SRM’s Ongoing Imperium Review: Week 6

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.

Issue 06 of Imperium promises, loudly and becapslockedly, that this issue would feature “YOUR MOST BRUTAL BATTLE YET”. This particular superlative is one that can be rolled out on the regular, a space filler on par with listing “MS Word” or “Apple/Windows” on one’s resume. I feel that anything to the contrary would actually be a surprise. Warhammer 40,000 is a setting known for its brutality, so “YOUR LEAST VIOLENT WARCRIME TO DATE” or “YOUR MOST 6/10 ON THE KILL-O-METER SCALE BATTLE THUS FAR” would almost be more noteworthy.

The Magazine

Blood Ravens Aggressors. Credit – Soggy

We open on a page describing all the cool equipment our included Primaris Aggressors are decked out with. These “FIRE-SPEWING TITANS” in the magazine’s parlance are armed with flamestorm gauntlets for shooting and punching, plus Mk. X Gravis Armor to protect them. A smidge of attention is given to their proper unit markings, as well as two boxouts describing their other equipment options that you cannot make with the included models. On the Necron side of things, we have a two page spread about Necron Nobles and their roles in Necron society. This is accompanied with some neat, modern GW art which I haven’t seen before since I haven’t spent much time reading any iteration of Codex: Roboners.

You KNOW we’re gonna hit up the Battle Record here, which includes the expected multitudes of D3 and D6 tables to flesh out the story behind the included Aggressors. At no point have I doctored the elements I roll up here; you’re just seeing the results of what I roll. That’s journalistic integrity, buddy.

Brother-Sergeant Pyrrhus crashed through the wall of Fort DVD Case on Derek’s Mom’s Dining Table IV. Belching flames from each of his gauntlets, he led Squad Orpheon, “The Skull Breakers”, into the heart of the Necron phalanx. This Methodical Killer knew the weaknesses of each of the murderous automota he torched, and Brother Leonidas was right by his side. A Line Breaker by nature, Leonidas piled through the living metal wall before him, smashing aside metallic skulls and ribcages with every windmill of his arms. Lastly, Brother Also Leonidas brought up the rear. This Stalwart Defender was more at home holding ground than taking it, but his calm head and keen mind kept his identically named brother from overextending and taking their squad out of position. Together, this well-oiled engine of destruction tore through the ranks of their Necron foes, leaving nothing but fire and molten metal in their wake.

I’ve got a real good feeling about Brother-Sergeant Pyrrhus and his victories, I tell you what.

The painting article here instructs the reader to use the full gamut of their collected Ultramarine-friendly paints (Macragge Blue, Leadbelcher, and Abaddon Black) to block out the basic colors on their Aggressors. The instructions are generally fine, and do include a few bits I wish I knew as a young hobbyist. First: cleaning up mistakes is not only an option, but encouraged. Even now, the difference between a crispy clean line and a seismograph reading on my models’ edge highlights is all in the cleanup stage. Second: changing water from metallics to regular paints. I found out the hard way that the reflective flecks in a metallic paint can contaminate your other colors. RIP to the pot of Nuln Oil that became a silver wash thanks to my poor brush discipline. This is followed up with a quick overview of where to put this newfangled Abaddon Black base paint on your other Ultramarines. This includes the helpful statement “DON’T MISS JOINTS” which, as someone who lives in a state where marijuana is not only legalized but a significant source of state income, I do not intend to miss.

Also, the “TO” in “HOW TO PAINT” has a paint splatter over it that I think is extremely cute. Good work, uncredited graphic designer. I see you.

The Models

Salamanders Aggressors
Salamanders Aggressors. Credit: Rockfish

The models included in this particular issue are a trio of Easy To Build Primaris Aggressors, which are noteworthy if only because they are no longer generally available from Games Workshop. I received my Imperium package not 7 days after priming a kitbashed squad of Flamestorm Aggressors for my Black Templars, so I’ll have a full squad of 6 to benefit from Heretic’s Pyre in games of 40k. US Open Seattle: I’m sorry in advance for wasting your time.

The options available for these models are limited compared to their big brothers in the traditional multipart kit, but even if you’ve built that other, meatier kit, you’d know their posing options are severely limited. These easier to assemble thicc sons are equipped with flamestorm gauntlets and no other options, and even a normally simple headswap is a finnicky affair. There are pegs sticking out behind their heads for no clear reason which are tricky to remove, and odd flanged pegs inside their legs I’ve never seen on another Citadel kit. These are push-fit if one really wants to go that route, though I used plastic glue to build these models as I want to ensure they outlive me. Being plastic, they will for certain take centuries longer to return to the earth than my decidedly mortal meat and bone, but I digress.

Building these models is generally straightforward, but for a newcomer they might have a challenging number of parts that fit together in a slightly finnicky way. They’ve got the same kind of pipes and hoses their more robust brothers have in the full kit, which is not a painting challenge I would wish on any fresh-faced young hobbyist. This is definitely a case where the more detailed written instructions could really help someone out if they’re not confident in the assembly. The models themselves look nigh-indistinguishable from their big brothers in the full price kit, and I mean that as a compliment. They also have some fun base clutter to glue down including a crumpled Godwyn-pattern bolter.

The Gaming Materials

Raven Guard Aggressors
Raven Guard Aggressors. Credit: Dan Boyd

This mission, FIRE SUPPORT, sees the trio of included Aggressors attempting to kill the Necron Royal Warden. The warden is joined by issue 04’s trio of Skorpekh Destroyers, who need to run interference and protect their commandroid for four full turns. If the Marines kill them by the end of turn 4, they win, while the Necrons win by surviving. This battle is starting to look a smidge more like 40k proper, with multiple weapons per model, different types of ranged weapons like Assault and Rapid Fire, different profiles for shooting and close combat, AP values, and special rules like Living Metal. We don’t have damage values represented here yet, but this “40k by degrees” is coming ever closer towards reaching parity with 40k as a veteran player may know it.

In proper 40k (I was about to write the needlessly patronizing “40k For Grown Ups” then I remembered the identically named terrible Facebook group full of diaper-filling middle aged babies) Aggressors are not exactly lighting the competitive world on fire. Their 8th edition glory days are behind them for the moment, and in a world as deadly as 9th edition 40k they don’t quite stack up. However, I do believe I will get some edge use out of them in my Black Templars. With some decent supporting stratagems, buffs from Templar vows, and the occasional supporting character, they might be able to punch a bit above their weight with their exceptionally large fists.

Final Verdict 6/80:

It’s wild to have two issues in a row with effectively exclusive models in them, but here we are. As these were about 25 buckaroonies when they were still available, it’s a solid value. The included Abaddon Black is a useful color on paper (the only place it might get good coverage! Heyooooo!) but it’s a weirdly weak paint for modern Citadel paints. Imperium’s take on 40k as a wargame is starting to be recognizable as Warhammer as I know it. I do wonder how 8 weeks of playing these simpler 40k-adjacent games could grate on a newcomer, and I would like to think they would start making up their own missions and doing battle with those. The blank side of the boards invite this, but without any sort of permission being given to do so, I imagine a more timid hobbyist might not have the impetus to try it out. Still, I think this is starting to build some real momentum towards making a warham out of a passing nerd.

See you next issue, warhams.

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