+ inload: Rad-toting, gunslinging, habitat-burning Destroyers +

+  Iron Warrior Destroyers +

+ It's Australia day today, so what better way to celebrate the nearest thing we've got to Catachan than the deadly toxic Destroyers? (I kid! I kid!) +

+ We had a look at the first Psiloi (my 'in-universe' name for Destroyers) a earlier in the week-cycle [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], with Aftrokratori, a relatively new member of the corps in Mark IV armour. +

+ I had decided that the Iron Warriors would share none of the other Legions' reluctance to deploy the Destoyer's semi-forbidden weaponry, so I don't want to pick them out with a unique paint job or something similar – I want them to look like just another unit in the army. However, as I learned with the Basilikoi (my volkite-toting veterans), this anonymous approach can mean that they end up looking a little underwhelming; so the challenge is to find a balance between standing out and looking part of the group. +

+ The jump-pack bearing, pistol-wielding nature of Destroyers gives them a unique silhouette in my army, so that already distinguishes them from existing stuff. However, to 'future-proof' them from looking too similar to a potential jump-pack equipped assault squad, I want to make them slightly different without going completely off-piste. +

+ My solution was to dig into the background. I thought the Destroyers were an opportunity to explore some parts of the Horus Heresy that I've always liked, but have never found a good excuse to do – namely heavy battle damage and Mark V 'Heresy' plate. +

+Bolt pistol-armed Destroyer with bionic arm (rear of shot) +

+ The brutal appearance of this armour type marks them out visually, and fits perfectly with the background: the Destroyers' rad-weaponry and tactical application makes them particularly vulnerable to damage and degradation, so it seemed fitting to give them the low-tech but functional Mark V, which in the background is a stop-gap mongrel suit, with plates issued to replace the higher-tech and hard to repair Mark IV. +

+ Having the newer members of the unit (such as Aftrokratori) in Mark IV, and their older, more battleworn comrades in increasingly complete Mark V, is therefore a nice way to segue the visuals from the rest of the army (mostly in Mark IV) and give them a distinctive look. +

+ Destroyer with suspensor-assisted missile launcher. One of the few models in the game who can have both a jump pack and a heavy weapon! Note the bionic leg; a standard part of the Iron Tyrant kit +
+ You'll also notice that there's some battle damage on the armour – a detail made easier by Master Crafted Miniatures, who (after a little pleading!) have produced some awesome battle-damaged pauldrons. I've also included some exposed bionics. Generally, I prefer to keep bionics in this army relatively subtle and hidden, as it leaves 'design space' for my Iron Hands [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], who have a much stronger association with augmetics. However, given the Psiloi Destroyers' elite status, I thought it'd be fun to add some exposed bionic limbs. In addition to providing some visual flavour, it also hints more broadly at the Iron Warriors' genetic proclivity for accepting bionics, something that could be lost if I had none in the army. +

+ Here's a shot of the four members awaiting paint. I'm not sure if I'll expand them or not just yet, but they were fun to do. Relatively quick, too, as the arms for the dual pistols required much less chopping and reposing than is typical for the boltgun-armed marines. +

+ inload: Personalities of the Iron Warriors' 242nd +

+ Dramatis Personae +

What price victory?

Victory is priceless.

Motto of the Officio Monstrosa

+ Kolossos Kalamatas +

+ A traditional Olympian term for standard bearer, Kolossos is mostly reserved with the IVth legion to describe the Legion's heralds, rather than the more commonplace Company standards. +

+ As with other Legions, the Heralds of the Iron Warriors were highly-skilled warriors and diplomats both: exemplars of the Legion. By the later stages of the Siege of Terra, honour came to mean less than raw strength, and many of the later Kolossi, Kalamatas included, were elevated to their position for little more than their aggression and fearlessness than any of their less belligerent traits. +

+ So it was in those later stages that as the surface of the Iron Warriors was abraded, a darker alloy was revealed beneath. +


+ Corpsemarker +

+ The grinding nature of Legion campaigns often left Apothecaries splitting their duties between battlefield first aid, geneseed retrieval and implantation. In many Legions, more onerous duties were often leavened by scheduled meditations or less draining combat training. +

+ The typical efficiencies of the IVth, however, streamlined this, cycling apothecaries through punishing tours of monotasking; leaving an individual on extended front-line tour; before being cycled immediately back to sort the geneseed of his fallen brethren for weeks on end. Such an approach doubtless had a brutalising effect on the Iron Warriors' Apothekarion as a whole. +

+ In addition, the Iron Warriors' unusual affinity for, and ready acceptance of, bionics meant that Iron Warriors casualties tended to be either quickly treated and pressed back into service, or dead. There was little post-injury care; with the pressure on the apothecaries resulting in their wards being viewed as tools to be repaired, or equations to resolve. +

+ Perhaps surprisingly then, the haunted, drawn visage of Apothecary-ordinary Constantine was a regular attendant at Lodge meetings of the Dodekatheon. Was he attempting to grasp at what slivers of brotherhood he could find amidst the gore; or had he become so inured to pain and injury that he felt no compunction to remain beside his charges? +

+ Constantine's honorific 'Corpsemaker' was equally cryptic – respect from the 242nd for his skill at arms and willingness to fight on the frontlines; or merely a veiled reference to the number of their dead he gathered? +


+ Palatarch Oneomaster +

+ Honoured of the Basilikoi; a true 'Iron Warrior'; Oneomaster was nevertheless not Olympian-born. +

+ Iron Warrior Legionaries: Tactical, Tactical Support and Destroyers +

+ Psiloi Aftrokratori +

We weren't just infantry in there, of course. You don't hunt down a Primarch by fighting on his own turf. The Psiloi were there, too; the dedicated eradicators. The Destroyer corps. I'd seen their deployment by other Legions, and had always been surprised. 

They seemed hesitant; almost embarrassed by their use – at least, before the schism. It was a marked contrast with us. The Fourth had always done what was necessary, without hesitation or concerns of the thoughts of others. Our Destroyers were thus neither honoured nor abhorred; they were just warriors, the same as the rest of us.

Aftrokratori had a thick accent. He wasn't Olympian, but he fought like one. I never found out where he was from; and since he's been dead for years now, I have little inclination to find out.

His skin, like most Destroyers, was near-black as his melanchrome struggled to protect his organs from cooking within his Mark IV plate, as he was bathed in the baleful miasma of his ilk's rad-weaponry. The Psiloi suffered a great deal of attrition in terms of both men and equipment. The Warsmith's answer to this was simple: assign a permanent member of the apothekarion to the destroyer's Muster, and give them arming privileges.

That last point backfired on the Psiloi during the Siege. The rest of us scavenged from the battlefield or maintained our reliable Crusade-era plate. Certainly the Destroyers got first pick of replacement equipment; but owing to the rate of failure they endured, that simply meant they picked up the bulky, inefficient mongrel plate that was all the Legion could provide during those days. 


+ The Muster continues +

+ Quite a burst of painting over the last few days. I've completed eight new marines for the Iron Warriors. The first five, shown above, are more Tactical Legionaries. I rarely tire of building and painting these; they're the iconic 'Astartes', in a way that more specialised or stylised squads aren't. +

+ These two are Basilikoi, my own cadre of veterans. Played in-game as Tactical Support Legionaries, it was fun to build a Mark V marine. The distinctive studded armour and brutal faceplate was a breath of fresh air. I like a non-uniform look in squads, as it helps to keep things interesting when painting. +

+ In addition, since I've included very little in the way of personal heraldry on my Iron Warriors, it's useful to have some different armour styles in an other uniform scheme, as it adds some visual interest to the mass of troops. +

+ I took the opportunity to revisit the volkite chargers these marines are equipped with. I'd left them with a very dull red glow. While a bit more realistic, it left the Basilikoi looking too similar to the others in the army, even taking their spiky shoulderpads and distinctive helms into account. +

+ Owning your hobby +

+ The other reason I don't tend to paint much specialist stuff, like this Destroyer, is that I always get a nagging feeling that I 'ought' to be painting more basic stuff. The stories and artwork are full of archetypal Marines with boltguns; the specialist are very much secondary. +

+ I've read that lots of people regard painting the basic troops as a chore, or a 'tax' to get the interesting stuff; so I guess that's the other side of the same coin. Both such opinions are, at heart, a bit silly – there's no way to have fun wrong: as soon as you start to feel that you're being directed to do something, you can lose that spark of enthusiasm, and things start to feel like work. +

+ For this reason, I'd encourage you to go with where your enthusiasm lies; and build and paint the models that you really want to make. Any ideas of what should be included can come in later. +

+ Bubbling under are another four Psiloi Destroyers (see below), two more Heavy Support marines with multimeltas, the Basilikoi's Palatarch (sergeant), and an Apothecary. Whether any of all of these get completed before the weekend is up in the air. +

+ inload: Orcs and the 'Footsore' 242nd +

+ Painting progress +

+ Out of nowhere, a band of orcs. I picked up a pack of the orc cards for Shadespire in a trade, and decided to dig through my box of bits to build my own version of Gurzag Ironskull's warband. Should work out quite handily, as the PCRC have picked up quite heavily on orcs! A few alternate sculpts should help to avoid duplication. +

From left to right: Not-Hakka; Not-Ironskull, Not-Bonekutta, Not-Basha
+ The orcs in the official warband are essentially what I know as Black Orcs; and I had a pile of those I bought for my much-delayed ork army (destined to be Skarboyz). However, I'd built and painted one or two as stock, just for the pleasure of painting them (they're great models), so these two provided the basis for Bonekutta and Basha, who are simply orcs with a double-handed axe and a pair of mauls respectively. The model on the right (Basha) needs a second maul to replace his cutlass, but is otherwise complete. The model second from right (Bonekutta) just needed a round base. +

+ The remaining two I built from scratch specifically. Hakka is a Black Orc with two axes, and a head swap from the new Age of Sigmar orc Brutes. Ironskull was the donor for that head, his own coming from the boarboyz set, which is oddly slightly larger than the standard brute one. Not wanting to have the leader as a stock model, I've swapped his rather crude-looking weapons for slightly less crude Black Orc ones, and left his armour off. THis necessitated a bit of sculpting work on the chest and back. +

+ Elsewhere on the painting table are these Iron Warriors, who have their basecoats complete, taking them to midway through part I of this tutorial [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. The next stage is developing the metal work and basically brightening them up a little. +

+ The five on the left are standard Tactical legionaries, the one on the right a Destroyer. +

+ inload: February's goals +

+ February's goals +

+ Not yet halfway through January, but I want to keep these goals realistic – enthusiasm ebbs and flows; but nothing stifles creativity like a deadline. Anyway, I've cracked the Iron Circle and Blood Bowl teams that were my main January painting goals; and have dug out some sprues for the Alien Wars building. With two weeks before the end of January, I'll be able  to work on them at my leisure, and have fun recreating the iconic Blood Angels army from White Dwarf+

+ What next, however? Well, I managed to pick up the orc cards for Shadespire for a song. I've got a handful of Black Orcs painted up that fit the henchmen of the orc gang well; and I have a fun plan to convert the leader. That's element I of the goal. +

+ Secondly, I'd like to clear up my painting backlog. The five Iron Warriors below will go a long way to 'tidying up' my gaming – at the moment, I've got awkwardly-sized squads, and no way of fielding Rapiers. These five will fill some gaps and let me play more easily. +

+ Thirdly? I think I'll keep that open. +

+ inload: Chaunterwick Unathletic ready for play +

+ First drive +

The team's moving out onto the pitch. After a push last night, I've got the squad ready for gaming. I hesitate to say absolutely finished – I'd like to punch up the red with some glazes, and I'm umming and ahhing about weathering – but they're certainly at a stage I'm happy with for a few games.

Numbering on both the front and the back helps with identification during gaming, so I've added high contrast flashes with the player's number on. These also look nice, of course! A few little details like this work wonders for making them appear like a sports team.

You won't have missed the names on the front of the base, either. These are visually distracting, but these are gaming pieces first and foremost, so I think they're worthwhile here. In the past, I've always found it adds hugely to the enjoyment of the game if I can think in terms of individuals rather than abstract pieces – and that applies to both sides. Victories are sweeter when 'such-and-such' scores a sweeping touchdown; and setbacks are softened if you can think in sports terms – 'so-and-so' stealing an interception from your pass is a more immersive result.

Distinguishing positional players is important, and I like to make it as easy for the other coach as possible. In addition to the differences in sculpt and pose, my blitzers all have a white frontpiece to their helm. This is the sort of decision you can make that doesn't compromise the uniformity of the team strip, but does avoid confusion, which is the bane of Blood Bowl. No-one likes seeing a critical play fail because you mistook the stormvermin for a gutter runner.

Fortunately, the sculpts of this team make distinguishing positionals relatively easy; the catcher and thrower here are good examples of how a change in pose and a few select details can help a sculpt to tell a story – in addition to having a ball sculpted on, the throwers share open-faced helms (in contrast with the barred helms of the linemen and blitzers), and their poses make them look lighter on their feet without charging (as with the blitzers). Similarly, the catcher is much more lightly armoured, and has an oven glove catcher's mitt that further emphasises his pose.

Here's the team photo. The throwers are my favourite sculpts; probably because their faces are more visible. You'll notice the ball on Jimmy Turnpike's base – it's easy to forget the other bits and bobs you need for the game; and I think it's a shame to have a pair of lovely teams playing with unpainted reroll counters, turn markers etc. As a result, I started painted those at the same time; though I'm afraid my eyelids drooped before finishing the re-roll marker!

+ inload: Blood Bowl – Chaunterwick Unathletic +

+ Return to the Tallowlands +

+ With the Iron Circle polished off [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], part II of my short-term 2018 plans, detailed in inload #400 [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+] is in motion. After a push last night, the whole team is at a stage where I can turn to the enjoyable detailing. +

Excuse the slightly scary pupil-less eyes; still WIP!
+ Chaunterwick Unathletic's 'stadium', the Purefinder Bowl; capacity 1200(ish, depending on whether smaller spectators are willing to sit on larger spectator's shoulders) – isn't the most attractive, comfortable or practical playing field. You might expect a 'but' to append that last sentence, but there isn't one. +

+ A Catcher and two throwers: #7 Marius Magismet; #3 Jimmy Turnpike; and #1 Karljung Eastmoor (VC). +
+ With the exception of the Captain, Piritt Silvers, who is a slightly converted version of Forge World's Griff Oberwald, the team is the metal version released by Games Workshop in 2004. I bought a set years back, and regretted selling it on, so it's nice to have a set again. Nicer still to have it (nearly) painted! The original set was unusual for a GW release in that it had a full sixteen-man team, each with a unique sculpt. Mine has a duplicate, because I wanted a crouching scrimmage line (see below). +

+ The team's blitzers: #10 Harald Furness, #2 Piritt Silvers (C), and #13 Bobby Tuppence. +
+ Prior to the new plastics, this was the most up-to-date human set, though because it was received a limited release through the short-lived Fanatic subsidiary, it may be unfamiliar to some readers. The sculpts vary in quality. I think the throwers are fantastic, but there are huge inconsistencies within the set in terms of height, hand size and general bulk. +

+ Even taking into account differences in posture and physical variation, the set is a bit all over the place, particularly in the standing linemen, which I think are the weaker sculpts of the set; their poses a bit half-hearted. With that said, it does give the models great character and individuality; meaning that each one really does feel like a real person. +

+ Bruisers on the line of scrimmage: #5 Derby Welch, #4 Bartram Binks, and #12 Bryan Wobegone. +
+ One thing I didn't like about the set was the huge spikes and blades all over the models. Yes, they add to the over-the-top Blood Bowl feel, but to be honest, I think they look much better trimmed down – you can judge for yourself by comparing the unmodified Derby Welch (on the left) with Bryan Wobegone (on the right). Apart from anything else, I think easily-hidden knuckledusters and subtly sharpened rivets are much more in-keeping with the (admittedly fairly blurry) in-universe rules of having no weapons on the pitch. +

+ ...and the remaining linemen: #9 Ifor y Gyrdl, #8 'No-Hope' Nobbins, #6 Toby RIverbank, and #11 Colin Ap Scond. +
+ Part of the reason I like this set so much is that it's largely divorced from the Warhammer military. Most of the 3rd edition Blood Bowl releases took too many design cues from their respective Warhammer army (the High Elves were a particularly bad culprit), and lost the 2nd edition fantasy football charm. These have it back in spades, and it's interesting to note the similarities between these relatively unsophisticated sculpts and the new Griff model, who reads like a very slick update of the metals. +

+ What next? Well, I'm hoping to finish off the team this week, if not tonight, and then it's on to the next part of my short-term plan: a return to the Alien Wars [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]; though perhaps with a quick diversion to the Iron Warriors – the PCRC are meeting up at the end of the month, and we've got a big game planned. +

+ inload: Heralds of Taurson +

+ Battle Automata +

+ Excuse the rather glarey pictures, please; it being the cold depths of Winter means that I rarely get time to shoot during daylight hours. Anyway, the Iron Circle are ready for battle; and none too soon, as Lucifer216's Knight Household – watch out for them in a future inload – are spoiling for a rematch following our last battle; the Confrontation at Coripaest [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+] +

+ Iron Circle +

+ The paint scheme's been described to death in previous inloads [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], so I won't go over it much except to point out the little dangling skulls have red markings that match each Automaton's Muster markings (the yellow shape on the black pauldron). +

+ Having spent ages getting the 'IV' looking absolutely straight, I then immediately [SCRAPSHUNTERRORABORT]ed it up with some awkward muck/weathering. This pictcapture also shows the red eyes; an update on the previous iteration. I'm still in two minds about this, as I quite liked the black, hollow-eyed look, but it's definitely more eye-catching this way. My main concern is that I've ended up with purple, yellow and red accents. I'm half-tempted to repaint the eyes purple... but that's for another day, as I've got more to paint before then! +

+ Domitar +

+ In addition to the Iron Circle, I also took the opportunity to paint up a Domitar:

+ As is typical of such painting, being a relative afterthought meant that the scheme just seems to work better; no fussy accents, no over-thought additions... just a solid frame. In this instance, I think the red eyes work much better; as they haven't got anything to compete with (in contrast with the scattered details on the Iron Circle). +

+ When painting big models like his, it's easy for them to become focal points. As ever, I want my infantry to be the main attraction for the army, not the support; so I've tried to keep the models drab and serviceable – just right for Perturabo's Legion. +

+ MMXVIII Painting + 

+ With the Iron Circle sorted and the Blood Bowl team well on the way, that's my short-term 2018 painting off to a good start; and to keep it rolling on, I've decided to take up the ever-excellent Rob Hawkins' Wargame Hobby Bingo card challenge [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+] to keep things ticking over. Cheers for the idea, Rob – great concept! +

+ Given that the Iron Circle were almost complete, I don't think it's fair to use them for the card, but I think the Domitar will counts nicely for my 'Finish painting a model that's been in your to-do pile [...]' square. +

+ inload: Happy Annual Cycle +

+ So, M2.018, eh? +

+ You'll be safe here. +
+ Happy new year to you all; I hope 2018 is already proving prosperous and good for you and yours. Thanks for reading, too, of course. Whether you're a new reader or grizzled veteran, I hope to bring you some extra-diverting stuff this year. +

+ Ten Years of Truescale +

+ June of 2018 marks the ten-year anniversary of starting my Praetors of Calth blog on Warseer [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+], which is really where I started recording and detailing my way of building and painting miniatures. It's weird to read back through it – I see a lot of places where I could have improved things, and also a lot of stuff that I'm surprised I came up with! +

+ If you've got a spare dim January evening, please feel free to have a browse. It's quite a sprawling blog, as you might imagine of a nine-and-a-half years. I think it ended up being either the most-viewed or second most-viewed of the Warseer project logs, which I'm pleased with. +

+ Current plan update +

+ Anyway, I'm sure we've all got lots of plans for the year ahead. I detailed my short-term plans in the 400th inload [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+], a couple of weeks back. There I said I'd work on the Iron Circle, progress of which is through this inloadlink [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+], and shown here, too. + 

+ The other one (and a surprise Domitar) is also coming along nicely, though since it's essentially an earlier stage of the Iron Warrior painting scheme I've detailed before, I haven't bothered to show them here. +

+ The other thing I wanted to work on were Chaunterwick Unathletic, my Blood Bowl team, and while they're not completed, I think they're coming along nicely:

+ It's a fairly basic scheme – red primer, Rhinox Hide [query? Clarifier: the new 'Scorched Brown' equivalent] paint over a coarse pumice base, then slightly off-white mix of Vallejo White and a very pale green for the lower half (just enough to stop the white being too starched and clean). The four on the right are at this stage. +

+ This is then washed with Agrax Earthshade; the kneeling line of scrimmaging linemen is at this stage.  Once dry, I'm re-establishing the red with Vellejo Scarlet; the white armour plates with thinned glazes of Vallejo white; and the white fabric with a slightly off-white mix (after all, hard armour plates and fabric aren't going to look identical – especially after a wash). The two at the rear left are at this stage. +

+ The eventual look will be that of Jimmy Turnpike, who can currently be seen in the Corestack Relics gadget at the top right, or through this link [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+] if you're reading this on a data-slate. +