SRM’s Ongoing Imperium Review: Week 66

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.

With Stormbringer bringing an Age of Sigmar partworks experience to the US this Fall, I’m wondering if we’ll run into the same issue with the issues – namely that by the time the magazine has completed its run, we’re already in the next edition of the game. I don’t have any Uncles at Nintendo feeding me that idea, it just worries me slightly that people getting into the game through these magazines will get an out of date experience. Regardless, if the quality of writing and models holds up to Imperium‘s, it should at least be a fun ride, and a great intro to the setting.

The Magazine

Sneaky Bois and Bouncy Bois. BFFS!

We open on a pair of Battle Records this week, detailing the weapons and wargear of our new Suppressors and Eliminators. In addition to the tantalizing image of a Las Fusil Eliminator taking the role of Sir Not Appearing In This Issue, we learn about what all of these Accelerator Autocannons and Omnis Pattern armors do. Best of all, we get 4 tables each to roll on for these squads, and you bet your sweet Mk. X Bippy that I’m going to get rolling on these things:

The Eliminators of Squad Romanus, the so-called Bearers of the Torch, had been hiding along the ridge for nearly 3 days. Prone, Brother-Sergeant Romanus scanned the valley below with his magnoculars, only for a Necron Command Barge to hover into view. “Primary threat spotted.” he sub-voxed to his squadmates, Brothers Gnaeus and Gnaeus. These Macragge-born snipers had been grouped together alphabetically, and with a name as common as “Joe” on old Terra, the two unrelated Gnaeuses were pressed into service together. Experts at sniping from cover all, they sighted the Xenos Overlord on his barge, waiting for the target to come into optimal range. “3 Mortis rounds, fired in unison, should put an end to any alien.” Thought Romanus. Just then, there came a sound like the Emperor’s own drummer playing in 4/4. Suppressor Squad Belaphon, The Dawnbreakers, leapt above Romanus’ careful sniper ambush, their Accelerator Autocannons hammering the Necron vehicle. These outflanking specialists perforated the command barge with their ceaseless volley of shells, with Brother Marius scoring the kill-shot on the Overlord himself. The barge exploded and Brother Viridius let out a triumphant whoop before jumping over the next ridge, his Suppressor squadmates on the hunt for something else to kill. Romanus rolled onto his back, dejected. “Maybe it’s time for a nap” he said aloud.

We move on from our collection of sneaky Marines towards something altogether more alien – the Second Tyrannic War. Hive Fleet Kraken had come from the Eastern Fringe, passing through the on-the-nosedly-named world of Obliterax before coming to Ichar IV. The wide ranging nature of these hive tendrils and the Shadow in the Warp they cast slowed the Imperial response, and the Lamenters and Scythes of the Emperor chapters of Space Marines were nearly destroyed as a result. Fortunately, on Ichar IV the Tyranid menace would be stopped once some main characters showed up. Marneus Calgar and the Ultramarines led the defense of the world, driving back the hive fleet at the cost of nearly the entire planet. Kraken also brought doom to Iyanden, permanently scarring the craftworld, and only being driven off by their own main character in Prince Yriel.

Fortunately, we have the required permissions to read the next article on Chaos Knights, which is plastered with “ACCESS LEVEL VERMILLION” stamps to make sure we know it’s serious. There’s not a whole ton of info about Chaos Knights to know here – they went traitor sometime in the last 10,000 years, instead of honorable duels they compete in civilian kill-a-thons, and they’ve got a load of cool icons that would look great on the back windshield of my 2016 Kia Soul.

Imperial Fists Captain Tor Garadon
Imperial Fists Captain Tor Garadon. Credit: Jack Hunter

A pair of Imperial Fist character profiles are next, each reading like the back of a trading card you’d fight your friends over. First is Darnath Lysander, the bowling ball that walks like a man. As 1st Company captain, his ship was lost and he was captured by the Iron Warriors. He fought his way out with his bare hands (only trust your fists, the Arbites will never help you) and got home, where the Imperial Fists couldn’t find anything wrong with him and restored his rank. I hope he gets a new model someday; the Juan Diaz one owns, but I’d love to see him upscaled in plastic. There’s curiously also a boxout here about Vortex Grenades, the little black hole bombs that serve as my get out of jail free card in Boltgun. Lysander is known for leading Titan Hammer formations of Terminators armed with these grenades, but for being a supposedly famed formation, it’s the first I’m hearing about them.

Second is the Dorny-Come-Lately, Tor Garadon. A rising star in the chapter, he and Lysander took part in a disastrous defeat at Taladorn. He disobeyed Lysander’s orders, signaling for help from other chapters and saving their collective Imperial bacon, and afterwards the two were forced into a get along shirt by Fists command. There they turned their enmity for each other into comraderie, and when Lysander was given back the 1st company, Garadon was given the 3rd. I can only imagine the process was not dissimilar to the film Step Brothers, and I will not double check to find out otherwise.

Our narrative section this week closes with a short story, City Of Death (emphasis theirs). This tale, assumedly named for one of my favorite gaming supplements of all time, tracks an Imperial Leman Russ tank squadron as they traverse a city during a Genestealer Cult uprising. The stock characters are all right off the rack – the gruff driver who only gets along with the tank, the neurotic loader praying the rosary, the tank commander whose personality is “leader” à la Leonardo from Ninja Turtles, and so on. They’re secondary to the action, however, which is cramped and claustrophobic – the bones of the city no less oppressive than the confines of the crew’s Leman Russ. It’s not a story that will blow anyone away, but it’s well written and illustrative of how Genestealer Cults make war. It’s also a great example of what can happen when armor advances without infantry support, which doesn’t tend to go well for the armor.

The Hobby Materials

Ultramarines Infiltrators. Credit: SRM

We come to the end of our Phobos phlight of phancy, as we receive the final models to flesh out our squads of 10 Infiltrators, 3 Eliminators, and 3 Suppressors. I have a mixed fondness for these models. While I can say from an objective standpoint they’re all genuinely lovely, I associate them with a weird period of my life where I was painting these dudes out of the library a few towns over. This was back in 2019, when I also built the Chaos half of Shadowspear, which still sits unprimed in my closet.

The building instructions are reprinted from issue 63, as the models included are identical. There are no painting instructions, as the last issue covered everything a painter could possibly want given the paints and supplies Imperium has supplied thus far.

The Gaming Materials

Incursors, or possibly Infiltrators. Credit: Charlie Brassley

Half of this section is fleshing out the Space Marine faction rules, Angels of Death. As these are for 9th edition they won’t be useful anymore, but if one were to play this now-dated version of the game, this is more or less how the rules appeared in the codex. Devastator, Tactical, and Assault Doctrines are laid out, with a helpful diagram explaining what weapons are affected by each. The mission this week, The Battle Below, sees the Imperials breaching the Necron tomb complexes from last week and attempting to sabotage the machinery within. The Necrons, meanwhile, want to preserve their crypts. This is represented in a pretty straightforward 50 PL “hold one, hold two, hold more” Take and Hold mission, plus a bonus secondary where players score additional points for holding the central objective. Players can pick their own secondary objectives in addition to this one, and it looks like a standard Matched Play-style mission. You could play it at basically any point in Warhammer’s lifetime and it would still be a fine scenario.

Final Verdict 66/90:

Blood Angels Eliminators in Ossian Suppression Pattern Camo. Credit: Colin Ward

With a bevvy of models, loads of lore, a straightforward mission and only a single page of reprinted hobby material, there is hardly any wasted space in this issue. The topics covered are broad, and the models, to be frank, absolutely bang. The tacticool aesthetic has fallen by the wayside in lieu of the more classical, knightly look of Bladeguard or the blinged out Sternguard style, but these models still have a valuable place in Marine armies, and look great to boot. The mix and match of aesthetics and technologies in 40k are what make it 40k, and I’m glad Imperium readers get the opportunity to experience that.

Oh uh, yadda yadda yadda, it’s probably worth some dollars, the cover price isn’t as many dollars, it’s a good value. You know this by now.

See you next issue, warhams.

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