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.
15 year old me would be shocked at the contents of this magazine. 20 year old me would be stunlocked in disbelief. Even now, at 32, I am somewhat in disbelief that we actually have plastic Sisters of Battle, and that I am holding a sprue of them right this moment in my non-dominant hand as I laboriously type this with my remaining mitt.
While we’ve had our tastes and teases before, this week we finally get to go all-in on the Sisters of Battle. We are forced into the fold with not one, but two Battle Records for the sundry models included herein. First up, we have the humble Battle Sisters squad, each of whom get to roll on a tragic backstory table in addition to a squad specialism table. These are further fleshed out by the invitation to turn back to a previous issue’s d66 selection of overwrought gothic names. For both of these squads, I will limit their narratives to the number of models included in this issue, lest I strain my wrist rolling on naming tables for the next hour and a half.
The remaining Sisters of The Fists of Wrath ducked behind the rubble of their priory. This expert group of monster hunters had been lying in wait, stalking a Necron construct for hours now. Silvana Honoris, the orphaned daughter of a Pringalian noble, checked her boltgun one last time. The ammo readout was green and the action was smooth. Arabella Nihl came up behind her, sights trained on the shattered doorway, itching for movement. She too had been orphaned in her youth, her family slaughtered by Daemons well before she was old or armed enough to protect them. The Necron construct scuttled through the doorway, its intrusion being met by a volley of mass-reactive rounds. The third survivor of the squad, Marya Lumina, carried every bit of her family’s knightly honor as she strode forth, boltgun roaring as she engaged the multi-limbed mechanical horror.
You would be forgiven for thinking this was it in a typical issue, but we have a second page detailing Seraphim, their equipment and general steez, and a second Battle Record to fill out for our new flygirls. This is much the same as the previous Battle Record section, but with a few words swapped around. I will still do my journalistic duty and cover it exhaustively.
The Sisters of Purity could only barely call themselves “Sisters” in the plural. These last two angelic warriors, Sola Selena and Arabella Campana, had seen their fellow Seraphim martyred one by one over their mission to defend Derek’s Mom’s Dining Table IV. Even as experienced flankers, their assignments were dangerous and attrition was high. Yet, fate had long smiled on Sola and Arabella, as in a previous campaign the two had been spared by an Aeldari raiding party. This was not the first time these two Sisters were the last of their number, and it would likely not be the last.
The Hobby Materials
The amuse bouche of miniatures included in this issue is somewhat incoherent, owing greatly to the origins of the included sprue. Back in 2019, there was a launch box for the newly redesigned Sisters of Battle range. They have since been repurposed in the value-conscious Sisters of Battle Combat Patrol. Some of the included units, such as the Arco-Flagellants you see above, were packaged at odd and below minimum squad sizes, but each unit was spread across the set’s bevvy of tightly-packed sprues. This issue in particular contains 3 rank and file Battle Sisters, 2 Seraphim on their doodlebopper flight stands, a solitary Arco-Flagellant, and a similarly lonesome Sister Repentia. All of these units are understrength, but they are gorgeous models that belie their easy to build nature. While the included miniatures in this issue may not be fieldable as a cohesive unit on the tabletop, the textures and details on them are representative of the Sisters of Battle range as a whole.
Said textures and details are given a lavish treatment in the instructive parts of this magazine, wherein we learn to build and paint our new zealous friends. Building these models is straightforward, with very few options for customization available on their tungsten-dense sprue, save for head positioning and holstered pistols to slap on their belts. The painting instructions oscillate from giving you a finished, shaded, highlighted product, to a “uhhhh slap some wash over the primer and hope for the best, I guess” levels of painting. This is limited by the paints provided thus far in Imperium, but I still don’t know why there hasn’t been a skintone at this, the halfway point of this magazine’s tenure. These will still get the painter a solid product, and I like some of the tips such as thinning washes over white details to preserve the color.
The Gaming Materials
Datasheets are provided for our Seraphim and Battle Sisters, while our lone Repentia and Arco-Flagellant must remain on the bench for the time being. A brief tutorial teaches us how to use the Seraphim Angelic Visage and Sky Strike rules, and then it’s time to Head for the Surface in this week’s mission. A Sororitas Canoness leads a rag tag group consisting of 3 Battle Sisters, 2 Seraphim, and 5 Assault Intercessors, while a Necron Overlord, 2 Immortals, 2 Scarab Swarms, and a Canoptek Wraith oppose them. Although the narrative sees the Imperials trying to escape the subterranean city of Alectia Prime, the mission is a simple murderfest with points awarded for destroying enemy units. It’s also the first scenario in a minute to have a prescribed terrain layout instead of inviting the players to make their own. The mission echoes some of the simpler ones from the early days of Imperium, but I admire the commitment to using weird unit sizes for both sides to match this issue’s included models.
Final Verdict 46/80:
Breaking down the dollar value of this issue is no simple matter, as this sprue is only available in larger box sets and one cannot cherrypick individual models from different kits in this day and age. If you take the $150 Combat Patrol set and then subtract $60 for the Rhino and $38 for the Canoness, you’re left with $52. There are three remaining sprues, with this being included twice, and they would then come out at $17.33 a piece. Pricing is often arbitrary and Combat Patrols usually have some greater value prospect to begin with, but this is the best we got. In a far simpler method, you could divide this issue’s cover price of $13.95 by the 7 models included, leaving you at the downright affordable $1.99 per miniature. This is the part where I would like to tell you numbers aren’t real and money’s made up, but we live in an imperfect world where this magazine’s cover price might be a not-insignificant amount of your disposable income, so I would like to offer this bar napkin math for your benefit.
The written content of this magazine is somewhat less essential, with little in the way of lore and the weakest mission in a few dozen issues. However, if you are a newcomer to this army or a painter intimidated by the borderline excessive selection of baubles, beads, tchotchkes and other Ministorum accoutrements bedecking every Sister of Battle, the painting guide here may prove extremely helpful.
See you next issue, warhams.
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