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.
Writing this 80+ (and possibly now 90+) series is akin to chopping down a very, very large tree. I can swing my axe in a straightforward fashion each week, coldly breaking down the dollar value of each issue’s included models and leaving you a couple hundred words early. Alternately, I can add a flourish to each and every swing, sacrificing safety for style and expression. Dear reader, grant me the grace to quote the packaging of my Autobot Jazz action figure, and take to heart this focus grouped line, credited to a transforming Porsche 935 that has wormed its way into my personal ethos:
“Do it with style or don’t bother doing it.”
While there is a lovely piece of White Scars art on the cover, we won’t be getting to them for a moment. The first section of this issue is about the Adeptus Ministorum, and there is an incredible piece of art showing the sheer impossible scale of a Ministorum church. Towering above buildings that already tower above the rest, it’s the kind of ludicrous gothic display that only really works in Warhammer. The Battle Record section this week is actually for Recording Battle; a wild concept, I know. It concerns the different sectors players will fight over this issue, but we will return to that in the Gaming Materials section of this article.
Delivering on the cover art, we get a lovely section on the White Scars Space Marine chapter. I did misread their homeworld of Chogoris as Chicagoris, but I think I’m just excited about Adepticon. They play all the hits here, talking about the White Scars ritual scarring, hit and run warfare, and the giant space motorcycles they like to ride to battle. There is a hugely aggrandizing description of Kor’Sarro Khan that may as well end with “… and this guy definitely fucks” for how cool they make him sound. There’s some lineart of the Raider-pattern combat bike and Invader ATV that look like technical diagrams, and it reminds me of the unit lineart from some 4th edition codices. I’m just calling that out because it made me happy.
We close out our lore section with The Reign of Blood, the origin story of the Sisters of Battle. Early in the 36th millennium, Goge Vandire became a High Lord of Terra and went mad with power, as one does when they become Ecclesiarch. He found a cult of fanatic women warriors, gave them boltguns and power armor, then made them his personal bodyguards, consorts, and what have you. A bloody civil war broke out, the Custodes helped a few of these Daughters of the Emperor see that Vandire was a jagoff, Alicia Dominica cut Vandire’s head off and the Sisters of Battle were born. Deals were made to fold them into the Inquisition, and the rest is (fictional, future) history. I’ve read multiple versions of this story since I was a kid first getting into 40k, and it’s important to show not only where the Sisters of Battle came from, but how dysfunctional the Imperium is. One of 40k’s running themes is that if any given faction could get their collective shit together, they could absolutely dominate the universe, and the Imperium is no different.
The Hobby Materials
This week has another set of Manufactorum ruins, much like issues 31 and 34. You could go back and read my previous coverage of this kit in those prior installments, but I will describe the kit anew should you only be able to goof off for so much of your workday. These lovingly detailed ruins go together in a mere 7 pieces, which fit together using a unique tongue and groove system that I haven’t seen on a single other Citadel kit. The gaps they leave down their joins can be pretty large, so I do recommend shaving down these attachment points at least a smidge to ensure a cleaner connection. They do require some force to hold together during the gluing process as well, and all those little rivets and such will dig into your fingers more than you’d like. Even with a smidge of hand cramping, the process for cleaning up and assembling this ruin shouldn’t take you more than half an hour. Zenithal priming, drybrushing, Contrast and sponge weathering got mine painted in about 3 hours as well, which is pretty good for such a decent sized piece of terrain.
The building and painting tutorials for this ruin are largely the same as the issues before them, with some added highlights using our recently acquired Stormhost Silver. You’ll get some decent results following this tutorial – mine looks much the same honestly – only theirs uses a metaphorical bucketload of Nuln Oil where I went with zenithal priming for a quicker and more dramatic result.
The Gaming Materials
The big push in this week’s issue is terrain. Quite a bit of writing is dedicated to the theory behind terrain placement and what a player should consider when slapping Barbie’s Grimdark Dreamhouse down on the battlefield. Thematic and balanced layouts are discussed, and advantages and disadvantages are given for each. Terrain layouts are, in my experience, often determined by feel and general vibe, with a “this looks balanced enough” verbal handshake made after setup. I do appreciate the more concretely written tutorial here, as a newcomer might not have the sense of good scenery placement that a veteran player would.
Strategic Reserves are the next concept being taught, with their respective slice of the main rules being included. A tutorial with some renders of Aggressors coming off the table and torching some Roboners illustrates the concept well, and there’s even a helpful boxout about defending against strategic reserves by carefully placing your units to prevent deployment. This opens up a huge amount of dynamic movement in games of 40k, and some armies depend on it to be effective on the field.
This week’s mission, Battle for the Spires, lets us put these terrain tutorial teachings to the test. It is meant to be played 3 times with different terrain layouts each time, with the outcome being recorded in this issue’s Battle Record. The Necron Overlord and his Royal Warden lead 10 Warriors, 5 Immortals, 3 Skorpekh Destroyers, 1 Canoptek Spyder, and 3 Scarab Swarms, while the Space Marine Captain is joined by the Librarian, Tech-Priest Dominus, 5 Assault Intercessors (here just called Intercessors), 10 Skitarii Rangers, and 3 Aggressors. The two forces fight over 4 objective markers, with extra points awarded for taking objectives in no man’s land and the enemy’s territory. This is also played on the first map without prescribed terrain. By playing through this battle 3 times, it seems like the goal is to let new players experiment with terrain setup and find out what feels right. I like the simple scenario, and by keeping it straightforward, players can focus on figuring out what kind of layouts work, and which don’t.
Final Verdict 44/80:
A pair of these sprues would set you back $60 when they were available on their own, so $13.95 for one ain’t bad at all. Honestly, you could pick up a few copies of this issue and have a respectable ruined township ready to roll. The terrain placing theory is probably something many players will already know from experience, but for newcomers could be hugely beneficial. The hobby section is a smidge weak this go around, but the lore is foundational and well presented. This is a solid issue anchored by an extremely useful model, usable by anyone in any 40k-adjacent game system.
See you next issue, warhams.
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