Model Masterclass: Iron Hands Space Marine

Welcome to the completed model post for the February challenge of the Model Masterclass series.

February's challenge:
A single, fully painted, Iron Hands Space Marine tactical squad member.
The only thing that must be on the model is some kind of bionics.

And that was it. There were no more rules to the challenge. We were both free to interpret the challenge however we saw fit. The only thing we had to do was include some kind of bionics on the model.

My Iron Hands model for this month:
Getting the bionic bits from Puppets War was a huge win for me. I ended up having way more than I could possibly use on one model.

It was actually pretty hard to pick and use just a few of the bits to use on the model and not use everything. I have to say the bits came with very little flash and required even less cleaning. Less than your average resin bits normally do which was really nice.

The bionics are "bulky" and "blocky." They look like they fit the world of 40k. They aren't streamlined and perfect like they would be if you were dealing with a technologically advanced race. These have the feel of being retro and assembled together by a Techmarine who is not quite sure of the process or workings behind what he's doing. It translates into creating a feel for the model which I think turned out really well.

I was worried that they might not fit in with the standard GW arm and leg poses in terms of scale, but that was not an issue at all. I messed up cutting the regular Space Marine legs apart and ended up needing to resculpt a bit of his backside to fill in what I accidentally cut away. I added some cables and tubes for good measure as well. I'd planned to use a helmeted head, but getting a cool looking partially bionic head changed that plan right away.

I think he's got some good and bad aspects. I like the dark look to him. The small power cables really add emphasis to the bionics and bring him to life. The weathering needs some work. I don't do much with light colored powders and it shows here.

In hindsight, I might have found a way to work the chapter symbol in there too. I left it off since I cut away his left shoulderpad to expose the bionics. The right one is the only indication of what chapter he belongs to. While this might work with him being part of a squad, it comes up short here.

John's Iron Hands model for this month:
Well, when we left off I was upset with a wimpy robotic leg I robbed from a Necron model. After a bit of digging in the bits boxes, I turned up an old OOP Inquisitor model with a hearty robotic leg.

I hacked it off and fitted it to my Iron Hands model and was happy with the more bulky look. I also greenstuffed the shoulder icons.

When I greenstuff, I like to print the subject matter out and have it on the workbench for inspiration. I had a hard time keeping the icons small and centered, and after about a million tries ended up with these as "good enough" after that it was on to paint.

I am not sure if Ron knew I hated painting black, but I figured I would just have to suck it up and go for it, I hit the edges with a very dark grey highlight, and went over it with a few black washes to knock the contrast down. the metal bionics were basecoated highlighted and also washed in black to get some depth.

I went with red lenses and the red/orange Mars-ish soil for contrast and to add color, and also a small tuft of grass to add a bit of contrasting organic hope too the bleak looking base.

I am pretty happy with the model overall, with the bionic leg really saving the build for me.

Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!


  1. Great series! And what a great first installment! Fantastic work, guys!

    If I had to choose I'd say I favour Ron's approach, but that's because I'm a sucker for bare heads.

    Anyway, very interesting! Keep this stuff coming!

  2. Wow, great work both of you! Ron, I really like the cybernetic face and hoses on your Iron Hand. John, that leg came out fantastic. Nicely done!

  3. How could I have forgot cables?

  4. These look excellent. Really top quality work.

  5. Johns looks really, really sinister, i think it's the red optics.

    but they're both great and it's nice to see the contrasting approaches.

  6. Thanks folks, I'm glad you liked the first installment.

    I'm going to say that John's hit the mark a bit closer than mine did. His black looks better in this case without a blue tint like mine has.
    Mine is bordering on a dark Ultramarine look and that's no good here. I should have added a tuft of grass as well.

  7. I like the Necron arm as a bionic replacement! Now why is it I never thought of that...

  8. John's has a real "Terminator" look to it with the red eyes. I also like the really weathered look that Ron's paint brings. Both are excellent conversions that really capture the feel.

  9. The black on Rons marine is a really intresting take on how to paint black armor. The OSL on the green eye is subtle like it should be and looks great! Using a necron arm for a bionic is a great idea too.

  10. Thank you both for the great work,I'm looking forward to the next instalment.I've been looking at those Puppets War Bionics for awhile and debating whether or not I should try them out,thanks for being the guinea pig Ron (my issue was the size of them as well),I'm now looking at ordering some in the next week or two.

    One last thing,Ron,a little while back I quizzed you about using Americana paints in a spraygun to do the Deathwing (I used my name I think,Troy) & the Warbringers being camo users ,just wanted to let you know that I've started my own blog (Razorblades & Superglue) to chart the progress of them and the other projects I've got on the run.Just waiting for my new camera to arrive so I can take some happy snaps and actually post something worthwhile ,hoping you'll stop on by and check it out sometime.

    Cheers,and keep up the awesome work guys.

  11. Two very nice interpretations and conversions guys!

    @ Ron - love the use of Puppet War bits, have a set of those as well and they do indeed look a lot better on a mini than you'd expect at first. The dust effect is also very nice, it adds so much character to the mini.

    As for the lack of chapter symbol, not a big problem per se. If he'd be part of a squad with a few minis that do have the symbol he'd fit in perfectly.

    @ Jonh - love the use of the old biotic leg, haven't seen that bit in well over 10 years. Really suprized to see the Necron arm working this well and for someone who doesn't like painting black you ended up with a great looking mini!

    Excellent work guys, really looking forward to the next one. Heck, may have to give the ph Death Guard a try myself. Been meaning to go through the Horus Heresy artbooks again, tons of inspirational stuff in there.

  12. Luckily there's always Google ;-)

  13. How about a Emperor's Children Noise Marine conversion for the month after that? The GW-models are just regular Chaos Marines with 2 special heads per box which is a shame because I love the fluff and am looking to redo the squads I have ;)

  14. They look great. I really like the chunky look on Ron's bionics. They fit really well with the models. I like your lighter black Ron as I think it has a lot of contrast and depth and looks dark and mysterious without losing that depth. They both look great. Looking forward to some death guard next month (even if they are still pretending to be good guys).

  15. Really nice work guys can't really pick a fault with either to be honest :-). Would reeeeeeaaaaaallllllly love to see tau make it into the monthly challenge as I've recently started painting my own tau army and would love to see other alternative colour schemes. I've gone with dark Angel green armour with scorched Brown clothing ( they were gonna be pink and purple as I was gonna just have them as a mess about army but as I built them all I just fell in love with them and now I'd say they're a main army). So I now challenge you both to a tau model ( hopefully in pink and purple).................please.

  16. this is great! please do more of these!

  17. Wonderful work on the IHs. :) I'd quite forgotten about the PWs line. Nice to see it used so well.

  18. Yikes, I'm a bit late to the party here.
    Thank you everyone for the comments.

    As for the puppets War bionics, there are lots out there (bits providers)... it comes down to finding a line you really like and give you the look you're trying to get.
    These happen to fit in with my "style" you might say. The dark, grim, retro type look to 40k. I'm going to push that even further with the Death Guard model to see if I can capture a feeling more than anything else with the upcoming model.

    Oktane: Looking forward to seeing the pics of how it turns out.

    Hephesto: Maybe you're right, the chapter symbol is not that important if he's in a unit. It just feels like I'm missing it now.

    Anonymous: Emperor's Children you say? We'll have to see. I'm going to see what I can pick out of the normal for April first.

  19. No problem, I would be happy to see an Emperor's Children conversion (and paint job), but I appreciate your work on this blog as a whole regardless if it covers my armies or not!


  20. How did you keep to pigments on the legs? did you varnish it after using fixer?

  21. Daniel: No, the pigment is just sitting there. Varnishing it would have darkened it down and killed the "dusty" look to it. This isn't a gaming model that I am going to be handling so I could get away with just letting the pigment rest in place.


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