SRM’s Ongoing Imperium Review: Week 41

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.

I hope your new year is off to a fine start, dear reader. Despite the “new year, new me” mantra so many repeat to themselves, remember this: you are a Ship of Theseus, and will simultaneously be both a new you and an old you, until you are dust. Take comfort in this and don’t let anyone sell you on new year’s diets, workouts, or supplements. Sail on, ye decaying/evolving vessel, and join me in welcoming this new year.

The Magazine

Chronomancer. Credit: Wings

This week’s issue takes its cover art from the Kill Team: Pariah Nexus box we weren’t too stoked about in 2021. It was the last gasp of the previous edition of Kill Team before its much needed and much appreciated glow-up later that same year. The art shows Heavy Intercessors taking on the utterly outclassed Flayed Ones that came in that set, with a Chronomancer and Gravis Captain duking it out in the background. That timey-wimey robot wizard is the star of this issue, and we soon after learn all about what this cock of the clock can do. His ball on a stick shoots time lasers, his floating Rubik’s Cubes let him act outside space-time, and his chronotendrils (what a word) squeeze dudes to death. There is a quote from a particularly pissed off Sister of Battle who calls Crypteks cowardly, dishonorable, and tricksy, none of which are untrue. With a brand new unit we get a brand new Battle Record, so it’s time to cross-reference three different tables to figure out what this guy is up to:

Guardsman Joel Joaquim lagged behind his squad and checked his wrist-chrono. For the third time in the last hour it had stopped. He hit it against a rock and this time it failed to start again. He heard a harsh mechanical sound and in the blink of an eye his whole squad was already dead on the ground. He blinked and in front of him was a towering, tentacled mechanical creature – it must be the Chronomancer he and his men were sent to hunt, Right Hand of the Triarch, Bane of the Swarm, Hatshep the Exalted! Hatshep banged his Aeonstave, Phaeron’s Breaker, on the ground twice, and presented a floating cube before Joel Joaquim. “With this device, I, Hatshep the Exalted, can stop time for five seconds, and longer and longer intervals each time! Joel! I shall see just how powerful you truly are!” Joel Joaquim stood in stunned silence, only for the tinny metallic voice to boom out “VOIDCUBE OF ISHTAR!” before that same harsh mechanical tone sounded again. The next thing he knew, he was on the ground, covered head to toe in puncture wounds, and completely unsure of how he wound up dead. 

As the clock ticks forward we find our way to two pages on the Death Guard. This section is labeled as “for the eyes of the Inquisition only, on pain of death” so if there’s no Imperium Review #42 you now know why. This section is pretty text-heavy, and the Death Guard history and way of war are spelled out efficiently and enjoyably without getting too far into the grody details that Nurgle lore so often mires itself in. Cultists poison the water supply, plagues spread among the populace, and rebellions break out long before the actual Death Guard show up and start waging war the old fashioned way. I like reading about things like this, or like the Genestealer Cult uprisings that precede Tyranid invasions. It gives the setting a sense of scale and escalating threats that open up a lot of narrative opportunities, on and off the tabletop.

Last is one of Imperium’s occasional centerfolds, focused entirely on Necron vehicles and equipment. There’s a lovely spread showing these vehicles supporting an infantry advance, and it really gives said vehicles a sense of scale where isolated product photos might not. Some descriptions are given for the various ways these vehicles will disintegrate or otherwise maim whatever gets in their way, and in a common theme for most 40k factions, we learn the Necron ruling class values these vehicles more than they value the Necrons who pilot them. So, you know, like Jeff Bezos and Amazon drivers.

The Hobby Materials

Chronomancer. Credit: Rockfish
Chronomancer. Credit: Rockfish

The sole model this week is the Chronomancer, a rare character model with options and variety across his two sprues. They’re one of those models that evolve the Necron aesthetic, starting at “space pharaoh” and ending somewhere far, far stranger. This model is likely the most complex to show up in Imperium thus far, featuring many, many fiddly bits and small joins. Nastiest amongst these are the separate sides on his floating Gamecube, which make a good case for having a pair of hobby tweezers. All of his options are presented in these thorough instructions, and they aren’t as restrictive as previous issues have been. Often the instructions would only tell the hobbyist a single way to build their models since they were to be used in a heavily simplified version of 40k, but since we’re playing with the same Datasheets as you would find in a codex, more options are made available.

The painting guide is nothing unusual, and I honestly think that with a few reference images and the existing guides that have been supplied you could come to a similar conclusion. However, a few small details like the orbs recessed in his metal tassel things are given helpful callouts here.

The Gaming Materials

Phobos Librarian. Credit: SRM

There is, of course, a new Datasheet for our fresh Chronomancer, with multiple tutorials on how they function. We learn how to use different profiles for the same weapon, how to turn off invulnerable saves with the Aeonstave, and how to buff friendly units with the Chronometron. The core rules are given some more depth with the addition of both psychic and regular Actions, and five cute little tokens with the becapslocked phrase “ACTION OBJECTIVE ƎΛI┴ƆƎſqO NOI┴Ɔ∀” are available to cut out in the back. While these Crackerjack box prizes will not be the most exciting Imperium inclusion to most, there is a novelty to a razor thin Pog with a goofy looking skull and the words ACTION OBJECTIVE written twice upon it.

We then set off on the new Initiate Mission Pack. With the fate of Tsiphos decided in our previous issue, it’s time for a new battleground that looks suspiciously similar to the old one. We now fight for Alectia and its underground hive city, Alectia Prime. This world is defended by Space Marines as well as the Sisters of Battle, who we will be seeing more of in the coming issues. I assume that also means we are at the end of the Adeptus Mechanicus models we will receive through Imperium, but I will not verify this information by googling it because I am not a coward.

This week’s mission, Restore Power, has a Necron force of 10 Warriors and 5 Flayed Ones, led by the Chronomancer, attempting to cut the power to the Imperial shield generator. The Space Marines, consisting of a Primaris Lieutenant, Librarian, and 5 Assault Intercessors, need to live up to the mission’s namesake and turn the generators back on. The Marines get a point every turn in which they complete an Action on the generator objective, and the Necrons score one every time they destroy an enemy unit. With how far the Marines have to get to score this objective, it’s unlikely they could get an insurmountable lead over 5 turns, but I like the asymmetrical mission here.

Final Verdict 41/80:

Beanith’s Necron Chronomancer

A Chronomancer is a $38 miniature, so with this issue’s $13.95 cover price you’re saving $24.05. That’s a lot of money! That’s like, a beer and a half at San Francisco International Airport, or 3-4 anywhere else! I can’t imagine anyone would need more than one, or maybe two of this miniature for wargear option purposes, but there’s enough head options to provide some variety should you do so. The model is a strong one, albeit a tricky one to assemble, and more than makes up for the relative slimness of this week’s lore offerings.

See you next issue, warhams.

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