+ inload: Painting the Iron Circle WIP +

+ By Your Command +

+ The Iron Circle +

+ I reviewed the Domitar-Ferrum battle automata – better known as the Iron Circle – in an earlier inload [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], in which I sang the praises of these characterful beasties. I find large models both technically more difficult to paint (my style doesn't lend itself to large flat areas), and more time-consuming. On top of that, as they were a gift, I wanted to do them justice – in truth, I found 'em, a bit intimidating! +

+ In the absence of am alternative strong idea for painting, I decided that consistency with the rest of the army was the best route, so used the same approach as I take for my Iron Warriors Infantry [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. Background-wise, I thought this fit well; as it nicely ties in with the Legion's primarch, Perturabo's, unsentimental view that both Astartes and Automata were equally tools to be used. Aesthetically, the stylistic differences between the Automata and my Astartes are smoothed by the use of a common scheme. +

+ These WIP pictures show one of the Circle at the end of a single painting session – roughly three hours. I was going to call them done, but as so often happens, stepping away suddenly reignites my interest, and there's a few tweaks I want to make; some of which were suggested by the PCRC (thanks chaps!) +

+ Primarily, I think the model lacks a strong focal point. Despite working up the tone on the faceplate further than the rest of the metal, the black eyes – a detail I included to give a soulless, dead feel – just don't quite work. Bob Hunk suggested I use the same blue eyes as for the rest of my infantry, so I'll give that a go. +

+ Similarly, Lucifer216 though the hammer could do with a bit more emphasis. I usually err from going over-the-top on glowing details as I prefer a grounded, realistic approach (well, insofar as giant robots are realistic), but in this case he's absolutely right. In truth, the hammer was a rush-job, and a few more minutes on it will go a long way to balancing the eye-catching impact of the yellow stripe on the shoulder pad. +

+ Theorectical +

+ Grimy, murky, threatening metal. I'm happy with the underlying steel/iron, but the gold need considerable work to add depth. +

+ The big flat plates of the shield scream out for freehand and detail, but I'm always wary about adding such detail to places like this. Not only is it a functional piece of equipment, rather than a decorative banner, but any strong detail here could easily draw attention away from the robot itself. This wouldn't be a big problem on this example, but if I add another member to the Circle with his shield to the fore, it could easily become distracting. +

+ With that said, leaving the area completely undecorated would be very boring. I've compromised by adding a relatively small Legion symbol in the centre (a flat transfer), and freehanding some hazard stripes on the bottom. This flash of colour is enough to add interest without going over-the-top. It was also an enjoyable break from all the metal! +

+ Being a special case, I spent more time on the metal than on a typical model in the army, and I am pleased with the discoloured, varied and naturalistic feel of it. However, spending so much time on the familiar steel was essentially procrastinating, and other areas of the model suffered for it. +

+ Practical +

+ The following areas need addressing:
  • Develop the eyes; perhaps paint them blue (to match), red (to contrast), or green (to complement) the rest of the army.
  • Work up the energy effect on the grav-hammer, and generally spend more time and thought on the weapon.
  • Build up the tonal contrast in the gold.

+ 8th Path Gaming +

+ If you're interested in using the Iron Circle in 8th edition, I've worked up a playtestable datasheet for them as part of my The Eightfold Path conversion [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]:

+ Initital price (for two) is 15 power; I'd welcome any feedback or suggestions on points cost. +

+ Designer's notes +

+ The underlying principle here was to sensitively adapt the Kastelan – the only 8th ed. robot – datasheet to fit the Iron Circle. Effectively, to look at how the 8th ed. Castellax compares with both the 7th edition Castellax and the 7th ed. Kastelan (both coming from the same inspiration); then see how the 7th ed. Castellax compares with the 7th ed. Iron Circle and Domitar. +

Iron Circle 8th
M 8" (equal to Kastelan)
WS 3+ (based on higher WS in 7th)
BS 4+ (equal in 7th)
S 7 (based on higher S in 7th)
T 7 (equal in 7th)
W 6 (equal in 7th)
A 3 (equal in 7th)
LD 10 (higher in 7th; but a bit academic)
Sv 3+ (equal in 7th)

Graviton Maul
Range: melee Type: melee S: x2 AP:-3 D:3 Abilities: Crushing blow: on a to hit roll of a 6, make an additional attack with this weapon. This cannot produce a further additional attack.

Olympia pattern boltcannon 
Range: 36in Type: heavy 5 S:5 AP:-1 D:1 Abilities: none 
(7th: 36in, S5, AP4, heavy 5 pinning)

Karceri Battle Shield
Provides a 4+ invulnerable save to itself or any character within 3in. Note that if the character uses the save, the Iron Circle robot cannot use it.


  1. Nicely done, man! Love the dark metal, really gives it a brutal feel!

    1. Thanks very much – I think a few highlights and scratches will go a long way to push the contrast a bit.

  2. I still want to pick up a pair of these to run with Perty.


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