SRM’s Ongoing Imperium Review: Week 15.5: Premium Issue 1

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.

You may have noticed, at some point over our past 15 articles together, the word “Premium” floating around in that there italicized preamble. You see, we don’t just get Imperium magazines with that capital-p Premium subscription, but the occasional extra bundle of goodies. This week, we’re going to look at just how good the first of these packets of goodies are. In addition to drawing on my own veterancy in this particular hobby of toy plastic spacemen, I will construct a second mind palace – a veritable mental vacation home – to attempt to understand just what this would look like to a 15.5 weeks-new hobbyist.

The Magazine

Night Lords Chaos Space Marines – Credit: RichyP

As a Certified Personal Computer Gaming Enthusiast, I have purchased multiple keyboards over the years. The first died an ignoble death after I spilled my homemade mead/prison wine over it. The second died the slow death of years, as so many of us will. My third is functional enough that I am able to write the words you’re reading right now. I only note this because instead of the now-standard mylar bag wrapping the magazine and contents, the first Imperium Premium Kit comes in a keyboard box. Also unlike standard Imperium magazines, this Premium Issue is one coherent whole about Chaos Space Marines.

Much of this is what you’d expect – a breezy, surface-level telling of what the whole Chaos Space Marines steez is, a smidge of explanation about the differences between Chaos Legions and Renegades, and an overview of some Chaos Marine wargear. It’s nothing that’ll blow your mind, but if I was a burgeoning young warham (I was) I’d see how cool regular Space Marines are (I did) and how much cooler Chaos Marines were (I also did) and would collect some of these very sharp and very bad dudes (I did, eventually). Included here is a t-t-triple combo of Battle Records to fill out, with all the options and tables you’d hope for.

How did Yegor Thrax end up here? Of all the backwater worlds in all the backwater systems in the galaxy, how did the Pyromancer known as “The Enlightened” end up on Derek’s Mom’s Dining Table IV? Even Derek’s Mom’s Dining Table XI was comparatively cosmopolitan, but this dump hardly had bodies worth wasting his Diabolic Strength on.
The chain of command. It was always Abaddon and his damnable chain of command. When a conflict didn’t require his attention, he’d send Haarken Worldclaimer. When Haarken was occupied, he’d send Alaric Blackblood. If Alaric was indisposed, it was Druxus Bale’s turn. How many Lords and Sorcerers had passed the buck to send Yegor and his warband here?
Yegor pondered these thoughts as he looked up to the sky, awaiting an answer from any of the pantheon, when a slobbering tongue landed on his pauldron. Sektus Orthax was an unsightly creature, sharing a body with Morlanth, Vessel of Chaos Undivided. Yegor Thrax had bound the daemon to his former brother himself, but admits it wasn’t his finest work. That would be Nemetar Thrice-scarred, the other Possessed Astartes in his warband. Binding Murgus Phlemglob, Grandson of Nurgle to the Marine had taken Yegor 7 days and 7 nights, but it had been worth it to create such a powerful asset for his raiding party. Yegor was snapped from his admiration of his own work by a crackle on his vox.
“No worthwhile prey here, Lord.” hissed Vespar’s voice. The Aspiring Champion had led The Hellfire Flayers in a protracted campaign against the unarmed citizenry of Derek’s Mom’s Dining Table IV. ‘Campaign’ might be too strong a word – Yegor thought it lacked the glory of such a title. “Engaging in guerilla tactics, as Tzeentch wills. Vespar out.” It was all for show; discretion isn’t necessary when you’re slaughtering cattle.

The Hobby Materials

Chaos Space Marines
Chaos Space Marines. Credit: That Gobbo

Most of the models in this issue will be familiar to anyone who purchased Shadowspear back in 2019. Here we have a handsome squad of 10 Chaos Space Marine Legionnaires, a pair of Greater Possessed, and the real surprise – a separate sprue with a Chaos Sorcerer. None of these have any options – they’re the sort of single pose kits you get in a starter set – but they’re beautifully detailed and they go together quickly.

The assembly instructions here are thorough, even for Imperium. There’s written tips for each individual Marine, and some more advanced techniques to try out. The most important of these is working in subassemblies, which are further expounded upon in the painting section. Best of these is the tip to paint bare heads separately by leaving them attached to a chunk of sprue and using that as a handle. I do something similar for stuff like shields on my models, it’s a good shout. I just glue them down to empty bases for something a smidge more ergonomic. I’ve built most of these models and I’d say if you just follow the instructions you’ll be fine – they all only go together in a very certain way, but the parts are numbered together even if they’re not grouped logically on the sprue. Some of the pointy bits can also get under your nail or poke your finger, but I’ve built worse.

This issue’s painting section is similarly in-depth. These go step by step (often climbing into the high 30s) for basecoats, shades, highlights, details, basing, and more besides. This is a far cry from previous issues where it told you to paint a guy blue and call it a day. There’s a warning at the start to stop if you run into something you don’t know how to do or if something uses tools you don’t have, which I feel will be the case for many new hobbyists. I know my young self would have been happy to bulldoze ahead and make some mistakes, but I’m thankfully not everybody. If I came across something this in-depth as a wee one I would have likely started highlighting way earlier, as most tutorials when I was getting into the hobby broke down thusly, with a single picture for each:

Credit: Dylan Gould

  1. Prime your model
  2. Here’s Mike McVey freestyling for two sentences
  3. Enjoy your ‘Eavy Metal-quality paintjob

It’s good instruction for a newcomer is what I’m getting at.

The Gaming Materials

Credit: MasterSlowPoke

Maybe I’m reading these a smidge out of order, but this is the first Imperium issue to just straight up have the 40k rules for units, Power Levels and all. This is full-fat 40k, folks. As it’s referring to the Initiate Mission Pack I’ll assume I did read this a smidge out of order, but I’m already in deep here so we’re gonna keep riding. Curiously, the Datasheets for the Chaos Sorcerer, Space Marines, and Greater Possessed were all printed twice here in a fun little printing error. Maybe it’s so you can give one to a friend.

This issue’s mission, Stop The Ritual, sees the Ultramarines battle the Black Legion on the barren world of Djalla. It’s apparently so barren that not even the Necrons care about it, which is why the Ultramarines have to deal with these spiky bozos this week. This mission has the contents of this box face off with the Primaris Librarian, 10 Assault Intercessors, and 3 Aggressors, as they fight over a pair of objectives and an absolutely darling cutout of a Noctilith Crown. In a fun bit of asymmetry, the Chaos Sorcerer is racking up 10 points per turn he pulls off the Warp Rites Psychic Action, while the Marines just need to kill the guy to get 30 end game points, and they both get points for holding objectives. It’s not a complex mission, but it’s pretty neat and I think would make for a fun way to kill an afternoon and/or a couple dozen Space Marines.

If you’re of the age where you need adult help (as the cutout instructions on the Noctilith Crown caution), this might be a bit too much of a jump from what has come around thus far in Imperium. If you’re a more confident newcomer or someone who has some experience wargaming however, this should be fairly easygoing.

Final Verdict 15.5/80:

Blackstone Fortress Black Legion Legionnaires by Crab-stuffed Mushrooms

There’s no objective value prospect here, as 12/13 of the models in this box aren’t currently available by any other means from Games Workshop. However, I invite you to take a final journey with me. The Sorcerer is $32 on his lonesome, and eBay sees the Chaos Marines and Possessed going for like $40 per unit, for a rough estimate of $112 of stuff in this issue. The Premium subscription is an additional $3 per issue, delivering on 4 similar packages to this one. If we do some napkin math and multiply $3 by 80 issues, we get $240. A quarter of that is $60, which is the effective cost of each Premium package. Those 60 greenbacks are buying you some absolutely lovely models, most of which should find their way into any self-respecting Chaos legion. I think that’s a pretty solid deal, though it’s a bit incoherent if you signed up for Imperium just to get the smooth Marines or roboners and now you’ve got a bunch of walking tetanus vectors to worry about.

See you next issue, warhams.

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