In this review, instead of comparing the new White Dwarf to the issue from last month, I thought I'd raid my White Dwarf archive and see how the new White Dwarf copes when compared to an issue from January 1998. Read on to find out which one wins.
I haven't randomly chosen an old issue, I've chosen the old issue when Realm of Chaos was released, so we can see a direct comparison to the new Warriors of Chaos issue. I'll compare like for like to start with and then at the end before the conclusion I'll talk briefly about the differences.

All images on the left are the 2013 issue, images on the right are the 1998 issue unless otherwise stated. 

New Releases



Useful information or just pages advertising the latest releases? I think it's both.

The new release section of the 2013 issue is 46 pages long. It's only 6 pages long in it's 1998 rival. The old magazine doesn't really give you much in the way of detail though, where as the new issue has handy descriptors and information about the new releases. I usually find out something I didn't know by reading the new release section. In this case I didn't know the Forge World's new master of signals model is based on a 1990s metal model or the fact that Vilitch the Curseling is the model growth coming out of the shoulder of the model and not the chaos warrior who is actually Vilitch's host brother. Really interesting fluff can be derived from these 46 pages.

 

New and Old Dragon Ogres.

To get this kind of information from the old White Dwarf you have to move out of the news section into the next section about the Realm of Chaos release which is 15 pages long. Dragon Ogres in the old issue get a single paragraph where the new issue boasts 4 whole pages with close up details. 

When you compare the models, the quality of the new models really stand out. The old models all seem so small on their tiny bases. All of the releases in the old issue are metal. That's right, no plastic box sets at all. The new issue is predominately plastic with 8 plastic boxsets and only 6 Finecasts releases. In total the old issue has 25 releases but they're mostly blisters. The new issue has 29 but that includes Black Library books, Forgeworld models and any licensed games.
New White Dwarf wins this round because it has more information and better models. 

Price lists


 

Useful pages listing the prices.

Inflation happens. We have to live with it. So it would be wrong to directly compare the old prices against the new ones... but I will. The old issue is all blisters so lets take two of the blisters Pink Horrors and a Chaos Sorcerer. The Pink Horrors are two models for £4 so £2 each. Lets compare them to the new Forsaken regiment which are 10 models for £30. That's £3 each. That extra £1 is getting you model diversity, lots of extras and options and plastic instead of metal. Now lets take the single one piece metal Sorcerer model and compare it to Vilitch the Cursling. The Sorcerer is £5 and Vilitch is triple his price at £15 but I think Vilitch is worth it because of the sculpt is so much better. I wouldn't pay £5 for the old Sorcerer, it's a terrible model. 

One last thing to say about the price lists. The new issue only deals with current releases, the old issue has the prices for all the games it produces which is kinda cool. This round is a draw. Old prices are awesome but the new models are so much better.

Painting Guides 


 

If you thought the new painting tutorials were bad, check out the old one on the right!

I think the tutorials in the new White Dwarf are for absolute beginners. They list the brush and colour you need and show a close up area. They tend to focus on a single area like how to paint faces or armour. They tend to be 2 or 3 steps, but the new White Dwarf has a few which are 5 steps long and there are a total of 22 areas explained from horses to beards. A vast improvement on previous months... but I'm getting away from the point, I'm here to compare it to 1998. There is only a single tutorial in the whole issue and it makes the new issue look like Golden Demon quality. The old issue's tutorial is truly basic. Click on the link above if you want to know how to paint 12 Chaos Warriors in just 10 steps. New issue wins this round hands down.

General Hobby 

 

 

Old White Dwarf wasn't afraid to put rules and fluff in the magazine, it was afraid of putting more then two articles in a magazine though.

The old issue has some cool fluff and rules for the Necrons, it also features some tactica to gaming with Epic Imperials but that's it! Just two articles. The new issue has army of the month, Jervais Johnson's column, Blanchitsu, Hall of Fame, Parade Ground, Jeremy Vetock's column and big section at the back called 'this month in' which explains what the White Dwarf crew have been up to and talks to the designers and writers of this months releases.
New issue beats the old issue hands down for general hobby content.

Terrain 


 

Plastic vs Cardboard terrain.

The old issue has a section on Tabletop terrain, but it's all the terrain that GW sell. The terrain back then was awful. It was plastic bulkheads with cardboard sheets for platforms. If you wanted to buy a gaming table from GW they would sell you a painted green board and a cloth. Things have moved on luckily and this issue rather then ramming an advert down your throat they show off some of the inspirational armies on parade boards. These all feature terrain GW sell but it goes unspoken. It's subtle and much nicer for the reader. The old issue says look at what we sell, the new issue says look what you can create if you apply yourself. At the back of the issue in the This month in Forgeworld feature there is a snapshot of the WIP Necron Realm of Battle tile. Nice to see an exclusive in White Dwarf which isn't on the internet.
New issue wins this round because the old issue isn't an article it's an advert. New issue inspires me to want to try building my Armies on Parade board.

Converting


 

Should head and weapon swaps be classed as converting?

The new issue features Kit Bash every month and each month they look at a different area. This month they look at command Squads. In theory this is a great idea because you can see ideas from different armies however this month it fell short because it was mainly space marine HQs and Matt Hutson's Imperial Fists are barely converted and shouldn't even be in the article. Most of the conversions are basic head and weapon swaps. Really uninspiring. Dan Harden's tau battlesuits are awesome though with an ingenious head swap using seeker missiles. The old issue isn't much better to be honest. one single article and that's for Gorka Morka vehicles and I feel that's only there because one of the releases is a GorkaMorka vehicle upgrade. The conversions are clever though in the old issue. 
I'm going to say the old issue wins this round because it's actually converting solutions rather then swapping bits and pieces round. 

Battle Reports 


 

Bring back the old maps.

Weirdly both of these articles are 16 pages long. Both feature army lists, but the old issue gives points values for each unit. The new issue features a lot of pictures featuring actual game action, some pictures are really small and you have to read the annotated notes that go with each picture to understand what is going on. The old issue has a simpler solution and uses maps and arrows to show what is going. It has less pictures but the text goes into more detail. I would actually like to see the new issue use maps to show what is going on. Maybe if they mounted a camera above the battlefield and took turn by turn pictures that would save time having to draw them all. 
Old issue wins this round because it was a clearer read.  

Subscriptions


 

Still trying to dangle that carrot to get you to sign up.

Not much to say about this round. New issue has two deals. Subscribe for 12 pay for 8 (saving £22) but you have to pick up from store or get it delivered and get 12 issues for the price of 10 (£11 saving). Old issue doesn't have cash savings but has a choice of 3 freebies: 1. A limited edition T Shirt, 2. 1998 Citadel Annual free (rrp £6 at the time) or 3. Any £5 box of models free.
New issue wins this for the potential of saving £22 a year. 

Adverts 




All four of these pictures are adverts from the old issue.

People make the mistake of saying the new issue is one big advert, this isn't the case. It has loads of GW product in it which you can buy but it doesn't make it an advert or catalogue. The above pages are from the old issue and they're actually adverts. They advertise a Catalogue, Warhammer campaign packs, Digganob supplement and Inferno magazine... they're not even trying to be articles and these same adverts will be in the next month's issue and then the next months and so and so on. Some of these older magazines (not this one funnily enough) would have  double page spreads of a boxed game as an advert, but they would have 3 or 4 of these throughout the magazine advertising each of their games. 
Thankfully the new issue doesn't have to rely on this and you won't see these kind of adverts in the new issue, so for this reason new issue wins this round. 

Differences


I wanted to pick up on a few things that weren't so easy to fit into the above categories.

Photography: The photography in the old issue mainly uses photos from the publications the Design Studio produces. All the photos tend to be on green grassy fields with the same terrain in the background. The new issue uses coloured lightning, backdrops and different boards and terrain. New issue is far more visually appealing. New issue wins.
Page Layouts: The old issue uses art from other publications. So the Realm of Chaos section had borders taken from the Realm of Chaos supplement. The new issue has a cleaner layout which it uses throughout the whole magazine. Doesn't feel as bespoke as the old one but it is nice to see it separating itself from the Design Studio and doing it's own thing. Page layouts is a draw. 
Free stuff: The old issue gave away a free metal Necron model (and the rules for it) the new issue had no freebie. In the past couple of months we have received posters in which collectors can tick off what models they own. Not great. White Dwarf hasn't given away a model in years, but they use to once every two years or so. Old issue wins.
Page count: Old issue is a measly 100 pages, new issue is a massive 156. When you think the old issue  has all those adverts and 17 of those yellow catalogue pages showing parts and model numbers at the back you start to think the old issue is all filler while the new issue is all killer. New issue wins. 

Conclusion


Overall the new issue wins (11 - 5, draws count as 1 point each). The diehard old White Dwarf fans should really take off the rose tinted spectacles. Generally, it's terrible when compared to the new issue. The most impressive thing  is when you work out how much the old vs the new is on cost. Old is £3.50, new is £5.50, however if you look at the best subscription offers, old is £2.83 and new is £3.66  an issue over 12 months, that's only an increase of 83p in 15 years and you're getting 56 more pages and no (actual) adverts.

I will say this though, we can learn a couple of things from the old issues like free models, battle report maps and more detailed converting guides. Maybe in the next 15 years White Dwarf content will include very detailed painting guides and free models.

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