A Rocky Reception

A read a few first impressions on the internet before picking up my own copy of Games Workshops new monthly publication - they have not been completely positive. I decided to dive in anyway with an open mind to see what it had to offer.

Format and Content

This magazine packs more pages but contained in a smaller format. There are no adverts and barely any text. It feels very much like a premium design journal and that was clearly their goal. The main chunks of content consist of vast amount of Tyranid photographs, many army and model show cases and a few smaller sections consisting of Blanche inspired models, kit bashes, a battle report and colour schemes tutorials(for the nids). The Tyranid photo dominate large swathes of pages and your judgement of this issue may depend upon your like of  Tyranids.

The Problems

The way I see it, White Dwarf, and now Visions, suffers from the same issues as the rest of the medium. That is that content provided by an expensive, space consuming product can be matched in quantity (and often quality) by a huge amount of free content on the web. We demand unique and interesting content from GW but whatever they produce it will never match up to the wealth of new ideas and visuals that get posted up every single day on the internet.

Having said that I don't think they have done themselves any favours in places. The publication simply needs more words. The one sentence captions add nothing to the work and many of the sections really would benefit from explanation ( the kit bash and army of the month section come to mind). You want to know the thoughts and processes behind the individuals who built and painted these incredible models.

The battle report feels utterly unconvincing. The shots look posed and with no turn descriptions, stories or strategic diagrams it just feels like more army show cases (the armies are really nice though). It's best not to think of this section as a battle report at all and accept that GW no longer does any form of battle reports.

The kit bash section is excellent, with some fun conversions however I feel even this does not quite fit in correctly to the premium design feel. The photographs are all perfectly lit, cropped, arranged in a clinical manner which I feel does not reflect the content well at all. I want to see work stations covered in bitz, fingers glued together and parts of models half assembled. I want the process put on show, not just the results. After all, the process is at least half the fun! It's all too clinical to really set the imagination on fire.

A rather creative Ork Kit Bash.

The same Kit Bash is shown from multiple angles unpainted.

The Good Stuff

Despite agreeing with much of the criticism I have seen from people in other blogs, I can't help but feel this genuinely a positive product. It is definitely targeted as an inspiration for modelling and I think it achieves some measure of success in this regard (even despite my complaints thus far). 

With a background in graphic design I have spent many hours pouring over design books and magazines, hunting for inspiration, savouring and applauding unique work and generally filling my brain up with awesome imagery. There is absolutely room in the Warhammer world for this and I think the armies on parade really demonstrates this. This is the strongest medium to flaunt this work and whilst scouring the internet will provide you with potentially similar results this magazine provides what it's medium does best - collecting the greatest examples in the genre and presenting them for you in the most elegant manner possible. All the work done for you. It has been accused of being a mere 'picture book' but when our hobby is so very visual that can't be regarded as a complete negative point. 

The Avatar is one of several million display models.

The Army of the month has an incredible amount of interesting ideas in the units.

In Conclusion

It is difficult to drink in all the detail in one sitting and I know in months to come I will be referring back to this for continual inspiration and ideas. 

Some sections really just don't work without a supporting body of text and I really hope the team behind this publication is flexible enough to modify the product based on customer feedback. I think Warhammer: Visions has a lot of potential, I won't be buying every issue but I'll definitely be tempted.

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