The Age of Darkness has arrived! Iron Warriors take the field!

Miniwargaming, you are to blame for this. Curse you!

A long time ago, I had gotten back from a Miniwargaming trip(A battle report studio out of Welland, Ontario!) that my clubhouse had gone on. It was a great trip, and I had gone to play Middle Earth….but I ended up returning to my house not with Lord of the Rings miniatures, but a Horus Heresy Red Book and a desire to try it. Josh at MWG is quite convincing.

But I never got a chance to actually play Horus Heresy 1st Edition. The Clubhouse wasn’t too sure about it, but they were curious. The announcement of the 2nd Edition got a lot of people here very interested. A few of us managed to get the Age of Darkness starter box and were happy to start playing, in the effort to get more people interested.

Of course, with the rules for Imperial Militia unavailable upon release of this new edition, and with the changes being significant enough that using the book I have is unfortunately not going to work. Therefore…I needed to pick a Space Marine Legion.

I’ve always been an Imperial Fist fan, but with a lot of people at the club playing Loyalists, I wanted to do a Traitor force of some sort. While the rules do explicitly allow traitor elements of otherwise loyal Legions, I wanted a force that was one of the main bad guys of this era.

Enter the IVth Legion, Iron Warriors. This Legion focuses in lore heavily in siege warfare, but whereas the Imperial Fists are the more defensive version of that archetype, the Iron Warriors focus more on the offense. Both Legions are quite capable of either task, but then going to the rules made the choice easy for me. Iron Warriors have access to a Rite of War(basically an army-wide bonus and restrictions that allow for some pretty bananas stuff!) called the Iron Fire, an artillery focused Rite that allows me to use masses of infantry and creeping barrages of artillery fire, with rules reflecting that choice.

Once the box arrived….I didn’t have a lot of time to assemble it. In fact, I am still assembling it. But I also got the new tank for this edition, the Kratos. The precursor to the more “modern” Sicaran Battle Tank, the Kratos Heavy Assault Tank was a lesser used tank, having been phased out in many Legions in favour of its newer cousin. But the Kratos still packs a mean punch, and on the table can be quite scary. I decided to start on that first, cause its a cool freaking tank!

The built tank….which I then primed with an absolutely horrid primer. Dark Steel it said…that is a lot of glitter for Steel!

I didn’t track the build particularly well, but suffice to say it was an easy build, but a time consuming one. I does have an awful lot of guns, and I did take the time to magnetize the main gun and parts that are associated with each variant. The “Hull” sponsons are a tight enough fit on my kit that I just slot them in. The side sponsons I’m sure could be magnetized but that task was beyond me.

However, the primer I used was terrible. I had no hobby primer…so I used a Rustoleum metal colour can. The problem; While I’m sure it looks good on other things, the “Dark Steel” was in fact a very bright, glitter enfused silver. It was pretty darn shiny!

Luckily, hitting it with a quick spray of matte varnish to kill the tackiness, and drybrushing Army Painter Plate Mail over it killed the shine.

Painting it wasn’t too hard, and while I’m not calling this “done”, its pretty close. It requires a bit of rust effects, and I have misplaced my Iron Warriors decals from the many Chaos kits I had gotten over the years. So once those two elements are found, and soot applied to the tank, I will call it done at that point.

But I did get a game in!

Lots of proxying, not fully assembled models, and utter confusion. But it was an absolute blast!

The game was an absolute blast(template?) to play, and reminded me of a lot of the good things that the old 3rd to 7th 40k rules had in them. 7th needed to die, as it had mutated into something horrible by its close, but Horus Heresy had spawned from it, and upon 8th’s release had become its own thing, and could and did refine the rules. It appears that 2nd Edition Horus Heresy kept that balance, and refined the ruleset even further; it was pretty easy to grasp…just a lot of rules. The advantage of all the special rules being the same between units for the most part however meant that once you knew the rule, you were set.

The reactions are controversial for many, but as a new player to the system, it was nice to have something to do during the enemy turn that kept me engaged in the game. None of the “current” ones felt stupidly overpowering, but we only had the one(half, really) game to base my good opinion on, so your mileage may vary. They importantly don’t feel like “strategems” to me, as you only at best get two a phase…and that is if you brought a warlord trait for that phase. Their triggers are also very dependent on your opponents moves, so being very reactive(surprising absolutely no one) is the big draw as you can’t focus on getting that crucial “alpha strike” out of it.

But enough of this “rules” malarky, lets see the tank!

Here it is, in all its oily, muddy glory. Iron Within, Iron Without!

The Kratos was washed with Nuln Oil Gloss(a now out of production shade…) to give it a oily, greasy look, fitting the grimy IVth Legion. The tracks were washed with Agrax Earthshade…but that quickly didn’t matter as I covered all of it in Mig Dark Mud. The Hazard Stripes, so common to vehicles of the Iron 4th, were kept small(so far) to keep it from overpowering the model.

To finally and definitively kill the shine, I used the Vallejo Acrylic Matte Varnish, which has a much more matte finish then the GW varnish.

The other side! I had a lot of fun painting this!
The Turret! The classic round bubble turret from the Fellblade is also evident here!
The mud effects are brilliant! The MIG stuff is pretty good stuff, cheaper and considerably better then Stirland Mud.
More Mud.
While the options are not painted, here is the Volkite main gun.
And the Melta Cannon. Melta. Cannon. If I didn’t need to knife fight to use it, I’d probably use it more.
These parts fit over the back of the turret, and help make the main weapon look different when fitted.
The Melta Cannon rear turret gubbins.

All in all, a really fun tank to build. But as a teaser for what is coming next….

Hellooooooo Warsmith!
Do you like metal arms? I certainly do!

I’m certainly going to try and push Horus Heresy at the Clubhouse a lot more, and once my Militia list is legal to play again(I’m waiting on the Legends PDF from Games Workshop), I can mix the lists again to make my Armies of Dark Compliance list!

But, alas, that is all I have for now. Happy Wargaming wherever you are, and I’ll see you at the Siege of Terra! Iron Within Iron Without!

8 thoughts on “The Age of Darkness has arrived! Iron Warriors take the field!

    1. It’s honestly a really fun game too. I’m not a fan of what 40k has turned into over the last few years, as it seems to moving too fast and too quickly for me to become as proficient in it as I’d like.

      Horus Heresy seems to lean hard into Narrative styles of play, well beyond what 40k offers. The community can be a mixed bag but for the most part they are really passionate:

      Liked by 4 people

    1. The Kratos is a really nice tank to work on. I’m sorely tempted to get another!

      I’m really keen to show off the Warsmith once he’s completed. He’s not going to be a simple paint job, so I’m going to take my time. I also have ideas for him narratively that I’m thinking on, and the pose lends itself well to an officer who cares little about his men, only results. War will be but an equation to him.

      Horus Heresy looks to be a fantastic time. Not having to worry about an ever-shifting meta and having the freedom to kitbash to my hearts content has been liberating!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! The tank isn’t quite finished but it’s just a little bit of rust to add, and some soot around the exhaust and weapon muzzles.

      Warsmith I’m keen to start on, but with a game fast approaching on Saturday, I really need to build more Legionary’s. Can’t wait to get cracking on him!


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