Imperium is a weekly hobby magazine from Hachette Partworks. In this 90-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.
You know your gaming group has evolved when it is no longer debating which Chaos God is the most likely to win the Great Game, but instead whether Lorgar would drive a Pinto or a ’92 Nissan Stanza. I’m not being lolrandom for the sake of a joke here, this is an observation I’ve made looking at the groups I cultivate, and I’ve never been more proud.
Iron Hands are on the cover this week, the one Legion I reliably forget exists. Before we get to these Space Marines who DESTROY their opponents with FACTS and LOGIC, we get to read a bit about what we’re fighting over in a rare Theatre of War article. Alectia is a heavily defended hive city built around the Basilica of Saint Marcius, a place of worship bristling with las batteries and missile racks. The plasma conduits and reactors that run through it keep the city powered and alive, and work crews keep the whole thing running smoothly. Would you believe there’s a Battle Record for one of these conduits?
Ignis Magnus was the lone artery connecting Pringalia’s Ammunition Factorum and its other, more different Ammunition Factorum. Should this plasma conduit be cut, the war materiel coming out of Pringalia would be stalled, and the desperate defenders on the front lines of Derek’s Mom’s Dining Table IV would find their guns running dry.
We next get to learn about the Iron Hands, the sons of Ferrus Manus (iron hands) who had forearms and hands made of living metal (iron hands) with which he could fight alongside his sons, the Iron Hands (iron hands). You might now be realizing that I think these guys are quite silly. The Iron Hands ideology is a tedious one where they think emotion is a weakness, and resultantly shut that part of themselves out and focus on the logic of the machine. These transhuman techbros elect their Chapter Masters with a vote by their Captains (Iron Fathers) and in a rare move for Marines, it’s not a position held for life. Conversely, Iron Father Malkaan Feirros (Iron Daddy, Big Papi, the only Gravis Techmarine) clings to those emotions and perceived weaknesses of Ferrus Manus, and, shocker, things are going pretty well for him! We get a smidge of lore about how the Iron Hands cut off their left hands and replace them with mechanical ones. Maybe it’s a nofap thing.
Lastly, we get a spread about the Ecclesiarchy and how they tie into the Sisters of Battle. The Ecclesiarchy can’t have its own standing army, but it can have the odd preacher and their personal gaggles of crusaders and weirdos. They hang around Sisters formations, join them on Wars of Faith, and occasionally even join the Sisters’ ranks permanently. While the Sisters are the primary militant arm of the Ecclesiarchy, rabbles of zealots and Ecclesiarchal weirdos take the field as auxiliary units/bullet catchers for the more valuable troops. In a lot of ways, they aren’t all that different from Chaos cultists – hordes of schmucks following the orders and desires of a charismatic leader, who often takes them to war by stoking their faith and hatred. Maybe they’ll get plastic models someday, or Cawdor will get rules for 40k. A few of the more valuable assets of the Ecclesiarchy are given boxouts here as well, namely missionaries, preachers, Death Cult assassins, and crusaders. Priests of all varieties find their ways into Ministorum armed forces at pretty much every level, from frontline missionaries to preachers in the command staff. Members of the Death Cult worship the Emperor through bloodshed, a thing that is totally above board and doesn’t at all run parallel to the forces they’re fighting, no sir. Lastly there are crusaders; noble bodyguards who protect Ecclesiarchal officials on the field. They seem mostly above board, at least as far as these zealots and fanatics go. They’re also like the 4th kind of “Crusader” you can take in 40k, which will probably get confusing if big squads of them ever have a place in the meta.
The Hobby Materials
Once again, we have received a set of Thermic Plasma Conduits. I made most of the pipe-related jokes I could think of last time I reviewed this set, and I regret to inform you I have no more pipe to lay. It’s a medical condition. This pipeline is a good bit of terrain for just about any grimdark battlefield, and we’ve even seen how barricades and pipelines of its ilk will work in 10th edition, so consider this the one part of this issue that is truly futureproof. The painting tutorial for these is rather good, returning to our previously painted pipes and updating them with a number of the new paints since acquired through Imperium. Glazes of Mournfang Brown and Troll Slayer Orange are applied for grime and rust respectively, and scratches of Stormhost Silver are painted across the models. The end result is a high quality pipeline that looks better than mine to tell you the truth.
The Gaming Materials
The Adeptus Mechanicus get their own set of stratagems this week, and we are introduced to our first round of secondary objectives. Secondaries have been one of the hallmarks of 9th edition, for better and for worse, and we’re finally getting a smattering of them here. A tutorial is given for how secondaries at large (and Raise the Banners High specifically) function, and how to factor in the progressive scoring of some of them.
This week’s mission takes us to The Generatorium, which is meant to be played multiple times in a linked mini-campaign. The Necron forces are trying to destroy the Imperial Infrastructure of Alectia, and are doing so by making a series of strikes against Imperial power stations. We then refer back to the Battle Record at the beginning of the issue and record each game and how they map on the conflict. Things like this are extremely cute, and I’m always here for them. Said Necron force contains an Overlord, Plasmancer, 2 squads of 10 Necron Warriors, 5 Immortals, 3 Canoptek Scarab Swarms, 2 Cryptothralls, and a Canoptek Reanimator. This hearty force of roboners is up against a Canoness, 10 Battle Sisters, 5 Seraphim, a Tech-Priest Dominus, a Tech-Priest Enginseer, 10 Skitarii Rangers, and 3 Kataphron Destroyers. I don’t know why every time the Mechanicus rolls out they need to take 2 Tech-Priests for a single unit they can repair, but it’s fluffy for the story this battle is trying to tell. We have a prescribed layout for this mission, which is fairly terrain-dense with a killing field in the dead center. Players score victory points for controlling objectives and accomplishing their secondary objective. In an interesting twist, you’re meant to play this scenario 4 times, with both sides taking the same secondary objective. Each game the two of you will share a different secondary objective, until you’ve played using each of the 4 provided. It’s a pretty solid way to drill in this potentially complex layer of the game, and I like it a lot.
Final Verdict 55/90:
Last time we got these pipes, I figured that they were formerly available as a $35 kit for 2 sprues, so you were getting $17.50 of pipe for $13.95. That ain’t bad! They’re hugely versatile ground cover and have a good home in 40k, 30k, Kill Team, or Necromunda. The lore section this week was pretty decent, and the updated painting instructions should help budding terrain painters get to grip with the sometimes intimidating process of painting scenery. The scenario should be helpful in teaching secondary objectives to players and unlocking one of the most strategic parts of this game, and I think that is hugely valuable.
See you next issue, warhams.
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