Iron Hands Scouts

The Iron Hands recruit from their homeworld of Medusa, choosing the strongest from the nomadic clans that populate the feral world. Through brutal trials and indoctrination, these recruits are taught to suppress their emotions, until all that remains is a resentment for their own biological form.

Upon induction into the Chapter, the left hand of the recruit is severed and replaced with a bionic limb. This ceremony can see some recruits choosing to sever their own hand, or submerge it into a lava stream from one of Medusa’s many volcanoes. Some believe that this hand is severed when a neophyte is initiated and becomes a full battle-brother (basically going from Scout to Marine), while others argue that a Scout’s augmentation surgeries would be started as soon as possible, so that he is taught early to reject the frailty of his flesh.

Recruits with close combat weapons and teleport homer.
Every Medusan is part of a clan, and kept in constant competition with the countless other clans that travel the ever-shifting terrain of the planet. In keeping with tradition, the Iron Hands Chapter is also split into Clan Companies, with each one maintaining its own supply of weapons, vehicles and handling their own recruitment.

The people of Medusa come from a long line of hunter-gatherers, and are proud hunters and survivalists in their own right. They have to be, for dwelling on a planet as unforgiving and unpredictable as Medusa requires great strength, adaptability and resourcefulness. It’s these core qualities and skills that they need to see them through their initial trials and all those beyond that, for failure and weakness will not be tolerated by any of the Iron Hands Clan Companies.

The Iron Hands are adept at waging war in silence, and their Scouts are no different. This comes from being brought up and trained on Medusa where it is impossible to shout in the heat of battle without warcries being lost in high winds. Although the Chapter’s warcry is said to be “The Flesh is Weak!” it is unknown if they actually use such a cry in combat, for when a battle company takes to the battlefield they tend to do so without speaking, their communications lying quiet for important transmissions.

Over the course of his time in one of the Clan Companies’ Scout squads, the neophyte will master various weapons and forms of combat, both close quarters and long range, as well as infiltration and sabotage. Only when he has proven himself before the eyes of his Clan Company will he be initiated into the Chapter as a full battle-brother. For those who fail their challenges, a swift termination awaits, or worse, transformation into a mindless servitor; those who pass will be inducted into the ranks of the Iron Hands fully, a series of bionic augmentation surgeries lying ahead of him.


Fist of Medusa, part 3: Tactical Claves Durrak & Vhiron

I’ve been out of action for a couple of months, mainly work and family taking up the majority of my time and partially as well it was due to losing some momentum and interest in what I was doing with the models. I couldn’t even think about putting paint to plastic, and wouldn’t look at the models for days at a time. During a night shift last week, one of my colleagues mentioned that he had a few 40k armies, and after listening to the pride and excitement that he had in his projects, it reignited the forge. I have a few units teetering on the brink of completion, and felt that it was time to get back to business!

This third installment of the Fist of Medusa features my first two Iron Hands units, and one that has been changing ever since. Going back to 2014, the first Tactical Squad was very rough and largely a product of experimenting with the Chapter’s colour scheme. We’ve come a long way since then, and although these guys were based and finished off way back when, it’s taken until now for them to get a showcase of their own.

What’s changed? The name, for one. What was once this humble squad is now Tactical Clave Durrak, a bitter Iron Hands specialising in horde control. The heavy weapon marine has also changed a few times (thanks to much indecision on my part!), with the heavy bolter eventually becoming the tool of choice after much agonising over the decision. There were one or two heavy bolters left over from the Devastator kit, and it seemed like a wise move to add some more anti-horde to the army. The second squad was always planned to be a dedicated plasma unit for the sake of anti-armour capabilities, something that my army was lacking much of two years back.

Source: Warhammer 40k Codex Space Marines, 6th Edition, pg 66.

At the beginning I wanted the army to show the various augments that the Iron Hands had, with each individual marine being at a different stage of their surgeries. This was one of my favourite aspects of the Iron Hands’ lore: every marine had something that made him different from his battle-brothers, making for some fun customisation. The first squad has solely GW’s bionics in there, and the second displays some experimentation with the likes of Puppetswar and Anvil Industry bionics added to the mix. As mentioned in previous posts, the chapter tactics apply to these Tactical Squads too, and as such they have Feel No Pain (+6) to represent their cybernetic augmentations.

Tactical Clave Durrak

Tactical Clave Durrak is renown for their efficient methods of horde control, stemming the tide wherever the line needs held, be their enemies bloodthirsty xenos swarms or droves of deranged cultists. Clave Durrak operates with ruthless tact and efficiency, laying down coordinated waves of bolter fire and flame as they advance, and crushing underfoot any that should remain. Decades of bitterness stirs within the darkness of Sergeant Durrak’s power armour, amongst the cables and pistons that sit in place of flesh and bone. The squad’s own growing array of bionic enhancements sees them dodge blows and launch counter attacks with ease in the chaos of battle, all the while waging war in silence like true Medusan warriors. 

Tactical Clave Vhiron

Slamming onto the battlefield in their Drop Pod, Clave Vhiron swiftly identifies the strongest link in the enemy’s chain and pushes towards them relentlessly, blaster fire bouncing off of their black plating as they go. The battle-brothers of Tactical Clave Vhiron have trained extensively to the point of mastery with plasma weapons, carrying these sacred munitions into battle in tribute of one of the Clan’s greatest warriors, Brother Gunnvarr. So great is their reverence for the mighty hero that the squad execute their targets in his name, building their own reputation of righteous zeal and destruction.


  • Warhammer 40k, Codex Space Marines, Games Workshop (2012) pg 66.

Fist of Medusa, part 2: Captain Tynel & Command Squad

In September of last year, I completed the Command Squad for the army and wrote up a post, which you can find here. While the Venerable Dreadnought Gunnvarr fills the role of Strike Force Command, the Battle Demi-company still requires either a Captain or Chaplain at the helm. Or so I’m to believe, if I’m reading the section on Choosing An Army correctly…

Despite being a fan of the Chaplain models, I’m not a fan of GW’s tactic of trying to convince players that Iron Hands have Chaplains. This appeared in the Clan Raukaan supplement and just served to piss people off, mainly because the lore states that the Iron 10th doesn’t have them; they have special officers known as Iron Fathers that are a mix of Techmarine and Chaplain. Basically, a Techmarine that has Chaplain duties.

So it was on to picking a Captain. GW has loads of models to be potential Captains/Chapter Masters, but in the end I used the Master of the Fleet model as a base and went from there, giving him a head swap, and a loader arm from the missile launcher backpack. I thought this model’s nonchalant pose would give the character the right amount of arrogance befitting an Iron Hands leader. Further down the line he also got a shield for added protection, but it was easy enough to apply and doesn’t look as out of place as expected. I suppose the loader arm can be there for holding on to his shield while he throttles the occasional Tyranid or Gretchin.


The Command Squad was a kitbash that came about to get rid of excess Space Marine parts that were lying around, coupled with some spare items from an old Command Squad sprue. There are bits and pieces from all over the place, including the Commander kit, Sternguard, Vanguard, and Venerable Dreadnought kit. My sister was kind enough to buy me the Veterans MKII set from GW’s site at Christmas, and so I replaced the previous power fist-wielding veteran with the finecast one as seen in the pictures below. I really like the model, it looks pretty dramatic and probably has one of the best poses in the finecast range; his scarred face also fits in with the Iron Hands lore in that marines would scar their own bodies in order to remind themselves of the frailty of the flesh.

The Flesh is Weak chapter tactic is army-wide, giving all models Feel No Pain (6+) but would affect a Command Squad differently due to the inclusion of the Apothecary who already provides this rule from his narthecium. Instead, models in this unit would just add 1 to their Feel No Pain rolls. The Clan Champion has a combat shield that gives him a 6+ invulnerable save, while the Captain’s storm shield gives him a 3+ invulnerable save. The Captain is also covered by the It Will Not Die rule in the Iron Hands chapter tactics, whereby he can regain a wound on the roll of a 5+, and we have the makings of a fairly sturdy close combat unit!

Captain Hadvir Tynel & Command Squad


From the depths of their Land-Behemoth, The Weyland, the Iron Hands of Clan Vurgaan prepare for war. Led by the cold, calculated logic of Captain Hadvir Tynel, the Fist of Medusa strike force combines the relentless and disciplined firepower of the sons of the Gorgon, with the near indestructible war machines the Chapter reveres. In keeping with the legend of their gene-father, Captain Tynel willingly carries a thunder hammer into battle, a weapon that he long ago mastered in combat. Throughout his long history with Clan Vurgaan, he has led the strike force to countless victories, seen thousands of vicious wars, and is always found where the fighting is fiercest, backed by his retinue of veterans.

Chosen from the clan’s most skilled warriors, the Command Squad boasts the most lethal, trusted and proven of Clan Vurgaan. Their prowess in battle, not just in attack but also stout defence, has seen them successfully aid some of Medusa’s greatest heroes and tacticians. The Clan Champion remains vigilant, challenging the greater threats in the enemy ranks in defence of his Captain, while the Apothecary tirelessly tends to the wounded. The unwavering will of Brother Hjorlvar sees him hold aloft the clan standard, an ancient relic that lights a fire within the black armoured shells of every Iron Hand marine who sets eyes upon it in the midst of battle. 

Now more machine than man underneath his armour, Captain Tynel is seen as being an inspiration himself to his battle-brothers; fitted with dozens of bionic enhancements and cybernetic implants, and almost fully rid of the flesh that makes every marine weak. His bionic limbs and upgrades have seen him shrug off wounds that would fell even the strongest Space Marine, and his self-repairing systems are able to analyse and mend battle damage almost as soon as it occurs. 

Fist of Medusa, part 1: Gunnvarr

Greetings, everybody. In the time since last we joined the Iron Hands, the Devastators had just been finished and I was continuing work on the Battle Demi-company’s remaining units. I had also been reading through one of the most recent releases from Games Workshop, the Angels of Death supplement for the Space Marines.

One of the most interesting aspects for the Iron Hands was the section containing the Strike Force command options, which included Venerable Dreadnoughts as an alternate choice to Captains or Chaplains. Remembering waaaaaaaaaaay back to when the Clan Raukaan supplement was doing the rounds, I wrote a short post about how it sucked; this was mainly down to lots of new and conflicting Iron Hands lore, an abundance of dizzying up-close snaps of GW’s painted models and little of what actually makes the Iron 10th great.

Angels of Death has taken steps to rectify this. It’s more about packing content into the book rather than GW’s painting team showing off their models this time, and I have to say that this book has got it right. It’s like breathing new life into the Chapters, giving them a much-needed boost. The Dreadnought command choice is a very cool option and ties in with the older Iron Hands lore, while the actual positive content from the Raukaan book, what little there was anyway, is here in the form of the warlord traits and Chapter-specific relics.

So in Part 1 of the Fist of Medusa, I present the honoured ancient Gunnvarr. He was one of the very first models that I got for the army a couple of years ago, and was one of the earliest that I painted for the Chapter. He is equipped with a plasma cannon and storm bolter, as well as having the very handy rule It Will Not Die, allowing him to regain a hull point on a roll of 5+. This also applies to other vehicles as well as characters in an Iron Hands army.

Honoured Ancient Gunnvarr (Venerable Dreadnought)

An ancient rage burns deep inside Brother Gunnvarr’s sarcophagus, fuelling his age-long crusade for revenge against the Iron Hands’ enemies. Previously a veteran serving in one of the clan’s command squads, Gunnvarr had the great honour of carrying one of the clan’s sacred weapons into battle. He was mortally wounded in an ambush by the Black Legion during an operation on Serket Prime, challenging a Chaos Champion to combat in defence of his captain. Being saved from death by Iron Father Aythe, he was returned to Medusa and consequently interred within a venerable Dreadnought chassis.

Gunnvarr has served the clan for over three thousand years and has a place on the Great Clan Council, being sought out for his valuable insight and advice in all aspects of war. A tattered parchment so hangs from the left arm of his metallic frame, covered in countless battle honours detailing a long, bloody history of fury and carnage left in his wake since rejoining his clan. Most recently Gunnvarr has been involved in the targeting and purging of a number of settlements across the galaxy that have been tainted by the ruinous powers of the Warp. To this day, his plasma cannon has reaped thousands amongst the traitors and heretics, and continues to obliterate any who would stand before the might of the Iron Hands and the Emperor. 


Iron Hands Devastators

“Those that are entrusted with the clan’s venerated heavy weaponry carry with them a piece of the Chapter’s rich and bloodied history. Each shell is steeped in the ancient rage that burns deep within the Iron Hands’ black plating, raining catastrophe and ruin down on all those foolish enough to oppose them. When the Devastators of Clan Vurgaan open fire, one would think, rightly, that Forgebreaker itself was striking from the heavens…”

As versatile as they are dangerous, the Devastators can be equipped with up to four heavy weapons from the armoury, an armorium cherub and they can take a vehicle. They can be tailored to whatever your army requires, being used as a mobile anti-armour squad or a lazy, long-range tank killing unit. Having an army of shooty Iron Hands mostly operating at mid-range, the classic missile launcher lineup was the most appealing for some long-range support.

With my Battle Demi-company nearing its completion, I chose to paint up the Devastators next. They are not a unit that I had ever considered taking in an army prior to the new kit coming out last year (it looked so shiny and new) and when it landed a while back I promised myself not to buy it. The Space Marine codex being as stuffed as it is with goodies, it was hard to see where these guys would fit in. As the demi-company requires either Devastators or Centurions as a Heavy Support choice, I figured that this would be the ideal time to work on this five-man heavy weapons squad.

The Iron Hands Devastator Clave Tonough.

Initially the pull of the new grav cannon was too much to begin with, and so I ended up building him up and moving him out into one of my Tactical Squads. The plasma cannon went into Tactical Squad number three, and I took both squads’ missile launcher marines for the Devastators in exchange (hence why two of them are on the original, smaller bases). Three missile launchers and one lascannon was the idea: a long range headache that could threaten infantry and armour.

It’s fair to say that my army doesn’t have much in the way of lascannon presence (aside from the Predator) and I thought that at least in this squad, this marine could make use of the sergeant’s wargear: the signum. This device allows one member of the unit to spend the shooting phase at BS 5, at the expense of the sarge not firing. Because of this, the sarge was kept cheap and cheerful with the bolt pistol and chainsword combo. The addition of the cherub allows one model in the squad to re-roll failed To-Hit rolls for one shooting phase, a handy aid to keep around and another excuse to paint up this bizarre servitor.

For the overall appearance of the unit, they were meant to look seasoned to suggest that they had been with the Devastators for long enough to be trusted with the clan’s heavy weapons, while at the same time not possessing as many augmentations as longer-serving marines in the army. One of the marines may have had his legs blown clean off in battle long ago or simply had them replaced in order to make him a more recoil-resistant artillery platform, while it’s implied that the sergeant’s ancient armour is housing his own staggering array of cybernetic enhancements, his flesh all but replaced by pistons and cables.

My current project is to complete the Demi-company, of which the third Tactical Squad and second Land Speeder remain. I’m also looking to working on my Armoured Task Force formation, this being one of the core choices for the Iron Hands in the new supplement, Angels of Death. As it stands, I have a Techmarine and a Predator completed, before stumbling upon this beast stored underneath my bitz box:


I think I’ll need to get a few of these to bolster my task force, along with some extra Predators and Techmarines. The remainder of the army can be worked around this formation, including all of my beloved Dreads- many of which will be included in upcoming posts this year, and will need all the Techmarine help they can get!
The Angels of Death supplement has brought forward some unique formation ideas for each Chapter, and I’m looking forward to working some of these into my army for future games. I’ll make sure to touch upon some of the Iron Hands’ content in the posts to come. Until then, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the pics.

Hunters of Knowledge

“The Xenarites are dedicated to the study and exploitation of alien technology, a policy which most Tech-Priests find highly offensive… Aware of the antipathy of their colleagues, the Xenarites pursue a policy of covert study, often despatching cohorts of Skitarii to garrison alien sites instead of bringing artefacts back to forge worlds for study as prescribed by doctrine.” -pg 18, Codex Adeptus Mechanicus: Skitarii, Games Workshop, (2015).

The Skitarii are the foot soldiers of the Ad Mech, recruited from vat-grown specimens and recycled convicts in a similar fashion to servitors. Their limbs and organs are replaced with steel or titanium, making each and every Skitarius a more effective warrior that can survive in the harshest of conditions. Each Forge World has their own legion of Skitarii, with the black-robed legion hailing from Stygies VIII. Said to produce the best recoil dampeners and gun barrels of all the Forge Worlds, Stygies VIII is also home to an underground faction known as the Xenarites who have a deep interest in studying alien technology; this tracing back to the Eldar saving the planet from succumbing to the traitors during the Horus Heresy. Such research and recovery of xenos artifacts has put the forces of Stygies VIII into conflict with the Inquisition and even Skitarii from neighbouring Forge Worlds.

The thought of having my own Skitarii involved in the Xenarites provided some really exciting ideas and narratives for games, but also lent itself to a backstory for my Iron Hands & Ad Mech army whereby the two are linked, due to my Iron Father’s interest in studying xenos artifacts. Hopefully this bit of backstory will fuel some interesting narratives further down the line, maybe scenarios involving Clan Vurgaan & the Skitarii defending a relic from the shambling hordes of Chaos, or the operatives of the Inquisition.


Source: Warhammer 40k 4th Edition Rulebook, pg 122.

I picked up my first box of Skitarii last year and assembled them as Rangers rather than Vanguard. The main reason was the appearance, in all honesty. The hoods and the gas mask/respirator always seemed to be the ‘classic’ design of the soldiers of the Forge Worlds for me, going back to the retro, scratchy-style of artwork that used to litter White Dwarf back in the ’90s and some of the’00s. Secondly, with the stock weapon of the Rangers being the 30″ range galvanic rifle, they had the makings of a mid-to-long range headache that could give my Iron Hands some extra shooting support. Add in some weapon upgrades and the unit could be suited up with some really exotic toys well suited to soldiers of the Machine God.

The black-robed Skitarii of Stygies VIII.
The upgrades on this squad here are the transuranic arquebus and the arc rifle. I was drawn to the bizarre arquebus since the picture of the Skitarii emerged on GW’s site, its elongated base standing out a mile from the rest of its squad. This beast is a 60″ range sniper weapon that has armourbane, making vehicles its preferred targets. The arc rifle also comes in handy with vehicular enemies, coming with the haywire special rule. If I could go back and change things, I might have put two transuranic arquebi in the unit instead of mixing and matching, but therein lies the problem: you only get one of each special weapon per kit. My advice to new Skitarii collectors would then be: buy 2 kits at once so you can double up. Hell, if you field a squad of 10 you are allowed to take as many as 3 special weapons. My new Vanguard unit has certainly benefited from looting the remains of the Rangers’ kit for duplicate special weapons.

The Ranger Alpha from my previous posts is gone, rebuilt as I was unhappy with the weapon choice that I had originally given him. I wasn’t thinking at the time, dazzled by all the new close combat weapons, thinking later on that he should really be armed with a galvanic rifle like the rest of the squad, allowing him to join in the firing line. Plus, the Alpha’s head with the hood lowered around the neck was just too sinister to pass up, and made him better stand out from his cyborg brethren.

As a unit, they were fun to build and an interesting challenge- certainly a change of pace from painting Space Marines. From a modelling point of view, Games Workshop have done some truly great work with the Ad Mech lines, and if I ever feel the need to punish myself with more then I will be picking up the Kataphron Servitors for sure. Until then, I have an Iron Hands Battle Demi-Company to continue on with, so that I can take a break from painting Skitarii!

On a side note, this is just a quick message to say that last month marked the 2nd birthday of Fires Of The Forge! A massive thank you to everyone who reads, follows, comments and replies to these posts- it’s been great meeting the online community here and I look forward to seeing more of your work as we continue.



  • Warhammer 40k 4th Edition Rulebook, Games Workshop, (2004) pg 122.
  • Imperial Armour Volume One: Imperial Guard and Imperial Navy, Games Workshop (2003) pg 11.
  • Codex Adeptus Mechanicus: Skitarii, Games Workshop, (2015) pg 18.




Double Feature, part 2: Tech-Priest of Stygies VIII

Here we are at the second part of this week’s double feature. I have recently completed work on the HQ unit of the Skitarii boxset, that is the Tech-Priest, and am pleased the say that I loved every minute of it. Every minute of painting his hunched, withered, awkward frame was thoroughly enjoyed, and even though it was a partial-build-and-paint job, overall it was very fun. And it was a welcome break from working on both the Iron Hands and the Skitarii troops. So, here is the leader of my Stygies VIII expedition, the Tech-Priest Dominus.

The Tech-Priest is decked out in the maroon-coloured Skitarii warplate of Stygies VIII, similar to his brethren in the Rangers and Vanguard. I hadn’t seen one of these models painted in this forgeworld’s colours before, so I started off with a bit of planning with regards to the various appendages, mechadendrites, sanctus canisters and weapons. He has a few weapon options, but I have decided to equip him with a macrostubber and a volkite blaster (volkite weapons seem to be all the rage, plus I reckon it looks cooler), and he comes wielding a power axe. He also has his own mean-looking servo skull, which makes the others look quite tame by comparison!

Surprisingly, the kit came with a few options, like with a choice of two underslung weapons, two sideaerms and even two heads. I opted for the elongated hood, which up until opening the box I didn’t even know was an included option. I love the Tech-Priest artwork in the Cult Mechanicus codex and thought that this head added something extra to an already eerie model.

Overall, the Tech-Priest was fantastic to paint, and it was a pleasure working on him. The only downside to this whole experience was dropping him in my paint water mug right at the end… Yes, he really is that unbalanced. Make sure he is adequately glued down before examining him, that’s all I can say. The model feels very fragile to the touch, but for a sculpt this bizarre in appearance it had to be executed I suppose.

My work on the Skitarii boxset continues with the building of the Dunecrawler, the priming of the Vanguard (when we get some stable weather up here), and the completion of the Rangers. I’ve even set a small painting challenge to have the Rangers finished by the end of the month, so this should get things moving along.

As always, thanks for checking out the blog and catch you next time.

Building & painting an Iron Hands army.