View Full Version : The Sabbat Worlds Crusade booklet from BL (It's a RANT! Weeee)

12-12-2005, 16:52
In case you missed it, this is a rant. You have been warned.

I've just bought a copy of the Sabbat Worlds crusade booklet by Black Library, and I am hugely disappointed. It's not by things such as typos, nor is it about the material in the book. I like Dan Abnett's work a lot, and this booklet adds depth to a part of the Gaunt's Ghosts novels which I've always sort of ignored. "Slaydo? Huh? Macaroth? I thought they were the same guy. Ah, who cares. Let's see what happens to that bastard, Cuu." With this material, Dan Abnett does what he does best, and that's adding depth to the 40k universe. And he seems to have done his research, although people who have studied military history may laugh their ass off while reading it, I don't know. I haven't studied military history, so it looked rather sensible to me, as long as you accept the basic logical flaws that come with the 40k universe.

What bothered me... is the graphic design and illustrations in this book. Simply put, it looks like they gave a 14-year-old a copy of Photoshop and just smeared his product in this potentially glorious booklet. The whole book just reeks of cheap and false authenticity. Few products from GW and BL ever have a sense of authenticity about them. The Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer was a brave attempt, and had a bit of authenticity about it, but this... this... this is just crap.

First of all! Taking any old picture, adding a 'computer grid' graphic, some random numbers, circles and lines does not make it look like an authentic data slate from the 41st millennium. Sorry!

Second! Taking any old picture from real life and not even bothering to add any graphics to make it look authentic is almost worse. In truth, it is just the same, because both options suck a**.
They show a picture of what looks like the rainforest being burned (I'm pretty sure I've seen that picture on websites concerning the rainforest) and insert the text "Bomber sorties against Sverren's southern walled cities begin..." What bomber sorties? Where are the walled cities? All I see is a burning forest!
Then they go out into the woods and find an old bunker from world war 2, inscribed with the text "Rix was here" in large letters by some local teenager looking for recognition and call it "Abandoned pill-box defenses at Balopolis"!!!

Third. And this is important. If you're going to draw a map where you mark the position of the Sabbat worlds at the rimward edge of the Segmentum Pacificus, then why the hell are you copy pasting a part of the galactic map from the new rulebook showing ork territories near the calactic core in Segmentae Solar, Tempestus and Ultima? Segmentum Pacificus isn't even on the frickin map! And who cares about the frickin orks?

Fourth. Taking old black and white photos from military officers in the first world war or american civil war or whatever, and photoshopping some stupid looking bionics does not add authenticity. Why have they gone back to using black and white photos in the Imperium? Are digital cameras forbidden by the Adeptus Mechanicus?

Fifth. Someone needs to think things through before they make illustrations with Imperial navy ships in it. First of all, the ships shown in these illustrations are running in formations that would be tight even in a game of BFG. The ships look like they have less than a hundred meters of space between them! What the hell? And just for the record, it's so damned easy to see that they've used BFG models that it makes my eyes water.

Sixth. Writing a hand-written testament by some poor Guardsmen nearing death in the Sabbat Worlds crusade is actually a good idea. And the guys at BL did a fair enough job writing it. BUT! To make the thing in Photoshop and use a 'hand writing' font to do it, is an insult, nothing less. Deep in the undersink of Sangrel Hive, where the body of this Guardsman was found, he was apparently able to find a desk, some good lights and a ruler so he could carefully measure the exact distance between each line in his letter, and make sure they were all completely parallel. Also, he must have taken hours writing this thing, because the handwriting is perfect. All the letters are completely identical to each other, which is fairly easy to see in words with double consonants. I guess this man was a scribe before he became a Guardsman.

Seventh. Adding Imperial eagles to real life photos does not make the depicted object or building look like something from the 41st millennium. Especially when the person who did it knows less about Photoshopping than my mother.

In conclusion. Uninstall photoshop, fire the bastards who almost ruined this booklet with their 'graphik design skillz' which they obviously learned on some internet forum, and bring back the actual artists. If it wasn't for a few pieces of artwork by Wayne England, Karl Kopinski and a few others, I would probably not have even bought this... thing.

12-12-2005, 16:55
I think GW's recent discovery of photoshop and using it to make the models "shoot" and '"move" is just as lame

I think of this photoshopping as a trend that'll hopefully die soon

The Judge
12-12-2005, 19:16
I loved the book, but the pictures let it down. Get rid of the photoshop and get some proper artists in to do the art, even if it all had to be "artist's impression" of the battle.

That said, the art in the Forgeworld book has been, in most cases, stunning, so if they could get those guys in for some (not all) pics then great.

Pictures of space fights never tend to work.
Nor do crappy sketches of Blood Pact that look nothing like what they should.
Or Space Marine Predators credicted as belonging to Guard armoured companies.

Love the written stuff though, well done Mr. Abnett I can forgive the Guardsman writing in Microsoft Word if it makes the words any easier to read.

12-12-2005, 19:30
I've not seen the book but the current trend in GW's alternative "arts" endeavours do leave a lot to be desired I did hope that GW's work with Weta for LotR would lead to some more involved "Real Life" pictures, the days of Inferno and Terminator armour containing an actor would be welcome.
I'm sure there ares ome out of work set designers/Makeup artists and props makers who could make a decent job of knocking together some posed photos. There are so many companies offering replica weapons/armour etc it'd be easy, surely it's something that could be done through Warp Artifacts.

As for the Graffics, It's hard to knock them together on paper and make them look realistic, but a line picture over a grid is a little bit poor.

This is all something the new generations of players can think about, maybe apply their learing in a particular direction, who knows one day you could be the head of GW's porps department . . .

12-12-2005, 19:41
I gather that the illustrations are putting the publication down. So, how much of it is illustrations? Are there other bits to it that can still make it a worthy investment?

12-12-2005, 20:43
The text itself, written by Dan Abnett, makes it a worthy investment if you're a big fan of the Gaunt's Ghost novels, but only then. There is some good artwork in it, in my opinion, but not enough to make it worth buying for its own sake. How much is illustrations? Well, maybe 30-40% of the book? Not all of it is terrible though. Some is... acceptable.

TWB, I don't know if you've seen it, but there was a company of props makers who did some 40k stuff, such as bionics, a servitor and a servo-skull, I think. Their pictures were flying around the forums a while back. Pretty excellent stuff, and I very much agree with you that it is a good way to provide more authentic 'real life' pictures.

12-12-2005, 20:46
TWB, I don't know if you've seen it, but there was a company of props makers who did some 40k stuff, such as bionics, a servitor and a servo-skull, I think. Their pictures were flying around the forums a while back. Pretty excellent stuff, and I very much agree with you that it is a good way to provide more authentic 'real life' pictures.

Yeah, that's the stuff, I was hoping that it was the begining of a new era . . . perhaps GW is more like the Imperium thn people realise (Unwilling to innovate, uncaring of the plight of the masses yadda yadda yadda :rolleyes: )

12-12-2005, 21:18
i found the book a good read, but i largely ignored the pictures (with the exception of Sek, that was a cool rendition), i hate GW's photoshop regieme.

RE the map, Dan did say in an interview that the toughest thing he had to do for the book is the placing of the mapsthat

12-12-2005, 21:21
I'm not talking about the maps of the Sabbat worlds. I'm talking about an illustration which I very much doubt has been done by Dan Abnett, which basically just shows a small part of the galaxy map in the 4th edition rulebook, with no modifications. I believe the maps Dan Abnett was talking about in that interview must have been the map that formed the basis for the Sabbat Worlds poster, etc.

12-12-2005, 21:24
I'll have to have another look, but if that's right thats particularly bad 9probably proof read by the same person who 'proof read' the Taros book

12-12-2005, 23:18
oo, i dont know wether to buy this now :/

Ive just finished double eagle, and im getting the entire Gaunts Ghost series for christmas.

Double Eagle has blown me away and i think a few thunderbolt kits will be mine soon, i really want to get more background on the missions and statistics of the war on ENOTHIS. Is this covered much in the book?

13-12-2005, 01:15
I felt exactly the same about the book. A great read if you're a fan of Dan Abnett's guards stuff. Really adds scale to 40k when you get an idea for how small an area of the Imperium it is, and the forces and timespans involved. I liked placing the books in contaxt, and reading the details of stuff only alluded to in the novels.

However, aside from the actual illustrations, the graphic design work is useless. This is definately in the tradition of the 13th black crusade book and the armageddon one though. A pinpoint of light on a black square witha subtitle like "Destruction of x battleship." Pretty poor stuff.

One of the most frustrating parts was that their wasn't even a good map of the sabbat campaign itself included. Even a small version of the one sold separately would have been nice, but all that's included is the aforementioned irrelevant 40k one and a hand drawn map of the area from 5000 years earlier. Aaargh :wtf:

13-12-2005, 01:18
the 13th Black Crusade and Armageddon books were in much the same format and i wasn't impress with the graphic quality of either, i felt they spoilt the story somewhat in places

13-12-2005, 01:21
LoL! Obviously, Odmiller, that's just to make you buy the Sabbat Worlds Crusade poster. Which I did. Yes, it worked, Black Library! Are you happy now!? *mutters*

Heero-Severus, as odmiller confirms, the book is a great read, but lacking on the visual side. You just need to make up your mind about what you want to pay for.

13-12-2005, 01:41
personally it was ok. nothing special. but the art was a let down, other then the picture of Sek.
i would have personaly prefered a proper history of the crussade, in the form of a text type history book with a few maps, and lots of pointless detail (we all want pointless detail! i mean what happened in the carcaradon cluster, etc).

as for the book, maybe if the story line completes the campaign we might see another book to cover the end of the war.

also i wish i had one of the sabbat crussade posters, so if anyone has one they dont want, please feel free to pm with a price.

13-12-2005, 01:47
You know, you can buy the Sabbat Crusade poster from Black Library now. It's back, and it's big.

As for pointless details, I thought there was a fair bit of that. It's just that it's a very short text about a very large war, so you tend to feel that it lacks detail. Which it does. But cramming more detail into such a short text would have been difficult. The obvious solution is to get rid of the horrible illustrations to make more space :D

13-12-2005, 01:49
i feel this book would have been better done if it was released after Dan Abnett finished the last Ghost book, as it would then be a complete book rather than half a book

Inquis. Jaeger
13-12-2005, 09:18
Maybe they're thinking of doing two. Especially since Sek will be such a big feature of the next couple of books.

13-12-2005, 10:32
That said, the picture of the Loxatl is awesome, even better in full colour, close up where you can even see the nose slits and gribbly detail. Yum.