Iron Hands and Warrior Priests

There’s a place for everyone

Which First Founding Chapter gets the least love? It used to be the White Scars, possibly, but now they’ve got their very own novel, Savage Scars, by the very talented Andy Hoare. And although the Imperial Fists don’t seem to get a huge amount of attention, there’s recently been Chris Roberson’s Sons of Dorn. The Salamanders, Blood Angels, Space Wolves, Ultramarines, Dark Angels and Raven Guard have all had books recently, whether standalone or as part of the Space Marine Battle/Horus Heresy range.

So who’s missing? That’s right: the poor old Iron Hands. These guys haven’t had a book written about them for a long time (2004, as far as I can see, with Jonathan Green’s Iron Hands). On the surface, I can see why this is. The Sons of Ferrus aren’t obviously appealing. They don’t talk a lot, they kill plenty of people on their own side, they have this weird body-hate thing going on, and their paint scheme is, frankly, dull.

But scratch the surface, and there’s plenty to like. The more I read about them, the more I warm to them. Psychologically, they’re about the most interesting of all the First Founding Chapters. The trauma of the Heresy, combined with long-term gene-seed issues, has made them very odd bunnies indeed. And what’s more, they choose to be the way they are, believing that any lessening of commitment to their extreme ideas of flesh-removal and bionic augmentation is somehow weakness.

So they’re rather tragic, flawed heroes, just like Space Marines ought to be. In addition, they have access to all sorts of crazy Adeptus Mechanicus toys, and they spend their shore-leave in gigantic moving fortresses, churning their way across the grim plains of Medusa while sawing more bits of themselves off. They may not be the most flamboyant warriors in the Imperium, but they’re properly scary guys. If you see what they’re prepared to do to themselves, it doesn’t take much imagination to guess what they do to people they really don’t like.

Any colour you like, so long as it’s black

So Iron Hands are great. I liked them so much that I bought the company wrote a story about them, and it’s out in next month’s Hammer and Bolter. If you know any Iron Hands players who are feeling a bit neglected, I hope that this cheers them up a bit. And, the fates willing, I’ll be writing more about them in the future too.

As for other stuff, I’m currently up to my armpits in Luthor Huss. He’s another interesting chap, psychologically speaking – the more I write about him, the more that’s becoming obvious. Aside from the pleasure of telling his particular story, it’s nice to be back in the Empire. There’s something comforting about all that grime, horror and superstition. This latest book will be a little different from the ‘Swords’ books: Huss works and lives on the margins of the Empire, and the forgotten, pox-ridden masses are his concern. Expect to see a slightly darker story this time around, as there are some very creepy things lurking under the branches in the Drakwald, some very creepy things indeed…

Finally, don’t forget Salute this weekend. I’ll be there, along with Aaron Dembski-Bowden and James Swallow. So that’s a chance to chat about the awesome Blood Reaver, the magnificent Hammer and Anvil, and of course Battle of the Fang. I’ll be around from about 10am (possibly slightly later, depending on trains) until about 3pm. See you there!