SRM’s Ongoing Imperium Review: Week 7

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.

Hey, how are you? I mean really, honestly, how are you? We’re 7 articles deep in this series right now and I feel like I’ve been the only one talking. We’re just hanging out, getting to know each other here, and I’m prattling off my personal anecdotes and emotional truths through the lens of Warhammer while you just sit there, patiently. You look tense.

The Magazine

Roboute Guilliman
Sir not appearing in this issue. Credit: Corrode

Roboute Guilliman’s patrician features adorn the front of this magazine, and it goes hard in the paint on the Era Indomitus. It begins as promisingly as any issue of Imperium possibly could – with an Ultramarines name generator table, plus a smidge of lore on their generally noble-sounding ancient names. The thing that really gets me, however, is that this two-columned D66 naming table is completely distinct from the one in the Codex: Ultramarines supplement. This is the kind of codex creep I am here for. This is then followed with with a pair of similarly divided D33 tables for both a Space Marine hero title and an honorific. So, let’s craft up a some characters with these tables and see what we get:

Captain Tarchion Arrian, Blade of Korvon, was straight chilling, maxing and/or relaxing on the surprisingly sunny beaches of Derek’s Mom’s Dining Table IV. This time between battles was precious and hard-fought, something he ruminated on greatly when he reached the bottom of his Primaris-sized Mai Tai. “Caio! Sergeant Caio Vespater!” he called out. The sergeant of the Silent Souls came rushing to his captain, another cocktail held in his Mk X Tacticus Armor gauntlets. Today he had traded his chainsword for a cocktail shaker and a satchel of tiny umbrellas, one of which he had dutifully placed at the rim of this latest concoction. “Thank you, brother” said Tarchion, as he graciously accepted the fresh beverage and handed his subordinate the empty glass. As he settled back into his Ryza-pattern Beach Chair (named for famed archaeotechnologist Hieronymus Beach) Tarchius let the sea breeze drift over him. “This is truly the Emperor’s Grace” he thought, as he shut his eyes behind his vintage Wayfarers.

This is followed up immediately with essentially the exact same system for Necron characters, replete with a reprint of the D66 and D33 instructions. I imagine the point is to give these to the Necron player in your life so their roboners can be robuddies. I don’t really know Necron lore all that well, beyond some gaming osmosis and this very article series, but let’s see what I can come up with.

Tamonakh The Punisher was confused by the words of the dying man before him. “The Punisher totally sucks, dude *koff*” said the Guardsman in his grasp. “The cultural legacy of that skull logo has been hella tarnished by jagoffs putting it on their pickup trucks and police cars!” Tamonakh had not earned his title, Right Hand of the Triarch, Imperator of the Crucius Nebula by listening to the words of lesser beings. With a flick of his hand, he tossed the Guardsman to his Triarch Praetorians, The Unbreakable Scourge. The last words on the Guardsman’s lips remained in Tamonakh The Punisher’s mind for some time to come. “I bet they don’t even read the comiiiiiics!”

After this veritable all you can eat buffet of tables and names, we get a couple pages on Roboute Guilliman and the Era Indomitus. It details how the Imperium’s infighting and squabbling kept them from truly uniting until ol’ Bobby G came along. I think this is important to note for the setting, as the Imperium being unable to get out of its own way is core to what 40k is all about. Still, the picture painted here is bleak, with the Imperium divided by the Great Rift, freaks and baddies of all varieties in every direction, and these faint beacons of hope cutting across the stars to save humanity. It’s not quite as poetically written as the whole opening preamble of 40k’s main rulebook, but it gets the job more than done and is a good CliffsNotes version of the setting.

Lastly, we get a model-by-model breakdown of every Space Marine included in Imperium thus far, and how to use the new paints on them. There’s some generally good advice on how to brace your wrists while painting, thin your paint, and make a point with your brush. Some of this is info that’s been in previous issues, but the ancient command “Thin Your Paints” is one that bears repeating. Most importantly, this issue finally tells painters to undercoat a few areas, even if they don’t know it yet. Maybe a new painter will think that their captain is Fully Jokerized as they paint their face Corax White and leave it that way, but I imagine further instruction will come in a future issue.

The Models

This image is not intended to mislead you, I just have a format to stick to. Credit: SRM

…aren’t in this one. That’s right, this is the first issue without a single miniature included. Instead, it includes a trio of base paints – Mechanicus Standard Grey, Corax White, and Retributor Armour. A grey, white, and gold are all pretty handy things to have in your painting toolbox, regardless of experience. Mechanicus Standard Grey is a solid medium grey with pretty good coverage. It also has a spray can match, which makes it good for touching up if your primer misses a spot. Retributor Armour is the first gold paint I’ve ever used with good coverage. It arrived with Age of Sigmar 1st edition as a means of painting Stormcast, and it’s a genuine shock how good it is. Before it hit the scene, gold paints were uniformly runny and weak. This paint rules and I go through a pot every few months. Lastly is Corax White, a paint I have never gotten through a full pot of before it turned into a chalky mess. The coverage isn’t great and it clumps up quickly. Pretty much all pure whites are like this on account of their large pigments, so it’s pretty par for the course. I would have preferred they include Grey Seer, an off-white with far better coverage. Starting from an off-white also means a painter can highlight up, something not possible with a pure white like Corax.

The Gaming Materials

Necron Warriors
Necron Warriors. Credit: Pendulin

This issue’s mission, Necron Resurgence, sees a trio of Necron Warriors matched against a pair of Assault Intercessors on the big new Martian map. You might think this is odd, given the seeming escalation of both power and size in previous battles. The cause is sound though – we’re finally using Strength vs. Toughness like in full scale 40k. The kid gloves, while not off, have been given a good tug. The printed terrain is ignored for this mission, and the only thing keeping the Assault Intercessors from reenacting the losing side of The Charge of the Light Brigade is the Necron objective. The Necrons need to cross the entire field to get to an objective on the Space Marine deployment line. With moving, advancing, falling back, shooting, charging, fighting, toughness, strength, and all the 40k stats save for Leadership represented here, this bite-sized 40k mission might actually serve its purpose as a stepping stone into the full game. It ain’t bad! Naturally, it has an instruction to switch sides and try from the other perspective, which is something I always appreciate. I know when I was a salty tween I didn’t want other people touching my models or using “my” army, but maybe young’uns these days are slightly less preternaturally curmudgeonly than I was.

Final Verdict 7/80:

This issue is the weakest value prospect thus far, at $13.95 for $15.20 worth of paint (oof those price hikes) plus a lot of just for fun tables that might not be as enjoyable for you as they clearly are for me. I do appreciate 40k’s rules being introduced piecemeal, and feel that in the next few issues we’re going to start seeing something akin to “proper” 40k really take root. As this is the last issue of this particular package, I do need to wonder if Hachette will get me the next on time. Previous packets have been weeks overdue, even if their communication with me about these delays has been serviceable. It is a drum I beat often, albeit not with aplomb. If there is another weeks-long delay between articles as there has been in the past, understand it’s nothing personal, reader.

See you next issue, warhams.

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