SRM’s Ongoing Imperium Review: Week 43

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.

When I receive an issue of Imperium containing a pot of paint, I must admit my excitement is somewhat tempered. Sure, a 12ml/0.4 fl oz jar of color goo is great, but is it as exciting as a sprue of three dimensional plastic friends? It is generally far more useful than another model to pitch into the bottomless pit that is my backlog, comparable in depth and breadth, but not beauty, to Oregon’s own Crater Lake. It is a practical package, Imperium‘s equivalent to gifting someone socks for Christmas.

The Magazine

Order of Barry
The Sisters of Barry

This is one of those oh-so-occasional issues that contain no new units to write a Battle Record about, but instead present the bushels of tables required to roll them up in the future. There are names for individual Sisters, their equipment, their squads, and more besides. Amongst these D6-66 tables I found the name Anys Pyre, which sounds like a particularly uncomfortable medical condition that I would recommend seeking specialized care for. When I saw the name for a possible unit began with “The Sisters…” I held my breath for a concluding “…Of Mercy”. I did not have to hold my breath long, dear reader, as some cheeky old nerd decided to make a reference to one of my favorite 80s goth bands on the second page of this magazine intended for ages 12 and up.

We then get a similarly fleshed out (Fleshmetaled out? Whatever) section on Necron Corrupted Engrams for Nobles and Crypteks. These are character flaws, which don’t have strict rules effects, but can be rolled in for a more narrative approach to 40k. These range from Necron Nobles who Shun the Peasantry and refuse to hang out near Necron Warriors, to Crypteks that seek to betray their superiors. I wish there was more to these, as they are rather fun narrative hooks without much in the way of gameplay teeth.

Thousand Sons Rubricae Fire Team Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Thousand Sons are the focus of the next section, taking the form of an Inquisitorial report with all the official looking stamps and catchy slogans one would expect. It’s a bit contradictory, as the writer says the fate of the Thousand Sons is all mystery and rumor, then they spell out exactly what happened in A Thousand Sons down to the proper nouns. It stumbles a little in its presentation, but the information presented here is the high level stuff you want when getting introduced to a faction.

There is next a section on The Scourge Stars, the area just to the galactic west of the Great Rift where Nurgle’s forces made their first stop on the way to the Ultramar system. The fighting between Imperial defenders and Nurgle’s forces got so heated that the other Chaos gods decided to join in the fun, giving us location names like “Rottgrave” and “Pestifria”. Despite the confluence of Chaos powers in one place, it’s spelled out in clear detail that they don’t always get along with each other. As with the Orks, should the dark gods ever stop their Great Game and work together, they might actually get somewhere and conquer the whole dang galaxy. It’s important to write this stuff out, as it gives Chaos players narrative justification to fight each other as well as giving a reason for why the whole universe hasn’t ended yet.

The Hobby Materials

Necron Indomitus force
Necron Indomitus force. Credit: Chris Cowie

This issue contains a Citadel Small Layer Brush, as well as a pot of Stormhost Silver, a particularly bright and suitably named metallic paint. Citadel’s brushes are synthetic and aren’t the best out there, but they’re very good for metallic paints like this one. Stormhost Silver finds its way onto almost every model I paint, usually highlighting weapons, chipped armor, or even as a gleaming highlight on gold. It’s a hugely useful color and one that should be in every toolkit.

The hobby section this week is huge, showing hobbyists where to edge highlight just about every Necron and Space Marine model they have received thus far. Something like this would have demystified the highlighting process for me as a wee one, and I hope it can do the same for someone now. It’s thorough, well photographed, and clearly written, showing a variety of ways to use the same brush to apply highlights, as well as some general techniques and best practices. Bracing your wrists on the table, loading up paint on your palette with another brush before using your good brush to actually do the highlighting, and what angles to turn the brush for different kinds of highlights are all great skills anyone should learn.

The Gaming Materials

Palatine Apraxia Val
Credit: Evan “Felime” Siefring

This week we get Sacred Rites, one of the key abilities held by the Adepta Sororitas. These let a player pick 1 or roll 2 options on a D6 table, granting them special rules for the duration of the battle. These range from Leadership benefits to melee buffs, and are given an illustrated tutorial as well.

Narratively, this week’s mission sees the Imperial defenders attempting to rally the citizenry of Martyr’s Rest to safety. Meanwhile, the Necrons want to perform mad scientist tests on said hapless human livestock. The mission, Cover the Retreat, sees the Necron Chronomancer, Technomancer, 10 warriors and 3 Canoptek Spider Swarms taking on the Imperial coalition forces of a Canoness, a Space Marine Librarian, 5 Assault Intercessors and 10 Skitarii Rangers. 3 objectives line the center of the table, and players score 1 point for each they control. They also score 2 for killing the enemy Warlord. It’s a simple Matched Play-style mission that doesn’t quite support the narrative presented, but would be an enjoyable one to play.

Final Verdict 43/80:

From a purely monetary standpoint, the Imperium issues that contain paint are always on the weaker side. I don’t know when they jacked the price of Stormhost Silver to $6.10, but that plus a Small Layer Brush is $15.10. At Imperium‘s cover price of $13.95, you’re saving a whole $1.15, enough for a middling grocery store candy bar, dependent on your state’s sales tax. From a content perspective, this issue’s lore sections are more setup than payoff, which will be drawn on in later issues. The hobby section is hugely valuable, and the gaming section gives players the building blocks required to make a Sisters army function on the tabletop. Of course, at time of writing, one’s Sisters army may only be a single Canoness, but I am sure this will let an aspiring Sisters Novitiate hit the ground running when they start getting some troops to back her up.

See you next issue, warhams.

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