SRM’s Ongoing Imperium Review: Week 48

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.

Our friends at Hachette Partworks and Games Workshop took it upon themselves to expand Imperium recently to 90 issues. For our siblings across the pond in the United Kingdom, they likely are already tearing the mylar bags off each issue, digging their metaphorical(?) teeth into the bounties therein. I am pleased to announce that this very series will be getting a similar extension, as we in the freedom-hungry and gun violence-saturated United States will also be extending our stay in Imperium’s glossy pages. On hearing this I was pleased; my midlife-crisis-in-real-time article series getting a somewhat significant extension. Only then, did my heart miss not one, not two, but three beats from its usual rhythm, as a second announcement made its presence known. Stormbringer, essentially an Age of Sigmar-flavored version of Imperium, had been announced. Multiple readers – as in, at least two – have asked me if I will be covering this as well. This veritable season 2 of my ongoing series would be my delight to cover, but as of yet there is no confirmation of Stormbringer coming stateside. Should it do so, dear reader, your dutiful Goon Whomst Hammers will be taking it on with equal parts anxiety and aplomb. Also, my apologies that this article is a week late; Fedex decided that my latest batch of issues should enjoy an extended stay in Fort Lauderdale before coming to the frozen Pacific Northwest. Now, let us return to our usual reporting, and find out just what’s going on in Imperium’s pages this week.

The Magazine

Credit: Greg Chiasson

Dark Angels get the cover story this week, which will make some certain Big Azrael Enjoyers quite happy. Before we get to these Mean Green Marine Machines, however, a different group of anointed holy weirdos make an appearance. The Adepta Sororitas get a Mission Roster, basically a place to record all the names we’ve rolled up in previous Battle Records. A Sisters Mission embarks on missions after receiving missives from manifold mixtures of misters, misses, and mixters, matching murderous monsters in military melees. They’re any fighting force of Sisters, and their organization can be fairly loose. After consulting the Mission Name Generator, ours is titled Alectia’s Souls, a solid enough name for either a Sororitas force or a discount Soulsborne indie title on Steam.

The Dark Angels emerge from the shadows long enough to get a two-page spread, giving us the big picture about these secretive jerks. They play all the hits: They’re the 1st Legion, Lion El’Jonson was their primarch, he was betrayed by his pal Luther in the Horus Heresy, and Caliban got mostly blown up. Since then they’ve been trying to hide the fact that many of their number turned traitor in the Heresy, and they fly around in their planet-turned-spaceship and hunt down their former comrades. I thought all this was cool as hell as a burgeoning young warham, and I still largely do, even if Marines turning traitor in the Heresy has become more and more common as that setting gets further fleshed out. Hell, in the Horus Heresy tabletop game you can play as a whole army of traitor Ultramarines or other traditionally loyalist legions if you’d like, so now the Dark Angels just seem kinda whiny for having the same problems as everyone else. Oh no, they’ve Fallen and they can’t get up.

Credit: PierreTheMime

The Space Marine Apothecarion is given focus next, with several pieces of art of Apothecaries doing battlefield surgery. They’re combat medics, tasked with recovering the gene-seed of dead Space Marines so they can bring their Man Goo back to the chapter to clone up more superguts. Without them, they can’t make more Marines. They get the rundown of equipment and heraldry you usually get in a Battle Record section, but unfortunately we don’t get a model for an Apothecary in Imperium. There are two different quotes attributed to two different Apothecaries from two different chapters basically saying “heal your bros, euthanize them if you can’t, and take their Special Guts home” which sums up what Apothecaries do fairly succinctly.

We next have a section on The Imperial Creed, so please read this whilst listening to Immortal Imperium from the Darktide soundtrack. It’s rare I suggest an audio component to this text-based series, but Jesper Kyd is a very talented individual. Mr. Kyd, I invite your people get in touch with my people. This article covering the state religion of the Imperium lays out their core beliefs, and the punishment for transgressing against them. Praise the Emperor, strike down his foes, beware the alien, the witch, and the heretic, and obey your superiors and their faith without question. The menial existence of your average Imperial citizen is a nightmare that only ends in death (if you’re lucky) and striving or wishing for something better is sedition and punishable by several fates worse than death. You, my smart, beautiful, cherubic reader, should know that this theocratic fascist future is Not A Nice Place. It is the illogical conclusion of authoritarianism, and anyone who aspires to making it a reality is an idiot.

Credit: RichyP

Lastly, we reinforce the nightmarish Imperial Creed with a section on penitents. If you act against the Imperium, you might get burned at the stake or executed in any number of futuristic and likely gooey ways, or you may get sent to redeem yourself through martyrdom on the battlefield. The Ministorum enslaves, lobotomizes, tortures, and conditions those they deem worthy of redemption, grafts some weapons on to their limbs and yeets them at humanity’s enemies. Arco-Flagellants, Penitent Engines, and others of this ilk are administered chemical guilt inducers, which is basically liquid Catholicism. This is contrasted slightly with Sisters Repentia, who at least get to keep their mental faculties and get all their guilt the old fashioned way. That is, unless they flee from battle, in which case they’re jammed into a Mortifier coffin and sent to do the Penitent Engine thing, but with even more shame. It’s all extremely frightening and I love it.

The Hobby Materials

Manufactorum Ruins. Credit: SRM

Hey, we got more of these! Manufactorum Ruins make their third appearance in this magazine, giving us more economical, attractive, and versatile terrain to dress up our battlefields. You’ve likely heard me wax lyrical about this kit in issues 31 and 34, but it’s a ruin you can toss together in just a few minutes, or upwards of 45 if you really want to clean it up. It takes drybrushing easily and I use my own in more games than I do not. The included painting instructions are only barely changed from previous issues, now including the use of Stormhost Silver. They will get you a pleasant piece of terrain, though washing the whole thing as suggested will likely run you out of Nuln Oil fairly quickly.

The Gaming Materials

Sisters of Battle Repentia
Credit: Evan “Felime” Siefring

This issue we learn about Adepta Sororitas Acts of Faith, one of the core rules governing the Sisters of Battle. They gain Miracle Dice each turn, plus when their own Characters are destroyed. There may be some opportunities to gain those dice in this week’s mission, Cryptek Machinations, AKA Plasma Sabotage. The Sisters have the same remnant force as last week: a Canoness, 3 Battle Sisters, 2 Seraphim, single Sister Repentia and a lone Arco-Flagellant. The Necrons have a Chronomancer, a Royal Warden, 3 Warriors, and 3 Flayed Ones. These threadbare forces duke it out over the same layout as last week, but with different deployment zones. A single objective, representing the plasma array, lies at the center of the battlefield, and the controlling player scores a point at the end of their turn. It’s a king of the hill battle, and given the small forces and repeated terrain layouts, a pair of players could roll through the battles of issues 47 and 48 in rapid succession.

Final Verdict 48/90:

This issue’s kit is a welcome returning friend, and priced to move. When this kit was widely available as the Sub-Cloister and Storage Fane, it was $60, and at $13.95 for half of that kit you’re saving over 50% off the nonexistent sticker price. Getting repeat kits can’t be the most exciting thing for many Imperium subscribers, but rarely is a repeat kit this genuinely useful and easy to take from sprue to tabletop.

The lore sections go hard. I feel like every few issues we need a reminder that the Imperium aren’t the good guys even though they largely look like us, and that blind faith and militarized society are a pair of snakes constantly feasting upon their own tails.

See you next issue, warhams.

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