SRM’s Ongoing Imperium Review: Week 37

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 might look at the models in this issue and think “this is just a big grimdark pipe” but I regret to inform you Ceci n’est pas une pipe, as it is actually a set of Thermic Plasma Conduits. Rookie mistake, I know, but as a regular attendee of Pipe Camp I learned to spot the difference.

The Magazine

Tau Army
Tau Army. Credit: Jack Hunter

This issue begins by explaining just what a Plasma Conduit is. Essentially they’re huge pipes carrying extremely volatile energy with various ports where you can plug in and charge huge keg-sized batteries for your electric Leman Russes or whatever. Maybe in the 41st millennium they’ve figured out how to make electric cars that don’t catch on fire and run over children, but now that I write that out that reads as something the Imperium wouldn’t really do much to prevent. Maybe a certain Twitter CEO was born 38,000 years too early to take on a job he’d actually be qualified for, like sump servitor or servo skull rivet polisher. Of course, we get to return our new models with a Battle Record, graced by but a single D6 table.

Skub Guntney hit the pipe with his wrench. Plasma Conduit Binharic Designation 2112-Ru5hsuX was sputtering as it tried desperately to pump energy towards the ammunition foundry. Skub didn’t mind much, as any time he was spending out here pretending to fix the damn pipe was time he wasn’t on the line. He hit it with his wrench again and it thrummed back to life. He had learned a valuable lesson from his mother, Skab Guntney, when he was but a boy: “If something isn’t working, hit it. If it works again, you fixed it. If you break it, it was already broken.” Satisfied at his job well done, Skub returned to work, but by the Emperor did he take his time getting back.

Our weekly smattering of lore takes on a T’au Fl’av’or this issue, with an Inquisitorial overview of what the T’au Empire does. Again, Gallius Shaarn is here to present us with a lovely bit of in-universe writing going over the advanced technology and various forces of this particular flavor of xenos. There is a charming amount of scorn being portrayed in this two page spread, with the ultimate punchline that the T’au and the Imperium are far more similar than the Inquisitor would like to admit.

After this we get descriptions of another pair of forge worlds, Metalica and Ryza. I could swear that I saw a Legio Metalica titan with a Kill ‘Em All banner sometime in my youth, but memory is imperfect, especially when you’ve taken as many blows to the head and beers to the belly as I have. These are possibly the first two forge worlds with identifiably distinct colorschemes pictured so far in this publication, wearing white and orange respectively. I get that the Mechanicus is tied to Mars, but it does make for a lot of samey red and grey schemes. I like the lore for Metalica though; I never would have guessed their white is to signify both the purity of the machine and their own distance from Martian culture, which is neat. I like when the paintscheme for a force can tell a story like that.

Adeptus Mechanicus First Army
Adeptus Mechanicus First Army. Credit: Pendulin

This is one of the uncommon issues that contain a centerfold, and this one is all about the war for Ramasus: Tsiphos, a Necron attack met by Adeptus Mechanicus and Ultramarine rescuers. The Necron Stilling drained the souls from the Guard defenders of the world, but as the Space Marines steel their souls with faith and the Adeptus Mechanicus probably excise that pesky part of their brains, they’re unaffected by the Stilling. Some light breakdowns of some of the Necron and Imperial forces are broken down, but the real star is the warzone itself. Like a hack film director, one could say the planet is like the main character. Outposts, fortresses, factorums and eternity gates are mapped out on the planet, with little flavor text for what’s going on where. Some seem to be going pretty well for the Imperials! Others say things like “may the Emperor protect their souls” which, I assume, is less good. Many of the missions in Imperium are framed as being for this planet and surrounding moons, so it’s cool to give it some context like this. It makes the battlefield feel a smidge more “real” when there’s more to it than the RTS map you’re duking it out over.

The Hobby Materials

Thermic Plasma Conduits. Credit: SRM

Building these conduits was a decent enough affair, with them largely being two halves that fit together nicely and covered most seams. Unfortunately there’s some pretty rough moldlines going down the middle on these, so I spent a good chunk of a Saturday morning scraping and brushing to clean them up. The instructions are helpful as the bits are all pretty similar looking, but I imagine you could kind of vibe out and build them whichever way you wanted. The painting instructions are certainly going to get you a decent result, though I think they could use a drybrush to tie it all together. I instead went for a wash and sponge heavy approach, with some contrast for funsies. I wouldn’t recommend Leadbelcher primer since paint likes to slide right off it, but if you prime black and paint the whole things with Leadbelcher or Iron Warriors afterwards you’ll be golden.

The Gaming Materials

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

This issue’s codification of existing rules covers the charge phase, heroic interventions, invulnerable saves and ignoring wounds – colloquially known as shrug saves or feel no pain if you’re over 30. This week’s mission, Cracking the Aegis, again sees the Necrons face off with the Adeptus Mechanicus. I wonder if we’ll ever get Admech vs. Marines, that’d be a fun twist. This mission has the Necron raiders – a Royal Warden, a single Tomb Blade, 3 Scarab Swarms and 5 Immortals – face off with a Tech-Priest Dominus, Tech-Priest Enginseer, a single Kataphron Destroyer and 10 Skitarii Rangers. The narrative is that they’re trying to shut down or maintain the Aegis shield over Psiphos Prime, which is currently protecting the city from air raids. This plays out by laying out the pipeline, ruins, and reactor from previous issues and fighting over a pair of objectives in their midst. It’s one point per objective per turn, with whoever scores highest at the bottom of turn 5 being crowned the winner. The twist is that if one player completely destroys their opponent before then, they win immediately. I like the incentive to play aggressively, and introducing multiple win conditions makes for a more interesting game, as any fan of 9th edition’s secondaries will tell you.

Final Verdict 37/80:

Necromunda Terrain
Credit: Fowler

This is another issue containing terrain that you flat out cannot get elsewhere. These are distinct from both the Prometheum Relay Pipes and the pipes from the luxurious Warhammer 40,000 Command Edition starter set, so if you want this particular varietal of pipe (the third in a decade) this is your only option. When they were still available for purchase separately in 2017, they were $35 for two sets of these sprues. At $13.95 for half of that, you’re getting a good pre-inflation 20% off deal on this set. Much like my beloved Munitorum Armored Containers, these are a versatile piece of terrain that can find their way into any battlefield from Necromunda to 40k proper, and provide adequate cover to a mess of infantry. The lore is enjoyable and wide ranging, and the mission is a good one. After less week’s slightly below average issue, this was a welcome return to good form.

See you next issue, warhams.

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