SRM’s Ongoing Imperium Review: Week 27

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 is an issue I was especially excited for. Terrain is one of those things I rarely buy on purpose, as any time spent drybrushing buildings is time I could have spent painting heraldry on yet another Space Marine character I’ll never use, or the pupils on Hive Scummer #69420. When I saw this issue came with a piece of scenery I haven’t seen on a store shelf in actual years, I sounded the clarion call to the Goonhammer team for painted pictures, as I didn’t have time to paint a piece of terrain the size and shape of an especially juicy cheeseburger. Thanks, not only to Hachette for their generous review material, not only to you, dear reader, for sticking with this series of metaphorical firewood stacks built to fuel the embers of my ego, but to my colleagues here at Goonhammer for painting a semi-obscure piece of terrain from 6 years ago and getting me pictures in time for this article. Is it gauche to open an article with a special thanks section? Maybe it is. Maybe I’m disrupting the niche hobby blog/review industry. Maybe I’m an innovator who will be walked to the gallows at dawn like so many who call themselves innovators, disruptors, and entrepreneurs should be.

I might be getting off track already.

The Magazine

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

There’s precious little information on what a Haemotrope Reactor really is, but multiple metaphors are written about how it transports power, the lifeblood of the Imperium, like blood through the veins of a body. Now, as this thing doesn’t really show up in a codex and there’s no curiously comprehensive fan wiki article on this I could find, I feel like I remember reading that this thing ran on the blood of martyrs or something equally silly. Maybe I’m crossing streams with the Khorne Lord of Skulls, which runs not just on normal blood, but on that unleaded high-octane murderer blood. There’s a Battle Record here too, but the options are scant and most of what you can do is roll on a single table and fill in boxes for all the times people have made cover saves behind it.

Haemotrope Reactor Binharic Designation 8UTT-H0L3-69 was one of roughly one hundred such reactors on the outskirts of Pringlesia, a fuel processing hub on Derek’s Mom’s Dining Table IV. Of course with so many reactors operational, it was obvious that a few would be neglected, forgotten, or otherwise unmonitored. 8UTT-H0L3-69 was one of many that had been used by local renegades and bandits to siphon power, and that power was pumping through even the scummiest backwater chop shops and black market factorums as a result. Imperial or not, lifeblood was important to any body.

The remainder of the lore this issue is decidedly Imperial-flavored, focusing first on Space Marine Battleline units. Their versatility and reliability is highlighted here, which I think is important for newer or younger hobbyists. Especially as a young’un, it was easy to pass over my rank and file infantry in favor of heavy weapons squads, sickhouse elite units, or tanks the size of my dad’s shoe. There’s a brief boxout on the differences in roles and equipment of Intercessors, Heavy Intercessors, and Infiltrators, and then a sad little box at the very bottom about how, technically, the Guard are here too. An in-universe quote by Private Ridley “Ripcord” Vahlen of the Cadian 998th recounts a particularly grueling campaign where the Guard fought against some Orks for weeks only for the Marines to show up and stunt on them, winning the battle in five minutes. The Guard were then assigned janitorial duties. I am not making this up.

Lastly we have a quick little timeline of the Ages of Mankind and pre-Imperial humanity. It describes humanity’s early spacefaring years as “a time of adventure and hope” which I can’t say I’m feeling at this particular juncture, but maybe it gets better by M15. There’s a few paragraphs about the Age of Technology, the Age of Strife, and the Age of Darkness afterwards, leading right up to where the Emperor was interred on the Golden Throne in M31. This is all 40k creation myth stuff, and helps explain how we got to the point where we’re pushing plastic across the table and making our dolls fight each other. It’s written maybe too succinctly, but with enough flavor to feel like an epic history. The point is that there’s plenty of story threads to draw on for your own games and characters, which is the reason for just about any Warhammer lore in the first place.

The Hobby Materials

Haemotrope Reactor by Craig “MasterSlowPoke” Sniffen

This big honkin’ reactor goes together pretty simply, counting just over a dozen chunky pieces in its assemblage. The instructions do the job more than adequately enough, making a point of gluing the separate pipes together before attaching them to the main assembly. It’s a simple model, but the gaps between the two main halves can be pretty noticeable due to the size of the components. I’m not sure if they just warped due to their size or the sprue got a little bent in transit, but exactly how that came to be matters little. The death grip I had to maintain until the glue bonded the two halves was less than comfortable, and even afterwards I had some work to do. If you have access to a gap filler like Squadron putty, Liquid Green Stuff, or some plastic glue “sprue goo” made by using some old sprue to thicken up plastic glue, it’ll come in handy here. Especially thick paint can also be used as an impromptu gap filler. As a piece of terrain it’s a solid line of sight blocker for a small vehicle or monster, and some infantry can use the pipeline as cover.

The painting instructions will get this on the table and looking decent enough, with the promise of a later issue teaching more techniques to flesh it out. It’s largely “paint metal, wash everything, call it a day”. I’m assuming a future issue will teach the reader to drybrush said washed metals silver or what have you. There are instructions to recess shade the pipes instead of slathering wash all over them, and I’m wishing the same restraint was extended to the white areas of the Cog Mechanicum. A recess shade in the details would look good, but slathering black wash all over a white, often flat surface means there’s some gnarly pooling that can happen. A drybrush can fix that too though, so we’ll see where this goes.

The Gaming Materials

Haemotrope Reactor by Craig “MasterSlowPoke” Sniffen

The rules this issue are largely a collection/reprint of previous rules to make for a more organized rulebook to play out of. I don’t think Morale and Combat Attrition had had much detail assigned to them before, but my brain is still mashed potatoes after NOVA so maybe I’m just being forgetful.

The mission this week, Power Struggle, has the Necron Technomancer, 3 Scarab Swarms, and 5 Immortals fight against a less-than-synergistic Tech Priest Dominus and 5 Assault Intercessors. The Necrons want the power generator to do Necron stuff, the Imperials want the power generator to power the planet’s defenses. The inclusion of the Dominus is cool from a narrative perspective, even if I can’t imagine why the Necrons would want comparatively primitive human tech to play with. Regardless, the mission uses the included reactor and a cargo container to frame a single central objective, and players score 1 point per turn if they control it. After 5 turns, the player with the most points wins. It’s a simple mission, but one where the terrain could really be a factor, as clever play with the Assault Intercessors could see them get into melee without getting shot. I’m glad they’re including more terrain in the newer missions, as the number of battles which have been fought over a play area as large and detailed as an empty 7-11 parking lot have painted a less than complete picture of warfare in the 41st millennium.

Final Verdict 27/80:

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

With no other means of currently procuring a Haemotrope Reactor, this is an interesting issue. Last I checked, a pair of them were $60, so getting one for $13.95 is over 50% savings. If someone wanted to make a cool power station or fuel depot board, getting a smattering of these things would look great and be pretty functional, and their simple construction and nature as terrain mean you could probably rock out a few sets relatively quickly. Hell, they’d even be great for whichever flavor of Necromunda you’d like. This issue’s history lesson feels compacted for how much time it’s covering, but it’s the kind of foundational lore that’s easy to take for granted when you have one foot in the grave like I do. It makes for a merely okay issue that may still inspire some folks, buoyed by a piece of terrain that, at time of writing, is exclusive to this magazine.

See you next issue, warhams.

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