Tuesday, July 17, 2012

40K: The Flesh is Weak! (Iron Hands, pt. 1)

One of the First Founding Chapters of Space Marines in 40K is the Iron Hands. And I frigging love them. Easily my favorite of the Legions. That much should be obvious with my own Chapter, the Lords of Oblivion, being descended from them. I love the character, and their primarch, Ferrus Manus, is just awesome. They abhor weakness, and Ferrus was always known for pushing himself to the absolute limit of his abilities, something I like to think I can find relatable.

The Iron Hands themselves favor purging their weaknesses through biomechanical augmentation, so a lot of them are more machine than man. The Lords of Oblivion shift this paradigm a little by focusing on mental weakness instead of physical weakness, which is part of why they wind up with so many psykers. Temperament-wise, the Iron Hands are kind of presented in a contradictory fashion in some of the fluff, somehow both cold and mechanical yet prone to berzerker fits of anger at the drop of a hat. Personally, I like to think of them as almost like Vulcan Space Marines, and perhaps what some perceive as rage is just cold fury.

Except, in the almost-decade I've been doing 40K, I've never had an army for them, nor even painted any models for them. Well, I think it's time to change that. Inspired by some deals on the web I found for alternative bitz for armor, as well as some deals off eBay for bionics and the like, I've started building an Iron Hands army. I'm drawing entirely on Codex: Space Marines for this. The general list is presented in an earlier entry, though I think I might add a Stormtalon or two to the list, as it seems like something the Iron Hands would use. Also, for a Clan-Commander, I'm thinking of using a counts-as Lysander for the role. Giving the whole army Stubborn seems fitting, plus it'd hardly be out of place for an Iron Hands leader to have an above-average thunder hammer. Not to mention he has Bolster Defenses, which also fits well, I think. And then on the gameplay strategy front, I would put him in the drop pod with the Sternguard squad for his Bolter Drill rule, and then he can give them some serious CC punch for the inevitable counter-assault, too.

My other HQ is going to be a scratch-built Librarian with a jump-pack. He still needs some legs though, so I'll save pictures until those come in. But I'm pretty excited at how he's turning out.

So, pictures!

First up is a Terminator Assault Squad that's been fairly heavily modified. The legs are Tartaros-pattern Forge World legs, with custom shoulderpads and storm shields from Chapterhouse Studios. The sergeant has a loincloth from Anvil Industries. Oh, and Grey Knight Terminator heads instead of the usual kind. Given the Iron Hands' mechanical prowess, it seems reasonable that suits they've had since the Horus Heresy would still be functional. Yes, I realize they lost most of their suits during the Heresy, but it stands to reason they would have been resupplied pretty quickly due to their Mechanicus ties.

Next is an Assault Squad! Given the buffs they've gotten with 6th edition and the conversion opportunities, I figured why not. So, they've all got bolt pistols from Anvil, except for the two with plasma pistols (I figured that'd be more fitting than flamers. Though if the next edition of the codex updates their options, I might tweak that). All the torsos are Mk II Assault Squad bodies from Forge World. The legs are a mix of Forge World Mk II, III, and V running legs, plus some running legs from Anvil, with some bionic arms and heads mixed in, and even a couple CSM chainswords (with anything Chaos-y filed off, of course). The sergeant has the Iron Hands thunder hammer, and I'm giving him a combat shield via his extensive bionics.

Sternguard Squad! A few extra metal Veterans I had lying around, mixed in with some Forge World older mark backpacks (And a 2nd edition backpack for the sergeant), some Grey Knight Interceptor backpacks (with the tops clipped off), and then some legs and backpacks from Anvil. They will, of course, be getting some bionic arms as well, plus custom bolters from Anvil.

The first two Tactical Squads. Lots of Anvil legs mixed in, along with some of the GW bionics. Various other bitz from Forge World, Anvil, and Maxmini included. Even a couple 2nd edition backpacks!

The sergeant for this squad has some Mk IV legs, the only set in the army. I haven't finalized their loadout yet, nor the special/heavy weapon options for the squad (probably missiles and meltas), but one idea I had was, if a sergeant has a powerfist, give him a regular bolter in his hands, and then attach a servo-arm to his backpack to count as the power fist. Seemed fitting!

I'm still waiting for quite a few bitz to come in, though the majority has arrived. Really, it's time to start painting. My local store is running an escalation league where the emphasis is on playing games with nothing but fully-painted models. So, I have until the end of August to get the Librarian, two five-man Tactical Squads, and their two Razorbacks done. I think that'll be doable, heh. And it gives me time to get the remaining bitz and stuff in.

That's the bulk of the army, though additions I plan on making over the rest of the year include: counts-as Lysander (I've got some ideas already for the conversions), a third Tactical Squad (plenty of bodies then), a regular Terminator Squad (won't be quite as fancy as the one I already have, but it'll have some good stuff), a couple of Thunderfire Cannons, and a couple of Stormtalons.

I plan on tweaking the color scheme slightly from what's in the codex: i.e. all cold or neutral colors, no warm colors at all. So blue eyes instead of red, and blue on any lenses, lasers, purity seals, etc. I think that will convey their cold, mechanical nature much better, and, honestly, the armies I've seen done up like that instead of the usual scheme look SO much better. For example...