SRM’s Ongoing Imperium Review: Week 69

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.


The Magazine

Classic Marneus Calgar
Classic Marneus Calgar. Credit: SRM

As the cover of this magazine implies with no fewer than 3 separate images of Marneus Calgar transposed upon one another, the big blue ultra-mar-man himself has point of pride in this issue. He’s the Ultramarine every other Ultramarine is weighed against, a brilliant tactician who has killed more than his fair share of monsters and malefic Marines. He’s also one of the setting’s greatest jobbers, winning just often enough that you know shit’s getting real when someone beats him up. They left out the part where Abaddon clowned on him as the setup to Calgar crossing the Rubicon Primaris, but they’ve got a page count to stay under; I can go all day.

Potentially the shortest article yet to run in Imperium comes next, with a nice 2/3 of a page dedicated to the cover of The Master of Mankind, a few sentences about how the Emperor made the Primarchs and the Legions, and then color plates for the 18 Space Marine Legions. The color plates are all Forgeworld book illustrations with some different doodads and iconography showing each Legion as distinct. The art’s good and you may have your own favorites, but as we’ve gone over at length here at Goonhammer: Your Legion Sucks.

Twice as many pages and at least quadrice as many words are then dedicated to Space Marine tracked vehicles, from the humble Rhino to the soon to be departed Hunter. Each gets a little image, usually taken from their 5th edition box art. For hams of my vintage, it’s kind of like seeing old friends. The accompanying baseball card worth of text describes what each vehicle does, and really just seems like a nice opportunity to use some seldom-seen pictures of Rhinos and Razorbacks from the GW archives.

Elucidian Starstriders. Credit: 40khamslam
Elucidian Starstriders. Credit: 40khamslam

There is a curiously long section on Rogue Traders next, and this was one of the happiest surprises I had yet encountered in this magazine. The metanarrative is that the Ordo Xenos has placed an agent within Captain Sonara von Hardt’s crew to keep track of the Rogue Trader’s dealings. Rogue Traders are notoriously hard to keep track of, so this is a pretty common practice. Sonara von Hardt is a young Rogue Trader, inheriting the Warrant of Trade from her forebears as so many Rogue Traders do. Said Warrants are supposedly only given to upstanding nobility, but palms get greased and an awful lot of status and political power is just knowing who to pay off and when. Commentary! My favorite part of this entire article is a series of profiles on the crew, which are a solid B-tier collection of Imperial weirdos. Rough and tumble ex-Imperial Guard soldier? We got em. Retired naval officer who wanted to get back out there and experience some adventure? She’s here, and the crew loves her. Potentially excommunicated techpriest who tinkers with the ship in their off hours? You betcha. A Jokaero chef, the space monkey who can cook? Oh man, don’t me started! This stuff rules and is responsible for so much of 40k’s texture, and I’m so happy newcomers will get to read about this little RPG party. The article is categorized as ROGUE TRADER 01 so maybe we’ll get more about these weirdos down the line.

Roboute Guilliman leading an Ultramarines charge. Credit: Patrick Robins

Our narrative section closes on a centerfold summarizing The Gathering Storm: Rise of the Primarch. If you were around at the end of 7th edition, you’d probably remember that this was a big deal. An Avengers teamup of characters new and old came together to bring Guilliman back from the dead, and I don’t mention the Avengers for nothing – it’s all extremely comic booky. Big named characters are doing Big Named Character Things all over the galaxy, and people as far flung as Magnus the Red to the 40k setting’s own Shadow the Hedgehog, Cypher, all have some part to play. There’s also some fabulously off-model art in here.

The Hobby Materials

Marneus Calgar, Credit: SRM

This issue contains one half of the sprues for Imperium‘s first special character, Marneus Calgar. This is the model that fully sold me on Ultrmarines for my first foray into the Primaris range, after stubbornly chewing through my smol bean Marine backlog for quite some time into 8th edition. Let that be the endorsement you need to understand how much I think this model owns. Calgar himself can easily be broken into subassemblies for painting, which you can see in this rare file photo from our old How to Paint Everything: Marneus Calgar article.

Calgar WIP. Credit: SRM

The instructions here walk the reader through building Calgar and his two bird-faced bros in the detail one would expect from Imperium. While no solution is given for subassemblies on the Victrix Guard so you can work around their shields, there is still some helpful advice. Aside from the standard lines about careful assembly and lining tricky parts up, a helpful tip is given to temporarily mount the heads of these models on a paint pot using some poster putty, and use that as a painting handle. I had just done this myself for a commission a few days before reading this, so I’m glad the tradition is being passed on.

The Gaming Materials

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

This week it’s the Space Marines’ turn to get warlord traits, in both the classic and Vanguard varietals. In all of 9th edition I think I only used The Imperium’s Sword and Iron Resolve from this list for some more close combat punch and survivability, respectively. A tutorial spells out how Shoot and Fade works, and how The Imperium’s Sword interacts with Shock Assault. RIP to all these rules.

We delve ever deeper into Kjalma’s Skull this week, entering the Heart of the Tomb. Imperial forces have breached the Necron catacombs with the intent of destroying a powerful Necron energy source – a Dolmen Gate. This 75PL mission has a long ways/Hammer and Anvil deployment, with a strip of designated center ground between each deployment zone. Think of it like a Big Mac, where the outer buns are the deployment zones and the central bun is the center ground. The beef is the no man’s land, and there is no better way I could describe this map. Players alternate placing 4 objectives/pickles on the field, with 1 in each deployment zone and 2 in that center bun. You know they call that bun the club? Never say I never learned you nothin. Objectives stay captured after the controlling player’s command phase, which should keep the game moving. Players are incentivized to hold more objectives than their opponent, especially those outside their own territory. It’s a decent mission, and it makes me think of a decent-er sandwich.

Final Verdict 69/90:

Marneus Calgar
Credit: Alfredo Ramirez

Fittingly, the price is nice here. Calgar and his Victrix hypemen normally run $60, so two easy installments of $13.95 has you paying less than half the asking price. It helps that these are some of the absolute best Space Marine models out there, even if they are Ultramarines-specific. The amount of fluff in this issue is kind of incredible, with the Rogue Trader section being a particular highlight. The mission is fine and the 9th ed rules obviously aren’t of much use in August 2023, but this is a strong issue regardless.

See you next issue, warhams.

Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at