SRM’s Ongoing Imperium Review: Week 13

Imperium is a weekly hobby magazine from Hachette Partworks. In this 80-week series, our intrepid magazine-receiver will be reviewing each individual issue, its included models, and gaming materials. A Premium subscription was provided to Goonhammer for review purposes.

The only reliable marker I have for time passing at this particular point in my life is the weekly publication of this column. Weeks come, weeks go, and with an ever-changing service industry work schedule those mile markers get harder and harder to keep track of. Despite my navel-oriented gaze, a palpable sense of excitement comes over me every time a UPS delivery person yeets a package from Hachette Partworks at my front door.

The Magazine

Assault Intercessors. Credit: SRM

If you couldn’t guess by the photo of my dudes above, this issue is all about Assault Intercessors. The first page details their heraldry, unit markings, and wargear. I’m a certified Heraldry Enjoyer so I’m here for it. We’re then treated to an exhaustive Battle Record page, detailing the squad’s name, specialism, honorifics, and the names and origins of every member of your squad. This new table calls them all “Heroic Origins” and the word “Heroic” is doing a lot of heavy lifting here. I’m not gonna say heroes can’t grow up as agri-world farmers, but I knew a lot of ag ed kids in high school and to my knowledge none of them are particularly heroic at this juncture. Hell, half of them had The South Will Rise Again bumper stickers on their trucks, and we didn’t even live in Southern Connecticut, let alone The South. It’s almost like that sticker is about something else! Troubling!

Titus Tarentus arrayed his men for battle. Squad Tarentus had a reputation for being expert gunslingers, a skill that Titus himself had developed ever since he was a child. Ionus Tarentus (no relation) bonded quickly with Titus, a former child soldier himself from some ruined industrial world halfway across the galaxy. Octavius Vento thought all that child soldiery was borderline cute; himself being a hive ganger from Pringlegrad, here on Derek’s Mom’s Dining Room Table IV. All that order, all that soldiering, it all seemed so naive compared to his youth spent gouging eyes and slashing throats in the gutters of Pringlegrad. Gaius Lucullus, in a pattern all too common amongst the Space Marines, was yet another child soldier. For every war, a thousand orphans, and for every thousand orphans, a hundred young soldiers. Summanus Mortus, despite his grim name, was comparatively sunny next to his brothers. He grew up tall, given a constant diet of mega-corn on his family agri-complex on Nebraskalaska. He didn’t see what all this brooding about tragic backstories was good for when there were xenos to shoot and hay to bale. Lastly was Evan Sergius, a fellow agri-worlder from a neighboring planet. He and Summanus never saw eye to eye, on account of some ancient Scrumball rivalry the two could never quite shake. Tarentus though the friendly competition between the two giant adult farmboys could be useful, as they would try and outpace, outperform, and outkill each other, time and again.

How funny is it that in this huge list of Greco-Roman names there’s just a guy named Evan? Can you imagine? Evan Sicarius? Evan Calgar? Evan Guilliman? The only Evan I know is from Cincinnati, and if he was a Space Marine he’d be just as surprised as I would be.

Credit: ZuultheCat

We get a bunch of lore about Necrons after this, with a neat piece of artwork showing some non-Warrior Necron dudes shuffling around like the creepy robo-zombies they are. The conflict between Necrontyr and their C’tan allies against the Old Ones is skimmed over here. The War in Heaven, as it’s known elsewhere, is the Necron creation myth, so it’s about time that got detailed here. This also serves as a quick intro for the Eldar, as they tie into this narrative too.

We get a short story after this, The Tomb Awakens. Aghaseth, an Overlord of the Sautekh Dynasty, is woken up early from her nap by Adeptus Mechanicus and Tempestus Scion forces exploring her tomb complex. Said complex is mapped out on a cute little map, and the whole ordeal goes about as well as you’d expect if you’ve ever seen a movie in which a mummy’s tomb is disturbed. The story also introduces a fun new faux-latin vocab word, Necrodermii. Necrodermis is the in-universe term for the metal skin of the Necrons, obviously coming from dermis, the latin term for skin. However, the plural of dermis is dermises or dermides, not dermisii. Who cares, it’s made up space words, but I think this stuff is charming as hell.

Last, but not least (as in literally the last page here) is an unfolding spread showing a healthy selection of Space Marine chapters. There have been a few color plates here and there, but we’ve got some army pictures and capsule summaries of the White Scars, Blood Angels, Imperial Fists, Black Templars, Space Wolves, and Dark Angels. These aren’t much more than “The are Blood Angels, their dad was Sanguinius, they wear red and have to deal with something called The Black Rage” but that’s really all you need for this sort of army showcase. The other side of this centerfold has a star map of the galaxy with oodles of cool places and proper nouns to get the reader’s imagination going, plus a few paragraphs about the Codex Astartes. It’s the kind of stuff you’d find taking up a couple pages of the lore section in your Space Marines Codex or in the main rulebook. The map and lore both sell how desperate the Imperial fight for survival is, even with troops as tough as the Space Marines.

The Hobby Materials

Black Templars Intercessors. Credit: SRM

You may have noticed that this image here is of a kitbashed squad of non-Assault Intercessors I put together. I wanted to showcase just how versatile the included models are in this issue, as with a smidge of thinking outside the box/mylar bag, you can make a variety of units with these 5 bodies. Pegs stick out of all the arms and the heads are prescriptively posed, but by trimming a few bits the world is your proverbial Primaris oyster. You can make them some extremely dynamic Heckblasters too, as I did for my Templars in this transparent excuse to show off my toys and make my time on this planet seem slightly less fleeting:

Black Templars Hellblasters. Credit: SRM

The human condition, like all conditions, is a temporary one.

The experience of building these models is a downright pleasant one, firmly fitting between the hyper-prescriptive style of modelmaking you would see from a true Easy To Build or Warhammer Underpants kit, and the more freeform nature of a typical multipose set. You’ve got a handful of options to make one dude a sergeant with or without a sick bionic arm holding a plasma pistol, or just make him a regular jamoke if you want a less flashy sergeant or a 5th regular trooper.

The instructions to build these guys is pretty straightforward, and the written instructions help spell out the trickier bits – namely that you should put the heads in first, hold the chest shut over the head, and wait for that to dry before continuing with the model. It only includes instructions for building the Sergeant with a note that you’ll use the leftover bits at a future date, but I’ve had Indomitus for almost 3 years now and I still haven’t found a use for the upper left torsos leftover from my sergeant bodies. If you’ve built any Citadel model before, building these guys will be nothing new, and a generally pleasant experience.

The painting instructions here aren’t anything surprising, but I honestly think a few are kinda unnecessary. I don’t know why you’d base the entire chainsword and bolt pistol Macragge Blue, then Leadbelcher, and then Abaddon Black. I’d rather paint them black then fill in the metal details, but I’m not Johnny Hachette and I don’t make the rules. Most of the rest of the painting tutorial stuff is pretty sensible, and save for the Joker-white facepaint on the sergeant (flesh tones are in the mail, folks!) these guys are looking pretty close to recognizable as Battle-Ready™ finished miniatures by this point.

The Gaming Materials

Krakenguard Assault Intercessors
Krakenguard Assault Intercessors. Credits: That Gobbo

Calling it now, this issue’s mission is the best that Imperium will ever deliver on, based solely on the name: the becapslocked BATTLE FOR THE ORB. There is no peaceful Ponder (Action) that can be done here, and unfortunately it is another mission in which these 40,000 hammers must be put to war. This mission sees the Primaris Captain and Assault Intercessors up against the Skorpekh Destroyers and Canoptek Scarabs. Its up to the Necrons to recover their Orb comma Resurrection, while the Marines just need to play keepaway. The only new rules presented here are small: alternative firing modes for the Sergeant’s plasma pistol, and post-Fight phase consolidation moves.

It does, however, offer a distinct rematch option. This is a first for the series, giving players the option to swap the Assault Intercessors and Scarabs out for Aggressors and the Necron Overlord respectively. I’m actually kind of surprised we haven’t seen this sort of option play out before, but at this point your average Imperium subscriber is going to have built up quite a nice selection of models. It’s only sensible that they’d want to finally start swapping things around so they could use their cool toys. It’s a nice onramp for the idea of building your armies, as until now all that work has been done for you. Points are still off the table, but we’ll see how long that remains the case.

Final Verdict 13/80:

Blood Angels Assault Intercessor
Blood Angels Assault Intercessor. Credit: Jack Hunter

The Assault Intercessors in this week’s issue aren’t available on their own anywhere. Every starter set from the Warhammer 40,000 Recruit Edition to the now-discontinued Indomitus box set have them floating around in there. The best metric I can give for how much they’re worth is half the price of the $60 10-man Assault Intercessor box, or eBay prices, which puts these guys at $20-$30 depending on who you buy them from. At our typical $13.95, that’s not a bad deal, and with how versatile and useful they are in a Marine army, you’re not running into a situation where it’s a bad idea to get more of them.

The hobby and gaming materials are pretty decent this time around, and there’s a ton of lore and original fiction to read through. I’m always happy to have more Assault Intercessors, and the magazine is, as ever, well produced and lavishly illustrated. This has been one of the better issues thus far, with some fun writing and lovely models. They can’t all be bangers, but this certainly was.

See you next issue, warhams.

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