SRM’s Ongoing Imperium Review: Week 22

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.

This marks the third time I have received a squad of Skitarii without explicitly asking for them, and dare I say, this third time may indeed be the charm where I actually choose to hold onto them. This squad is a potential group of Necromunda weirdos, Iron Warriors cultists, or Inquisitorial henchmen just begging for a little knife work. Let’s turn our attention back to the stock kit for the time being though, before we burst through the bounds set by Imperium’s gentle onboarding approach.

The Magazine

Skitarii Vanguard Taking Cover
Skitarii Vanguard Taking Cover. Credit: Pendulin

Speaking of magazines, how about this magazine-quality photo from our boi Andrew “Warcrimes” “Shalashaska” “Pendulin” Haywood? Let’s get a round of applause for our chief Administratum computer janitor. Note: I will never forgive him for our game together at the Seattle Tacoma Open.

The Adeptus Mechanicus are fleshed (what there is of it) out a bit more this issue, with a piece on Explorator Fleets. These flotillas hunt for lost technology across the stars, and four are detailed here. Each has a neat little narrative hook, and should serve to put these weird little guys in some sort of context.

The Sautekh Dynasty, led by the extremely punny Imotekh, gets a little shoutout next. Imotekh the Stormlord is portrayed as a conniving, scheming leader, and there are some seeds for inter-dynasty conflict written into his little callout box. As for his dynasty, it’s the classic “silver and green” color scheme that was on all the Necron box art until 9th edition. There’s even a cheeky reference about how some folks think these are the colors of the Necron race as a whole, but it’s just due to how expansionist this particular dynasty is. I wonder what the excuse for the Ultramarines is.

Confusingly, this issue also contains a story called Crimson Doom (emphasis theirs), which is actually a direct followup to the previous Doom, Crimson. The table of contents lists it as chapter 2, but the title doesn’t, and the previous story ended pretty definitively, so I wasn’t expecting a sequel. It begins right where that last story ends, and follows a Tech-Priest named Gyra Demeter as she leads her robots and other cyborg weirdos against more Necrons. It’s written competently enough and is definitely stronger than the previous part of the same story. I can’t imagine each part was written by a different author, Exquisite Corpse-style, but this half read much better. The scale of the battle is vaguer than I’d like, but it gives some idea of what Mechanicus firepower can do and how their forces work together.

The Hobby Materials

Skitarii Rangers. Credit: Rockfish
Skitarii Rangers. Credit: Rockfish

This issue contains the remaining two sprues to finish your Skitarii from last issue, plus the bases to stand your little trenchcoated cyborgs on. Last issue was all about building them, and this one is about painting. It wants the hobbyist to base the whole model in Leadbelcher which isn’t what I would have chosen. Since black is used on their pants and the inside of their cloaks, I would have gone with that instead. It would be better for leaving shadows on the model, and has the added bonus of being a great undercoat for metallics. The rest of the instructions are good, having a painter build up base layers and give each model an Agrax Earthshade bath before going back and re-layering. This is one of those techniques that really elevated my own painting once I learned it, and these guys with their Martian red dusters are a great place to practice it. The hot tip here is that when painting with slightly thinned paints, the end of the brush stroke will usually have a little more paint on it and a stronger color, so it’s good to brush away from the recesses you want to keep dark to ensure a smoother transition. I didn’t know this, and I’ll be leveraging it on all my capes from now on.

The Gaming Materials

Skitarii Rangers
Skitarii Rangers. Credit: PierreTheMime

We’ve got a datasheet for Skitarii Rangers, with some, but not all, of their potential wargear options. If you build them as dictated by Imperium, you’re golden, or brass, or whatever made up Warhammery alloy Skitarii armor is made of. The new rules introduced this issue are supercharging plasma weapons, and the ability to ignore Look Out, Sir, with the Transauranic Arquebis. This thing shoots depleted uranium rounds, which is only AP-2 in the rules of 40k, so you’ve gotta imagine anything AP-3 or better is going to cut through power armor like a hot knife through the Geneva Conventions.

Halt the Invaders has the Skitarii attempting exactly that – stopping a wave of Necron infantry from breaking through their lines. This is mostly just flavor text unfortunately – it’s another “last model standing” game, which is a shame as I’d really like a breakthrough scenario to change things up. 10 Necron Warriors are facing off with these Skitarii, which is a bit confusing as there’s a whole page on ignoring Look Out, Sir and no models to use it on. We also get detailed morale rules, which is going to come up often with the comparatively low LD stat of Skitarii Rangers. I think the deadlier but less durable Skitarii will make for a good match against the Necron Warriors, but I really wish some terrain was being used here. There’s terrain printed on the game mat, but as the terrain has not yet been supplied, the scenario is still like fighting over an especially grimdark football field. You could, and definitely should, use those lovely cargo containers from the last few issues.

Final Verdict 22/80:

Skitarii Vanguard. Credit: Corrode

I will refrain from merely doing the ol’ ctrl+c ctrl+v on my previous review, though I definitely could, and debatably should. The combined cost of this issue and its predecessor is a little over half of the cost of a box of Skitarii, making these, in conjunction, a solid value. The lore sections are stronger than the previous issue, the gaming section is alright, and the painting section even included some tips that I wasn’t wholly aware of, some 17 years into this hobby. It’s a middle of the road issue for sure, but one that is bolstered significantly by some truly lovely models.

See you next issue, warhams.

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