Army Showcase: Armies on Parade Special – Martin Crawford’s Iron Warriors

What is better than Space Marines? If you immediately thought of Chaos Space Marines, you’re on the right lines! But what’s better than Chaos Space Marines? Chaos Space Marines with big bloody daemon engines. You know I’m right.

With that in mind, we went to a friend of MoM, Martin Crawford. We’ve featured Martin before with his excellent Night Lords army.

This year Martin entered the Armies on Parade competition with an entirely new force of industrial nightmares and we’ve got the scoop on these hell-forged heroes.

Boys on tour

Martin, talk me through your decision to go with Iron Warriors for your Armies on Parade this year? When do you decide on and how did you go about planning and achieving your goals?

A long-term goal of mine is to have a collection that includes models from each Traitor Legion (prior to this year I had painted World Eaters, Death Guard, Thousand Sons, and Night Lords) so I was always going to work on some Iron Warriors at some point. 

Last year, I entered a Night Lords army that contained a lot of infantry, such as Raptors and Warp Talons. If I was going to commit to painting another army, I wanted to ensure that it would offer a different experience in the game, so I planned a Spearhead Detachment of Iron Warriors that would include lots of large Daemon Engines. 

I started off by considering what the essential units were and decided that I would base the army around two of the larger models in the Chaos Space Marine (CSM) range: a Heldrake and a Forgefiend. I started painting the Heldrake in March, and once I had finished both models, I had a better idea of how many more units I could realistically paint. Games Workshop also began releasing some brilliant new additions to the CSM range which found their way into the army. When they released the Lord Discordant model, it felt like they had read my mind and delivered the perfect unit to lead the army.

What do chaos dreadnaughts wear on their feet? Hel-Boots!

What’s the basic approach to painting the models? How do you maintain thematic connectivity?

I wanted my Iron Warriors to look a lot dirtier and weathered than they sometimes appear on box art and in illustrations. These are bitter warriors that have been blowing things up for 10,000 years, and I wanted to reflect that! 

The paint scheme is quite easy to replicate. Firstly, I made sure that all the models in the army were covered in lots of metal parts. Then, I prime the models with Leadbelcher spray, followed by a heavy wash of Nuln Oil. After this, I pick out embellishments and trim with Warplock Bronze (possibly my favourite Citadel paint), and then wash the model again with Agrax Earthshade. Once the main metallic colours have been applied in this way, I pick out any fleshy parts using the following colours in this order: Bugman’s Glow, Reikland Fleshshade, Cadian Fleshtone, Kislev Flesh, and Flayed One Flesh. 

I think following this approach fairly rigidly meant that I achieved thematic cohesion. However, the downside is that towards the end of the project, I began to get a bit bored of painting in the same style. I tried to keep things interesting for myself, for example by adding in little details that challenged me to learn a new painting technique. 

Edward daemon-hands.

Speaking of which: talk to me about hazard striping, yours looks tight. How tricky was it?

I started by filling in the panels that I wanted to have stripes with Averland Sunset (it would usually take three thin coats over the silver base coat), then a heavy wash of Reikland Fleshshade, followed by stripes with Abaddon Black. 

I found that it was easier to paint larger stripes on models like the Heldrake and Forgefiend, because I could use tape to block out the areas that I wanted to remain yellow. It was more difficult to use the tape on smaller models, as I had to cut it down into smaller strips. Towards the end of the project, I just free-handed the stripes, and covered any imperfections with lots of weathering to save time.

That weathering and chipping seems to be really effective, how did you do that?

I followed a method for chipping that I saw in a Warhammer tutorial video. Basically, you sponge some brown paint (I used Rhinox Hide) in small quantities onto the model, a bit like if you were dry-brushing it, and then pick out these brown parts with a bright silver, such as Stormhost Silver. I mainly focused this on the sections that I had painted hazard stripes on. 

I also wanted to include verdigris on the bronze parts, and initially, I tried using Nihilakh Oxide technical paint. However, I found this colour to be a bit too pale, so I asked for advice from a few painters whose work I enjoy. They told me that they use watered-down Sotek Green, and apply it as a glaze; I much prefer this look, and it provided a nice spot colour against the earthy and metallic tones. 

Ziggy Stardust and the spiders from the warp.

Talk me through the illuminated eye effect on the Venomcrawler

That is a painting technique called object source lightning. As I said earlier, I kept looking for ways to push my painting skills, so that I wouldn’t get fed up with the project. There was a great article in the August 2019 White Dwarf that explained the technique and method in a really simple way. I am going to keep working on this technique so that I can use it on one of my future projects: the gorgeous new model for Abaddon the Despoiler.  

Heldrake, is it me you’re looking for?

Finally, the Heldrake. The most commented-on model of yours. How much of an operation was painting that giant beastie?

There should be a Heldrake Owners Support Group for anyone who has built and painted one of these models. They look stunning on the tabletop, but they are a bit of a nightmare to paint. There are zig-zagged lines of metallic trim all over the model, and some of the smaller wings are inaccessible to paint if you don’t use sub-assemblies. However, as you have alluded to, lots of people at Warhammer in Chesterfield, where I displayed my army, had many kind things to say about it – it makes the pain worth it!

If anyone would like to see any of my work-in-progress pictures for any of these models, there are lots on my Instagram page: @martinc150

If you have a unique and interesting army you have been working on and would like to share it with the wider community, then you can contact us via twitter @MTGTengu and maybe yours will be the next army featured in our showcase. If you have enjoyed today’s article, please like and subscribe to keep up to date with all we do here at Master of Magics. If you want to support the site directly, you can join our Patreon for as little as $1 a month. Until next time, though, remember: “Iron within, Iron without.”

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