Iron Within

It’s been about half a year since I had any IV Legion featuring on any of my social media, largely due to them sitting untouched in their box for as long.

After my first Heresy event, the entire project was put on the back burner for a few reasons. The first was that I had such a good time playing with my VI Legion. Following that event, I saw so many ways to improve them, and found myself fixated on improving their numbers and options. With the vast array of options available in the Heresy for infantry and armour, as well as unique units and characters for conversion opportunity, it’s really easy to get lost in an ambitious, wide-reaching project. And that’s just what I did.  I found myself expanding with new units, characters, building ambitious conversions for units that didn’t have models, and the more I did so the less I felt like I even cared to field my Iron Warriors on the rare occasion that I was able to play Heresy, when my legion of preference had so many new options available to them to field.

It didn’t help either that by far the most represented Traitor legion at the event was Iron Warriors. As a legion I largely chose as the antithesis of my own in terms of playstyle rather than a particular love of their lore and aesthetic, it took the wind out of my sails a little bit.

It’s ironic then that they second Heresy.scot event would be exactly the thing to kick my ass in gear again for this project.

Heresy.scot II was an absolute blast. I had four amazingly fun games and a uhh.. well, I played one additional game on top of that1. I even managed to come away with Best Painted Army this time, which was a lovely surprise, given some of the gorgeous armies on display. It’s a milestone that I’m particularly proud of, given that my VI Legion are by far and away my biggest and most beloved army project and my first non-Maggotkin army to win such an award.

Much like the first time around (and moreso than my trip to Warhammer World), I came away from the event absolutely buzzing with renewed love and enthusiasm for the Heresy. This renewed enthusiam came at a pretty fortune time too, with me having just finished up my Rivendell and Dol Guldur projects, and thus having nothing particularly pressing to paint for gaming purposes. Thus, I looked to my to do pile for 30K. There, I had two options – I could start cleaning up my remaining bits and bobs for my Space Wolves, and having just sold my Kharbydis this meant 6 Jetbikes for now – or, perish the thought, I could get on with that Iron Warriors army.

In the end, I opted to give some love to the project that’s been pushed down further and further on my list of priorities over the past 6 months with an aim to finishing it once and for all, and either playing with it or selling it – but either way, it would be finished.

The to do list wasn’t so bad, all in all, and while Heresy armies tend to be excessive (squadrons of tanks, large units, etc), I’d already done myself the favour of taking care of the most boring units first – the 30x Tactical Marines, the pair of Rhinos, the plastic Contemptors, etc – and left myself a fairly entertaining and diverse subsection to paint.

The list of models to do was:

  • The Primarch Perturabo
  • Narik Dreygur
  • Primus Medical
  • 2x Iron Circle Domitar
  • 10x Cataphractii Terminators
  • 10x Iron Havocs
  • 2x Medusa Siege Tanks
  • Typhon Superheavy Siege Tank

 

All in all, not so bad. In fact, something of a dream project list – tanks, great and small. Not too much power armour. Not too many Terminators. A couple characters, a Primarch model and some unique units. Thanks to the work I did 6 months ago, that I can barely remember doing anymore, all of the grind of the project was gone – with all of the meat remaining. It was time to get stuck in.

My Perturabo model was left in a middling, unfinished state – awaiting a time when I would have the passion once again to do him justice – and I set myself to rectifying this immediately.

 

The Primarch Perturabo on his scenic display base.

 

As Primarch models go, this wasn’t a particularly taxing or time intensive one to paint, although that has a lot to do with my very deliberate painting style that I wanted to take with this army – a continuation of the style that I began in the first batch of Infantry/Dreadnoughts/Artillery Tyrants, and which was applied to Perturabo himself in equal measure. The key thing I wanted to avoid in this army was doing an excessive amount of edge highlighting, as is my modus operandi with my Space Wolves – I tried it with my Tacticals, but largely came to the conclusion that edging dark metal with silvers is a little tedious and immensely unsatisfying, due to the transparency of metallic paints. Instead, I decided to try an entirely different approach in hopes that my army would look entirely different to my Space Wolves, stylistically, and I’ve gone largely for washes, followed by drybrushing, and then excessive amounts of sponging Typhus Corrosion followed by Chainmail Silver onto the minis to create a weathered and beaten look. Not only does this serve to add a bit of depth (generally the recesses will be missed by the sponge), but it also helps cover up any imperfections, particularly on the chevrons and hazard stripes. I also tried to replicate my basing technique for this army on the debris strewn across the wrecked Knight that Perturabo is standing on – a black/dark grey astrogranite with a little scattering of brown/orange rust weathering pigment throughout and up the boots and shins of the model to add an extra element of colour, complimenting the warm tones of the brass and yellow chevrons while contrasting the cold, grey iron. I will say I feel like I missed a trick with the cabling on Perturabo’s head – looking at it now, yellow and black wires would probably have looked a little better than the red/green, but I wanted to match the exposed on the bases of the rest of the army. C’est la vie.

With Perturabo done, I turned my stony gaze to the rest of the pile and decided I should make a start on one of the two 10-man Squads I had left to do. Both felt equally pressing – the Iron Havocs provide the army some anti-air support in the form of Flakk Missiles and heavy-armour solutions from the Lascannons – but the Terminators won out thanks to having just finished Perturabo himself, and wanting a squad to take advantage of his turn-one deep-strike potential.

 

10 Cataphractii Legion Terminators ready for the tabletop, with a couple of chainfists and a pair of plasma blasters in the unit for good measure. I absolutely loved the look of the autocannons, but plasma blasters just felt more appropriate for whatever unit they would be assaulting. Maybe next time.

 

The Legion Terminators were not all that different from my Tyrant Siege Terminators that I’d painted before, with a couple minor differences – the biggest of which being no sculpted on hazard stripes. Not a big deal though, as the absence of a cyclone missile launcher meant getting in and painting the stripes was fairly trivial. Small areas like Cataphractii shoulder parscare fairly ideal, and you can get reasonably straight lines just using decently sized brush at an angle. The minis once again didn’t look “right” however until my last step of sponging on Typhus Corrosion and Chainmail Silver.

The plasma blasters were the first plasma that I’d painted in the army, and so I had to make a decision on what colour to paint the glow – my initial gut reaction was a bright orange, though in the end I decided to steal an ideal from a friend’s Iron Warriors army and leave the heatsinks as a copper colour instead of glowing – something that I’d surprisingly not seen before his army, and somehow really suits the no frills utilitarian nature of the Iron Warriors.

Another quick thing I’d like to take note of on these Terminators – and the army on the whole – was the base trim, which is in Vallejo Heavy Charcoal. It’s very subtly different from a plain black rim, and matches the tone of the texture a little closer. I did as to provide a subtle association with my Space Wolves – my other, main 30K army, which has a Dark Fleshtone trim, matching the base tone on the texture atop their bases. For some reason, despite the wildly different painting approaches and colour choices in the armies and even bases themselves, it just right to stick to a convention of coloured base rims when painting armies for a specific game system/setting.

 

After Perturabo and the Terminators, I took a quick snap of everything I had finished already. This is somewhere in the region of 3,300 points and just about a playable army – it notably lacks anything heavier or more penetrating at range than a krak missille, though does boast a potential 32 krak missiles with Sunder/Tank Hunter. NOT BAD.

 

Next up, I really wanted to switch gears and do something different. Neither of my characters on the to-do list were particularly essential, neither were the Iron Circle Domitar (although part-painted already, so a fairly easy win) who I imagine will only see potential play in games of Zone Mortalis, and so the obvious choice was my Typhon Heavy Siege Tank. I got this model on eBay way back after I’d initially started this Iron Warriors force for a fairly sweet deal – it was about 75% the retail price (postage inclusive), assembled and painted – although in Raptors chapter colours, and with Raptors doors. No matter, I managed to blag a pair of Iron Warriors doors from ForgeWorld that same day, and they arrived in roughly about the same space of time.

I then promptly exchanged the doors, admired my handiwork, and stuck it in it’s KR foam for the next 6 months.

I’ll admit, the pre-assembly was a selling point for me originally with this guy, having memories of the horrifying experience I had assembling my Spartan Assault Tank, although looking back I think it was a bit of a false economy. For one, the Spartan really wasn’t that difficult to assemble in the first place, and was only complicated by my relative inexperience with ForgeWorld armour at the time and the fact that I was putting it together from sub-assembly after painting the interior. With neither of these factors affecting the Typhon, it probably wouldn’t have been too much effort. To make matters worse, when I took it out to slap on a few coats of Vallejo Metal Color2 Silver, I discovered the tracks were not assembled entirely flush, and the tank would rock on it’s diagonals. This was too frustrating for me to tolerate, and so I went crazy on it’s front right and rear left tracks with an emery board until the rock was fairly miniscule – this of course damaged the detail on the tracks, but this didn’t phase me much as they would be A. flush with the table anyway, so no-one would be looking that closely, and B. because I like to slather the tracks on my resin tanks with texture paints when I’m done painting anyway – this helps me fix any remaining, persistent imperfections, as well as prevents the exposed track links’ paint from chipping at their corners (texture paint is durable), in addition to providing some attractive looking weathering.

 

My Typhon Heavy Siege Tank, now featured on ForgeWorld’s website thanks to the magic of social media!

 

As for the paint job.. this thing was an absolute doddle. After putting some brush-on primer over the new Iron Warriors doors, I brushed a couple thin (but very opaque) coats of silver over the entire machine. After this, the tracks were covered in a reasonably thick layer of Typhus Corrosion, and I blocked in the basic details. The doors were painted black with a brass frame, and the details picked out in brass. I also painted the cannon brass with a black armour plating around it, the rear power plants housing was painted in black and the lascannons black/brass. The whole thing then got covered in a couple coats of Nuln Oil, as is the convention with this army.

I built a Rat Ogre for my Skaven Blood Bowl team while I waited for all this wash to dry.

Moreso than just about any army I’ve ever painted, I feel like the wash phase really advances this army from “looks like crap” to “just about finished”. The first coat, thanks to the very smooth finish of the AP Plate Mail primer I used across the board, tends to really settle into crevices, but it does dry with a slightly more matte finish across the mini – allowing the second coat to stain the mini itself a little more and tint the metal to a darker, boltgun metal hue. Next up, I did a very sparing amount of brush highlights, mainly on the doors to help the IV Legion Skull iconography pop a little more, and I painted on my chevrons onto the cannons armoured plate – I tried for the first time to use a masking tape approach here to help with my straight lines, but found the edges still wobbled a bit – though I confess it did likely help with keeping the blocks of colour straight and not bending or curving at all. This wasn’t particularly difficult or time consuming here either – three or four thin coats of Vallejo Game Filthy Brown gave a really lovely, opaque yellow finish, and I painted the edges of the stripes with a bit of Filthy Brown or Black mixed with a bit of Elfic Flesh. With this done, it was weathering time.

Once again, this was the step that transformed a really basic looking miniature to one that was pretty striking and gritty. I did my usual Typhus Corrosion sponging followed by more Chainmail Silver sponging across the whole tank fairly quickly and indiscriminately, except for a little bit of a focus and repetition on the edges in particular. With weathering finished, I set about the final task – the tracks.

My technique for tracks is pretty universal to every Heresy, or indeed 40K/Imperial project I’ve ever worked on. As I mentioned before, the tracks are painted silver, and then coated thickly in Typhus Corrosion. When this is dry, I do a fairly heavy drybrush of Ryza Rust over the whole thing. At this point, the tracks start to look a little bit leathery almost, so I finish off with another drybrush of silver over the whole thing to show some metallic under the leathery/filthy/rusty/whatever bands. For my Space Wolves, I would add two tones of Mud texture to the tracks – usually Thick Mud European Earth and Brown Earth – and then when dry, smoosh on some Valhallan Blizzard. For this army, I wanted to carry across the grey astrogranite with that kind of rusty orange dust throughout, so I smothered on some Vallejo Black Lava and left it to dry. Once the surface at least had cured, I drybrushed quickly with Heavy Bluegrey and again with Wolf Grey, and then splashed a little more rust weathering pigment in amongst the texture paint and indiscriminately around the tracks and track unit, shaded in some places with Fuegan Orange wash.

And that was pretty much that for the Typhon. The whole thing got a generous spray of Testor’s Dullcote and I called it a day there. I’m pretty happy with the overall outcome of the tank, especially so given the speed at which I was able to churn it out. I’ve since noticed one or two things that I missed – I had planned a quick clear coat using gem paints over the various lenses on the lascannons and central hatch, for instance – but these are miniscule little steps that I imagine I’ll have finished before this post is even published, although it is annoying that my first miniature photograph to appear on the ForgeWorld web store is a little out of date.

 

So that about wraps up my recent progress on my IV Legion. The army is finally starting to look a bit more like an actual army, and beginning to take a very playable shape. With the Typhon finished, I’ve got something of a playable force with a few options – at this point I could either take a fairly fun route with Perturabo and a teleporting cadre of Terminators supported at range by Iron Tyrants and Shatter-shell Quad Mortars or I could go full on “who needs friends?!” and turn up with a Typhon and Phosphex-shell Mortars like an absolute dirtbag3. Currently on my paint table is my last actual unit – 10 Iron Havocs (50:50 Missile Launchers and Lascannons for points efficiency and flexibility), which hopefully shouldn’t take too long. There’s a transfer element with these that wasn’t there on the Terminators, and I’ll definitely want to do a few chevrons across the unit to mark them out as a specialised, individual unit. After that, it’s 3 sets of 2 – 2x HQ models, a pair of Iron Circle Domitar and a brace of Medusas4, and then we’re done in time for Christmas (hopefully) – ready to smash through whatever’s left of my Space Wolves (6 Jetbikes, a Storm Eagle5 and a few Fenrisian Wolves for now) and get right into whatever goodies Santa brings me this year.

Best laid plans, eh? Let’s see how spectacularly I manage to swerve off course this time.

Thanks for reading, and happy wargaming!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Occasionally, the stars align just right/wrong and a game can have somewhat of a foregone conclusion before it even begins. This was one such occasion, and my opponent was not shy about telling me repeatedly how unfair the situation was on him throughout. He wasn’t completely wrong (perhaps exacerbated by really terrible deployment on his part), although his constant negatively made the game a chore to play for the both of us, as we both scrambled to get it over with as fast as possible. It’s a shame, and while I understood his unfair position, I do find it’s usually best to take a more narrative mind to the situation and made something more of a bad situation – a glorious last stand, perhaps, or simply putting all of his efforts into achieving a single goal (e.g. KILL RUSS). Oh well, one less Traitor on their way to Terra…

2 The king of metallic paint ranges, as least as far as base coating is concerned. Pre-thinned for an airbrush, but goes on perfectly with a brush, spreads easy and has amazing almost entirely opaque coverage, and a finish that isn’t overly slick and hard to paint over too. It’s just a bit thin for using in detail/highlighting work for my tastes, but I heartily recommend it for any metallic base coat or even sponging work that you have to do.

3 I had originally started building this army for two reasons – the first was it’s nice to have a counter-army on the opposing faction to your army in your favourite system, and switch about styles of play. The other was that for a while it was looking like if I wanted to actually play games of 30K, I’d have to supply a demo experience. I must say, I’m a little torn in that regard now. On one hand, it’s nice when you’re giving a demo game to give the new player a sizeable advantage, although on the other hand, I must say there’s not a single army in the Horus Heresy I’m more sick of playing against at this point. Life is funny, that way.. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

5 Provided this eBay auction I’m bidding on right now pans out anyway. A Storm Eagle seemed like the right choice to replace the Kharbydis that I recently sold in my list, as I often have no shortage of fast attack slots, another 20-man transport is always useful, it’s easier to store and transport being that it only takes up half a KR Multicase card case, and I adore the model – just so long as I never need to build the fuselage of one myself ever again!

 

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