SRM’s Ongoing Imperium Review: Week 9

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.

Dedicating two issues to one of the most basic troop types in the game might seem silly to you, but personally I think it’s cool as hell. These are robot skeletons and by gum that seems cool enough to write a couple dozen pages about. If you don’t agree with that statement I can direct you to the Lava Lands Visitor Center where they can assist you in finding some rocks to kick, or, alternatively, some sand to pound.

The Magazine

Necron Warriors
Necron Warriors. Credit: Pendulin

We open on a page about Necron Warrior Phalanxes, their organization, heraldry, and weaponry. I really like how the glyphs are broken down here; basically each Necron dynasty has a dynastic glyph made up of a bunch of smaller glyphs, each representing different elements of the dynasty. I had no idea about this, and I think it’s extremely cool. The gauss weapons are essentially described as disrupting the atomic structure of whatever they strike, or doing that slightly better at closer range. It ain’t wrong. This leads us into our first of two (!) Battle Records in this issue, which reference back to the big tables from B – Background 01, much like the Overlord last week. There is also a section where you can draw your own Phalanx Glyph. It’s very cute.

The Scything Blades were one of many Phalanxes under the command and ownership of Overlord Banatur the Destroyer. Made up entirely of Necrontyr he never much cared for in life, he gave the title of Scything Blades entirely out of irony; not a single automata in the Phalanx had held anything sharper than a particularly sharp stick in over ten millennia. In disrepair and with wires exposed, they had been left to the least glorious and rewarding positions imaginable, their threat detection matrices pinging false positives for entire lifetimes at a time.

Credit: PierreTheMime

After this, we have another page about Canoptek Scarabs and their whole steez. This is presented in-universe by an Inquisitor Leonid Rostov, replete with a cursive font and some cute little sketches of Scarabs zooming about. I like this sort of thing as it still preserves some of the mystery of the setting that captured my attention so much as a teenager. Over the page we get a Battle Record for these little idiots, which even suggests their name be one given by fearful human settlers.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Derek’s Mom’s Dining Table IV was supposed to be safe, Nestur thought. This simple industro-agriworld wasn’t supposed to have threats like these, but a name like “Doom Spiders” isn’t given for nothing. These swarms of tiny machines were thought to just monitor the vital systems of ships or tombs, not emerge and attack on their own. Nestur cowered behind his Lexiss-pattern Ground Car, designation LS-400, only to feel it rattle to pieces. The machines were devouring his vehicle and he felt an overwhelming feeling of despair as he dropped to his knees and felt his tears roll onto the ground. Strangely, in his last moments, his only thoughts were “Oh! My car!” before being atomized by the swarm.

After this we get a nice two page spread each on what the Ultramarines are all about, plus another two pages about Psykers and their whole deal. My favorite bit here is the series of little bios on the members of Squad Sevastus, a typical Space Marine squad with names, quotes, and some info about each of them. It’s neat and paints the picture that each of these dudes are characters in their own right, something that’s easily taken for granted in full scale 40k. Lastly, we get a short story, The Soulless Cohorts. This story is set on Coronar, which is a real choice of a name in TYOOL 2022. It’s not anything too special, but details how Necrons wage war. I feel like reading “Necrons get back up sometimes” in the abstract lacks the punch that seeing that in a narrative has, and this story does a good enough job of showcasing that. An Overlord tells his Warriors to get up, they shoot some Space Marines, advance despite their losses, and either get back up or teleport away when they die. At the end, the Necrons are victorious and move on to the next battle. It finishes with a cute little in-universe blurb from a Techpriest detailing their findings on Necron hierarchies and how hard it is to dissect them when they keep teleporting away.

Finally, there is a spread on Ultramarines and their Chapter Organization in a big ol’ centerfold. It’s pretty surface level but covers everything you’d want to know about the various companies, command staff, and so on. It ends on a big spread of the Ultramarines vs. the Death Guard and is speckled with some lovely art.

The Models

Necron Warriors. Credit: Wings

This issue contains the first of two sprues of Necron Warriors and Scarabs, with the instructions informing the hobbyist that they will need the second sprue next issue to complete the build. These are your rank and file Necrons, the very same ones you can find in Indomitus, the Necron Warriors kit, or any of the 9th edition 40k starter sets. It’s a solid kit with some solid detail and posing without being too over the top. It’s exactly what you’d want from your average jamokrons is what I’m getting at. Building the kit is a little finnicky, as the parts can often be fragile and lining up both arms at once is sometimes a pain. There’s guide pegs which help a lot, but you’ll have to be careful applying pressure so as not to snap something. The builder is instructed to build 5 with Gauss Flayers and 5 with Gauss Reapers so they can follow some future playthroughs and paint guides more easily, but aren’t given much context for what those do in-game.

The Gaming Materials

Ultramarines Primaris Lieutenant. Credit: SRM

Oddly, the mission in this doesn’t involve any of the included Warriors or Scarabs. Instead, it has a tagteam match between the Space Marine Captain and Lieutenant against the Necron Overlord and Royal Warden. This Mario+Luigi vs. Wario+Waluigi-style matchup has the straightforward objective of just killing the biggest cheese on each respective side. This isn’t on its surface any more complex than the previous issue’s mission, but this has three new rules introduced: invulnerable saves on the Space Marines, Living Metal on the Necrons, and multidamage weapons on all parties. This is, for all intents and purposes, a real deal Fight phase being played out. I do feel like the Marines could fairly easily overpower the Necrons if they can close the distance on this tiny board, but with the invitation to switch sides and try again afterwards, that imbalance isn’t the end of the world.

Final Verdict 9/80:

From a dollarydoo perspective, the cost breakdown here is decent. At two issues for $13.95, you’ll make up for the $50 price tag on a box of Necron Warriors and Scarabs. You can absolutely get them cheaper on eBay, but you can also buy haunted dolls and replica Highlander swords on eBay so it’s clearly just a cooler website altogether. The included mission adds some much needed granularity to this 40k-by-degrees experience, and the included lore and stories are pretty neat. All in all, I’d say this is a solid issue, albeit one that will have to wait til next time to truly be complete.

See you next issue, warhams.

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