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Officia Monstrosa – Iron Warriors


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Thanks, frater; glad you like it so far :smile.:


I did a little more painting last night while musing on the details of Iron Warrior organisation.




Lodges, Legions and Star-forts



During the Unification Wars, Legionaries on deployment would prepare a base of operations, which typically consisting of a reinforced command post, barracks for the Legionaries, and a number of storerooms or warehouses. These were typically shaped like a four-pointed star, and became well-known – both for good and ill – throughout Imperial space. All Legions used the basic form, though the IVth, VIIth, XIVth and XVIIIth were well-known to use it in preference to the more fluid, temporary organisations preferred by the IXth, XIth and XIXth.


As the Great Crusade began, the growing Legions switched to structures more suited to swift, ship-based organisation as their wars became less concerned with holding ground and the Imperial Army and Militia took over garrison duties. As a result, the growing Astartes Legions tended towards new groupings such as the Company and Wing/Grand Company/Chapter, almost all larger than five hundred marines.


In contrast, the IVth Legion were often broken down into tiny garrison fragments, where they found the rigid structures of the newer Legion organisation lacking. As a result, the Stratopedon – the Olympian term for the star-fort structures – concept became an important organisational tool to the Legion, which helped to patch over the difficulties of micro-management. Indeed, the shape becoming so associated with the Iron Warriors that it was occasionally added as an honorific, typically to the chest. The Stratopedon became a common grouping that sat outside and across the military structure of the Legion, and allowed the Iron Warriors to operate effectively even when split into mere handfuls of men on deployment.


After Perturabo's discovery, and the gradual increase in focus on engineering and meticulous planning amongst the Legion, Stratopeda became more and more complex and involved; with examples of the physical Stratopedon becoming more specialised – some extended deep into the ground, or being entirely temporary and mobile arrangements, with Rhino armoured personnel carriers forming the walls as they stopped. Others were orbital, with six, eight or ten-pointed 'stars' of ships being arranged, bristling guns facing broodingly outwwards. In concert with the physical deployments, the clear-eyed Primarch saw the benefits of an complementary underlying structure to his Legion, and encouraged it to be developed, strengthening and reinforcing the bonds that ran parallel to the rigid hierarchy of the Legion. Eventually, the concept distanced itself from the physical structure, and instead became a mindset: a closed grouping within which the Legionary could be sure of support, regardless of rank – as Perturabo rewarded and punished the members of Stratopeda together. The Iron Warriors' mentality became still more closed and inward-looking; suspicious of outsiders as the Legion bonded together impregnably.


A legionary would thus be officially part of a Company, but would have duties towards his Stratopedon, where he might meet and mingle with Iron Warriors from different Companies. Unfortunately, it also proved the vulnerable point of the Iron Warriors. It was through the infiltration of such structures that the Lodge system became firmly inculcated into the Iron Warriors; the insidious Word Bearers demonstrating a form of emotional siegecraft against which the IVth Legion never thought to develop defences.



Fifth Chain, XIXth Muster, Stratopedon Tumult


Five members of Stratopedon Tumult; representing the core of a Legionary Tactical Squad. Such squads were organised in household chains; with two, four or (more unusually) eight chains forming a Muster. The exact number depended on the specific duties and the number of available legionaries. Chains lived and worked closely together, typically attended by one attendant-slave for every two members. Such chains were then assigned to a Muster, and a representative of each Muster (who might be a Captain, or might be a Legionary) would then meet as headsmen to form a new working group, which became the operational Stratopedon. Over the course of a campaign, a Legionary would thus work with a number of Stratopeda in an overlaying, interlinking mesh; learning to work with Legionaries from all across the Grand Company – and even beyond.

Edited by Apologist
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Really interesting take on the IVth legion. I usually get turned off by large amounts of text but I like the style you use to deliver, informative as if strieght out of a FW book. The banner design, it that a Terran or Olympian design?
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Cheers. I've got a bit carried away with the length of background on these chaps; there's lots to say on a new Legion! I'm sure it'll settle down a bit as I block in my main thoughts; then we'll be into the details.

Speaking of details, the banner design's a good example... :smile.:



Hynn Yavuz, Palatarch of XIXth Muster

With the olive skin and black hair common to the Olympian phenotype, Hynn Yavuz is a typical physical example of an Iron Warrior subcommander. Palatarch is an obselete rank roughly equivalent to sergeant; another example of a non-standard replacement term introduced post-Isstvan. It was little known before the Heresy, and faded into near-disuse soon afterwards.


Yavuz' shoulderplate bears the same iconography on Or stripe as his squadmates. Unlike (say) the XVI or VII Legions, who were encouraged to seek personal glory, the Iron Warriors culture was geared towards the strength of the whole, with every member's personal achievements being subsumed within the larger group – from squad to Company to Legion. This, and other, structured codes of behaviour caused tensions as individuals reinforced them ruthlessly while inwardly chafing against them. 


Perhaps this irresolvable tension was an intentional result of Perturabo's teachings. Certainly it fuelled the Legion's aggressiveness as the troops vented their frustrations on their enemies, while maintaining a coldly precise and disciplined demeanour. 


In any case, promotion in the IVth Legion was a byzantine affair quite divorced from honour, glory or acts of inspired battlecraft as was common with other legions; instead being based on an inscrutably complex system of codes and strictures. Almost all Iron Warrior commanders, including officers of the line, shared a willingness to sacrifice the part to the whole. Thus it may be that an officer identified an weakness in an enemy line, or a faster warp route, allowing his force to achieve victory more swiftly. Equally it might be that the officer had simply killed a disruptive insubordinate before he could affect operational ability of his squad.




A rear shot shows the distinctive hooped back to the Voss pattern Mark III plate legs, along with the bloom of discolouration common to the Sol-Militaris pattern Mark IV powerpack when hooked up to the inefficient plate. Visible here is a spare combat blade – a near universal though non-standard complement to the Legionaries kit in the IVth Legion. It is sheathed on the left to allow quick retrieval for dual blade work.



Yavuz's armament is a paired Mk IVs 'Thunder Edge' pattern chainsword  and Ikanos pattern bolt pistol. Aside from the yellow-and-black stripes common to Legion honorifics, the armament is almost stereotypical of Legion sergeant equipment – almost as thought it has come straight from the Master of Quarters. This is, of course, a distinct possibility – casualty rates during the Horus Heresy were catastrophic, and promotion was often swift – and brief.




Squad banners were relatively uncommon amongst the IVth Legions, though far from unknown. In instances where the enemy was known to have the ability to decipher vox-code or intercept data – or when command and control was blocked, hexed or tech-hazed – the Iron Warriors were adept at the use of physical signals, amongst them banners. These were centrally issued to each squad, and were strictly monitored – alteration or customisation was a punishable infraction. As a result, this banner can be easily deciphered: the vertical yellow on black background indicates the XIXth Muster (the similarity to the pauldron tactical markings being either a coincidence or an intentional nod), while the V indicates the line of Chain mastery – in this case, fifth chain.


While known as dour, the Iron Warriors had as keen a sense of tradition as many of their fellow legions. This was never indulged to the detriment of operational efficiency (as was occasionally the case with the III, IX or XVIII), but their aesthetic sense – stoically representational and unimaginative – was often curiously beautiful in its iconographic simplicity. War-banners such as this flew over a hundred battlefields, and were – perhaps surprisingly – encouraged by Perturabo, who saw them as a natural symbolic focus for his 'many-above-one' philosophies.


The white horse has a symbolic meaning that would be well-known to all Olympians. Traditionally, the delivery of a white horse to a rival state was a casus belli; a curious custom that dated back to pre-Compliance. More generally, the horse was the Olympian symbol of high winds and natural disasters, with a number of fanes, temples and festivals dedicated to horse-headed or completely equine deities. As a portent of natural disaster, it was associated with earthquakes, and it is this aspect that is said to have caught Perturabo's mercurial favour – that of the horse as wall-breacher and hold-wrecker.



With his face exposed to the elements, it is clear that Yavuz has no helm. This is likely a simple case his being forced into battle while awaiting replacement or repair. It is also possible that his crude bionic – implanted onto an obviously raw wound – was a temporary jury-rigged affair, and that its size makes it incompatible with use of his helmet.


His superiors would not hesitate to field his Chain if they felt, on balance, that he was better unhelmed than not present on the field. Such is existence for the Iron Warriors; the individual suborned to the needs of the many. One might see this creed as unforgiving – even cruel; but such are the times and theatres in which the IVth Legion fought.



The trophy-heads hung from the belt show the barbarous nature of the unchained Astartes. While the Adepts of Terra might hope that all Legions could be parade-ground perfect as the Emperor's Children or Ultramarines; the Pitiless Fourth show the unalloyed truth of warfare in the darkness of the thirty-first millennium: that it is raw, bloody and cruel. 

Edited by Apologist
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Thanks all – much appreciated. The siege train continues...


WIP pieces


A set of Mark IV armour; requisitioned from an old project and revamped with new pauldrons, boltgun and backpack. 



Predator with classic Rogue Trader armament – accept no substitutes!


With a few finished marines and ideas under my belt, the basic plan is to add another five tactical marines with boltguns, then start to add in some more unusual stuff that I haven't had a chance to do with my (very conservative) Ultramarines. Namely, that's equipment such as volkites and rotor cannons, specialised squads like recon specialists, and some of the more esoteric leadership positions. Anything the floor can suggest that you'd like to see would be much appreciated :smile.:

Edited by Apologist
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Your ability to produce amazing projects as a whole is really incredible.

The conversions are characterfull, the painting even more (the greek styled horse is awesome, your yellow is perfect).

But in the end, your fluff is giving consistency to the whole thing. If only I was able to produce a fluff half as good...

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I'm humbled; thank you, all three.



Ikoi Konstantin, Phalangite of XIX Muster




Encamped barely three dolichos from what had been the Imperial's third line of defence, the Muster had been pushing through anonymous Terran rad-desert dotted with the remnants of ancient habitation.


The siege allowed few moments of rest, but for some reason, the land was virtually silent. Aside from the dull systolic thuds of distant guns and the white jet-streaks of flyers, it could almost be peacetime. While ruined by artillery fire and the inlet of scouring, radiation-laden winds, Ikoi could see that the area had been reclaimed; made part of the Palace during the Unification Wars. The ground was still dusty and dry, but here and there vegetation could be seen clustered scantily in hollows near the smouldering buildings. Weeds. Brambles. Even berries, here and there. Ikoi was seized by a peculiar sensation. Recognition. Not letting his boltgun drop, he slowed his pace, warily. It was.


He had been born here. Sek-Amrak.


An ikon flashed in his vision, marking his elevated heartrate. After more than two centuries, he had returned. It was changed, of course, but... He dismissed the insistent icon absently, and stalked over to the vegetation. His vision was clearer when last he had stood here. He felt an uncontrollable urge to remove his helm, see the land of his birth with his own eyes. Doffing his helmet, the wind hit his sweaty face, cooling and rad-hot at the same time.


His eyelid twitched. The ground was too sharp, too precise. Decades of war – and more prosaically, his occulobe organ – had made things alien, unfamiliar; had robbed the surroundings of any nostalgic comfort. He inhaled, a strange pressure mixed in with the tingle of quickly-neutralised toxins.


Kneeling down, he brushed aside the brambles, slowly at first, then increasingly fast, until he found a cluster of saphberries. Most were withered and dry, but two – just two – remained summer-swollen, glorious in red and purple. Delicately, silently, he pulled them from the branch, the textured iron of his gauntlet-tips seeming ungainly. His whole focus on them in his massive palm, he looked at them for a long moment, then popped them into his mouth, suddenly desperate, suddenly bereft.


They were bitter, spoiled by their exposure to the desert. The berries contained none of the wine-thick sweetness he remembered, none of the tang. His brow furrowed and face blackened as an auditory chime alerted him to toxins, chemicals. He balled his fists and screwed his eyes up. For a moment or two, he felt a hot, breathless ache that had nothing to do with poison; nothing to do with the war.


Staring ahead at the Imperial Fists' fourth line, his face resumed its usual blank, sharp expression, as though a shutter had fallen across it. Replacing his helm with a sharp, swift motion, he stood. He paused just for a moment, casting a long shadow through the sick air, then briskly strode away.





Layered in a complex mongrel suit of plate, Konstantin's torso and shoulder plates are examples of Nu-Saturnian pattern, a type superceded not long after the First Expedition reached past Pluto in the early years of Crusade. The remainder of the suit is of Voss-Prime extraction, with the notable exception of the helm, which is based on an artificer-pattern common amongst the IVth Legion.



The power pack is a similarly aged example of Sol-Militaris pattern plate, though unlike the torso and pauldron plates, its age is unremarkable on an active Legionary. This variant was officially superceded towards the end of the Great Crusade by Mark IV, but was often retained by veterans owing to its reliability and great resilience.



A newer Tigrus-pattern boltgun, and standard pauldron markings help with the identification of this legionary. His corpse – scorched beyond gene-rune retrieval – was recovered from a temporary bunker complex dug beneath the Auro Marches after the Siege, and verified as Ikoi Konstantin, a Terran veteran of numerous campaigns, including the Dol-Mars campaign, Saryine Pacification, and the notorious Battle of Black Blades. Konstantin was – at least temporarily – assigned to the 282nd Grand Battalion, though whether this indicates the formation's presence here is moot; as the area was subject to atomic bombardment during the Siege, glassing the plateau.




Looking back; going forward. Legionaries like Ikoi Constantin present scholars and recordicians with much to discuss. How could those had fought to reclaim Terra in the Unification Wars; many of whom had seen or even met the Emperor directly, return to rain such terrible destruction on mankind's birthworld? 


The answers are as numerous as stars in the sky, and – as is often the case with the subtle corruption of Chaos – often rooted in a yearning for freedom; for an unshackling and emergence from beneath the increasingly oppressive and invasive bureaucracy of the Adeptus Terra. At root, the Legiones Astartes represent a terrible contradiction as old as humanity itself: an invading force tasked with liberation. That underlying and subconscious confusion felt by many Astartes is fertile ground for the Archenemy to sow with doubts.

Edited by Apologist
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Thanks all – and Kriegriss, that made me laugh! :biggrin.:



More WIPs: Theoretical


As I do fairly often, I'm reusing some older figures for a new project. These marines, once Novamarines (and prior to that, recon Ultramarines!), will become Iron Warriors. I was planning on simply repainting them and swapping their bolt guns and backpacks for Horus Heresy era ones. However, a chat with Commissar Molotov got me thinking that I'd like to go back to my roots a bit – check that I'm still happy with how I built things; look at them a little more critically. I decided there were some differences between my old approach and new, and so started to make some changes.




A WIP of the original Novamarine, for purposes of comparison.



I'm using Procreate modelling party in order to bulk out the upper legs (they looked a bit puny to me before), along with the backs. In addition, I have trimmed the shoulder pad trims down to be narrower - very fiddly, but I think it's improving them – and much quicker than replacing them! The shoulder trims were always a bit of a pain.




There's still a little more to be done, but it's best to work in stages to avoid putting dirty great mechadendriteprints in the putty while it cures. The close-up above shows the additional thickness added to the thighs on these marines. I would have liked to have thickened them further, but that would have required some major reconstruction work to get rid of the hip plates (to stop them looking extraneous) – at which point I may as well have made a whole new marine...




...which I then got carried away and began!


Andvarr A got in contact to ask if I had a tutorial for making the marines larger, and it occurred to me that I could do a new tutorial for how I approach things these days. If that would be useful, I'll start taking some more WIP pics and write things up more neatly. I'm never quite sure how much detail to put in to tutorials – I don't want to teach people to suck eggs. Please let me know if anything's unclear, or you'd like some more shots/explanation of a particular stage.


[A special mention to MonkeyBallistic of Those Whom the Gods Would Destroy for the idea of using Grey Knight torsos as the basis. All credit to him; and any flaws are all my own!]




To get you up to speed, the legs and body below are based on Grey Knight Terminator bits; but the principles apply to any sort of bits. The first thing to do is to trim away any surface detail (including hip plates and the psychic hood), using the detail on the model to help guide your cuts. For example, the hip plates on these legs are quite obscuring, but you can easily follow the line of the hip joint from the bottom to ensure you cut the top part in the correct line. Work carefully, and trim away small parts. You can always hack in and reconstruct with putty, but I prefer to leave as much intact as possible of the original plastic.


Before you continue, bearing in mind that it's best to work bit-by-bit, and let things cure in between stages. In addition, make sure your model, your hands and your sculpting tools are clean and dry. There's nothing more disheartening than your hard putty work falling off the plastic!




There are then three main types of sculpting:


1) Covering inlaid detail

Examples here include the bits on the shinplates, above the feet; but on regular Terminator legs, the principle applies to the bits between the support struts. Use modelling putty to create the smooth plate. I put a small amount in the recess, then smooth it in. Err on the side of caution – it's easier to fill up the area with small 'dots' of putty than it is to clear up excess putty. I use a combination of my fingertip, fingernail, metal modelling tool, and cone-shaped clay shaper to make sure the area is flat – that is, it follows the line of the existing surface. I've used ProCreate here, but Greenstuff seems not to retreat as much (probably a fault in my mixing), which leaves a smoother surface. ProCreate does take sanding better, though, so it's all swings and roundabouts. Experiment and find which one works for you.


2) Building on existing detail

Here, the example is the thigh plates and the chest plate. Wrap or place the right amount of putty on the area (experience or experimentation is the best guide here, I'm afraid), and smooth it out so it echoes the underlying shape. Use the existing sculpt to help guide you – where possible, don't extend beyond the existing sculpt. This is not always possible, but be conservative.


A couple of specific tips, remember that the thighs should not end up as tubes. They should flare a little towards the hips and narrow towards the knees to create the impression of a muscular, athletic leg. In the case of the chest, try to get an even thickness over the plate – you don't want to add so much that the torso looks comically over-sized. Keep your reference close at hand – reference to the artwork or visual you want is the best way to quickly identify faults or bits that look 'off'.


3) Creating new detail

This is the intimidating bit, but bear in mind that no-one is going to judge your work but you. Examples here are the kneepads. Place a small amount of putty (in my experience, always less than you first think!) and make sure it is firmly secured to the surface at the point you want it to stay. It's best to use relatively newly-mixed putty here, as it's a bit stickier. Let it cure for a few minutes (ten or so, for an even mix of ProCreate), then shape it into the rough form you want. I find it better to work into the putty, towards the anchor point (rather than dragging it, as this risks pulling it away from the surface, or distorting what you're working upon) to create detail and form. Allow to cure for a few more minutes, and use a wet or greased tool (I use tap water and a little pot of lip-salve/vaseline) to tighten the form once the putty is a little more resistant and holds the basic form. Once the putty has cured completely, you can gently cut or file the putty to the final shape. 


If you find you're distorting the shape as you work, build it up in stages. Add a small amount to the anchor point, let it cure completely, then add another small amount on top. Continue working like this until the form is complete. This requires more patience, but if you've got a small amount of time every day, it's a good way to get good results.

Edited by Apologist
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Please stop I've just managed to push my true scale project to the back of my mind. Must concentrate on Death Guard like a good boy, a good boy.....



A great read, nice to read your tips on sculpting, I found it hard to loose the temptation to not continue working on details, or letting parts set before moving on, but it's a real must, nothing worse then seeing your beautiful gs work ruined by a misplaced thumb.

What do you use to sand down your gs work? I've tried a variety of things and never really got good results.

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This is just me but I did find - originally years ago - when you put a spot of poly cement onto greenstuff, it turned it into a kind of goopy stretchy smoothable mass...so I dunno if that's something to run with now
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Into the Breach!



Spent a bit of time building over the weekend, so I've a few new marines nearly ready for paint. First up, a couple of views of the chap above:




Really pleased with the pose on this guy. The base is Vulkan's. Can't decide whether to trim it down to 30mm, or leave it as-is.


A new boltgun-armed marine. 


After some umming and ahhing, I decided to leave the Cataphract details in place on the legs. I usually trim 'em off, but I'm finding the metallic Iron Warriors scheme benefits from more detail than the Ultramarines to help accentuate tonal changes.


...and a potential Praetor/Centurion. 


I wanted to get across the dual 'not-yet-Chaos, not quite Imperial' feel; so there's a mix of Imperial Eagles and spikes/stars. He's intended to be fighting for an Imperium with Horus enthroned – that way the Iron Warriors will be forgiven for the actions on Olympia.


Sadly (for him at least), we know that isn't how things turn out. 



Chaos is an ever-present danger for humanity in the grim darkness of the far future. It's a subtle and tempting proposition for everyone; and doubly so for those who are desperate. 


No-one can truly master Chaos. Enslavement, madness and horror accompany the power and freedom it promises.


I wanted to reflect this in the model; so alongside a furious head, he's got an inverted halo on his armour that hints at a collar. Held behind him  is an Imperial power axe, while held in front of him is a new power axe with traitor symbology such as the Eye of Horus and eight-pointed star. He's leaving his past behind, and marching unwittingly into horror.


Not quite finished yet, though additions will be fairly minor. Probably a banner, pouches etc. I really like this head, but am not sure it's quite right here. I'm sort of tempted to make his head swappable – the Mark III helm I had there earlier looked brutal, and I liked the faceless quality it gave; but equally I like the raw emotion of this desperate howl.

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