After the successful runs of Warhammer 40.000: Conquest and Mortal Realms comes the next Warhammer-themed partwork smash-hit from Hachette Partworks: Warhammer 40.000: Imperium. This time, the combined forces of Primaris Space Marines, Adeptus Mechanicus, and Sisters of Battle are pitted against the sinister Necrons. In this review, we’ll take a look at the contents of the 80-magazine partwork collection and find out if it’s worth your subscription money (spoiler: yes, it is).

We’ve been big fans of Warhammer 40.000: Conquest and Mortal Realms. They’ve not only been the most beginner-friendly way to start your journey into the Warhammer and tabletop hobby but were also a great way for experienced hobbyists to expand their collections on a budget. Garfy had a blast starting armies of Dark Angels and Death Guard from his Conquest subscription, while the Nighthaunt models from Mortal Realms make up the bulk of my small but growing Death army.

Featured image of Tale of Painter's Warhammer 40.000: Imperium review

As Mortal Realms has come to an end in the UK, Warhammer 40.000: Imperium will launch as the new partwork collection in the UK on August 25th, 2021, with the US edition following in early 2022. We haven’t heard of plans for any other language editions yet, but keep your fingers crossed. Issue 1 will be on sale for two weeks, with subsequent issues being released weekly after that.

The collection

Warhammer 40.000: Imperium will comprise 80 magazines, released weekly after issue 2. The collection contains sizeable armies for the Imperium and Necrons, a battlefield worth of terrain, and all the paints and brushes needed to paint the models. Like Warhammer 40.000 Conquest and Mortal Realms before, the collection is centred around the two current starter set forces: Primaris Space Marines and Necrons.

Warhammer 40.000: Imperium Collection Overview

On the Imperial side, we have the Space Marine contents from the starter sets (a Primaris Lieutenant, 10 Easy to build Assault Intercessors, 3 Outriders), plus a few more Easy to Build kits such as the Invader ATV, Firestrike Servo Turret, and 3 Aggressors; all of the Vanguard models from the Start Collecting Vanguard Marines set (Librarian in Phobos Armour, 10 Infiltrators, 3 Suppressors), three more Assault Intercessors, as well as some cool surprises such as Marneus Calgar with Victrix Guard, Roboute Guilliman, and an exclusive Primaris Captain.

But it doesn’t stop there, as we are not limited to Space Marines this time. We’ll also have the Sisters of Battle models from their Combat Patrol set (a Cannoness, 10 Battle Sisters, 5 Seraphim, a Repentia Superior, and 4 Repentias, 3 Arco-Flagellants, and a Penitent Engine, all monopose models from the original limited Sisters of Battle army box). Plus a squad of 10 Skitarii, 3 Kataphon Breachers, a Tech-Priest Domitus, and a Tech-Priest Enginseer for the forces of the Adeptus Mechanicus.

For the Necrons, you will find almost all of the models from Indomitus (a Skorphek Lord, a Royal Guardian, a Plasmancer with 2 Crypto-Thralls, a Canoptek Reanimator, 20 new Necron Warriors with 6 Scarab Swarm, 3 Skorphek Destroyers), plus some of the newer sets like 5 Flayed Ones, a Chronomancer, a Lokhust Heavy Destroyer, and three more Necron Warriors; as well as older models such as an Overlord (the old version, not the new one from Indomitus/Elite starter set), a Cryptek, 10 Immortals/Deathmarks, 5 Lychguard/Praetorians, 3 Tomb Blades, 3 Canoptek Wraiths, a Canoptek Spyder, a Destroyer, an Annihilation/Command Barge, and a Triarch Stalker.

The set of terrain comprises a set of Sector Manufactorum ruins, 3 armoured containers, the currently out of production haemotrope reactors, and a set of thermic plasma conduits.

Quite a lot of plastic there. Don’t forget all the paints and brushes you will receive, and the subscription gifts and optional premium subscription model sets.

Exclusive Primaris Captain from Warhammer 40.000: Imperium
© 2021 Hachette Partworks / Games Workshop Limited 2021

One highlight is certainly the exclusive miniature, which comes with issue 5. Warhammer 40.000: Conquest had Ultramarine Lieutenant Calsius, Mortal Realms had an exclusive Knight-Incantor for the Stormcast Eternals; this time, we have a unique Primaris Captain. Sure, it would have been nice to see something different than yet another Space Marine Captain or Lieutenant, but I have to say, I really like the animated pose (and the stylish haircut). Make sure to keep an eye on issue 5, as it will surely be gone quickly when it will be released.

© 2021 Hachette Partworks / Games Workshop Limited 2021

If you decide to commit to a subscription, you’ll receive several free accessories after the first couple of deliveries (as a subscriber you’ll always receive four issues at once). These gifts include a set of plastic glue, basic clippers, and a mold line remover, a binder to keep track of the magazine sections, additional brushes, art prints, and a Citadel painting handle. Not too bad.

© 2021 Hachette Partworks / Games Workshop Limited 2021

But it doesn’t stop there. By paying £2 more per issue (=£160 over the course of 80 issues), you’ll be able to upgrade to a premium subscription. This will net you even more models for factions such as Chaos Space Marines, Tyranids, T’au, and Orks, at a decent discount over buying these models individually.

The magazine

Issue 1 comes with two miniatures, six dice, a range ruler, and a small printed battlemat. Included are a Necron Royal Warden and a Primaris “Blade Guard” Lieutenant, originally released in the now sold-out Indomitus launch box, and currently available in the Recruit Warhammer 40.000 starter set only. The magazine is printed in full colour, has 24 pages, and an open binding. Each issue comes with dedicated background, assembly, painting, and gaming sections, and the idea is to pull the magazine apart and collect the pages in a binder, sorted by sections.

Warhammer 40.000: Imperium Issue 1

While the page count of each issue is low, the presentation of the magazine is fantastic. The background sections brim with large format artworks. The assembly guides have lots of pictures with clear instructions and helpful comments, plus extra blurbs explaining how to use specific tools. The painting guides are laid out in a very beginner-friendly way, with step-by-step tutorials made up of large and crisp pictures and helpful explanations. The guides are tailored for the paints received in the collection, so for example, as issue 2 comes with Runelord Brass base paint, the tutorial will explain only how to apply a basecoat of Runelord Brass to your Necrons. Future issues, which will add more paints to the collection, will revisit older models and explain how to add additional details. This makes it very easy for new hobbyists to follow along with the collection and assemble and paint their armies without being overwhelmed by the scope of the hobby.

Last but not least, the rules section will teach you the 9th Edition Warhammer 40.000 with small-scale scenarios based on the models included in the magazine. In issue 1, you’ll be able to duke it out with your Primaris Lieutenant and Necron Royal Warden.

Value

And what is the catch? This sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? We all know the business model of partwork titles is to hook you up for a collection with a cheap “price leader” first issue and then keeping you around for as long as possible as you’ll want to complete your collection, while the costs are racking up. And for some extent, that’s true for Warhammer 40.000: Imperium.

© 2021 Hachette Partworks / Games Workshop Limited 2021

The first issue is a steal at only £2.99, the second issue will be a moderate £5.99, with all subsequent issues priced at £8.99. All 80 issues will sum up to a considerable amount of £701.22. The title has also seen a price increase of £1 over Conquest and Mortal Realms, whose copy prices were £7.99.

But, the investment of £701.22 will net you models worth about £1,250, and that’s not even counting in all the paints, brushes, and subscription gifts. This translates to a massive 43% discount that not even online shops like Wayland Games can compete with. Our friends at Fauxhammer compiled a detailed savings breakdown with a handy list of all the included models. They also did a breakdown of the premium subscription model sets and whether they’re worth it or not.

How to buy Warhammer 40.000: Imperium

In our opinion, there are two ways to approach Warhammer 40.000: Imperium. If you’ve got a well-stocked newsagent, you can cherry-pick the issues and models you want, but be aware that issues with popular models and high discounts will be gone fast (also, show some courtesy to your fellow hobbyists and buy only the amount of issues you need). Hachette Partworks also has an online store for buying single issues.

You might want to go all-in for the subscription so you won’t miss out on an issue and enjoy all the free gifts and optional premium upgrades. You could split the contents with a friend, sibling, or gaming group, or go full bonkers and just start two new armies like Garfy did with Conquest. You will be able to start your collection at issue 1 for as long as there is stock. Once the stock is low, the subscription start will be moved forward to issue 5, then another 4 issues every 28 days. If you picked up the first couple of issues at your local newsagent, you will be also able to start your subscription at issue 2 or at a later issue.

Some of the models included in Warhammer 40.000: Imperium, painted & photographed by Garfy
(note that not all of the shown terrain pieces are part of the collection)

One last word of notice: During the runs of Warhammer 40.000: Conquest and Mortal Realms, extra products such as additional binders, special edition novels, and artbooks have been added to the subscription (at an additional cost). It’s hidden in the small print, and will likely be the same way for Warhammer 40.000: Imperium. You have to “opt-out” in time or you’ll automatically receive these products (and be billed for). Feels not like the most consumer-friendly way, but it is what it is. At least these products are exclusive to the collection and can’t be found anywhere else, so they’ll have a certain appeal. Keep this in mind and plan accordingly.

Parting shot

On Tale of Painters, we will follow along with the collection over the coming months. We’ll review key issues, paint as many of the models as we can fit into our schedule, and provide you with more advanced painting tutorials and alternate paint schemes that complement the more beginner-aimed guides in the magazine.

Personally, I’m looking forward most to add some new reinforcements to my small Silver Skulls army, starting a Sisters of Battle collection, painting some Necrons for a Kill Team, and expanding my terrain collection. Those Chaos Space Marines from the premium subscription also look tempting to me… Garfy wants to start a new Primaris force of a yet undisclosed chapter, and I’m sure some of the Necrons will find a way to his Necron army he started with Indomitus. Stay tuned, and join the fun of collecting Warhammer 40.000: Imperium.

Start your subscription to Warhammer 40.000: Imperium here.

Please note: Hachette Partworks have provided us with a subscription to Warhammer 40.000: Imperium. Thoughts and opinions are our own.

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9.5
Score

Pros

  • A magazine with high production values, lots of artwork, lore, and helpful guides
  • The most beginner-friendly way to start with the hobby
  • A great way to start a new army
  • Massive discounts over purchasing the models separately
  • Free subscriptions gifts and optional premium upgrade
  • Exclusive miniature in issue 5

Cons

  • The whole 80 issue collection adds up to a considerable amount
  • Intransparent upselling practices for additional subscription items you have to actively opt out
  • Conquest and Mortal Realms subscribers criticised a sometimes sluggish customer service and delayed deliveries

Final Verdict

Warhammer 40.000: Imperium the partwork collection continues the success stories of Conquest and Mortal Realms. Over the course of 80 issues, you will amass two mighty armies and a battlefield worth of terrain at massive discounts. It's both the perfect entry-level product for the first steps into the Warhammer hobby and a welcome way for any seasoned veteran to expand their collections.