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.
When I was a kid, Marine veterans were either Terminators, or prohibitively expensive 1 wound 3+ save dudes who had like a single extra attack and access to maybe an extra plasma gun. Oh, how far we’ve come.
With Ultramarines on the cover, we jump straight into an article on Space Marine Veterans. These 1st company warriors have fought for decades, and get the pick of the litter when it comes to wargear. They can also display personal heraldry, of which I am obviously a huge fan. The 1st company doesn’t go to war together all that often – if you need a reason why, ask the Ultramarines 1st company after the battle of Cold Steel Ridge. Oh wait. You can’t. We get little boxouts on Sternguard, Vanguard, and Terminator Veterans, their general ways of war, and what they’re equipped with. I’m glad they found the STC for XL sized Terminator plate; it’s about time someone other than short king Space Marines get to wear it.
For all you xeno lovers out there, we get to learn about the primary antagonist of 9th edition, Szarekh, The Silent King. Some might feel uncomfortable with me making such a definitive statement, but it’s my article and I’m just riffing on toy soldier comic book shit. You can chill. Szarekh went out to get cigarettes a couple aeons ago and he’s back to return the Necron empire to glory. You see when he did the whole biotransferrence thing, instead of getting turned into a hollowed out husk of himself, he got to keep all his emotions and memories, and have them enhanced if anything else. The rich get richer and all that. He’s also cursed with perfect recall, so he’s got a couple million years of bad vibes to take out on the galaxy. We learn about The Final Triarch – the weirdos who ride around with him on the Dais of Dominion – who live only to serve their king. The one thing here which I think is especially noteworthy is Szarekh’s cool cape, which is made from the flensed necrodermis of a C’tan. This dude’s floating around on his portable stage wearing the skin of a god as a bathrobe, in case you didn’t think he meant business.
Everyone’s second favorite Blue Space Marines get their own showcase this week, with an article about the Crimson Fists. Where the Black Templars got all the zealots and loudmouths of the Imperial Fists legion, the Crimson Fists got the levelheaded ones. There’s a crash course on their chapter history, which is mostly owning and getting owned by one Ork Waaagh! or another. They got to act against type during the Indomitus Crusade, where instead of Orks it was the forces of Chaos besieging Rynn’s World, only for Guilliman to come to the rescue. Pedro Kantor, one of the oldest names in 40k, gets a boxout here, as he is their chapter master. After the initial disaster on Rynn’s World that killed most of the chapter, he lead his surviving Marines in an ongoing guerilla war against the Orks instead of making some foolhardy last stand or suicidal charge. He’s been one of my favorite Marine characters since his reintroduction in 5th edition, and I hope he gets a Primaris glowup at some point in the future.
If you haven’t gotten enough of Blue Space Marines, there’s a one-two punch of articles on Uriel Ventris and Varro Tigurius of the Ultramarines. Uriel Ventris is something of a maverick, having been censured for his unorthodox approach to warfare. He was eventually welcomed back into the fold after a stint with the Deathwatch, all of which you can read about in some novels I don’t like. Tigurius, on the other hand, is a by the (Dewey Decimal Classified) book kind of Librarian, all wisdom and insight. For whatever reason, he gets to be the only modern Space Marine model with a back banner.
This week we get not only a rare story section, but a doublewide one at that, with Crux Terminatus (emphasis theirs). This story sees a group of Deathwing Knights, let by Chaplain Zephos, teleport down into an Iron Warriors fortress to capture a Warsmith. There are a few typos – sentences ending with a comma, a missing noun or two, and so on – but I feel like the length of this story lends it a bit more weight. It’s hard to squeeze much narrative tension or setup in a page and a half. It’s a pretty good story showing how Terminators are used on the battlefield, and it has a nice boss fight with a Maulerfiend. All of these stories fall on the side of bolter porn, but for the audience this is intended for, it’s good to have a sketch of how all these dudes go about killing each other.
The Hobby Materials
We’ve got another paint issue this week, but the included paints are both extremely useful. First is Calgar Blue, the de facto highlight color for Macragge Blue. I’ve never had a problem with coverage with this color, though I’ve never tried to paint a large flat area with it. It’s a great highlight paint. Second is Evil Sunz Scarlet, which similarly is best for highlighting Mephiston Red. I use this color on everything from my Black Templars to my Stormcast, a real Frank’s Red Hot “I put that shit on everything!” sorta color. It too is a great paint. Accompanying these two colors are guides for applying them as highlights across your Imperium collection. These two colors are so prevalent and our collections have grown so much that after a few pages of examples, it just gives us a list of models in our collections to apply these paints to and figure the rest out. We had to grow up sometime.
The Gaming Materials
The rules section this week opens on the Space Marine Obscuration Discipline, the set of powers belonging to the Phobos-Armored Tactical Wizard you see above. These spells broadly are more about sneaky movement, subterfuge, and debuffs, and less about raw damage. It’s also extremely fun to say things like “Tenebrous Curse” like The Monarch. A tutorial explains how a few of these work, then we’re onto this week’s mission: The Crystal Matrix. A stack of Necron hypercube harddrives are underground, and the Ultramarines, tasked by the Ordo Xenos, are intending to perform a smash and grab. The mission has 3 objectives across the center of the board, and each turn one is randomly worth more than the other two. I’ve played a lot of games like this, and they can at times be a little too swingy, but it’s a fine enough mission. It requires both players to react to sudden changes on the field instead of just their opponent’s moves, but sometimes you get 5 turns in a row of objective 3 being the primary one, and whichever player is parked there just runs with it.
Final Verdict 62/90:
This is a paint issue, which always presents something of a rough value prospect. While they by no means swing the pendulum away from Imperium being a generally great deal, it stings seeing $9.10 of paint for $13.95. The bevvy of narrative material this week makes up for this somewhat, and if you’re the kind of newcomer this magazine is aimed at, you might really like hearing about these different forces and characters.
See you next issue, warhams.
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