Tuesday, 11 August 2015

White Dwarf - a retrospective

Since Games Workshop decided to completely re-invent White Dwarf, I have not purchased a single copy but instead satisfied myself by looking back (through rose tinted glasses) at what I believe to be the Golden Age of White Dwarf or prior to the Lord of the Rings franchise (maybe even earlier). I realise that this makes me an Olde Foggie but I firmly believe that there was a period when I would eagerly await the release of the latest issue and hop down to W H Smiths (a retailer in the UK) and devour the contents from cover-to-cover (sometimes re-reading articles a number of times).

As I write I will freely admit to a bulging attic full of old White Dwarf magazines from single number copies through the 100 mark and onto the 200 and even later. Each of these issues a prized example which although I have threatened to get rid of, will I freely admit be leaving the house the same day I leave in a coffin.

So why am I so against the new WD?

I think it is that there are only odd articles or painting tutorials that interest me - the battle reports have all become same-as, same-as and I rarely even browse them never mind read them in depth.

Earlier today after a day-away in Cirencester, I picked up issue 337 from the Oxfam charity shop for just 50p. Issue 337 is an issue I completely missed the first time around and at 50p I thought it was a 'no brain-er' as I could always re-donate it when I had read it. I found that there was little to keep me interested and with the exception of a nine page Eavy Metal tutorial showing the construction and painting of Eltharion The Grim (High Elf on a Griffon sculpted by Ges Goodwin) little of real worth (at least to me).

On the one hand, it is fair to say, why am I bothered?

I think the answer is that with shelves full of modelling magazines (and in this I include model railway, model boats, aeroplane and tank magazines as well as figure painting and wargaming magazines) there is little that grabs me like those early White Dwarf magazines did. I have in the past written that a 'son of White Dwarf' or a figure painting, terrain construction magazine might very well appeal to me - maybe I am just grasping at straws and time has moved on, but I would be interested to know if I am alone in regretting the demise of Olde Skool White Dwarf?

I have in my wallet a £25.00 voucher for W H Smiths (a birthday present from my Mother) - even with this voucher I find it difficult to decide what or which of the many modelling magazines to spend this voucher on. A case of 'water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.'

Even as I write this I am aware that it is turning into a rant!


But I'm just asking where is the next White Dwarf Magazine coming from?

Actually I think I'm asking - Is it likely that there will ever be a magazine to rival the Olde Skool White Dwarf?

Answers on a post card to.....



Karitas said...

I think I can encapsulate the issue for you, as I feel it myself.

White Dwarf used to be about our hobby; now it is about Games workshop's model range.

JP Chapleau said...

I haven't referred to it as a magazine since the late 90s. I call it a catalog. I share your views that it has become completely useless. And has been for so long.


Sebastian said...

Sits down at the same table, eyes his fellows and waves for a drink.

Aye, they were golden years. Halcyon! Babylon!..long gone! Acch.. Slugs beer.

When yee was a wee whipper snapper, I couldn't wait for that White Dwarf of fecund imaginings in his wrapper.

I'd say there was a correaltion in market shares and loss of these golden ideas.

Anonymous said...

No, you are not alone!

I personally feel the "Golden Age" of White Dwarf is about 140-250, in particular issues 165-220 (although my particular area of hobby love is the "Red-Era" Warhammer 5th edition and 40K 2nd edition), and I still regularly read through those issues. I even like to keep an eye out for the issues from this era I am missing!!

I stopped regularly buying the magazine at around issue 300.

Now it is not worth buying at all, except for the Blanchitsu (John Blanche) column. I am actually tempted to buy it from time to time just for Blanchitsu. BUT, the last 2 times I have bought it, it was just a showcase of one of Blanche's friend's miniatures, which I had already seen better photos of on the internet, so I haven't bought an issue since....


Sander said...

In the early days of my Hobby career I too had a subscription to WD, the ministrations of Paul Sawyer and the other Great Ones in WD made it the best read of each month to me. The batreps were enticing and inspirational and several columns like tale of five painters etc got me hooked. The background articles really added to the canon and together with the Codici and novels tied in the fluff of the GW universe. I participated in the world wide Eye of Terror and Albion campaigns and loved it! When the Change came, I frowned a bit upon it but had already switched to Historics for the larger part of my hobby efforts so no real harm done. At the present I have sold off most of my armies and even some books and feel no loss there.

Luckily we can still indulge in nostalgia and harken back to the Olden Days eh?

James Holloway said...

There won't be another magazine like it -- but what we have instead are things like ... well ... this! The great modelling articles, painted figures, campaign ideas and so on are all on the internet.

Tony said...

Thank you


Pat G said...

In the darker recesses of the internet that I would not suggest visiting, one can find all manner of scanned versions of early issues of WD.

I think there is a certain retrograde sentimentality. Looking now at the Lichway adventure from WD9, it's ok but nothing special. However, as I remember it as one of the first dungeons I sat down to run "properly" it is a place filled with suspense and horror, wet an mouldy and just waiting for the players to trigger their doom.

So too with WD and other mags of one's youth they no longer are what they once where. Perhaps out there is a young lad or lass that looks at the new WD with the same sense of magic as I once did.

Tony said...

"Perhaps out there is a young lad or lass that looks at the new WD with the same sense of magic as I once did."

Let's hope so.


Paul O'G said...

While I have bought the odd issues since, for me the best years of WD were pre 100 when all sorts of gaming stuff appeared. I still have many issues with Traveller adventures, and the misadventures of Thrudd the Barbarian and Gobbledigook.
Maybe I'm just showing my age but I'm not that old yet...

Hendrid said...

Agree with everything you've said (and I too have an attic full of WD's from issue No.1) and I think the market is a different thing now. Not just WD but all hobby mag's appear to have gone for eye candy and little useful content, c'est la vie. There is a certain amount of 'back then it was all new' but now it's same as before, which you can't change being an 'old foggie' and all ;-)