SRM’s Ongoing Imperium Review: Week 4

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.

My apologies for the belated nature of this review article and, I suspect, a few more in the future. Hachette has been slow getting issues out to me, and as I do not possess any Minority Report-esque precog abilities, I cannot review that which I do not have. As I frequently told my college professors, late is indeed better than never, so onwards and/or upwards with this fourth review.

The Magazine

Necron Skorpekh Destroyers
Skorpekh Destroyers. Credit: Pendulin

This issue sees a concrete escalation in power for the Necrons with the addition of 3 Skorpekh Destroyers, plus their little doodlebopper Plasmacyte. I don’t know you or your life, dear reader, but these things own me and my Marines on a regular basis.

Naturally, we have quite a few pages about these roboners here, along with a pot of Leadbelcher and the promise of “YOUR BIGGEST BATTLE YET”. Leadbelcher is a paint that should be in every hobbyist’s toolbox, and has been my go-to weapon metal color since it was introduced. It covers extremely well, can easily be dulled down or highlighted up, and I was happy to replace my empty pot of the stuff. I could hammer away at the continued insistence of this magazine series to paint directly over plastic instead of priming your models first, but you’ve already read my thoughts on that for three articles running. It’s bad advice but when they can’t include a can of spray primer in the magazine, it’s the best they can do. They do flesh this out by telling you where to apply Leadbelcher to your entire collection of Imperium models thus far though, which is unexpected.

Fortunately, we are greeted with another series of D6 tables to tell the story of your personal robo-murderers, and I took the liberty of rolling that up, right here, for you. This is canon now. Black Library, get your people in touch with my people.

These Skorpekh Destroyers, unit designation “Flesh Shredders”, had been cutting a swathe through the Imperial forces on Derek’s Mom’s Dining Table IV. Their Enhanced Servomotors saw them close with the hapless defenders of the Textbook Under A Sheet district, frequently enemy generals to declare these attacks “bogus” and “overpowered”. However, their selves had fully decayed after their Corrupted Reanimation, and the Speed-Enhancing Mania administered by their Plasmacyte attendant meant they did not shed a single mechanical tear for the overwhelmed defenders of this world.

This section also has a tally section where you can keep track of every model your Destroyers slay. It caps out at 240 fillable bubbles, at which point I would expect to mail it to Hachette in exchange for a Necron Decoder Ring or something. This promotion is merely an concept of mine made concrete via the written word, but they can have that idea for free. You have my email address, Hachette.

These ever-entertaining tables are followed up with some lore about Skorpekh Destroyers, the creation of a Space Marine, and a section on The Warp with the travel brochure-esque subheader “Destinations and Daemons“. I knew nothing about Skorpekh Destroyers before, so was entertained to learn that their Plasmacyte companions take the bad code out of other Necrons and inject it into their Skorpekh friends, sometimes making them so crazy they just die then and there.

Me over the last two years. Credit: Hachette Partworks

The art around the Creation of a Space Marine is right out of the codex, and wonderfully weird, with all the robed techno-weirdos you’d hope for around this Frankenstein’s monster of a posthuman action boy. Even with the assumed slightly younger intended audience of this magazine, they don’t shy away from letting the reader know these are child soldiers who will most likely die in training. The pages about The Warp are real “here be monsters” stuff, and as good a surface level introduction to the concepts as anything else here. Navigators, the Astronomican, Daemons, and Blackstone all get boxouts, without anything as granular as finding out what powers those Daemons serve. The 40k universe is comically huge, so I don’t mind them being economic with their pagecount and only introducing so many concepts at once.

The Models

Necron Skorpekh Destroyers. Credit: Colin Ward

The trio of Skorpekh Destroyers in this issue are the same as the ones available in some of the 40k starter sets, as well as in their own standalone box. That standalone box costs $60 here in the U S of A, which makes this issue’s value prospect frankly pretty fantastic. These are the first models in Imperium that share sprues with their retail box equivalents, although they’re still a beginner-friendly kit to build. When I asked my warham newcomer buddy about his experience building them, he found doing so both simple and enjoyable. He found it so enjoyable, in fact, that he bought a second unit of 3 and has used them to murder oodles of my dudes in 40k games since. Kyle, we’re fighting now.

Assembling these models will be easier if this is one’s primary introduction to the hobby, as this particular package’s free gift was a set of Citadel clippers, a mouldline scraper, and a bottle of plastic glue. The clippers are nice and springy with a sharp tip, and will replace the long-suffering set I purchased from the Compleat Strategist in 2008 at their former Boston location. The mouldline scraper is rather tiny, and has a keyring slot on it, implying that this is a keyring for the active lifestyle of a 21st-century Warham, potentially the same one who paints on the train with their Citadel Paint Station. I’m joking, of course – the state of rail travel in this country is abysmal. Said remover is fairly useful though, and I tested it on some gnarly 90s mouldlines and was surprised how useful it was. It scraped said lines and a few spurs off without gouging the plastic, and I didn’t end up with the patchwork of scars on my thumb that using a knife to do the same task entails. In short: I dig it. As for the plastic glue, I’ll see how that compares to my Tamiya Extra Thin in the next issue.

I appreciate the honesty of the assembly instructions, as it frequently makes reference to how fragile the spindlier pieces can be. It’s the kind of thing I can tell at a glance but isn’t generally conveyed by the image-only instructions typically found in Citadel kits. These instruct hobbyists to push the models into their bases by the rubble on their feet, or to be gentle and only apply pressure when you’re sure they line up. There’s even a helpful boxout about some trickier bits concerning the neck rod looping under and around the torso. I can picture my 12 year old self clumsily mashing the parts of a 2nd edition “I love my Bolter” Marine together, and some written instruction would certainly have been helpful, even with a model as forgiving as that lovable dingus.

The Gaming Materials

Necron Canoptek Plasmacyte
Canoptek Plasmacyte. Credit: Pendulin

We finally level up from the tiny paper playmat to a firmer, larger paper playmat. This 22×30 mat replaces the old Mars/Necron Discotheque one. This is half the size for even a Combat Patrol 40k game, but the exact size of modern Kill Team. It’s forward thinking and more useful than the previous one for longer-term hobbyists. This issue’s scenario uses this new Mars-themed side, which has printed spots where we will later place some Munitorum Cargo Containers. A small boxout tells you to ignore these for now, but future issues will have said terrain in them. However, on the other side there’s a treat for Goonhammer readers: a moon-themed board which I dub Moonbase Klaisus Secundus:

Klaisus Secundus. Credit: SRM

On the Martian side, we again have a bunch of lettered spots for deployment and objectives. In this particular mission, the Skorpekh Destroyers deploy along the center and need to keep the Assault Intercessors and Lieutenant from getting past them and killing the Plasmacyte. Said Plasmacyte needs to cross the Marine deployment zone on the opposite side of the page before the Marines kill it and all its Necron buddies. Think of it like grimdark American football, but not the Bloodbowl kind.

The Marines wouldn’t stand up to this trio of Destroyers in 40k proper, but in the simplified Imperium rules the Destroyers are only slightly tankier and slightly deadlier than their Assault Intercessor opponents. These simplified assault rules just have the player whose turn it is make their charges and attack dice instead of 40k’s back and forth. For someone new to this kind of game, it makes sense to keep things simple, even if it’s not how the full game does it.

Final Verdict 4/80:

With a great paint and a relatively expensive box set worth of included models, the dollar value of this issue is frankly gonna be pretty hard to beat. As for the gaming materials, the game mat is legitimately useful for Kill Team, and hopefully there will be a second mat to expand out to a full size board in the future. The included hobby materials in this package are also genuinely useful, and even if the clippers aren’t Godhands or whatever, they’re plenty good for modeling.

See you next issue, warhams.

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