Two things where noticable: the logo has changed after years, and it is one fat lady, curious if it`ll stay that way. Talking to the shopmanager about how long it was the old logo was in use, we also noticed they aren`t numbered anymore.
But let`s have a look at the contents then. With the Chaos 40k being the big release, it`s only normal that would take up a lot of the initial pages. Nice and glossy big pictures of the new models, and I think I am about the only one actually liking that dragonlike flyer, but in the end not my cup of tea, as I don`t play 40k. I dabbled in it a short while years ago, tried (THRICE) to get back in it with the Tau, but it just isn`t my thing. Probably because I also hate painting large vehicles...
Add in the necessary Black Library tie-inss and Forge Worldness, and we close the Chaos Space Marines new and shiny stuff of the month for now.
Next up is a section called `Army of the Month`, featuring someones massive army. It`s a lovely Skaven army, and I`m pro this kind of serials. My army will never feature in that (nor would many other TSA veterans, we have larger armies, but not `GW-only` ones). And I don`t paint that well.
Last of the Mohicans Jervis Johnson then gets a few pages to talk, this time about why there are no limits to forces anymore. I call him the last, I hail from an era where the rules where written by the likes of him, Andy Chambers, Jake Thornton, etc etc...
So, then we come to the Battle Report, new style in lay-out. New shiny army of the month, in casu the Chaos Space Marines, take on an established, older force, being the White Scars. But OI, what is this, the CSM get trashed into a dry 4-0... no editor`s cuts, no extended editions, no replays `till it goes right... new shiny force looses hands down!
Okay, so so far it all has been quite `regular old style` White Dwarfish, but hold one, as we arrive on page 76 things are really getting intresting.
Here is a new feature, called `The Rivals` in which two tournament players debate their army of choice and favored playing style towards each other. I really liked this stuff, it`s a good insight in what rocks peoples boats, and it provides clues as to which forces will become copied a lot over the comming weeks and months... I`m still an adept of `The Castle` if you want to know btw, which was featured in the very first Best of White Dwarf compendium together with Old Weirde`s Tacticus` Oblique Line. And psssst, those still work miracles ;-)
Next some PR article about the Horus Heresy, and how the FW range comes slowly into being with the Primarchs. The short while I actually played 40k I had a Dark Angel (back then, by far the least popular of the chapters, and the helmet bearer was so cool a model) and the Emperor`s Children (power to the pink Rhino) with as much as possible older models to `hunch back` to the heresy. It`s also about the only part of the fluff I like. Nice read, again not my cup of tea though.
Then we get Blanchitsu. I`m gonna be short, nothing against the man and what he did for GW for one, but I just don`t like his style. I quickly skimmed the pages.
But then, the supreme cherry on the caka. Return (in a way) of the good old `Eavy Metal pages. For those that old, those where `painted model pages` scattered through the old White Dwarfs, with conversions and all, not simple `catalogue` pages. Those pages got me in the hobby in the venerable WD issue 167 I believe (the Mike McVey`s Wood Elf vs Chaos Dwarf batrep). Now, this is split in a four part series, the first being a Hall of Fame in which a painter tells about what he / she thought was a great sculpt.
Then Parade Ground, showing off units and characters from around, like the old EM pages, a kitbashsection, and a terrain section.
To top this off, there is Paint Splatter that tells you off some simple painting techniques and hints, agian like the days of old. Not how to paint one given model pro level and as such for most unreachable levels, but simple, three step tricks to get better effects like how to create a Soulfire effect in armour cracks and such.
A superb part of the issue, and the winner for me of the whole magazine!
Okay, then it is time for the adds, the local clubs, store lists etc etc etc... it`s still a magazine of a single company after all, so publicity must be made. But hold one... I haven`t counted the pages, but it definitly FEELS like there is a lot LESS advertising then there used to be the last years. Or it`s better spaced in between to not get the impression your reading a mail order flyer.
As a sort of desert, there is after this still a section called `This Month in...` and tells a short story of what is going on with the White Dwarf team, what Forge World and Black Library are cooking up, etc etc. Good finisher imho.