SRM’s Ongoing Imperium Review: Week 85

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 a brief period in 2019, Games Workshop was firmly yeehawpilled. This is not my interpretation, this is text. This week’s model is a spillover from that period, where the Warhammer video team really got their mileage out of everything tagged “western” in their stock music library. If I were reviewing those trailers instead of this magazine I’d give them top marks across the board; the fabled 90/90 that some folks would think is a numerical score and not a mile marker in my journey towards the end of this series. Let us see where this particular marker takes us.

The Magazine

Necron Hexmark Destroyer
Necron Hexmark Destroyer. Credit: Pendulin

As alluded to previously, the rootinest-tootinest-gun-shootinest Necron of all is the star of the show here. Hexmark Destroyers take the idea of a sixgun and extrapolate that, Moe Szyslak-like, into six guns. They are apparently quite good at using these to make things die extremely quickly. These Enmitic Disintegrator Pistols cause atoms to repel one another, so imagine the experience of magnetizing two bits only to get the polarities wrong, except it’s with your entire body. Deathmarks who’ve decided they want to Mark more Death often become these Hexmark Destroyers. Of course, we are afforded the opportunity to write up a little story about our aimbotting aimbot here, courtesy of a new Battle Record:

Excisor Zanokh silently scuttled behind the Imperial barracks. Its sound-dampened servos reduced the anvil-like impacts of its feet on the ground to a percussive whisper. It looked down at the assembled Imperial Guardsmen; humans stuffing their face with Pringalian salted starch-wafers, a disgusting foodstuff made from the lowest quality local tubers. ‘Crunch!’ went one of these flakes as it was masticated by a slackjawed trooper, sitting on an ammo trunk. The viral madness coursing through Zanokh’s circuits was sparked by the ceaseless crunches and lip smacks from these filthy organic creatures, and in a second’s time the Destroyer became a tornado of violence. “Die! Die! DIE!” it vocalized, Engrimatic Disintegrators firing in every direction. In an instant, the room was an abattoir of exploded bodies and uneaten junk food.

We’re about to get some serious whiplash as we rocket around the galaxy, but we start in familiar territory with the Dark Angels hero Ezekiel, Grand Master of Librarians. Ezekiel was found on Delphyna III by Codicier Meroth, who sensed his psychic aura from miles away. Ezekiel rapidly surpassed his master and became Grand Master of the Librarians, with the previous Grand Master, Danatheum, gladly handing over the responsibility. It’s rare for a promotion to not be preceded by violent death in 40k, so I hope the old guy got to retire. Ezekiel is also among the oldest serving models in all of Warhammer, dating back to 1996’s Codex: Angels of Death. Somewhat surprisingly, the lore presented here about his backstory is not present in that august tome and was introduced in a later edition. One thing remains consistent, however: The Book of Salvation, a book containing the names of all the captured Fallen. Since 1996 the note was added that these names were written in the traitors’ own blood, which as a semi-reformed teenage edgelord, I appreciate.

We follow one hero with another: Sammael, Grand Master of the Ravenwing. Weirdly, the Ravenwing goes through Grand Masters pretty often, as nobody pays heed to the “Motorcycles Are Everywhere!” bumper stickers plastered on so many midsize hatchbacks in my town. In an interrogation after a battle against some garden variety rebels, Sammael discovered Cypher was responsible for the insurrection they’d just put down. For this discovery he was elevated into the Inner Circle, and rapidly promoted to Grand Master after the previous Grand Master, Gideon, died. Sammael rides to war on the Corvex Jetbike, a supposedly one-of-a-kind jetbike that keeps getting blown up and reappearing. How this happens is unclear. Maybe it’s warp-magic, maybe the Dark Angels Techmarines are just really good at their job, or maybe there’s a warehouse full of these damn things on The Rock. Now that you can field whole units of Custodes jetbikes and Primaris Marines have repulsor technology up the wazoo, it’s not quite as special as it was, but maybe it’ll get a less hateful model to assemble soon.

Cobalt Scions Aggressors make their stand against Tyranid Warriors. Credit: Charlie Brassley

Tyranid invasions get an in-universe exposé by our pal Inquisitor Gallius Shaarn, a reliable (un)friendly face here to walk us through the horrors of the universe. These invasions are presented with fear, disgust, and fascination. A rough timeline shows where each of a selection of Tyranid units will show up during an invasion, which I find a little prescriptive. Following this is an article about the Aeldari Ynnari, also by Shaarn. Despite saying she doesn’t have a great idea of what these death-elves are all about, she hits the nail on the head: the Aeldari god of death, Ynnead, can only be born into the universe when the last Aeldari dies. The Ynnari believe they can birth Ynnead without all dying in the process. While not all Aeldari ascribe to this belief, seemingly every special character in the Codex does, or is at least willing to work with them. Honestly, despite this supposedly being an incomplete and subjective report, Gallius hits all the high points of the faction and its characters. Give that lady a promotion.

Kasrkin. Credit: SRM

We’re going In Search of Plunder (emphasis theirs) in this issue’s short story. A Necron Cryptek named Kaphros the Intractable is defending a Space Hulk and its store of Blackstone from a squad of Kasrkin. This is essentially a dramatization of the Kill Team: Shadowvaults set from last year. It illustrates how these elite troops and some Necrons would fight, but the novelty comes from its perspective – in a rare move, it’s from the xenos point of view. Kaphros finds these humans to be meddlesome, but has a grudging respect for them and their combat prowess. It’s a minor character moment, but it puts into perspective how badass these Kasrkin are supposed to be. Mind you, they’re not badass enough to survive this story, but they get an A for effort.

Lastly, we get an article on the Leagues of Votann. It kind of reminds me of the tiny pamphlets from 2nd edition 40k that gave a bird’s eye view of each faction. Hailing from the resource and threat-rich Galactic Core, every Kin (the all-encompassing term for Votann) is trained in combat, as prospecting is dangerous business. They regularly venture outside this region in pursuit of trade, plunder, and mercenary work, giving them narrative reasons to fight just about everybody. While there are overviews of each of the army’s limited selection of units, they offer some more interesting insight into the culture of the Votann, which is all new to me. Brôkhyr aren’t just the heavy weapons guys, they’re the artificers and repair crews, and their exo-rigs are typically used for industrial work. Hernkyn are the explorers and traders Imperials will most commonly come in contact with in non-hostile encounters. Hearthkyn are citizen-soldiers, your regular miners and traders just here to do their jobs. Conversely, the Einhyr are the actual dedicated soldiery, and the only role here that is exclusively military. Leading these are Kâhls, who are the generals and captains of Votann armies. A few of the various subfactions get pointed out as well. These range from manufacturing experts to military superstates, and are accompanied by some beautiful and atmospheric photography illustrating their distinct color schemes. I also want to give a shout to the graphic design of the league icons and the illustrations in this article. It took a long time for GW to find inspiration and distinct theming for “Dwarfs in Space” after Squats got Squatted, but I think it was worth the wait.

The Hobby Materials

Hexmark Destroyer. Credit: Rockfish
Hexmark Destroyer. Credit: Rockfish

Approximately 1000 words ago when I started this article, I talked about this week’s model, the Hexmark Destroyer. As you might have been able to ascertain from said opening paragraphs of this column, I dig this model. It’s got a cool pose, unique silhouette, and looks alien while still being recognizable. Construction seems fiddly, and lining up tubes is often an exercise in patience and/or frustration. There’s an extremely similar alternate head, but it’s otherwise a prescriptive model to build. The pipes and pistols also seem like kind of a pain to paint around. The paint guide is simple, and contains nothing you shouldn’t already know at this point – there’s just a handful of textures on the model, and if you’ve edge highlighted and painted eyes before, you’ll be good here. There’s nothing wrong with this paint guide, mind, it’s just a miniature that anyone following along at home should be well prepared for. Hobbyists would do well to follow the build guide closely, however, as that seems to be where most of the challenge of this model lies.

The Gaming Materials

Necron Skorpekh Lord, Royal Warden and Plasmacyte, Credit: Richyp

Whaddayaknow, we’re back on Kjalma’s Skull. While the Necron Dolmen Gate has fallen, they’re back at work building a Noctilith pylon to spread The Stilling and shut out the Warp. The Imperials aren’t thrilled to be stilled, so their mission is to break through the Necron line and recon the area so the fleet can blast it from orbit. This is represented by a fairly standard 6 objective Hammer and Anvil deployment setup, where the Imperial player has to perform an Action to upload auspex data from each objective marker. It tells the story pretty well, and there’s some inherent drama as Imperials will need to push deeper into the Necron line to continue accomplishing this objective.

Final Verdict 85/90:

A Hexmark Destroyer is $35, so with this issue’s $13.95 cover price you’re saving $21.05. That’s enough to get a decent lunch and leave a tip, depending where you live. The breadth of lore here is exciting, catching some stuff even I’m not familiar with, and the mission and hobby materials are par for the rather good course. I’m glad we’re still getting strong issues this late in the game.

See you next issue, warhams.

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