SRM’s Ongoing Imperium Review: Week 86

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. 

Welcome to the final Imperium review of 2023! I’d offer a Your Imperium Wrapped but that would be even more superfluous than the one of those I got from Marriott hotels.

The Magazine

Black Templars Redemptor Dreadnought. Credit: SRM

The focus this week is placed on Redemptor Dreadnoughts, as we have part of one in this very issue. We’ve had articles about Redemptors in the past, and I’ll just quote myself on what their deal is because I have to get started on Christmas dinner:

…that 40k as hell walker where they put a nearly dead guy in a war machine and make him keep fighting til he dies for real. I’ve always thought these were the coolest fucking thing in Warhammer, and I hope new generations reading this series will agree with me.

Accompanying this brief writeup is a Battle Record for new buddy, or at least the first third of him:

Brother Octavius opened his eyes. Where was he?
An engine growled, smokestacks belched black clouds. How did he get here? Where was here?
The last he remembered he was struck by a… cannon shell? Macro-Truck? No, a plasma blast. Somewhere on the fields of…
Derek’s Mom’s Dining Table IV. Octavius flexed his left hand, larger and more powerful than it ever was before.
“Return to service, Brother Octavius. Your duty is not yet done. Derek’s Mom’s Dining Table IV is not yet set.”
“Even in death I still serve.” intoned Octavius through his newly mechanical body.

A writeup on Blood Angels heroes comes next, with Astorath the Grim going first. He is the Redeemer of the Lost; a funny way of saying he executes Blood Angels who have fallen to the Black Rage. He’ll lead these brothers towards death in battle in the hope of sparing them execution, but he doesn’t have that title for nothing. On the other side of the whole “Lost” thing is Chaplain Lemartes, Guardian of the Lost. He had fallen to the Black Rage, and when Astorath was about to Grim him, Lemartes came to, and, like Jimmy Stewart before him, demanded to live. Astorath was like “k” and gave him The Blood Crozius, and now Lemartes guides the Death Company. They’re both pretty cool characters, and their models have aged nicely, Finecast foibles notwithstanding.

Credit: BuffaloChicken

Our next article is about Catachan, both the planet and its regiments. Read Harry Harrison’s Deathworld trilogy if you haven’t; it’s the primordial ooze of the entire death world concept in 40k, and Catachan specifically. It’s also much better than Death World (with a space) by Steve Lyons; a fairly middling Imperial Guard novel from 2006. Catachan is a world where anything and everything, flora and fauna, can and will try to kill you. It’s so comically inimical to life that the only people who survive are more muscle than man. When the Cicatrix Maledictum opened up, refugees tried to make landfall on Planet Rambo, only to get turned away when the local populace figured they wouldn’t survive. The only exception was made for the Tuloschan Grey Companions, a tough-as-nails regiment who were secretly worshippers of a dark god they called Shadow Butcher. This led to an incursion of Khorne Daemons on the world, but by the time the Indomitus Crusade arrived, the Catachans and their hostile world had killed each and every Chaos worshipper and their Daemonic allies. Hell yeah. If you want more of this sorta thing, go check out occasional Goonhammer contributor and real-life Catachan Peter “BuffaloChicken” Dolan’s Instagram.

Following up on last week’s Tyranid report, we get an article detailing the next step of their invasions. This tells us about the Assault portion of their attacks, when that first infiltration/vanguard wave doesn’t do the trick. This is where the big guns like Hive Tyrants and Trygons come into play. The specifics are vague in a way that I appreciate; the universe is a lot less scary when you can point to a monster and say “that’s a Toughness 3 Hormagaunt” as opposed to some unknown lurking monster. That “known quantity” aspect is why I find horror to be especially challenging in the 40k setting, but I’ll save that thought for another day.

Flesh Tearer’s Death Company. Credit: Drybrush Threepwood

Flesh Tearers get an unexpected spotlight next, as this issue seems poised to alternate between Blood Angels and Catachans. If the Blood Angels are savagery tempered by nobility, Flesh Tearers do away with the whole “nobility” term of that equation. They’re more susceptible to the Flaw and the Black Rage than other Blood Angels successors, and have been known to turn on their allies nearly as often as their enemies. They were reduced to a single company during the Devastation of Baal, as their chapter master Gabriel Seth has a somewhat understandable martyrdom complex. Dante thinks they’re an ugly but necessary tool, kind of like Gregbot is for Goonhammer.

Closing out the narrative section this week is Green Hell (emphasis theirs), a short story about the Catachans that is absolutely not the first piece of Warhammer fiction named after a pretty decent Misfits song. This story details two patrols clashing in the death world’s jungle – a recon team of Catachan Jungle Fighters, and a mob of Orks. The Guardsmen track the Orks through the jungle, have a firefight that becomes a knife fight, and accidentally wake up a Catachan Devil. I wish the writing captured the attitude of the Catachans better, as they just talk like normal guys here, but their sneaky melee-heavy combat style is well represented. It’s not an amazing story but I had a good enough time reading it.

The Hobby Materials

Gaius Atalus (deceased). Credit: Charlie Brassley

This week we get the first of 3 sprues of the Redemptor Dreadnought, with the following to come over the next 2 issues. This update of the classic Castaferrum “Boxnaught” for the Primaris range is pretty well-liked, even by the haters, and mine have seen more games than they haven’t. We don’t even get a hobby section in this issue, as there is so little to work with, so we’ll save my thoughts about building this chunky boi for the next one.

The Gaming Materials

Instragram: bair_paints

We get rules and some basic tactics on why you’d equip ol’ Dreadly Do-Right with whichever weapon, replete with a visual guide for which one’s which. The meat of this section is in the mission, Invasion: Megaria. While the fronts of the war for the Ramasus sector have moved, Megaria has remained a hotbed of conflict. In this mission, Imperial defenders must hold out in the ruins of a fuel refinery while Necrons encroach from multiple angles. It’s a pretty standard 1, 2, more objective mission, but with the Necrons deploying on the short sides and the Imperials deploying in the center. The Necrons have a secondary objective to hold the center objective, but if they’re holding that, they’ve likely already won. I’ve played a lot of missions like this in multiple systems over the years, but they usually require the player in the center to put a load of their forces in reserve. It looks like a fun mission, and as the Imperials get to put their whole army down, they’ll avoid the bad feels of getting half their army wiped out on turn 1.

Final Verdict 86/90:

Redemptor Dreadnought – credit Alex Whitney

Redemptor Dreadnoughts are going for $75 nowadays. This issue, plus the following 2 to complete our Redemptor, will run you $41.85. The savings there are pretty clear to see, though Redemptors do make their way into various value-priced army boxes pretty often. I’m actually surprised they didn’t just roll out the old Easy to Build one for this. The model will be absolutely worth it (spoilers for my eventual model review) and the bevvy of narrative content in this issue make for some fun reading. I’m glad we could close out 2023 on a high note, with the resolution of that chord to come in the next few weeks.

See you next year, warhams.

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