White Dwarf 98 – 103

White Dwarf, vol 1, Issue 103

That front cover artwork is pretty sweet. Dark Future deserved better than what it got. Interestingly this issue we got Rhino marines which are marines in Mad Max poses that can be added to vehicles like the Rhino or if you are like Games Workshops customers never brought and never mentioned again.


In Culture Shock there is talk of a Games Workshop comic, the only one I ever heard of is Warhammer Monthly but that was late 90’s so I guess this project sunk without trace.


We then enter The Vermilion Pawn, this is the start of what will become a long running series of WFRP encounters that go into detail about a particular area that your characters might need to visit, this one is about a pawn shop the party might need to take an unidentifiable magic item to. The shop can also be used for loans or it can be the hub of various adventures. The owner even has a Daemonic cabinet used for appraising certain items which can be cut and pasted into other adventures by itself.


This 7-page article of win is followed by Critical Mass and the streak of quality is only broken by Thrud the Barbarian beating a disabled man with a telescope.

White Dwarf reminds us the 40k is a thing they sell with a page of Pirate models for it. These are pretty bad. This is followed by Chapter Approved rules for the Rhino APC, this is a classic plastic model on sale for £9.99 (for 3) that will remain in production for 14 years until 2002 after spawning loads of variants. This is followed by a page for Eldar Artillery and some Squat bikes. The rules were pretty heavy amendments for the current Rogue Trader rules and introduced the vehicle hit chart where you would roll to see which part of the vehicle you hit and then roll to see what damage you did.


It’s saying something that even the letters page this issue has a quality selection of issues raised. Next up Dwarf and Elf teams in BloodBowl with paper proxy models included.


Followed up by On the Boil with queries about WFRP, followed by another excellent article on Realm of Chaos Slaves to Darkness. This week it’s about Chaos Weapons and it involves a D1000 table although with only 78 properties you wondered why they needed to make it that large.


After this we get rules for a Chaos Dwarf Whirlwind and Tenderiser which were improbable weapons mounted on sleds and pushed into an enemy unit, they look like they would fall to bits in a light breeze.


Eavy Metal had painted pictures of Rhinos in camp as the idea of brightly colour space marines at this time was still a long way down the road. There is a section exploring the making of the plastic kit which was the first plastic vehicle created at this time, obviously the studio wanted to kitbash it into something else and there are pictures of models which will become the Immolator and Predator by Bob Naismith as well as a third variant with an exposed front and two small bore cannons.


Illuminations features the art of Carl Critchlow who is the man responsible for Thrud, he has some pretty cool sketches for Dark Future.


The rules are published for the Rhino, it has a powerfield, something called an auto-fac and ejector seats. I personally think all tanks should come with ejector seats, it would make war documentaries much more entertaining.


The issue finishes off with an Orc and Goblin army list for Warhammer Fantasy.

This is of interest to you because:

  • It’s awesome.
  • This might be the most content packed issue so far between the roleplay article, the information about the Rhinos and the Slave to Darkness piece it’s well worth re reading.

5/5 please more.


White Dwarf, vol 1, Issue 102

White Dwarf 102 increased the price to £1.50, what is this? Do they think i’m made of money? OMFG “Sellouts” I cry. According to my inflation calculator that’s £3.62 today increasing from £3.02. Is this worth an extra 60 pence?


Straight off we go into Illuminations which features Pete Kniftons 2000AD comic book style drawings for the release of second edition BloodBowl. Culture Shock discusses the band Hawkwing coming round to the design studio and the success of Sabbat (remember them and the White Dwarf flexi disk?). The casting of Sylvester Stallone in the Judge Dredd film (apparently the deal had fallen through because he wanted to remove the mask) and the Daemonettes of Slaanesh, referred to as the lust lobsters. Oh if only they had hindsight that I had, Heavy Metal articles vanish from White Dwarf within the year I think, Stallone would do them film, remove his helmet and get panned for it and Slaanesh would become persona non grata in Warhamers replacement Age of Sigmar due to sex and boobs being agents of the devil.

Critical Mass is good. Thrudd is bad, the Fimir were a race made up by Games Workshop but will soon be forgotten despite a nice full colour art page and several maps, faer not they appear in Heroquest and Forgeworld remade the models to they could live on.


Dark Future will also be forgotten, but at least White Dwarf advertises it well, you can see the artwork, read about the background and a little bit about the rules, it’s all quite competently handled compared to their other releases.


There is a return to the shield and banner competition which shows if some pretty flash artwork, I’m sure there are plenty of references in this I’m not getting, I did notice the Screaming Fist design which is straight out of Neuromancer by William Gibson (this is necessary reading so go and buy it now).


Eavy Metal takings about painting the faces of miniatures and skin tones, it once again falls back into the trap of drawing a picture of a face to illustrate the article rather than doing a macro shot of several stages of painting one, they do show plenty of finished examples on the following pages, it’s fair to say that faces are the hardest things to do right as humans are wired to focus on facial recognition.

The Eldar Warwalker is up next, the idea of these was that the crewman was exposed but covered by an energy shield that protected him from any harm, the plastic versions these days has the crewman in a cockpit and look much nicer, however this model, like all of the Eldar miniature range lasted a long time before being fully resculpted.

On the Boil talks about magic in Warhammer Fantasy Battle and this is followed by rules for kickers in BloodBowl, kickers will incidentally eventually just exist with a single skill that they can pick to reduce the kicking scatter distance despite several articles to try and add them into the game as a major tactical piece.

Gobbledigook gets a third of a page this month, I’m not even sure if it’s s comic as there is no dialog, I would say that’s its 2/3rds of an improvement.

Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb gets a few pages but I have no further idea about it, its never been mentioned before or will be mentioned after, instead of looking myself I’ll just point you to Board Game Geek and let you do all the hard work.

Realm of Chaos, Slaves the Darkness is again the star of the show, the first page is an elaborately drawn title page for the article with Slaaneshi and Khorne Daemons facing off against one another. The article features tables to generate a Daemons true name and its use-name, the idea being that you can only control one once you know its true name. True names are generated by taking the number of the God, either 6,7,8 or 9 and adding 1D6 or 2D6 to generate the amount of rolls on a D10/D6 table that gives you an insanely garbled collection of syllables, then you roll 2 or 4 times on a second D10/D20 table with results such as Foulsmut Pukebeatle. This opens a world of possibilities if you need to come up with a fake name to give to the police or writing wedding invitations and I cannot recommend reading this enough.


Index Astartes closes the issue by discussing field medics for Space Marines, Squats and Imperial Guard with a chunk of proto background material and an injury table for you to roll if your characters are killed in battle to allow them to continue playing the campaign.


This is of interest to you if:

  • You want to read more about the ill-fated Dark Future game
  • You are running any campaign involving Games Workshop style daemons and you want to give them the appropriate retro names.

White Dwarf, vol 1, Issue 101


So last issue we had the Eldar dreadnought or what became the Wraithlord released, this issue we have something called an Eldar Robot, it’s functionally the same model with a small shrunken head, adding to that we have the squat Thudd Gun and an Imperial Guard land speeder and we enter the land that time (or the designers) forgot. Meanwhile check out the queue for the first ever Oxford Street shop, you don’t get that kind of excitement these days.


The tactics article for Warhammer Fantasy Battle has some general good points as well as some specific advice to that system which is no longer applicable meanwhile Critical Mass takes us straight into the letters page which this month is in the middle of the magazine. It mainly focuses around the balance of the last few months adventures with a little bit of 40k bashing creeping in from Judge Dredd and Warhammer Fantasy players.
Blanchitsu talks about the process of drybrushing and the slightly more exotic method of tearing up cotton wool, painting it with red ink and sticking it to your model to create a gore effect. I don’t recommend that one. Also a bit of trivia here, their orcs and goblins are painted green due to Kevin Adams rather than the black and brown they are in Tolkien books at this time. Thrud breaks me out of my need to fact check this latest revelation which leads into another Griffin Island adventure for Runequest about a triple cross over some mining goods.
A preview article for Blood Bowl is up next, it’s second edition and comes with a plastic pitch, the artwork is very 2000AD and has all the dark humour that it is known for, it could do with a bit less fluff and a bit more of how to play the game, but it’s an improvement on most Games Workshop advertising at this point.
There is another WFRP scenario and we are back in full roleplay mode for White Dwarf, the pictures here are again quite nice, they provide a contrast to the Chaos Warriors on the previous page.
Chapter Approved brings us prototype background for the Eldar Infinity Circuit and Ghost Warriors which are robotic assassins. Also we have rules for the squat Thudd Gun, and imperil guard land speeder, the Thudd Gun has a spectacular multiple blast template that was always a paint to use as it was constantly catching on things and ripping.
Next up the colour section on Blood Bowl, the designers obviously didn’t care much about team colours back then.
Hooray it’s a Paranoia scenario that was run at Games Day 87. This is much less controversial than the one last issue except for the ending that involves the GM smashing his hand down on a giant cream cake and covering everyone within 5 meters with whipped cream. Well played Games Workshop, well played.
Eavy Metal and Blanchitsu merge this week in the second article on painting as they discuss freehand painting of shields, freehand isn’t covered a lot these days so it’s a pretty spectacular article showing what players used to do before sculpted shields became all the rage.
Remember Spot the Ball competitions, White Dwarf does one for the release of this edition of Blood Bowl. For those that don’t know Spot the Ball was popular with people who read newspapers on park benches in the 80’s like the guy from Parklife.
There is a reader survey that you could use to tell the designers how awful you thought Thrudd and Gobbledigook were, I can only imagine the responses.
Chapter Approved has an incredibly brief history of the Badab War and a colour illustration of the Space Marine chapters that fought in it, this was back when they used to wear camouflage, strangely it’s only a page long which is very restrained for a Chapter Approved article. The Badab War will eventually be fleshed out in more detail in a variety of sources including the excellent Forge World Badab War books 1 and 2 which have been removed from their website presumably for reprinting.
Warhammer Siege continues its launch, in my opinion sieges don’t work in a war game, mining castles, biological warfare and starvation work as abstract mechanics in a board game but can’t be represented with miniatures. The issue finishes with BloodBowl freebooters, I liked that he cards have the Likes and Dislikes of the players on them, it adds a level of flavour that is missing from the hiring of mercenaries.
This is of interest to you in 2016 because:
  • It’s a lot of proto background material for 40k.
  • Paranoia is again very good, this might be one of the last articles on it in this magazine and due to the rise of Games Workshop exclusive games in White Dwarf it will gradually fall out of favour until it’s next edition in 1995 which led to the breakdown of its publishing company and the eventual Kickstarter.

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.