The Painter: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones
The Army: Iron Warriors
Points: About 2,500
Collected: Since 2001
The year was 2001. A young TheChirurgeon was avidly buying each month’s White Dwarf, and Games Workshop had just started a new series that would dramatically change his young hobby life: Index Astartes. This massive series spanned several years, covering the backstory and rules for every one of the First Founding Legions. If you were around when it was in full swing, you knew it was the coolest shit ever, basically making White Dwarf a must-buy every month. For many of the chaos legions and marine chapters, Index Astartes was the first time they really received fleshed-out backstories and rules of their own. Among the first of these were the Iron Warriors, masters of Siege Warfare who, in third edition 40k, had some insanely good rules. I liked these grim, bitter jerks from the moment I first read the article, and started building an army of them. I used to play with these guys all the time, and updated them a little bit during 6th and 7th edition when I was leaving them with my parents as the army I’d play against Greg and SD47 when I was down there visiting them.
The army started with a mix of metal and plastic Chaos Space Marines, and as soon as they were released, I started adding in the metal upgrade kits for Iron Warriors, which gave them a much more unique look. In a lot of ways, it’s built around that third edition ruleset, down to the characters having Servo Arms.
As the army stands today, it needs a lot of updating to bring it in-line with both modern model standards (RIP) and the demands of a “good” Chaos Space Marines army. A lot of the core ideas are there – the Heldrake, the Lascannons, the Obliterators, but things like the Vindicators are leftover from 7th edition, when they could absolutely wreck marines with S10 AP2 pie plates. I tend to play with the army more in casual games, where I’m less likely to be punished for taking a Defiler with no Lord Discordant support, and going heavy on marines instead of cultists as troops isn’t so big a punishment. I recently ran these guys with some proxy models to test out what I want to do with them in my Hear Me Out: Iron Warriors battle report, and I liked the results. I expect I’ll play with them more in the next year, but they just aren’t a top priority for me at the moment as far as hobbying is concerned. Partly, this is because I really don’t want to replace the models – like with my Night Lords, the older nature of the models in my Iron Warriors now gives them a “retro” feel that kind of supercedes the modern aesthetic in a lot of ways. That said, I hate how tiny they are, and I can certainly paint and model them better now, so I also kind of want to update them anyways. We’ll see.
As I write this, I have a bunch of plastic Heresy Mk.III models sitting around, just waiting to be re-posed and converted into new Iron Warriors. I’m a little wary of the size difference between them and the new plastic Chaos Space Marines, but I think with a little bit of spacer work and some repositioning, they’ll look just fine next to the newer models, and I can get away with some mixed squads. I’m also absolutely going to paint a Lord Discordant, 3 Obliterators, and a Venomcrawler for the army (maybe two), since I bought those specifically to add to my Iron Warriors and lord knows I want to replace those stupid finecast Obliterators. I may also add a Predator and a Leviathan to the army at some point, but that will likely be way down the road and isn’t a priority right now. I’m also pretty sure there’s also another Iron Warriors Land Raider sitting around in my bitz somewhere that I can add to the army, which may happen at some point as well.
I don’t have a real set order for these, so I’m just gonna start with my favorites. Full Disclosure: The models in this army represent a work gap of about 20 years. I have been adding painted models to this army off and an since high school, and so there’s a mix of relatively recent stuff that I’ve painted in here, and stuff that I painted 20 years ago. Some of it I’ve touched up in the last couple of years to help bring it up to standard, but some of these guys are still relatively unchanged from their high school painted state, save the bases (I didn’t really start basing my models until 6th edition).
My favorite model in the army is this guy, Chaos Lord Markos the Relentless. He’s essentially a converted metal 3rd edition Chaos Lord model, from when Chaos Space Marines first got some amazing new updated models to go with that awful first 3rd edition Codex.
Ironically enough, Markos was illegal in WYSIWYG terms for years; while Iron Warriors characters could take Servo Arms in 3rd and 4th editions to get an extra free Power Fist attack and repair vehicles, Thunder Hammers have been off-limits to Chaos Space Marines until the release of Blackstone Fortress two years ago, which gave us Obsidius Mallex with his dinky little thunder hammer. Markos’ relic Thunder Hammer, Bondsmasher, is made from the hammer end of a metal dreadnought’s thunder hammer, and is suitable heavy on the model. Still, it gives him a good look, though I have yet to actually play it as a thunder hammer. Maybe I should. Adding base extenders to this guy was a godsend, because he is incredibly top-heavy.
In a similar vein to Markos, the warband’s sorcerer, Dammekos, also has a servo arm that now serves little purpose. I sometimes use this guy as a Waprsmith when I need a second or my Warpsmith is indisposed. Most of the time he’s just a sorcerer though, casting Prescience on key units when they’re preparing to fire.
The newest character in the army, the Warpsmith was one of two Finecast kits I purchased for this unit in 7th edition and it shows in my opinion. The axe isn’t straight, and it’s awful. Be prepared, dear reader: I am going to complain about Finecast resin quite a bit over the next few entries. Because while we appear to have moved past it from a new models standpoint, it still sucks and I hate working with it so very, very much.
I’ve got 10 terminators in the army, a collection of the old metal boys who are definitely small compared to the current plastics but damn if they aren’t still amazing models packed with detail. I was actually kind of disappointed with the new plastic terminators; they aren’t much more detailed than the previous plastic kit (though they are better-posed), and their weapon options really suck – you only get one chainaxe in the entire box and it’s the default option on the model! As such, I’m not likely to replaze these guys ever, and I really like how they turned out. The champion up there is a conversion of a finecast Abaddon model I bought for another conversion (I only needed the head, arms, and trophy rack from it), and is one of the few finecast models I haven’t hated.
I hate these stupid things. The models are awful, they’re a chore to work with, and I’m glad I’ll be able to replace them. I think the studio paintjob did them no favors but holy crap are they just not good. Also, these are finecast (I eventually got some of the older, metal ones but haven’t painted them yet), so they’ve got warped bits. I put these things in my case to take to one game and being pushed up against the foam warped and bent all their guns so they look all floppy. Fuck these things. Anyways, every Iron Warriors army needed a squad of Obliterators, since their whole deal was being a product of the Iron Warriors Technovirus.
I started painting this Defiler in high school and didn’t finish him until about five years ago. I’ve used him in many games since then but it’s not a model I particularly care for. The bottom half is fine but it’s a painful slog to paint and the top half just looks kind of doofy. This is one model I hope gets a revision at some point. Despite being a serviceable plastic kit I feel like it could really use an updated model (and rules).
The Chaos Space Marines in the army are a mix of different eras. There are a handful of old metal second edition models in there, which I still very much love despite their tiny stature and small, flat feet. I’ve got some early third edition plastics in there, from when the only plastic Chaos Space Marine worth using were Berserkers and you had to convert them, and I’ve got some later plastic Chaos Space Marines, mixed in with the metal Iron Warriors upgrade kit, which added some great torso and head options for the models. You kind of lose the torsos on the models holding bolters, but they’re still a great add for variety, along with the custom heads. Most of these guys were painted a long time ago, though I did some touch-up work on many of them a few years ago when I based them all.
The Helbrute is maybe my second favorite model in the army; he’s one of the first models I painted from the 6th edition Dark Vengeance box set and while I wasn’t really sold on his aesthetic initially, I was happy enough with how his model turned out that it turned me around on them. He’s the model where I decided to do a deep red for the fleshy parts of my Iron Warriors daemon engines/Obliterators, and I like how it looks on him. As I write this there are a few areas I can see where he needs some slight touching up but overall I’m still pretty happy with this model.
Ah, the Heldrake. I’ve painted four of these so far and let me tell you, it is not my favorite model to paint. The Iron Warriors one was probably the least tedious of the bunch because, despite the caution stripes on his wings (which I am very happy with), doing silver and gold for the rest wasn’t such a pain. Anyways this guy lost like half his spines in transit a while back and so if I do anything to him in the near future it’ll probably be finding a way to replace some of those because as-is it looks kind of weird with only two of the back spikes sticking up.
An Iron Warriors army wouldn’t be complete without Vindicators. Or at least, it wouldn’t have been in any edition prior to 8th, anyways. I have three in the army (which you can see in the full army shot), but only two fit in my lightbox, so you can see on those how I did the hazard stripe pattern to work with all three next to each other. I really like painting and working with the Vindicators, so it’s a shame their rules aren’t better. The recent update helps, but it still isn’t quite enough and Linbreaker Bombardment stinks as a Stratagem. Anyways on a per-model basis, my Iron Warriors have more vehicles than any of my other Chaos armies, which seems fitting.
My lads need to ride around in style and that means transports. This Land Raider was a rescue model I got form a friend. Its front hatch was entirely messed up and had to be built from spare parts and the doors on the sides had some issues but in the end I’m very happy with how it turned out. The mud basing scheme I’ve chosen works best on the vehicles, where adding mud to the yellow hazard stripes gives them a lot of added depth.
Speaking of riding in style, I’ve got three Rhinos for the gang to hop in. One with the fancy Forge World doors and two others without. I’m pretty happy with all three of these, though the combi bolter has long-since snapped off the rhino in front there and I’m not likely to replace it. I did custom images on each of the top doors of my Rhinos though I’m likely to paint the next one the same as the one in front, just giving it hazard stripes. I did some freehand of the old Wayne England logo on the one in back though:
Next Time: The Black Legion
That about wraps things up for my Iron Warriors. It’s an army I still love, and one I’m sad I haven’t played with as much over the last year or so. But that’s kind of expected when you start accumulating so many armies. Diminishing returns kicks in and you can’t use them all. Though I’m definitely going to try this year, given how much Faith and Fury makes it worth using different legion armies and forces. Next time I do one of these I’ll finally tackle my Black Legion, who are probably my best-painted army and one that I’m still actively adding to on a regular basis.