scale of this display is truly epic. Anything that makes a Warlord Titan look small is something to be marveled at. I am sure the photos, as wonderful as they are, fail to capture the majesty of this display. Along with the photos are comments from the Warhammer World Studio team, the men responsible for the planning and construction of the exhibits are Warhammer World.

Blanchitsu

There are a few rather interesting pieces in this months Blanchitsu. One that I am particularly fond of is a conversion of a Nighbringer into an old bearded master of the Mechanicum. Other than that, nothing new or interesting going on here. I feel that every article in this series blends together with last month being a rare exception.

Final thoughts

White Dwarf continues to deliver with another great issue. The reworking of the magazine to a monthly publication has done wonders and I look forward to each new issue arriving. Even if you are not a fan of a few of the articles or sections there is still plenty more to enjoy.

I apologize again for the late review and as long as no shipping issues occur I’ll get the February review up in just a few weeks.