Wednesday 30 October 2013

Revisiting White Dwarf 140

I don't know about you, but I started reading White Dwarf in about 1988. At that point, these were copies borrowed from my friends for a few days or a week, read thoroughly and returned. However the very first issue I actually owned was #140 from August 1991.

White Dwarf 140 - Cover art Advanced Space Crusade by Dave Gallagher

Issue #140 remains my very favourite issue (only just pipping #127 to the honours). Some of it is nostalgia, but there is plenty to enjoy within the distinctive yellow covers. Let's take a look:
Modelling Workshop - Fantasy Barn
A tutorial for a simple, great looking building, complete with templates for you to build yourself (and I did). The techniques covered here are still as relevant today, and the results are much more individual than simply painting yet another version of a plastic scenery set (why is it all tabletop battlefields look the same these days?).

Just look at that barn in situ - amazing what can be achieve with foamboard, balsa wood and drybrushing!

Warhammer Novels
Not just Space Marines killing a succession of aliens, but dark, intelligent novels written by recognised authors such as Ian Watson and Jack Yeovil (aka Kim Newman). A selection of little teasers which literally make you want to go out and track the books down (even now!).

Drachenfels, Beasts in Velvet, Wolf Riders, Ignorant Armies...the names of these novels alone get me excited!

Golden Demon Awards 1991
I'm guessing in reality that showcasing the entries from Golden Demon 1991 in White Dwarf represents a cost-cutting exercise from the hardback extravaganzas of the Fantasy Miniatures books from 1988-1990. However, the review makes for fascinating reading; 82 photographs on 17 pages of UK entries plus a further 3 pages (including the back cover) showcasing US and Canada.

The entries show a bit of evolution from the 1988 coverage; for the most part the truly outlandish conversions and contemporary cultural references (Maggie Thatcher on a banner) have gone, to be replaced with fantastical realism and the start of recognised, codified colour schemes. There are of course still some entries with more of a roots feel (a Nurgle champion riding a chaos spawn with the body of a giant scorpion, head and arms of a Great Unclean One and eyeballs on the fingers for example), but by and large the surreal element is being replaced with high quality, clean painting and clinical conversions.

You know the giant's ripped leggings are painted right? That's what the caption says!

Look at those squats - beautifully painted with a high gloss finish

WFRP - Beasts in Velvet
I confess, I've never played WFRP, but I do own Beasts in Velvet and this article has lots to enjoy for the beautiful artwork by Paul Bonner and Martin McKenna, as well as the little pen portraits for the book's characters.

Fithly Harald. I wonder where the inspiration for his character came from? If you look carefully at Paul Bonner's illustration, you might just see a resemblence to a certain ageing movie star!

The ill-fated Spacefleet project eventually returned as Battlefleet Gothic. You can read about the cancelled ruleset in Orlygg's excellent interview with Tony Hough over at Realm of Chaos 80s.

Like many of the sideline rulesets, I never played Spacefleet (although I did own a small Eldar fleet). This article contains some tremendous background to the Warhammer 40,000 universe, as well as an excellent tutorial on painting spaceships by Mike McVey.

And Finally...
I have a suspicion that these catalogue pages might have been the start of my love of Blood Bowl. Just take a look at the gorgeous miniatures and you might see why. I remember very distinctly poring over the black and white images and mentally selecting the models I wanted in my team (I recall Lewdgrip Whiparm was a definite starter!).

It never really occurred to me at the time, but these pages have absolutely no link with the content of the rest of the issue - Blood Bowl isn't even mentioned. So why stick these in? Who knows what the rationale is...I still liked looking at the pictures.

Beautiful Blood Bowl minis, definitely not just fantasy miniatures and all the better for it.

So, White Dwarf #140 is my favourite issue. What's yours?


  1. You lucky you, the first french WD came out in 93 I think. I fortunately had cousin who let me borrow theirs thanks to their dad who was often in UK at the time (it also got me to get my hands on RT and the realm of chaos tomes that were never published here) I don't know if I happen to have a favourite number but thoses around 140 are definitely very good with 141 being a very good one too. I especially like all thoses with the confrontation rules. I'm laways amazed to see how they managed to provide so much gaming material and great eye candy at the same (and yet still have room for more commercials)

  2. WD123 was my first, I missed WD122 at the news agents so much more interesting then!