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Iron Warrior Surprise

When you regularly play with the same group of gamers you tend to get used to what everyone else has in their collection and when something new comes along we tend to talk about it long before it ever gets to the gaming table. Sharing your excitement with your friends is part of what makes the hobby fun. The shared enthusiasm is a good motivator to continue painting, collecting, and gaming.

However, sometimes it's also fun to do something in secret.

There is a joy in casually sticking a brand new and unexpected unit down on the board during deployment. Watching your opponent's facial expressions pile up in a mess of confusion, recognition, panic, excitement and surprise is one to behold. So with the recent Nerd Thunder I knew I had to do something special.

Several ideas went through my mind, including a Chaos Renegade Knight. But when Charlie offered up a box full of Space Marine spares, including a bunch of tanks I knew what I must do. An Iron Warriors Spearhead detachment.

It was perfect. It would be fairly quick to paint. It would provide a good balance to my infantry heavy Thousand Sons army. Plus I've always liked their cold, brutal, and utterly callous behaviour. They sit in that properly scary type of evil, the calculating and logical kind. The crazy blood lust type of thing has never really appealed to me.

The Iron Warriors also gave me a chance to do the more understated type of Chaos. I never liked the super ornate, Gothic, look for them. I went with using the Mk3 armour for the tactical squad and it's plainness just fitted better. All the tanks are just stripped down and plain. To me the Iron Warriors just don't seem like the type to collect trophies, random bling, or include anything unnecessary on their weapons. So I kept it simple.

I also loaded down the list with as many Lascannons as I could, because Yes.

The painting was pretty simple. Leadbelcher Spray, Nuln Oil Wash, Iron Breaker edge highlight, Averland Sunset for the yellow, Abbandon Black, then Mithril Silver scratches etc. The eyes/lens etc was white with a wash over the top.

I actually spent more than a couple of minutes on the basing of these guys. It was tempting to do them in the same desert scheme as the Thousand Sons, but I decided in the end to do them in something that suits them. A toxic mud bath. Seemed fitting. This was Stirland mud built up into piles. Nurgle's Rot for the sludge pools. Then some dry brushing to finish up.


The chevrons where mostly free handed for the smaller areas. I find it best when free handing is to paint the whole area black then slowly, using thinned yellow to carefully paint the middle stripe of yellow. Once that is nice and solid I use that as a guide to do the adjacent stripes. The larger stripes were masked with tape to get them nice and neat.

I've only managed a couple of games with them so far. In Nerd Thunder they managed to hold up Jeff's massive Blood Angels armoured column. I've been especially impressed with the Havocs. They've been pretty deadly for their size.

In terms of balance, on their own they will suffer, but mixing them in with the existing Thousand Sons units they compliment each other nicely. As Charlie found out when I halted his mechanised Imperial Guard army recently. 

In short, totally worth the effort keeping this lot a secret to drop on the table at the right moment. 



  1. Sneaky but ever so satisfying. I did the same with my Orc playing friend he was very surprised not to see my Black Templars but a Dark Eldar force.

    1. Oooh, that a big switch up. I bet that was satisfying to put down and watch the reaction.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you! I’m pretty happy with how they came out.

  3. Yep, let me tell you, I was *surprised*, bordering on vexed ;)

    We were expecting guard-crewed russes. A problem but not one to completely avoid. To have, once deployed, SIXTEEN space marine crewed lascannons turn up was distinctly alarming to say the least. Turned what was going to be a flying column into an ugly tank-on-tank slug fest ending in piles of burning machinery on both sides.

    Good surprise :D

  4. Nicely done! I really dig 'em. Nothing like Sudden Onset Iron Warriors Syndrome to throw your opponents into disarray! :D

    1. Thank you! It’s such a shame that SOIWS doesn’t last very long. Have to work out the next surprise :)

  5. I think you'll find that narratively, there's little Iron warriors cannot include. They are satisfying from that perspective- having such an unmutated, lawful evil base allows you to stretch to daemon engines, corrupted knights, shackled sorcerers, technovirus infused monstrosities.

    Your next surprise may well be a looted biotitan, whose fleshmetal infected hide sprouts conduits and cables linked to a mighty control throne, wheron sits the warmaster.

    1. A looted biotitan would be actually amazing. Not sure if I’ve got the balls to pull that conversion off.

      What I am really enjoying about the chaos thing is by it very nature I totally get to indulge my hobby butterfly. It might not be totally free to roam, but it’s got a massive enclosure to float about in.

      As long as it’s vaguely chaotic I’ve got license to do it.


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