Warhammer Merchandise – Review and Roundtable

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Christmas is fast approaching, and for many that means a frantic rush to pick out presents of all shapes and sizes. We’ve already published a variety of gift guides covering ideas from both Games Workshop and otherwise, but something else new this year is that Games Workshop have completely overhauled their merchandise range. Time was that you could mostly only buy things with Space Marines on them, but the new range is massively more comprehensive, with something for fans of every faction (and you can see it at https://merch.warhammer.com/).

Games Workshop have sent some samples of these products to some of our editorial team, and some of us have also picked up a few pieces under our own power. We thought we’d do a quick roundup of what we thought of them and which we might consider picking up for the Warhammer fans in our lives.

Obviously, to re-iterate as a disclaimer – we were sent some of these products for free. We are not receiving any other incentive or remuneration to run this post.

Wings

Recognising my position as Goonhammer’s chief Elf Enthusiast, GW sent me:

  • A Craftworlds T-shirt
  • A Craftworlds Hoodie
  • A mug featuring Dark Reaper concept art.
  • A Craftworlds notebook

I also bought myself a Craftworlds phone case because I am, if we’re honest, exactly the target market for this stuff.

Thoughts

In general, the products make a good first impression. I’ve seen lots of incredibly trashy merch from companies in my time as a life-long nerd, and GW have clearly put in the work to find a supplier that will work to a decent level of quality. The prints on the clothing are sharp and the material is good, the mug and notebook are both using good quality base stock. The phone case is, well, a phone case.

The thing I’ve been using the most since the bundle arrived is the hoodie, because:

  • It’s comfortable.
  • The print of the design is “direct to garment”, so it doesn’t stop the clothing being soft to the touch.
  • I live on a wet, rainy hell island and the winter chill has arrived in earnest.

My resolve to write about how terribly Craftworlds are competitively right now has been sustained this week by the hoodie’s warm embrace. The only criticism I’d level at it is that the sizing runs a little small – I got mine in an XL, and while it fits and it’s comfortable once on, getting it on and off is a little awkward. My suggestions would be that for the hoodie in particular err on the side of buying a size up if you’re even slightly unsure which to get.

The other thing I’ve been using a lot is the mug, because it’s just a nice addition to my regular rotation of caffeine receptacles. I like the more abstract Eldar design a lot, and it’s survived a trip through the dishwasher without issue (definitely done as science for this review and not out of absent mindedness, yes). Honestly the only negative here is that the Dark Reaper mug seems to be weirdly unique in the range. I really like the abstract concept art style, as it ends up pretty tasteful and refined, but it’s really the only one like that in the range. There are several others I’d probably want (the Lumineth one is also great) but I think they’re missing a trick by not having more based on the classic concept art, or not using some of the cool tank cutaway designs they’ve got for shirts.

The t-shirt is a t-shirt. The specific design is quite loud, but the colour palette is good and it’s once again good quality, though as mentioned above the design (at least on my one) is a vinyl print rather than direct to garment, so it is a bit less soft to the touch. That means these are probably more for wearing to events than when lounging around at home, for which I’d favour the hoodie. There’s a good range of designs between the full art over the top ones and more subtle ones with either concept art or insignias. I’d probably lean towards the latter if I was buying more, but I’ll also probably wear this one for games once we’re no longer in the Dark Season. The insignia ones would also be a better choice for wearing about the house, as there will be much less coverage of the vinyl.

Of the products I was sent, the notebook is probably the one I’m least keen on, and that’s because while the quality of the paper and internals is good, the print process doesn’t seem to be quite there for darker designs, and it’s ended up looking just a tiny bit muted, with what are meant to be bright pinks and purples not quite “popping”. Playing games is one of the few places I still take written notes, so I will be chucking this in my event bag once tournaments re-open, but I probably wouldn’t buy another one unless the design I wanted was one with very bright colours, as I suspect they’ll come out better.

Finally, the phone case is a bit eh. The design is nice, but in terms of actually protecting a phone it’s not fantastic, with the screen not being held very far back by the wraparound, and the plastic being actively quite challenging to grip. It’s cool, but realistically you need a screen protector as well if you want to use one (and I haven’t checked for fit in that setup), and I’ve swapped back to a different case.

My Favourites

As you might be able to guess from the above, if I wanted to pick up gifts from the range I’d go for:

  • Hoodies
  • Mugs

I’m also coveting the face masks, and as is pretty standard at the Goonhammer offices, being sent free stuff is almost certainly going to end with me spending money on related products. Such is life.

Corrode

Being me, I couldn’t just stick to one faction here – I declared for all three of Drukhari, Crimson Fists, and Blood Angels. The only Crimson Fists item on the store is the Rogue Trader cover art in various types of poster, so what I ended up receiving was

  • A Drukhari Haemonculus hoodie
  • A Blood Angels t-shirt
  • A Drukhari Dark City mug
  • A Flesh Tearers (!) notebook

I also had previously bought something, in this case the Drukhari Dark City t-shirt.

Thoughts

As Wings said, my first impression of this stuff is that it’s good quality. Someone has clearly gone out and found a supplier that makes actually good products and contracted them rather than getting in the lowest bidder, so that’s a promising first sign.

I am a little less high on the hoodie than he is, for two reasons – 1) the hood is kind of weird and small, and while it’s not like you wear the hood up all the time or even often, it’s offputting just how tiny and pinheaded it is, and 2) the design on the Drukhari one is kind of weird. The front is fine but the back is a full-colour image of a Haemonculus (identical to the Finecast model, natch) which…. just isn’t really doing it for me. It doesn’t feel particularly integrated into the item so much as it feels like someone drag and dropped some artwork onto a black hoodie template and hit send.

The rest of the stuff I am much more positive on, though. The Blood Angels shirt is the opposite to the hoodie, in that it feels like something actually designed for a t-shirt, and is enormously comfortable to wear. I like that one a lot and can see wearing it to events when I’m playing my BA or, honestly, just wearing it around.

On the same subject of integrating things into being “a t-shirt design,” contrasting the Dark City mug and shirt is interesting. The shirt is designed with a cut-out of some art of Comorragh in a Black Heart logo – meanwhile the mug, with a different shape and a better area for printing a full rectangular art piece on, has the whole thing with just a transparent Black Heart layered in. It’s cool to see the same piece done in different ways and adapted to the different forms, which feels a lot more considered. The mug as a piece seems fine – I have to admit to not being a hot drinks person and my wife, who is, has plenty of her own mugs and didn’t especially want a Drukhari one, and so it’s serving its time as a water receptacle for the one of my cats who is too precious for her water bowl and likes to drink out of mugs instead (yes, really….) but it seems nice quality and if you are more the target audience for it then it will do you great service. Something worth saying here is that one criticism I’ve seen of this particular image online is that the sample t-shirt on the Warhammer Merch website has much greater depth and detail than the product that actually arrives – which I would agree is the case, and is probably to do with the product image being a render rather than a photo of a real product. The loss of image quality is an unfortunate side-effect of the printing process, and you can definitely see the difference comparing it with the mug, where it’s possible to achieve the “real” image quality you would expect from the product photos.

Finally from me there’s the notebook. This thing fucking kicks ass. From a boring “review the actual product” perspective it’s a notebook and a fine quality one and if you wanted a thing to carry around with you and write things down on it is excellent to do that with. However it is also a Flesh Tearers notebook with a full front cover image of that piece of Gabriel Seth art with Blood Reaver whirring and the Chapter banner flying and Tyranids looming all around. It is like a teenage dream of what a Cool Notebook looks like and it rules hard. You can get the same image as a phone case, and more importantly, as a sofa cushion, and absolutely should.

HELL YEAH.

My Favourites

The sensible answer here is “the t-shirt” because it’s the one I will get by far the most use out of, but my heart says FLESH TEARERS. I only wish I had the cushion.

Looking at the other stuff available, I am probably biased because there’s been a dump of stuff for the new Blood Angels codex and there look like some fun shirts in there, but I will definitely be looking at more – I’m sure my wife will appreciate my collection of gaming-related paraphernalia growing.

RagnarokAngel

As Mortal realms Correspondent and High Lady Necromancer of Nagash, I was sent Legions of Nagash merch, including

  • Legions of Nagash Logo Hoodie (Purple)
  • Legions of Nagash Skull T Shirt
  • Arkhan the Black Mug
  • Legions of Nagash Notebook

Thoughts

As stated by my compatriots, the build quality is extremely good. The actual aesthetic can vary, as it can range from some designs that look unique and were carefully designed to look good on a piece of clothing, notebook, mug etc. while others are just badly cropped stock images Games Workshop gave them. How much that actually bothers you is going to be on a person by person basis.

As someone who wears hoodies basically every day, whether inside or outside, this is a damn good hoodie. I think the emblem looks great (the skull symbol looks a lot better in person than it does in the photo), the screen printing is solid and didn’t start breaking off in one wash like I was afraid it might and the options of black and purple both look great, though I only have the purple one. Unlike Corrode and Wings I don’t really have any issues with the sizing, I found it just right in size. That said I am a woman who prefers clothing a bit on the tighter side so that may have something to do with it. All in all, extremely satisficed and I expect to be wearing this a lot going forward.


The shirt I did have a sizing issue on, however. The Hoodie and TShirt were the same size but the shirt is just a touch too small. Granted I have put on a few quarantine pounds but it’s probably worth warning that the shirts might need to go up your usual size if you’re an American. As for the actual design I dig it, and making the skull shape shows a little extra effort, although it looks a bit muddled with the one Khorne warrior over one of the eye sockets while no such thing happens in the other. A bit busy but the general skull shape is clearly defined. Nice looking art overall.


The mug almost gets there, the Arkhan design wraps around the mug quite nicely and the gradient works on the top but not the bottom. The fact the grey and bone color just kinda… stops at the bottom looks off and probably would look better with a gray or black color instead of white. That said, it gets the job done.

It’s a notebook. Like all the others it’s just a ruler lined notebook with a little pocket in the back. The art is kicking rad and one of my favorites in Age of Sigmar so it ends up being a pretty good cover for a notebook in that high school trapper keeper sort of way. GW has put out notebooks that look like tomes Stormcast and Ossiarch Bonereapers use which I think look more clever in the design department, but this isn’t bad either.

My Favourites

Love the hoodie, it has a clever design and is extremely comfortable. Everything else is not bad and I can take it or leave it. If you like the design on something then sure, go for it, the build quality is more than sufficient in my opinion.

Raf

Santa’s (Games) Workshop did not send anything my way this time, however I did open-palm slap the buy button on the Gloomspite GItz journal the day it went up a few months back. I also ordered a Secret Santa target a coffee mug and beanie (aka toboggan, knit cap, etc) this year.

Thoughts

The Gitz journal is lovely. The quality of the art, binding, and cover are all really nice. The paper is pretty decent; it isn’t Rhodia but it does take fountain pen ink fairly well if you’re that particular flavor of nerd like I am. Maybe a bit of feathering if you’re using a particularly thin ink or wide nib, but with some standard Noodler’s Black and a Metropolitan Fine Tip it looked fine. If none of that made a lick of sense and you just use a ball point then don’t even think twice.

It’ll take your strongest brew

Blood Angels Beanie

It can also be used as a hat.

While I am no longer in possession of the mug or the beanie, when inspecting them upon arrival they seemed to be good quality. There were no printing issues on the mug and the art was vibrant. The beanie seemed fine, nothing fancy but the emblem was bright and I’m sure it’ll keep your head warm enough. I will note that both the notebook and mug arrived within a couple days of ordering, but the beanie took the slow-boat in from China and took nearly 3 weeks.

My Favourites

Definitely the journal. I love that they did not just stick some art of Grots going mad under the moon, but instead went with sciency drawings of some of the fungal life you’d find in a dank Age of Sigmar cavern. It wouldn’t look out of place in a biology lab. I adore geek merchandise like this; it lets you advertise your geeky hobbies and interests subtlety. Those who look closely may ask questions, or if they’re in the know they’ll share a chuckle, but at a glance it’s unassuming.

 

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