SRM’s Ongoing Imperium Review: Week 79

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.

For the past month and a half, every time I have accessed the Games Workshop webstore, I have gotten a white screen with a generic error that cannot be fixed. Even after communicating with tech support, the best solution we’ve found is to use Incognito Mode. I have to use the Pervert Browser just to price check objects for this article series. I ask not your sympathy, nor even your admiration for this, but merely for your understanding of this most minute of 21st century inconveniences.

The Magazine

Roboute Guilliman leading an Ultramarines charge. Credit: Patrick Robins

This issue, formerly the penultimate installment of Imperium before its 10-issue extension, is largely centered around Roboute Guilliman. As per usual, we have a page explaining what his general steez is, detailing his wargear and role on the battlefield. Chief among these is the Emperor’s own sword, which is so powerful it doesn’t just send Daemons to hell, it sends them to turbo-hell and kills them for good. There is also the typical Battle Record for our big blue buddy, but as his gear and backstory are all already filled out, we don’t have any tables to roll on. Instead, we are invited to choose our own adventure, so I had a crack at it:

“Why am I even here?” pondered Guilliman, standing on the killing fields of Derek’s Mom’s Dining Table IV. Even the Imperium’s greatest mind couldn’t comprehend what he was doing on the ruined streets outside Pringalia, or why he would be summoned to what amounted to a border skirmish. “I have paperwork to fill out.” the primarch muttered to no one in particular, heading back up the assault ramp of his Thunderhawk Gunship. He left orbit shortly thereafter, returning to his administrative duties.

Following this we have another article about who the big man on the cover really is, and how he fits into the Era Indomitus. This is all told with Imperium’s typical economy of writing, letting a few sentences sum up the Gathering Storm books with some evocative art to fill in the blanks. There’s also the Forgeworld portrait of Guilliman where he kinda looks like Daniel Craig.

Following up on last issue, we get phase II of the invasion of Obolis and Lirac. This battle between Typhus’ Death Guard and the Forge World Metalica swings pretty hard in the Death Guard’s favor, though most of the imagery we have to go on is a set of starmaps. My favorite bit is the code readout of a Nurgle tech-plague infecting the Mechanicus noosphere, corruption ticking up 7% at a time, and leading to a repeating sequence of 777 over and over again. I also enjoyed Heptus Khleng, Fabricator General of Metalica, who has expunged nearly all organic material from his body and thinks purely logically. Unfortunately for him, Facts and Logic won’t DESTROY Typhus, and he just stalls out whenever something unexpected happens. He’s basically the ur-Redditor.

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

Last but not least, we say goodbye to Captain Sonara von Hardt and her plucky Rogue Trader crew. Her crew get to vacation on Planet Beach Resort for some rest and relaxation. A number of memos from the crew detail what they’ll be doing on shoreleave – getting a tan, enjoying the clean air and sand beneath their feet, or writing in all caps lock about how this is a great opportunity to perform maintenance on the ship while the organics are carousing. It speaks to the RPG party experience of coming back after your group has taken a break and talking about what your characters have been up to in the month(s) since you last met. Unfortunately, their vacation is cut short when the Ordos Xenos contacts von Hardt with a job – her rival, the traitor Sloan, has been spotted nearby and it would serve both the Ordos and von Hardt to see him apprehended. What ensues is a wander about the stars having random encounters, leveling up, and finally meeting Sloan at the Battle of Helaxia. There’s a little combat map, list of ships Imperial, traitor, and Drukhari, and a detailed breakdown of how the battle played out. Sloan’s ship was boarded and he was captured, leading to a retreat of the perfidious Drukhari who no longer had any skin in the game. Von Hardt’s own ship, the Void Mistress, was knocked out of the fight and crashed on a nearby world, her captain nowhere to be seen. The case is closed on von Hardt herself, though her fate remains a mystery. This was a hugely fun series of articles, weaving a story with personal stakes that wasn’t anything so galaxy-shattering as your typical primarchs and chapter masters stuff.

The Hobby Materials

Roboute Guilliman
Roboute Guilliman. Credit: Corrode

Guilliman’s model has been somewhat divisive since its initial reveal. At the time, nobody knew Primaris Marines were just around the corner, or that Guilliman’s design heralded them quite a bit. I personally like the design of the model, but every piece of art of Guilliman has a pose I like better than the stock kit, and anybody playing with the JoyToy action figure can probably attest to that. This issue only contains half the model, with instructions for assembly. They’re helpful in that they recommend multiple subassemblies and painting the head separately, helmeted or not.

I do want to go off script and talk about Guilliman’s design based on Jes Goodwin’s notes in the ‘Eavy Metal Gathering Storm Companion from 2017. There’s a sketch of the big man that was later turned into the model you see above by Seb Perbet, but Roboute Guilliman’s Super-Suit (emphasis Jes’) had a load of details that didn’t make the final cut. From the Fist of Dorn, Belt of Russ, and Wings of Sanguinius to a collar containing the skulls of fallen primarchs, he was going to be a walking museum of Imperial history. With both pre-heresy single headed eagles and modern, double headed ones, he was supposed to be a connection between past and future, with every plate of armor another honorific. I believe they got pretty close to these ideals, but they definitely nixed him carrying the Lion’s Sword and the other signature primarch toys so they could keep those doors open in the future. “Spanner of Manus” and “Honking Great Eagle” are two notes scrawled on the edges of the sketch, the kind of half-formed joke in the margins that serves as a reminder that real human beings design these things. As with all things, they make me pine for another sketchbook like Jes Goodwin’s Gothic and the Eldritch. As an artist myself, seeing these sorts of behind-the-scenes peeks really makes me connect with a model more, and understand it as a tiny piece of art that people dumped their hearts into.

The Gaming Materials

Assault Intercessors. Credit: SRM

We’ve got a big mission this week, as we’re Assaulting the Gate. The Necron stronghold has been breached, and the Imperials are throwing everything they can at the Dolmen Gate to close it and seal off Necron reinforcements. This is represented in a classic meat grinder mission. 8 objectives are spread between the Necron deployment zone and the rest of the board. The Necrons hold all objectives at the start, though the Imperial player can take them the old fashioned way and use an action to plant banners, maintaining control even after moving off. At the end of the game, they objectives worth 15 points a pop. The Imperial attackers also get Sustained Assault, meaning each time one of their units is destroyed, they return to the battlefield the next turn on a 6+. I’m no stranger to this variety of asymmetrical mission, though I find thematic terrain for the defender really helps sell it.

Final Verdict 79/90:

Credit; Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

As ol’ Reboot Gorillaman is $70 on his own, the combined $27.90 for him over this issue and the next is a banger value. The only real drawback to his model is that you can’t use another one if you already have one in the can, and unlike some other special characters, he can’t easily be converted into a generic Captain or what have you. The rest of this issue’s material is good fun, and seeing the conclusion to Captain von Hardt’s story was a welcome resolution given how open ended Warhammer narratives tend to be.

See you next issue, warhams.

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