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Heraldry of the Iron Hands

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How do you differentiate your Tactical squads? Codex says clan icon on shoulder pad and squad number on knee pad. However every war gamer knows such a distinction doesn´t work very well when controlling multiple tactical squads (max six squads for Oldhammer 40K) on a battle field from a bird perspective as it gets awkward to check unit numbers on knee pads. 


To tackle this problem I have taken a look in 3rd 40K SM codex and they had variations of unit type icons depending on battle role. I adapted this method for my first and up to now only painted Tactical squad. Clan icon went to the knee pad in my case and battle field role on shoulder pad. Here is a link (last pics of album):



The Rhino has the same icon on the top of the hatch showing allegiance what troop it transports. The 30K IH transfer sheet also has three sizes of clan icons and so as a last resort I could even add the tiny clan icon on the bottom corner of the shoulder pad (which also depicts battle field role) to properly show allegiance to the clan.


What do you guys think? Is it heresy to not have the clan icon front and center on the shoulder pad as it is a prominent feature of Medusan society? Let me know in the comments.

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It's not heresy, it's just non-standard.  Insignium Astartes says that the actual in-lore Codex Astartes encourages Chapters to change or move their heraldry on an irregular basis to avoid giving away too much information to enemy reconnaissance so there is some validation to the practice.


As to solutions to the problem, an old friend of mine running black-tide Templars back in 3rd & 4th Edition painted the rim of the bases differently -- one squad had red rimmed bases, another one blue, for example, and their assigned Rhinos (since back in those days, only the squad for whom the dedicated transport was purchased could actually ride in it) had a matching panel on the side of the glacis.  If you're worried more about identifying a squad as opposed to individual models, you could always fall back on the traditional back-banner mounted on the Sergeant's power pack and displaying unique squad heraldry.  I don't recall ever seeing an official Iron Hands model with a mounted back-banner but it's a Codex-compliant practice so it would be acceptable in-lore.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/2/2023 at 10:31 AM, Daemonic Brother said:

I think I remember in a codex or rulebook there was a photo where they had a smaller tactical icon on the corner of their pauldron with the larger clan symbol prominent.

Primaris Iron Hands have tactical symbols for their kneepads. The 30K Iron Hands decal sheet doesn´t have icons for tactical roles. Was this an actual mini with freehand art or picture art of an Iron Hand?

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