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.
This issue contains a magazine-exclusive Primaris Captain. As he is not a model anyone at Goonhammer has painted at time of publication and I have not had time to convert him, expect many pictures of other Primaris Captains in this article. Explaining this is my lip service towards journalistic integrity, as I have paid an advance on my midlife crisis by realizing I am, technically, a games journalist.
As the instructions are fairly short here, this issue has more lore than I am so far accustomed to. From word go, we get a guide to all the decorative doo-dads that adorn your typical Space Marine Captain. This tells the reader about service studs, laurels, cruxes terminatus, marksman honors, and so on. Of course, this all leads into a Battle Record for this fella, with all the tables you could ask for. My favorite is obviously the Leadership Style table, something this guy would definitely fill out on his LinkedIn profile.
Captain Marcius Venator, Slayer of the Six-Eyed Fiend, was weary. While it had always been his preference to fight in the midst of the battleline, inspiring the troops, it had started to take its toll on the 300 year old veteran. His Pistol, Bane of the Fleshless, felt heavy in his power armored gauntlet as he saw the remains of his freshly defeated foe rise once more. By sheer coincidence, his power sword, also named Bane of the Fleshless, shared its title with his impetuous pistol. As the Necron dead reanimated before him, he smirked, knowing his weapons were about to live up to their names once again.
Following up on this we get a handy illustrated guide on Space Marine melee weaponry, some lore about a refinery moon to fight over, and a short story. The moon, Megaria, could be any one of a million worlds in the Imperium, but in a few words illustrates how nasty, brutish, and short life is for an average Imperial citizen. I feel like that’s important to foist on the reader regularly so they don’t forget that the 40k setting is a dystopia, not something aspirational. The best part of this section is a quote attributed to a Sergeant Pushkin about how cool knives are, which, as a former dirtbag rural teenager, I super get.
The short story Heart of the Storm (emphasis theirs, not mine) sees supporting cast-level Astartes from the Fulminators taking on the store-brand Word Bearers of the Crimson Slaughter. The brief was clearly “have a Captain mess up some freaks” and it fulfils that brief in a workmanlike manner. The quality of writing isn’t exactly stellar, leaning on some well-trodden phraseology. There are occasional inconsistencies, like a power axe transforming into a chainaxe between sentences. The story ends with the typo “peel of thunder” which is funny to me, a former English tutor who used to edit papers for fun. You’re not missing anything by not reading this short story if you’re not a subscriber, even if you’re a fanperson of either of the armies represented in it.
This issue contains, to my knowledge, the only Imperium-exclusive model in the entire subscription. There are some models supplied that are no longer available (tune in next week for that) but none that have been otherwise unattainable. The Primaris Captain included here has a plasma pistol and power sword, a loadout illegal in standard games of 40k. Anybody with a smidge of common sense and understanding can just figure out the points cost of these upgrades and run them – I’d say a plasma pistol isn’t gonna kill anybody, but the number of 1s I’ve rolled shooting mine over the years say otherwise.
The details on this model are about what you would expect for a Space Marine Captain, Primaris or otherwise. His cape, plasma pistol, captain markings, and cute little brooch are pretty par for the course, but he’s got some unique details. He has a helmet hanging from his waist, in a nice bit of verisimilitude. Most notable is the laurel wreath haloed around his head, which slots in at the base of his skull. Atop his skull is the haircut worn by many of the men who come into the brewery I work at and order beers based entirely on how high their alcohol content is by volume. Alternately, its the haircut worn by a very cool girl who works at a bike store. You, reader, may have this haircut. I almost did, once, but my genetics had other plans and now I more closely resemble the bald, screaming Space Marines of my youth.
He is holding a power sword aloft at a somewhat awkward angle, looking almost like he’s blocking a blow from above. Alternately, he looks like he is holding it up to the light to inspect it for scratches at his local mall’s cutlery store, namely the kind that sells nunchucks in the back. Something about his pose just doesn’t quite work for me, but as he is plastic, converting him is a none too complex affair. I feel like angling his pistol arm down and sword hand away from him would make him look like he was leading the charge as opposed to standing kind of awkwardly, anticipating a hit from a Big Guy.
The instructions here are fairly in-depth for a single model, as this is the first issue that assumes you will use the mold line remover and plastic glue for. It urges patience and restraint with your glue, something a much younger me would take years to internalize. It’s all pretty straightforward, but this is the first model that requires glue to build in this entire subscription, so I feel it may be slightly intimidating to a newer hobbyist.
The Gaming Materials
This issue’s mission sees a trio of Skorpekh Destroyers take on the included captain on a small board. Whoever has model(s) left at the end wins. This particular mission teaches players about shooting pistols in melee as well as invulnerable saves, as the captain has access to both. I can only imagine this mission would turn into a football scrum in the middle of the table until everything is dead, which isn’t exactly dynamic or exciting, but what else are you gonna do with a single model. That said, it gives ample opportunity to learn about pistols in melee and invulnerable saves in practice, as well as AP values. Even without much in the way of player choice, there’s ample opportunity to learn about game mechanics. I would have preferred to see a mission with the captain inspiring the Assault Intercessors from an earlier issue, just for something more dynamic, but I understand this is Hams By Degrees.
Final Verdict 5/80:
The exclusive model is pretty dang cool, and a first (and a last(ish)) for this magazine. At $13.95 for a captain who would normally cost close to $40, plus the supporting materials, it’s a decent value. The short story is illustrative enough, the supporting lore is pretty representative of 40k, and it serves as a decent next step in introducing players to the full tabletop game. While this isn’t the strongest issue, it’s still a good enough time, and the unique model smooths over any wrinkles.
See you next issue, warhams.
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