SRM’s Ongoing Imperium Review: Week 14

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.

When I first heard the phrase “Container Home” my thoughts immediately turned to the capsule hotels in Japan. Having never actually stayed inside one, my mind rerouted instead to memories of standing in and around likely-abandoned freight cars as a miscreant tween, breathing in the swampy summer air in Northwest Connecticut. Let me tell ya, a big steel box sitting around in the sun gets hot. Imagine my delight when, some decade and a half later, Games Workshop made a cargo container model, and I could put my dudes inside of it. Now imagine my delight when, some 6 years after that, a magazine arrived on my doorstep with one inside and the promise of more cargo-container-based content.

The Magazine

Munitorum Armored Containers. Credit: SRM

This issue opens with a Battle Record for a shipping crate, y’all. The associated lore details how they’re often carrying precious cargo, and frequently arranged into makeshift fortifications, hence the doodlebopper stormbolters you can jam on top. It also details the patterns the lights will use in case of a breach, plus a couple sentences on Standard Template Constructs and how important shipping is for the Imperium. Guess they forgot the part from Vigilus where the lunar post office shoots people with its mail gun from space. Vigilus owned.

“Container 069/0420, armoured vehicle parts, bay 15, bin Y.” Iolanthus checked his clipboard to ensure what he just said was accurate. It was. “Container 013/2112, emergency ration packs, bay 130 bin B.” He pointed towards the named bay as the cargo servitor shuffled off. He was supposed to be a dancer. His dad was a dancer. “Container 867/5309, auspex scanners, bay 316, bin G.” How’d he get stuck here, anyway? Why does Derek’s Mom’s Dining Table get all this junk? His next smoke break wasn’t for another 18 hours. He turned the page on his clip board, sighed deeply, and continued to read a series of numbers and letters to an endless procession of servitors. Tough crowd.

The narrative meat on this particularly thin sandwich is focused on the Eldar, or Aeldari if you’re under 30. This is largely presented in-universe as a report by Inquisitor Gallius Shaarn, which is just a Warhammer name if ever I heard one. Through some good old fashioned Geneva Convention-violating interrogation techniques, Inquisitor Shaarn extracts a bunch of info about what Eldar craftworlds are, what the webway does, and what the Eldar beef with the Necrons is all about. Over the course of this interrogation, the very hot elf with the cool face tattoos divulges some information, dies, and that’s about it. I like presenting this information to the reader in-universe, but I feel like this is the basic stuff any Inquisitor would be taught in Xenocide 101 or whatever. I’m beginning to think that maybe Inquisitor Shaarn isn’t very good at her job. Maybe her retinue is pranking her or she has to take make up classes in Inquisition summer school. She probably didn’t get a scholarship.

The Hobby Materials

Credit: Fowler

The cover of Imperium #14 issue proudly proclaims “EIGHT MINIATURES with this issue” which is a Mr. Fantastic-level stretch of a statement. This is a statement which is technically correct, as the Munitorum Cargo Container and array of boxes and barrels do make up 8 separate entities, but it is delivered with the same becapslocked confidence as the “10 MINIATURES” stamp on a box of Intercessors. I personally prefer to glue said boxes and barrels together into stable barricades, lest I recreate the shot from every 90s toy commercial where a spring-loaded missile launcher knocks down the stack of clear plastic cubes The Joker or Rita Repulsa is standing on. I also leave the stormbolters off of the containers.

The instructions do not want you to leave the stormbolters off of the containers. They also do not want you to glue the ammo crates and barrels together, as they are to be freely arranged on the Imperium Funtime Playmat™ for some of the scenarios. One could glue them together in the configurations as printed on the mat and reach a comfortable middleground betwixt the two philosophies, and dare as I may, I think you probably should. At worst, you have some premade piles of cruft you can arrange into more meaningful barricades. My own Warhammer-based idiosyncrasies aside, the instructions are largely pretty good for telling you how to turn the frame of plastic before you into an actual 3-dimensional object your dudes can kill each other over. They teach the learner to dryfit the big pieces of the container before committing to glue, to wipe should they use too much of said glue, and to use elastic bands to help keep the model together while the aforementioned adhesive dries. I do wish more ado was made about cleaning the flash and mold lines on these models before putting them together, as that is pretty paramount when you’re bonding such huge surfaces together.*

*Citation: My Land Raider in 8th grade

The painting section is one part wholly reasonable and a second part I cannot in good conscience recommend. The major new technique introduced here is drybrushing, and whaddayaknow, this shipment came with a drybrush! This is a building block of any painter’s knowledgebase and I’m happy it’s finally being rolled out for newcomers. However, we’re coming back to the bugbear of painting right over the plastic. I know I said I would put that particular beast to rest a few weeks ago, but I lied to you. It wants you to paint the finished container with Abaddon Black paint, using your Medium Dry Brush. This feels like a hugely frustrating experience, as paint and bare plastic don’t tend to get along, and it’s hard to get even coverage over such a vast surface area. For surfaces this large and flat, what you really want is a spray can, and not to basecoat them with a paintbrush.**

**Citation: Also my Land Raider in 8th grade

If I were to actually review the Munitorum Armored Container itself, all good and questionable hobby advice aside, I would shun any numerical or alphabetical score in light of my lived experience: There has not been a single game of 40k or Necromunda played in my home where I have not used the partial or full contents of my Munitorum Armored Containers box. I am genuinely delighted that I now have another one.

The Gaming Materials

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

This is a big one, as it introduces a literal third dimension to your games of 40k: terrain. This also means line of sight is being introduced, as until now they’ve had unbroken sight lines while fighting over an unusually arid golf course. Vertical movement and coherency are also introduced, but curiously cover rules are not. I guess that will come in a future issue. The mission, Secure the Supply Drop, has two squads of 5 Necron Warriors face off against 5 Assault Intercessors. These opposing forces fight to see who can get the most models on top of the cargo container at the end of the Space Marines player’s third turn. This playground game of king of the hill is interesting as both sides are pretty good at clearing the top of the container, but neither is especially good at sticking around on top. The Marines are markedly more effective chopping than shooting, and the Necrons will get cleared off fairly easily. As always, the players are invited to swap sides afterwards and try again.

Final Verdict 14/80:

A set of 3 Munitorum Armoured Containers is $60, so getting just 1 for $13.95 ain’t too shabby. It’s also one of the rare models that basically anyone will find a use for – regardless of the world your table is meant to represent, there’s probably going to be a cargo container around somewhere, and it’s a useful line of sight blocker you can just drop wherever you want. The lore section is pretty thin on the ground in this issue, even if I had some fun filling out a battle record for an object that is as inanimate in my world as it is in the world of Warhammer 40,000. The rules for terrain are frustratingly incomplete, as even just a +1 to your save for being behind the box piles would be handy. I’d say this has been one of the weaker issues, saved only by EIGHT MINIATURES included, to use the language of the magazine.

See you next issue, warhams.

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