I liked Iron Hands before they were cool…

Well over 10 years ago, in the distant mists of time, when White Dwarf was a decent magazine and not just a product catalogue there were a series of articles. These fabled pages contained fluff and rules for each of the major space marine chapters and a bunch of ancillary technology, ranks and vehicles.

Eventually these articles were compiled into volumes and published themselves. It was these articles that captured my interest and started my ‘forever project’ – my Iron Hands.

Bionic Hipster Enhancements

Yes this is going to be me moaning about how I got there first, and now all these pesky kids are jumping on my wagon just to get a 6+ FNP save and an unkillable Chapter Master.

How cool were they then?

VERY COOL. We got HQ dreadnoughts, Chaplains that were tech marines with servo arms and a big steaming bucket of ‘POW COMBAT’ to dump all over the nearest heretic. We also got some cool fluff. A council of elders rather than a chapter master, a mystery surrounding our primarch and a healthy hatred for weakness. OH AND TERMINATOR SERGEANTS!

Then along came updates

AND RUINED EVERYTHING. Well not quite that bad, our fluff remained unchanged – except for that pesky quote attributed to our chapter master. Our glorious Iron Father became a +1 W tech marine and then the Master of the Forge with the Ward-dex.

The renaissance

Things are looking up with the advent of the newest codex. We got some love. FNP, IWND but still no proper Iron Father. Our fluff also got jacked about a bit, some clans changed icons/names, chapter master became a confirmed rank – I’ve touched on this all before. Whatever I am happy, I can work with it.

On the bright side we have the announcement of a codex supplement for Iron Hands too, which deals with the clan I’ve ended up playing – which COULD be awesome. Especially if HQ dreads and Terminator squad leaders return…

Jumping on the band wagon

You might be asking with all this love for Iron Hands what have I got to moan about? Well that’s easy. OTHER PEOPLE. As with most things, other people have to come along and ruin it. They dilute the ‘coolness’ and spread it around. So rather than there being 8 or 9 really knowledgable and enthusiastic die hards on forums, now every little Timmy wants 6+ FNP and ‘easy’ to paint black…

It’s already began, Iron Hand successors creeping out the wood work, and fluff wise there aren’t too many of them…

I understand this comes across a little ‘DAMN NEW KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN’ but what I am really trying to illustrate here is the un-sportsman-like side of the hobby. Rather than doing an army because you like the fluff, or the scheme you’re collecting it for the advantage in game – it just seems to fly in the face of the whole ‘fun’ of the hobby.

[+++engage grumpy old man protocols+++]


By day a mild mannered Web Designer from Swindon, by night a horder and shaper of bits in his mad kit bash laboratory.

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  • goobalah

    It does sound like you are a bit caught up in what other people are doing. It is as much a game as it is a hobby and you have to expect the people who do play competitively to gravitate a bit towards the power creep. I do personally think Iron Hands is the best of the new chapter tactics — yes even better than White Scars. The reason why? Durability. Marines will never be dark eldar or eldar dancing about the field. We’re too expensive… however, we’re tough. FNP 6 although isn’t amazing it does come in handy. But… IWND is amazing. there are of course many ways to play marines but a lot of lists include some sort’ve armor. The return from IWND is great for our army–carries over to just about any kind’ve list except marine blob armies but those aren’t too common. White scars is flashy and good. But tactical try to avoid combat so much the hit and run is nearly useless. By the time they are in they’ve either lost enough or avoided battle enough that it plays little to no affect. Scars also goads people into playing all bike armies and I just don’t think they do well against balanced/competitive armies. I think they can shock their way thru the right meta but if someones ready and seasoned they’ll see the weaknesses inherent. Bikes are great though but so are bikes that have a FNP save. And not to mention your CM is where bikes shine and him being able to heal and tank so much. Just today he tanked so many shots from necrons and took all but 1 wound which he saved on a 6+ FNP. Although I do agree, it does kind’ve melt away some of the luster of being the only one… but at the same time it’s nice to see the chapter get some attention and the support. 🙂

    • You make a valid point. And I agree. To be fair this article is all a bit tongue in cheek, as I don’t play outside of a circle of immediate friends so the ‘meta’ of the tournie scene doesn’t really affect me.

      What I think is the distilled point of what I am trying to make, putting aside that I am grateful after all this time Iron Hands are getting the attention they deserve is that I don’t want to be tarred with the same brush. I don’t want to be labeled as the guy who is collecting IH because they’ve got the best rules, I’d rather be recognised for creating a fluffy and ultimately ‘image’ led army and not just an army of LOL-FNP-IWND-damage-soak.

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