SRM’s Ongoing Imperium Review: Week 33

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.

These paint-centric issues are always the trickiest when it comes to gathering images. I can’t just post a .jpeg of a paint pot over and over again, so I need to dig deep and delve the depths of the particular issue for thematically appropriate imagery. If, at any point, the meaning of a particular image is unclear, I beg of thee to forge onward until the context is fully presented. Follow the trail of particularly well-painted breadcrumbs, dear reader, and all will be revealed.

The Magazine

C'tan Shard of the Void Dragon. Credit: Rockfish
C’tan Shard of the Void Dragon. Credit: Rockfish

There is a DOOM 2 Super Shotgun blast of narrative content this week, with Background sections to fill out for our burgeoning Necron and Adeptus Mechanicus armies, as well as the widest spread yet of lore across a multitude of factions. These Background sections let us figure out our Mechanicus Holy Order is and what their goals are, as well as the Ancient Ambitions of our Necron dynasty. Let’s see what we’ve got:

The fighting around Pringalia on Derek’s Mom’s Dining Table IV was intensifying with each passing day. These vast stacks of tuber-based nourishment hyperbolic paraboloids represented the carbohydratic lifeblood of so many of the Imperium’s forces. Even with their body composed of so much machinery, Shield Supreme Genetor Gryphonne-Axus-0.43 knew the importance of these vast salted stacks. They knew the defense of these particular monstrous cylinders would be the perfect opportunity to test their Skitarii maniples and evaluate just how effective they could be on the battlefield.
Pringalia represented a place of personal glory for the opposition, the Necron legions of Manokh the Executioner, Right Hand of the Triarch and Champion of the Szarekhan. After suffering a demoralizing defeat, she wanted to take the nourishment zones for her own, defenders and all. What she would do with those living prisoners was best left to the imagination – one can only assume she didn’t earn her title of “Executioner” lightly.

After this is a page about one of the living metal cornerstones of Necron lore – the C’tan. We’ve got a rapid rundown of what their relationship is to the Necrons (and the former Necrontyr), as well as some specific examples of the C’tan Shards you can run on the battlefield. It’s a lot to cram into just a single two sided page, and it gave me flashbacks to cramming the CliffsNotes of a book half an hour before a quiz. Sorry, Mr. Michaels, I didn’t read McTeague and I have no intention of changing that fact. I will accept my stolen B+ with grace.

Next is, to my recollection, the first appearance of Orks in Imperium thus far. This is again presented by Inquisitor Gallius Shaarn, the lady with a cool haircut who apparently is tasked with updating the Inquisition’s wiki on xenos threats. The writing is efficient but still has ample character, and gives you the rundown of this whole species’ collective steez. They love to fight, they can’t be bargained with, and there are far, far too many of them for the Imperium’s liking. Orkish society and technology is touched on as well, with the biggest becoming bosses, the canniest creating unstable but dangerous warmachines, and the most psychically-attuned of the lot coming down with terminal cases of exploding head disease on the regular. There’s even space allotted to the war for Armageddon and the Ork Hunter regiments that emerged from that warzone. The green on black, 70s computer interface presentation they use for these particular articles also deserves attention, reminiscent of both the old 3rd edition codices I grew up on as well as the retrofuturistic terminals of Alien or Fallout. From one graphic designer to another: game respect game.

Lastly, we have a centerfold titled THE HORRORS OF CHAOS (emphasis theirs) which unfolds to reveal a chunk of the Chaos Daemons miniatures range, as well as detail the pantheon of color-coordinated dark gods. At the center of this fold is some information about the Traitor Legions, the Black Crusades, Abaddon the Despoiler, and The Warp itself. Imperium has touched on Space Hell before, but having a big spread about Chaos is welcome, seeing how we’ve already gotten the Premium Issue featuring Chaos Marines at this point.

The Hobby Materials

Ultramarines Chapter Champion
Ultramarines Chapter Champion. Credit SRM

This issue’s included paints – Reikland Fleshshade and the dearly departed Cryptek Armourshade Gloss – are put through their paces in the included tutorials. The instructions get hyper-specific, breaking down the exact parts of each model to hit with washes on a smattering of previously included Necron and Space Marine models. Hobbyists are frequently encouraged to thin washes – often one part water to three parts paint – so as not to overpower any given detail. The best tip, and one I learned far too late in my own hobby career, is to use Reikland Fleshshade on gold details for a rich, gleaming look. If it was Reikland Fleshshade Gloss (again, RIP) it would be even better. My only misgiving with any of these instructions is with regards to painting skin. They just want the reader to slather Reikland Fleshshade over white for skin, as there haven’t been any skintones included in the paints up to this point. Aside from being a bummer with regards to diversity, it also makes your dudes look like pale sewer dwellers instead of hale and hearty superhuman murder bois.

The Gaming Materials

Necron Technomancer
Necron Technomancer. Credit: Pendulin

We start with some updated Datasheets for Technomancers and Flayed Ones, bringing them in line with their proper 40k rules. Tutorials are given for the Flayed One Leadership modifiers as well as the Technomancer’s reanimation abilities, and the core rules are further fleshed out with how Reinforcements are deployed and the workings of Flying units. These abilities are both needed to fully utilize these two units, who both appear in this week’s mission – Besieged. In a classic type of scenario I haven’t played in years, the Imperial defenders – a Tech-Priest Dominus, 10 Skitarii, and 5 Assault Intercessors – are holed up in a ruin at the center of the field. Conversely, the Necron player sets up their force of a Technomancer, 3 Scarab Swarms, 5 Flayed Ones, 5 Immortals, and a Canoptek Spyder in a pair of thin bands at either short edge of the map. The Imperials have to hold out for 5 turns and keep the Tech-Priest alive, while the Necrons need to kill him to win. Like with last week, I dig this asymmetrical mission, and have many fond memories of playing scenarios like it in my youth.

Final Verdict 33/80:

Sirrus Bizniz, Goff ork warlord in mega armour. Credit: Charlie Brassley.

I had a grand old time reading the narrative sections of this issue, and the included mission is a good one. However, as with any issue containing paint as opposed to models, the cost breakdown of this particular issue may not offer the same savings we so often get. At an MSRP of $7.80 each, this issue’s cover price of $13.95 provides a scant savings over the $15.60 these two paints would fetch at your local game store. However, Cryptek Armourshade Gloss is no longer available for purchase, so ask yourself: How much is a discontinued paint worth? How feasible is it to include in your army paint scheme? How can a just and loving god create a world with such suffering in it? These Big Thoughts just might be enough to justify the cover price for me, but if you have no plans for this paint you may consider skipping this issue.

See you next issue, warhams.

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