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 was at my local game store for our 40k league night, a friend/league organizer/listener/reader let me know that he admired the consistency of my authorial voice. See, my writing, podcasting, and in-person speaking voice are all the same. In other words, should you ever meet me at a gaming event, you will find me precisely as sufferable or insufferable as you do this column. I’m sorry, and you’re welcome.
The cover star this week is the Canoptek Wraith. These snakey bois can phase through solid material, have claws or whips to vary up the flavor of murder they deliver, and have a gun that sends you into extra-dimensional space, wherein you’ll starve to death. Somehow, that only deals 3 damage, so I guess if they shoot my Marine Captain his gallbladder will be sent to another dimension while the rest of him just kinda hangs out. An in-universe quote from Private Ripley “Ripcord” Vahlen sets the stage for how scary these things are, and given this dude’s frequent quotations in Imperium, it’s safe to say he’s seen some shit. We get to reinforce this narrative with a brand new Battle Record for our new wriggly friend:
Unit Designation: Clawed Spectres phased through the fallen stacks of Pringalia. While these Wraiths previously stalked invaders of their own tomb complexes, they now brought those same murderous skills and intentions to the battlefields of Derek’s Mom’s Dining Table IV. Their improved sensor systems pinged as a patrol of hapless Imperial Guardsmen wandered into their designated kill-zone. The wraiths’ protocols dictated they would ambush these human interlopers and retreat, vanishing from the bloodied remains of their prey before striking again.
We next have a smattering of naming tables for Adepta Sororitas weapons and wargear that we will eventually get to roll on. I will wait to expound upon these further when I am given the opportunity to name some cool Sisters swords of my own, but I will share a thought or two as it passes now. On the mislabeled “Adeptus Mechanicus Wargear Names Generator Table”, one can roll up a piece of wargear with the suffix “of the Blessed” and “of the Thrice-blessed”. “Twice-blessed” is not an option, so I assume Sisters only venerate wargear that has been blessed an odd prime number of times. You’ll have to wait for that gemerald or amulet to be blessed a third time, Sister Amelia, as right now it’s holy bupkis.
The Orders of the Valorous Heart and Argent Shroud each get a page next. The Order of the Valorous Heart are stoic and wear their scars with pride, in a classically Sisters of Battle fashion. They get a boxout about Sisters Hospitaller, the healers of the faction, and halfway through their story turns grim as hell. When I read “…their expertise in life extension and pain enhancement” I had to check that it wasn’t a typo, but nope, these Hospitallers take no hippocratic oath and are actually extremely good at torturing dudes. Grimdark! The Argent Shroud, meanwhile, fight in near-silence, much to the frustration of their Imperial allies. You see, they’re silent Sisters, not Sisters of Silence, if that clarifies anything. Taddeus the Purifier gets a pull quote about how cool they are though, and I’m glad he’s still getting work after Blackstone Fortress.
Lastly, we get a spread on the Astra Militarum, the Hammer of the Emperor, the Imperial Guard. This sprawling, trillions-strong army is given the Cliffs Notes treatment here, and even the classic novel 15 Hours is given a namedrop. We reviewed it on the Badcast when the world was young, if you want to put that in your ears. There’s a spread of different regiments and how their skills might transfer to different battlefields, and a brief quote about a Guardsman’s lot in life. This Guardsman finds the cold embrace of death to be preferable to the uneasy hell of life in constant war, and he no longer fears death as a result. It’s the kind of grimdark flavor text that makes this universe feel all the more hellish, and should make the reader all the happier that they don’t live in it.
Lastly, we have one of those uncommon Imperium centerfolds concerning the xenos threats of the galaxy. Orks, Tyranids, T’au, and multiple flavors of Eldar are shown with some typically lavish photography and a brief writeup of each’s whole steez. We’ve already learned about these various forces in previous issues, so the information seems somewhat redundant for the most part, but the T’au do get a stronger focus. The reach of their empire is illustrated in a T’au-style user interface, and there’s a brief history of the species from an Imperial perspective. Our recurring lady Inquisitor Gallius Shaarn pops up to say “Suffer not the alien to live” and that’s pretty much it. As someone who can’t seem to win a single game against T’au or Eldar of any variety: Go off, queen.
The Hobby Materials
The single Wraith included this week is a bit of a balancing act to put together. Laden with balljoints and a load-bearing tail, this model may prove tricky. However, these are some of the most detailed instructions yet printed in this magazine, even helpfully calling out which areas you should not glue and why. Helpful diagrams point out exactly which pieces move and their range of motion, and how to assemble all the options of the kit. It’s a cool model, and with instructions this exhaustive, even a newer hobbyist should be able to thrive here. The painting section is a bit less interesting, as the end product looks fundamentally unfinished. As we don’t have a green for all the Inscrutable Necron Orbs, they are all left white. We also don’t have a dark grey to highlight all the black parts of the model, so the not insubstantial tail is all flat black. I imagine we will return to this model in the future to finish it once a pot of Eshin Grey or similar ends up in our hands.
The Gaming Materials
We get a tutorial on how to use our new Wraith, and all the ways it can ignore terrain, fall back and act, and generally murderize stuff. There is also a full Datasheet with all the weapon options available. Canoptek constructs are the name of the game this week, as our mission is Canoptek Invasion. Canoptek critters are trying to destroy the infrastructure and population of the hive city of Alectia, and a Mechanicus strike team is here to stop them. A Technomancer leads two units of 3 Scarab Swarms, a Spyder, Wraith and Tomb Blade. On the defense, a Canoness leads a Mechanicus force including a Tech-Priest Dominus, Tech-Priest Enginseer, 10 Skitarii Rangers and 3 Kataphron Destroyers. Points are awarded for each unit destroyed, with extra points on the line for destroying the two Warlords. I enjoy the Oops! All Crypteks! Necron force, as I do admire army theming and commitment to just about any bit. The Admech have the upper hand here, as dependent on how terrain is set up, they can just gun down the skittering Necron robugs and constructs. The Tech-Priests can keep the Kataphrons up, and so long as they keep those Mutoid Men out of combat, they’ve got the upper hand.
Final Verdict 45/80:
A pack of three Canoptek Wraiths will run you $60, meaning this single Wraith for $13.95 is cutting the price by over 25%. I have absolutely memory holed how to properly work out a percentage, but I went to art school, not math school. The rest of the material this week is an enjoyable read, even if the mission is on the simple side.
See you next issue, warhams.
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