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.
When I was a young lad of 7, I began playing the then-new strategy game Starcraft with what was likely a downright mournful APM. I found myself encountering the basic infantry unit of the Protoss, the Zealot, quite often. As a wee bairn with a paltry few years of book learning under my slightly too tight belt, I mispronounced these psi-blade wielding warriors as “zee-lots” before being corrected by my far more learned father. I did not think then that some 25 years later, I would be returning to this particular vocabulary word so often.
noun. Someone who kills my dudes in melee.
Much like last week, we are given the opportunity to write not one, but two Battle Records. Our understrength units of Sisters Repentia and Arco-Flagellants are named and explained, with their equipment and various doodads called out and given context. These two units are some of the 40k setting’s most horrifying, showcasing the illogical conclusion of blind faith and zealotry. Repentia are disgraced warriors hoping to die on the battlefield, erasing their shame and martyring themselves for their cause. Arco-Flagellants are psycho-indoctrinated sinners who are surgically altered into living weapons. Both of these units live to die, and as I only have a single model for each, I’ll give them one story together. Their Battle Records are similar, and they even get bespoke d6 sin charts, which is something I didn’t think I’d see again after leaving Catholic school.
Being the last survivor of the Sinful Absolvers wasn’t the honor one may think. Where survivor’s guilt ended, rage began, as Temperance Perdita eyed the Necron line and hungrily revved her Eviscerator. Her pursuit of vengeance landed her in this situation to begin with, and the only way out was glorious martyrdom in battle. Just as she broke cover, another sinner rushed ahead of her, Josiah, the last Arco-Flagellant of the Bloodied Retributors. He had been a normal citizen of Derek’s Mom’s Dining Table IV, but when the Necron assault began, he was convicted for spreading panic and sedition amongst the populace. The Ministorum ensured that he paid for these crimes. Even now, as he tore into the Necron host with his surgically implanted arco-flails, he would never truly be absolved of his sin. Inspired by Josiah’s vicious assault, Temperance leapt into the fray, knowing – and hoping – that this would be the day they both redeemed themselves in death.
What follows is a brief rundown of the various types of Sisters in an average priory. Rank and file Battle Sisters, special weapon-wielding Dominion squads, Retributor fire support squads, and the flying Seraphim and Zephyrim are each given a paragraph. Even now I’m not quite sure what the difference between the Sisters with meltas and the Sisters with multimeltas is from an organizational standpoint, but the accompanying art is good and I’m looking forward to another page describing the rest of their forces.
We next get a rundown of the Talons of the Emperor – Sisters of Silence and the Adeptus Custodes. These are models I never once thought would get plastic multipart kits, and it’s still somewhat wild to me that they see regular play. I think it’s lame that none of the Custodes are ladies, but you, dear hobbyist, can fix that oversight. These menschiest of ubermenschen are to a Space Marine what a Space Marine is to you and me, and we get to learn a smidge about their equipment and role in the Imperium. Said equipment is made not in giant factories and STC fabricators, but by generations of artisans who have been handcrafting Custodes wargear for their entire family history. Hell of a family business but it’s at least stable work, I guess.
These Talons of the Emperor are put to work in Children of the Wyrm, one of those uncommon bouts of fiction included in Imperium. This Oops! All Italics! story sees a Genestealer cult uprising on a shrine world get stomped flat by Custodes and Sisters of Silence. Well, it’s less the Custodes who stomp the Genestealer Cult magus flat, as it is a rock that falls on her, but that’s fine. The story showcases how many dudes a Custode can kill and how the psychic null field projected by the Sisters of Silence works, and there are numerous typos and unnecessary ‘s added to the end’s of word’s. It’s not the worst story included by any stretch, it might even be one of the better ones, but they really could use a once-over by Clippy or Grammarly or whatever.
Finally for our narrative section, we get an article on the Laevenir Archipelago. I don’t know how an archipelago works in space, as this represents 9 star systems instead of a cluster of islands, but it’s a cool word I don’t get to use enough so let’s roll with it. This starchipelago has been a largely peaceful Eldar haven, but is currently being munched by Hive Fleet Ouroboris, so the Eldar of the (former) craftworld Biel-Tan are leading its defense. Things aren’t going great for the space elves, and an Inquisition missive recommends Ordos Xenos intervention to stop the Tyranids from consuming these worlds and growing more powerful. Even though I’ve never heard of this sector, likely never will again, and it doesn’t involve any big named characters of the setting, I absolutely love stuff like this. It fleshes out the universe and makes it feel like something is always happening somewhere. Now, that something isn’t necessarily a good thing for the people involved, but if you want this to truly feel like a universe at war, it can’t just be our named comic book heroes and villains slapping each other.
The Hobby Materials
This issue contains two paints – Wild Rider Red and Pink Horror. These are both Layer paints, and perfect for highlighting Mephiston Red/Evil Sunz Scarlet and Screamer Pink respectively. Here there is an exceptionally brief painting tutorial on highlighting Space Marine details with these two colors, showing sword grips, purity seals, and the raised edges of cloaks. It’s fine, you’re kind of just left to do your own thing and find these details on the rest of your models.
The Gaming Materials
This section opens with a pair of tutorials for Sisters at large and Arco-Flagellants specifically. This is heralded with the article title SHIELD OF FAITH & ZEALOT which at first read as a bewildering sentence before reading further down. We learn how these rules work and get Datasheets for the Sisters Repentia and Arco-Flagellants we wrote Battle Records for earlier in the issue. I have been at the receiving end of Repentia charges many, many times, and I would like it if they could stop killing my dudes. Fortunately, they can turn their dude-killing abilities towards the Necrons in this week’s mission, Leading the Faithful. Our Canoness is leading her scattered warriors back to the Basilica of Sant Marcius, while the Necrons are just looking to do their usual thing. They intend to do so with a Royal Warden, 3 Necron Warriors, 2 Flayed Ones, and a Tomb Blade vs. the Sisters’ Canoness, 3 Battle Sisters, 2 Seraphim, single Sister Repentia and her pal, the similarly single Arco-Flagellant. Much like last week, the layout is prescribed – so much like last week that it’s the same layout – but the mission is slightly different. This gaggle of weirdly sized squads are trying to kill each other as ever, but the Sisters player wins if a single friendly model ends their turn in the Necron deployment zone. I like breakthrough missions like this, but using multiple squads of single infantry models is very silly.
Final Verdict 47/80:
The two included paints, Wild Rider Red and Pink Horror, will set you back $4.55 a pop. At a combined $9.10, we’re looking at a poor value compared to the $13.95 cover price of this issue. These are good, useful paints that I use quite often, but for many, the raison d’etre of Imperium is getting oodles of cheap models and supplies. With that in mind, this suffers the typical “paint issue” problem of just not being a great value, especially if you don’t want or need these two colors. The painting guide is minimal and the narrative section is uneven, but if you’re learning the ins and outs of playing Sisters of Battle, this issue has some of their more important rules.
See you next issue, warhams.
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