+ All Hands on deck +

+ Well, that was unexpected. I toyed around with a few ideas for Chapters (thanks to Joe McMahon for the Raptors idea – keep your eyes peeled for a Salamander painted in a more gritty green than usual), and ended up deciding on using some colours and techniques in which I thought I needed some practise – namely black and white. +

+ I've had a weakness (which they probably wouldn't appreciate!) for Iron Hands for a while. A classic Rogue Trader Chapter, I thought they'd be a fun challenge; so I'm going to try and paint the whole group over the course of a week. 

+ First up is a WIP marine in mark VII armour. I haven't painted one of these for absolutely ages; perhaps as far back as a decade. He was a fun exercise, as rather than using the time-consuming chromatic black approach I'd normally use, I decided to focus completely on tone and used just the following colours for the armour: black, white and Fenris Grey (a blue-grey). This chap took me about twenty minutes to get to details, which I think's pretty good going. 

+ I need to develop the highlights a little more, but the bulk of the remaining work will be weathering, which is where I hope this army will come to life. Model-wise, moving away from worrying about the minutiae involved with a Horus Heresy-era force was liberating. +

+ The Iron Hands scheme's quite an interesting one, from a technical standpoint. Since Tom, one of the other PCRC gamers, has a Raven Guard army, I needed to make sure I wasn't treading on his toes. As a result, I've gone for a very cold, dead black; and will stick to a very minimal palette. In fact, even the eyes might change to an icy blue – I'll need to check with Tom how he's intending to paint his Raven Guard. +

+ More WIPs +

+ The remaining seven of this squad are shown below. Having picked out some highlights, I unfortunately knocked them back a bit too much with a black wash, so they'll need restating. You live and learn...

+ I've steered clear of adding loads of bionics for a number of reasons:
  • I think it's very easy to go overboard. 
  • I prefer the Astartes part to have precedence over the specific Chapter; the model should 'read' as a Space Marine first; and be identifed as an Iron Hand, Marauder or Fleshtearer through livery first and foremost.
  • Lack of bits – I'm sure I'll add a few if I expand the army, but I like the spartan approach.
  • Background-wise, the Iron Hands have taken a step forward from being one-dimensional 'robot marines' obsessed with bionics. There are some nice hints that there are some more conservative marines following Ferrus' ideal of purging weakness by avoiding reliance on bionics.
  • Exposed bionics seem a bit odd to me (though rule of cool trumps realism, of course). I'm sure these chaps have some bionics; but kept safely under a reinforced ceramite carapace.
+ That said, the squad leader (chap with a banner) has a snazzy bionic targeter eye. +

+ The highlighting work done can be seen on these three; black's tricky to highlight unless you start from a mid grey. As you can see, I went for my eternal favourite, the trusty heavy bolter. The brutal belt-fed gun just makes for a great model. I've added a few additional pieces for interest here and there – a couple of Forge World guns and heads are scattered through the squad, and also a bit of kit from the RTB01 sprue, like the knife on the belt of the left-hand model.

+ I have a great affection for the older models, so I like to scatter some hints about the new models, which are far superior in terms of technically production; even if they lack a little of the 'soul' of the best of the older stuff. 

+ The three here show that nicely – it was fun to make an homage to one of the 'transition period' marines (+Noospheric Inload link: collecting-citadel-miniatures.com/wiki/images/6/69/MkVI-with_bolter_4.jpg+) +

+ More built stuff +

+ Making hay while the sun shines, I put together some more marines. Again, I've been fairly conservative with the poses – the Iron Hands strike me as methodical more than anything else, so I wanted each figure to have a definite self-reliant, solid feel. +

+ The as-yet-unnamed Captain, based heavily on the one given away with mail orders, sums this up. This model is lovely; a great updated of the 1991 Games Day figure; but I wanted to give it a bit of a twist, so made a few minor changes to details that didn't affect the overall striking pose. +

+ You'll notice a few servo-skulls hovering around. I think these minor additions will go a long way to establishing the army as Iron Hands. +

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