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.