White Dwarf

White Dwarf, vol 1, Issue 100

To celebrate my 11th review of White Dwarf we have the 100th ever issue (of volume 1). In this issue you could win a chance to get White Dwarf magazine for life starting 1988. I wonder if that continued after it became weekly, you would have to find the winner and track him down somehow.


Adverts this month are the Imperial Guard Rapier, the Eldar D Cannon which looks more like an autocannon and the Eldar Dreadnought which must be one of the most enduring models ever released it will have resculpted guns but remain in production until it’s replaced 18 years later by the plastic Wraithlord kit in 2006.


Talking about things that are enduring Steve Jackson writes about FIST, Fantasy Interactive Scenarios by Telephone, these adventures will pop up in adverts in White Dwarf for the next year until finally vanishing out of existence with the rise of the computer. The premise is that you phone up and complete a chose your own adventure campaign by phone and at the end of a section get given a password to allow you to save your progress. The picture of Steve Jackson here is nightmare fuel.


There is a preview of a game called Highway Warriors which will eventually become Dark Future, it’s the Mad Max style road combat game that will launch, flop and eventually be rebooted in 2016 by another company called Devils Run, Route 666. The Mad Max style game genre has been strangely under serviced by the games industry, the only other I can think of is the thematically excellent but mechanically flawed GorkaMorka.


At Games Day in 1987 a special Warhammer Fantasy Role Play scenario was played out with some gamers so the rules are published here so you if your group wants to be a cannibalistic Pygmy who starts the adventure eating a Watermelon. Some of the Pygmy characters are called Rubba Dubb and To-Ka Bong, it’s not the most comfortable thing to read about these days but instead of getting into the complicated issue of racial stereotypes in board gaming and role playing I’m just going to press on and pretend it never happened.


In the middle of this was yet another competition, the third this issue, this time for producing a shield and banner design. Thrud for once produces a welcome relief and drinks a potion to become a farmer, presumably he later contributes to the EU butter mountain. More Space Marine and Ork miniatures, again they aren’t good.


Eavy Metal provides quality content once again, this week talking about inks and glazing and washing. It has a nice list of what to use the different colours on for best effect, as I’ve said before this must have been life saver for painters at this time.


Critical Mass gets an extra page this week so Dave Langford can vent his frustrations at generic sci if and fantasy titles he was sent to review by imagining a computer program set to generate book titles out of the products he gets given, and then another that trawls through his previous columns to write reviews of them. The title “Trillion Year Sneer” is my favourite of the speeches /essays he collected together for these reviews, I’m dying to use it myself as its been out of print since 1988 so it can easily be repurposed.

The next part of the WFRP adventure takes us up the rules for the Eldar Distortion cannon rules for 40k followed by dwarf gyrocopters in fantasy battle followed by an advert for Warhammer Siege which is very strange as it starts off talking about fantasy battle races besieging stone fortresses but later gets into using them in 40k with a picture of the Eldar Dreadnoughts breaking down the stone walls. It sounds quite interesting with foraging, construction and mining rules as well as making sure your armies have enough supplies. They are tricking things to capture in the space of a miniature wargame. If you have an interest In this I recommend Stronghold the board game.


Next a colour section on well painted miniature dioramas with some pretty far out themes. The letters page returns again this issue where White Dwarf staff defend their decision to cut out other company’s games to concentrate on their own products.Chapter approved talks about dreadnoughts and their rules this issue, it’s highly detailed as you would expect and there are rules for generating the power coming out of the power plant and hard points for extra equipment. These miniatures at their time were the alpha male of the sci fi wargame as no dedicated anti-armour squads or vehicles existed to stop them with the ease they can be stopped today. Finally, we have an art page with colour schemes for the models, a couple of which belong to Yriel’s Eldritch Raiders, I think this makes him the third named special character (not including the Primarchs) in the 40k canon behind Calgar and Pedro Cantor.


This is of interest to you if:

  • You wanted to feel awkward reading that roleplay scenario.
  • You needed indepth rules for giant armoured dreadnoughts in your sci-fi role playing game.
  • Two page of Dave Langford.

As you can tell this wasn’t a great issue for nostalgia, old competitions, previews for games that flopped like FIST or Dark Future and the cringe worthy role play adventure. It was probably great at the time but a magazine full of shortform content has no value in rereading. In the last 10 issues White Dwarf went from a magazine publishing great thought provoking roleplay and hobby content to a company trying its hand at selling miniatures, this is a huge transition and therefore it’s not without problems, there are some shining lights like Eavy Metal but the company still has to find its feet again in a new market. The main issue here is that none of this stuff is being advertised in a way that makes me want to go and buy it.

White Dwarf, vol 1, Issue 99

I think that’s a Chaos space marine on the cover, you can tell by the H. R. Giger phallic backpack and the fact he’s holding an octopus faced AK47 pistol. Come to think about it, are those penis horns on his helmet? I fear this intro might have just triggered several Google Safe Search alerts.


Inside the front cover we have an advert for Eldar Command models with one apparently holding a space harp. All these instruments and Giger influences are giving me flashbacks of the terrible Prometheus movie. One of the great things about these models is that due to the fact 40k is a wargaming trying to be a role play game, all the metal models have actual names such as Menhe Worldsong and Kaelle Lightprow.


My copy of this issue is missing Marginalia and Culture Shock so you’ll have to imagine those articles this week. We skip straight to a page of Ork war buggy rules and an advert for 40k Adventurers including halfling cook and what could be a couple of female space marines. Sadly the sculpting is so bad it’s had to prove the models is female however at least they are wearing clothes. There are a few in character quotes in this section such as “Death Sells and you’re buying” attributed to Pirate Mustain which would not be out of place in a B movie. Thrud is more nonsensical than usual this week with a character called Lymara the she wildebeeste (sp).


Next and advert for the first ever Space Ork dreadnought which has been assembled and painted terribly like the space marine ones from the last issue, it does have an expansion kit for it that makes it even larger and more terrible. There is also and advert for the Citadel Expert Paint Set with a range of inks and the stages of producing the effects which as this time hasn’t been done before.

Illuminations features all kinds of studio artists this month including a cool looking Reaper by Jes Goodwin, Jes will go on to be one of the group who kicks off the Golden Age of Wargaming.


We have a Warhammer fantasy battle adventure called the ritual involving Skaven that takes up 10 pages, it could fit any tunnel dwelling race in any high fantasy setting.


We then come across Index Astartes about the Legion of the Damned no less. I guess they wanted to really flesh out the more exotic of all the space marine chapters and an army of heavy metal ghost marines who have a change to go into a frenzy once they get into combat certainly does that. They go into quite a bit more detail than necessary and previous version of them introduce them more of a mystery than a mutated space marine legion.


Next some more adverts for an Ambull which is best described as a gorilla lobster and the Space Marine Attack bike which as this time was inexplicably called the Vincent Black Shadow. It’s still not clear why they would name their attack bike for a sci fi game after a famous 1950’s motorbike, I suspect a John Blanche influence.


Next up a watershed moment, the first ever step by step painting tutorial with colour pictures, miniatures gamers across the world rejoice at this. This is capped off by the appearance of John Blanches toothless smile behind the finished model. Next is the Blanchitsu article that begins by suggesting that gamers try transfer decals from other companies and even railway numbering to decorate their Space Marines. Someone somewhere in Games Workshop just had their eyes roll back in their head and £ symbols appear in their place. Scenic bases, cleaning models with copper wire and using pepper and chilli powder as basing materials are also discussed but not endorsed by myself.


Chapter Approved adds modified indirect fire rules, critical hits and developing psi-powers to 40k as well as rules for the Mole Mortar, Tarantulas, Land Speeders and using Ambulls as a GM controlled creature as well as the attack bike which is now called the Blackshadow side car combination. Catchy.

The Realm of Darkness Slaves to Chaos series starts here, at this stage it’s WFRP material about chaos mutants but will eventually be its own giant Chaos expansion for Fantasy Role Play, Fantasy Battle and 40k. It’s 14 pages covering every conceivable mutation including Tarantula Head, Overgrown Body Part (you can guess which part most male gamers wanted) or the devastating Silly Walk. This is a D1000 chart and Very Fast, one of the options, was a 1/250 chance. The article is so large there is no room for a readers letters segment, Chaos was and still is hugely popular to write about, it seems to capture the writers imaginations nearly as much as Orks (or Orcs if you like fantasy).


This is relevant to you in 2016 if:

  • You want to role pay ideas for Skaven.
  • You really like the film “The Fly” and you need to experiment with body horror role play.
  • You like the Legion of the Dammed and want to see exactly how they were envisioned.
  • You want to see the first ever versions of a lot of famous 40k hardware.

White Dwarf, vol 1, Issue 98

Space Marines on the front cover again. It’s the Ultra-marines we read about in the last issue, and they are stepping over Ghost Rider. Poor Ghost Rider, first defiled by Nicolas Cage and then by a blue painted space fascist about to step on his head. Also, is that a bayonet attached to a magazine?


The first advert is for the first ever 40k supplement, called Warhammer 40,000 Chapter Approved, I think this is as good a place as any to quickly review it as the book gives a good idea of the state of the game at the start of 1988, it also gives the first full colour catalogue of all available models for it. First off you had a plastic space marine box, metal space marines, mostly prototypes (the first ever space marine was not among them having gone out of production by this point) Jet Cycles, Dreadnoughts, a land speeder, Marneus Calagar sitting down and attack bike model called the Vincent Black Shadow. You had a box of Orks, and some command models, a warbuggy and a Ork Dreadnaught, some human Mercenaries, assorted space dwarves and their command models, a dozen Eldar guardians and some command models, some Zoats, some mutant space pirates, some metal Imperial Guard models, (prototypes for the upcoming plastic kit) an Ogryn, some Imperial Guard with jetpacks, a Tarantula and a Mole Mortar. Sadly the Christmas Marines were not in this catalogue. It was £5 which is £13 today however it was only 4 months after the main 40k release and contained so many rules it could be counted as a necessity if you wanted to play the game. The rules and scenarios included involved using a games master for most of the random effects still. You can see how the historical wargamers probably loved that.

As for reviewing the models themselves, the plastic marines were the best value and also the only plastic models available at this time. It’s hard looking back at this and determining if this is the reason for their enduring popularity or it’s the idea of an army of super humans who are just like yourself but with Iron Man style powers. It could be a simple matter of Games Workshop only producing miniatures for the armies that sell the most. Or maybe they were the favourite race of the guy who designed the rules so they got their pictures on the cover and were constantly written about in White Dwarf. I don’t have enough information at this point, and as there were only 2000 copies of 40k sold on its first release the data just doesn’t exist. Regardless Space Marines are here as the top dog to stay. It’s also worth noting that this book allows for balanced forces and army lists being created so a little less of the diplomacy at the start of the game that most historical wargaming had to deal with.

There are Chaos Thugs and Chaos Centaurs in Warhammer Fantasy and the White Dwarf version of Chapter Approved gives a 5 page background article on the making of a Space Marine in the 41st millennium, I’m not a biologist so I couldn’t say if this all checks out, but it looks fairly realistic for a far future medical procedure. It also features the only sketch of a marines arse I can think of.


Thrud is drek as usual, this month featuring a punchline that has to be highlighted as a punchline incase the readers forget or want to skip straight to it. Gobeldegook is in German this week which gives it much more of a surreal edge.

Illustrations this month is from Tony Hough who draws in the same style of Ian Millar for past issue, you can buy his book Fragments here.


We have a follow up article to the issue 91 one about WFRP nobility. It’s an interesting one but the only faction in Warhammer at this time this would be useful for were the Bretonnians and it doesn’t mention them at all, It could be repurposed for the Elector Counts in the Empire or Dwarf Kingdoms but it reminds me more of a historical article in the style of the Ley Line one from issue 90 than a play aid, which is no bad thing.

Iron Warriors in the well thought of RPG supplement Griffon Island, that name is going to be re purposed soon.

Chapter Approved explores the Mentor Legion, who are portrayed as the absolute best of the best who are loaned out to other legions. They have an Owl logo, and a piece of wargear called a Timewarper which allows them to move incredibly fast around the battlefield. For those that don’t know they have been effectively retconned out of existence as all Space Marine chapters are so elite they don’t need them.


Grapes of Wrath, a WRRP scenario has colour maps and goes on for 18 pages, it’s about occurrences in a wine making village, it’s great that the people behind Warhammer Fantasy had such amazing world building skills at this time, these days if they aren’t producing elite troops running around on wingless Griffons no one seems to be interested in fleshing them out. Fun fact, the Skaven language is called Queekish.

Eavy Metal going into how to paint red, it always was a tricky colour to paint, how to do a checkerboard pattern (With a technical pen) and how to paint faces (tactical wash application after highlighting). Meanwhile Blanchitsu answers readers questions on pencils, modelling putty, inks, shading and storing custom paints.


The Stormbringer campaign finished this month. On the Boil was all about errata and critical hit charts and we’re done.


This month was a bit of everything, it is of interest to you in 2016 if:

  • You want to read Chapter Approved
  • You want some advice painting the hardest details you can get
  • You’re interested in kings and haven’t got enough of your information form the documentary Game of Thrones
  • You like the history of The Empire and Warhammer Fantasy and want to know more about how life goes on in it.

White Dwarf, vol 1, Issue 97

It’s a new year, it’s 1988 in White Dwarf land, I must remember that when using the inflation calculator. This issue: Ultra-Marines, Zoats in space, creating plastic moulds, adverts for Live Action Role Play equipment and horrified reactions to the Flexidisk giveaway. I wonder how long it will take for them to drop the hyphen.


The first article is about the process of creating plastic Games Workshop miniatures. Apparently when they first inquired about creating the RTB01 space marines they were told it couldn’t be done. There were a lot of plans at this time, including plans for an all plastic blood bowl stadium. Interestingly at this point they believed that half the models they made were used for games and the other half just went to collectors. They have now revisited that figure as an excuse to get around publishing points values for the figures they produce with Age of Sigmar. With 12 Games Workshop stores open at this point the expansion is beginning.

Skipping past the mandatory Thrud decapitations we get an advert for the Balgorg greater season with sword and axe. No trying to disguise what they were going for that time.


A Warhammer Fantasy battle scenario comes next, again it needs a games master to assist with it.

There is an advert for chapter approved which calls the chapters Ultramarines, Whitescars and Spacewolves (sc).

On the book has what looks like LARP equipment in show along with rules for them in WFRP.


Next the first ever Index Astartes featuring the Ultra-marines, it’s still a work in progress, some names and places will go through significant changes for instance Marneus Calgar loses all arms and legs in a skirmish with Hive Fleet Perseus and no longer works in the field, those roles are taken over by Cha Lee the Lieutenant Commander, who has Christo Columbine, a mutant, as his master of the ships.


There are three, one page adventures for Call of Cthulhu and there is a tournament report for Warhammer Fantasy battle. It gets several pages despite the tournament being only 6 players large, it even stretched on to two days to fight all three battles. Each player then received a copy of Warhammer 40k and a box of space marines. No really.

Talking of 40k the next releases are a Space Ork command set and some Space Zoats who despite being a slave race are apparently “trusted and respected by their Tyranid masters”. I suppose that’s ok then. The tag line is “Zoats in space. Nothing can stand in their way”. Nothing except their Tyranid masters I guess.


Next Illuminations featuring the work of Ian Millar which you should check out of you’re into retro gaming, if you like his work also buy The Art of Ian Miller for more great work.


Chapter approved is about the imperial dating system and the Shuriken Pistol. Not sure why they went together in this article, maybe it’s Eldar next month.

Eavy metal covers some basic modelling advice when using Milliput or Greenstuff if you prefer the GW alternative name. It could have done with some work in progress pictures to go with it but this is early days. Next is Blanchitsu where John Blanche answers readers painting questions with another picture of him on a motorbike.

We wrap up with 9 pages of the final part to the Stormbringer adventure and the readers mail which has more reaction to the Flexidisk giveaway.

This is of interest to you in 2016 if:

  • You want to see the beginning of the end for RPG articles in White Dwarf, they only got 11 pages.
  • More proto background for 40k
  • You want to read about the plans for plastic miniatures back in the day.

Like mirrors in a Terry Pratchett Novel, Chilvers Industries feeds on a little part of your soul every time you look at it, to continue enabling me please Subscribe now.

White Dwarf, vol 1, Issue 96

Move out of the way Rogue Trader, here comes Warhammer Fantasy Battle 3rd edition. Its weird to think that these days and generally since 1995 there was a 2 year wait between relaunching one 40k and then relaunching Warhammer Fantasy but back in 1987 we get 2 months. Without going too much into Warhammer Fantasy 3rd edition it simplified certain rules in a good way and spawned 5 years of Chaos releases.
This month in Critical Mass, the collected volume of Watchmen, Terry Pratchetts Mort and a fantasy anthology edited by GRR Martin. You can consider this a good month.
Thrudd and Gobbledigook offer their usual level of entertainment, usually I would try and sum up what happened in Gobbledigook but they seem to have cut the panels up and stitched them back together in a random order this month. I can’t tell if the result makes it better or worse.
Here is an interesting one, an article on running a Bar Room Brawl event using Warhammer Fantasy Role Play rules for between 5 and 10 players, its got a map and cut out tokens for weapons lying around. Where there ever roleplay groups with 10 players playing at the same time. It sounds incredibly complicated.
Next rules for Wardancers in Fantasy and the Slann who would later become the Lizardmen and even later be called Seraphon. At this point the models just looked weird.
The final part of the Judge Dredd adventure was published, you would have got tremendous value out of this magazine if you played Judge Dredd back then, more content was produced around it in the last months than in 40k and Fantasy combined and they had new editions released.
There is a Runequest adventure called Land of the Ninja followed by an Illuminations section from Iain McCaig, him from all the Fighting Fantasy book covers, it’s pretty interesting.
The first ever Chapter Approved article comes next, with rules from the Space Marine Jetbike or Jet-Cycle and the history of the Dark Angels chapter.
The models didn’t look great but were overshadowed by the Christmas Marines in the picture next to them which must be the first models designed, sculpted and painted while drunk.
Eavy metal tackle the dreaded subject of assembling a large heavy multi part miniature like a dragon. Again, this was before the internet was widely used so probably a lifesaver for modellers back then, the article actually looks pretty modern and would go on to get rave reviews in the letters sections of the following months.
The second part to the Stormbringer adventure last issue and we’re onto the letters page. Apparently a lot of people back then also thought badly of the Sabbat flexi disk and there were mixed feelings about replacing the board game review column with more of a preview article written by the games designer.
This is of interest to you in 2016 if:
  • You wanted a look at the background that would eventually become Space Marine canon.
  • You like Judge Dredd.
  • Iain McCaig
  • Dragons

Like mirrors in a Terry Pratchett Novel, Chilvers Industries feeds on a little part of your soul every time you look at it, to continue enabling me please Subscribe now.

White Dwarf, vol 1, Issue 95

Free flexidisk by Sabbat. This phase could mean different things in different contexts. Just staring at the words on a blank page makes me think that it’s some sort of component for an industrial machine being advertised in an ill advised radio slot by a local hardware store.
An advert for first edition Fury of Dracula comes next, this has only recently been reprinted and weirdly I only just played the third edition of it last week. It goes to show how long these games go out of print for. The game itself is a solid little gem where up to four players move around a map of Europe trying to discover the trail of destruction left by Dracula himself. £12.99 in today’s money is around £28 which is a bargain and if you can buy the latest version of it you should give it a go.
In the editorial section it was mentioned there was a Thrud meetup held at a games store featuring the person responsible for the comic. Presumably he is still serving his time even now. Meanwhile in the comic the giant blob of PVA glue that is Thrud punches people while my soul dies. They made him part of the rules for 1st edition Blood Bowl so it could have been far worse.
The second part of the Judge Dredd adventure takes up the next 12 pages. There was a lot of content created for this.
Talking about content, there were a lot of miniatures for Warhammer Fantasy Battle 3rd edition which gets a lovely colour section, very cinematic and very nice to look at.
Following this are the next batch of 40k releases, human Mercenaries which are best left consigned to the history bin and metal space marine dreadnoughts which are victims of weird posing and paint jobs. The Dreads came in at £9.30 in today’s prices so it wasn’t all bad.
If you wanted to have a vehicle and pay less you could try the anti Grav vehicle made out of an antiperspirant stick and a plastic spoon. There are some other conversions, the space marine gunship converted from an Apache helicopter looks very like the Stormtalon gunship, it didn’t look good then and doesn’t look good now.
On the Boil is a new feature for reader submitted Warhammer Fantasy Battle and WFRP content. It’s followed by an advert for a skeleton chariot and skullchucker. This is the age where all undead war machines would be built out of bones, no matter how unusual the proportion of the bones in question.
Next there is an advert for I presume a game called The Battle of the Halji. I can only guess at what people thought of this section without the internet to explain it. Looking it up on Board Game Geek it appears to be a game of evolving monsters and contending with illnesses and then manoeuvring them next to each other to explode. This cost more than a Fury of Dracula and looks to have sunk without trace.
There is a GM only preview of a Stormbringer role play adventure and we get into a section on Sabbat. Basically a lot of people into Warhammer at this time also loved heavy metal so the guys at Games Workshop teamed up with them to make songs, there was even lyrics published in the magazine to go with it which helped if you needed to sing along to it at a childs birthday party or wedding. Also at this time apparently people wanted lots of metal jewellery including a metal guillotine. Classy.
John Blanche gives us some of his paintings and drawing in the next article, interesting fact: He owned a company motorbike.
Continuing the theme from last time. This is of interest to you in 2016 if:
  • You wanted the second half of the Judge Dredd article from last time.
  • You really like Sabbat.
  • You want to see how bad the releases for 40k were at this time.

Like mirrors in a Terry Pratchett Novel, Chilvers Industries feeds on a little part of your soul every time you look at it, to continue enabling me please Subscribe now.

White Dwarf, vol 1, Issue 94

Straight away the role playing games and board game reviews are out the window and it’s a full colour page on 40k Rogue Trader featuring a really nice diorama with space marines and Orks inside what looks like a space hulk followed by a preview of it by Rick “Big Daddy” Priestley. Other releases are the Chaos Marauder card game and first edition Deathzone for Blood Bowl. I won’t make too much of a fuss about Blood Bowl until it gets its third edition in 1994. But suffice to say if 4th edition gets released later this year I will be bringing a retro review out at the same time.


This month Thrud extorts money from and old man to fuel his drinking habit, it’s rather hard to look at.
There is an interesting WFRP scenario that goes through a night at a tavern with 5 interconnecting plots. It has times for each event and if the adventurers are in the correct area at the correct time then certain events will play out. Without wanting to be a philistine it’s rather complicated and sounds like a nightmare to keep track of everything. But again with these type of articles it’s fun to read.
Next Gobbledigook goes to the tower of Saruman and gets dunked in a toilet by Nosferatu to wake up in the far future staking at the bulging metal crotch of a space marine who he vaporises with a peashooter. This actually happened and more worryingly it is part 1 of 2.
After a 14 page Judge Dredd adventure we get another article on having a second job while in an RPG, this time it’s rather more sensibly in Call of Cthulhu which would make sense putting a shopkeeper, conman and an actor together to fight otherworldly horrors.
After a article on the Judge Dredd Blockmania board game we get the very first actual rules article for 40k, the battle for Jadeberry hill, which follows on from the Battle at the Farm outlined in the rulebook. The names sadly needed more work at this time. The Crimson Fists space marines fighting against Snagrod the Arch Arsonist (Ok, there were fairly cool). Unfortunately it hinged on you a) having a games master and b) not telling the Ork player that an area of the battlefield is mined. I think it’s the first and last time a GM is mentioned for 40k in White Dwarf, they will slowly be removed from the game during the rules building process.
Next Eavy Metal get their hands on the multi part plastic Space Marine sprue. I might have been overly critical of this last issue but I should clarify that at the time this was a revolution. A cheap, easy to paint, easy to model, light kit that could be assembled multiple ways is something that Games Workshop would not rediscover until around 1998, nearly 9 years later. This was virtually untouched ground so the team was using markings from books on NATO to detail the shoulder pads of these models at the time.
Next up there is another article that touches on Roman Colosseums before going into detail on how to incorporate them into a fantasy Runequest setting. Articles like this give the magazine a weighty grown up feel as it’s almost like reading a history textbook at times. Insert Spartacus joke here.
Chainsaws and pit traps in blood bowl and the readers mail which is all about the high quality role playing articles that were published and we’re done again. I feel I should sum up these reviews so I’m going to start adding the following TLDR section on.
This is of interest to you in 2016 if:
  • You’ve read an old copy of Rogue Trader and you would like to read a bit of blurb about it from its designer.
  • You like interesting role playing ideas.
  • You really like Judge Dredd.
  • You want to feel a grown up reading about actual real life history.
In conclusion Games Workshop hadn’t really gotten good at making 40k look interesting enough at this point, everything from the rules to the paint schemes to the background material looks like a work in progress add this state of affairs would continue for the next 2-3 years before it really started ramping up.

White Dwarf, vol 1, Issue 93

Here we go, showtime, it’s Rogue Trader in the front cover. Even Blood Royal gets 2 pages so let’s see if they can sell me on it. In the bafflingly titled “Awesome Lies” editorial section they even mention that Games Workshop are going to have a retail presence in 1988, man-children across the land rejoice.
Skipping through Critical Mass, a Space Marine themed Thrud we get to the obligatory AD&D adventure and a interesting article on magic in AD&D and we get to the first mention of Warhammer 40,000, it’s a full colour section with graphics, artwork and a explanation of what it is including a write up of some Space Wolves killing of a mutant population, a picture of the old plastic land raider supported by 10 of the very first space marine models and on the next page the plastic beaky marine squad.
You can pick 30, yes thirty, of those guys up for the modern day equivalent of £20 and the rules for an extra £30. So that’s 66 pence each per marine. Not bad value except that they look horrible. However at the time everything looked horrible so we can give them that.


Continuing the magazines theme of miniatures they advertise the first ever miniatures painting awards The Golden Demon Awards (presumably they didn’t need to put the disclaimer for last months article up for this), the entrants are pretty crazy, usually featuring elaborately sculpted bases or ridiculously large banners which to be fair a hard to pull off even today.
Next is a role play adventure that can take place in any Call of Cthulu, AD&D or WFRP setting as long as the GM provides the finer points like combat and characters. This goes to prove how very similar the three systems are at this point. There is a nice looking map to hand out to the players though which reminds me of what i spend so much time doing in Firewatch.
Finally we get a Blood Royal article on adding religion and after months of waiting it’s 2 pages long and assumes you’ve already brought and played it. Even worse there are still no pictures of the actual contents of the game or an idea of how it plays. Oh dear. I think this is the last time it’s mentioned in White Dwarf.
Next up its Eavy Metal and it’s a really good article on how to paint, it goes into detail of what to do and why, which is really appreciated because at this time miniatures had only just begun to be heavily featured and no one had a clue of how to paint them up. The only weird bit it where they attempt to illustrate the stages of painting by sketching out a picture of what the miniature should look like. Not sure why they didn’t just take photographs at different stages but maybe the limited colour sections were all used in advertising new models.
This is followed by rules for normal people in judge dredd and some illustrations which aren’t particularly great. The issue is capped off with a essay / inspiration guide for using magical familiars in role playing.
The issue was pretty interesting, it’s a bit hard to pin down the focus of the magazine at the moment as its publishing a lot of role playing articles as well as trying to promote Warhammer 40,000 which at this time has a lot of role playing elements in it. The advert count seemed to be down as well, slightly over 20 this time. Mind you you could count the whole article on 40k as one giant advert.

White Dwarf, vol 1, Issue 92

In the last two reviews I’ve much established that the articles in White Dwarf at this time are hit and miss but generally  still worth reading even after all the games they support are out of print. That’s a pretty good mark of quality for a magazine. However writing articles is one thing, trying to sell product is another. Last issue they failed to mention Games Workshops latest game Blood Royal in anything other than a very short preview. This issue something big is coming and I’m going to see if they sell me on it.
On the second page on less there is an advert for Warhammer 40,000, looking through the contents page Blood Royal isn’t mentioned at all. Oh well RIP Blood Royal July 1987- August 1987 we hardly knew thee. The rumours section mentions that Rogue Trader is in the typesetting phase and going to be released next month. Also for nostalgia fans there is a mention of a brand new games show on, Knightmare.
In the miniatures releases this month: Ninjas, Wizards a Minotaur, Normans, some Armoured Dwarfs and some models that look suspiciously like Dark Elves and Chaos Warriors but are referred to as Pan Tagians and Melniboneans. The last page of which is in colour at least. Citadel miniatures released a lot of miniatures like this around this time so get used to looking at them.
After Critical Mass comes a three page advert to work for Games Workshop, that’s two more pages than Blood Royal got. I fact this episode we get to page 20 before starting on the articles due to so many adverts for games and miniatures. Granted there was content but Thrud and Gobbledigook do not count.
Racial profiles for the Warhammer fantasy races. Extra rules for a game called Chainsaw Warrior and we are almost half way through the magazine before we get to an article about Paranoia, no wait, it’s an advert for second edition Paranioa which in August 1987 was coming soon, Ghah. As an aside if you want to get into Paranoia, the 3rd edition got Kickstarted recently and its coming up for a proper re release soon.
Finally we get into something that looks like sustained content and its an article on demonology in role playing games with a heavy disclaimer as this was around the time that RPGs were being falsely accused in the press of causing young kids to turn into Satan worshipping serial killers. You can read all about this media panic elsewhere but it’s baffling these days to see this article contain a paragraph explaining that demons aren’t real things.
More adverts for miniatures, at 4 or 5 models for about £1 a model in today’s prices, some actually look alright but nothing to write home about, having said that in 1987 if you wanted something to fill up your dungeon with they would be pretty good.
On to our mandatory AD&D adventure, it contains maps and building layouts, its clear that someone put a lot of time and effort into this (that someone being Carl Sargent, Euran Smith and Charles Ellott).
Finally there is an errata for WFRP, some art sketches and the regular Eavy Metal section talking about how to use brushes and that’s all. There were a lot of adverts here, nearly 30 pages of specific adverts in a 86 page magazine. Maybe they were saving them all up from the last issues?