Sunday, June 8, 2014

Refitting the Ironclad

I finished my Ironclad Dreadnought almost exactly one year ago. At the time, I built the Ironclad with dual heavy flamers because of the types of armies I was playing against. However, with the rapid growth of the Cabal and the increased variety of armies that I might play against on any given game night, I found myself frequently wishing that my Ironclad had a ranged anti-tank capability.

With the advent of 7th Edition's revised Vehicle Damage Table, it became obvious that AP1 and 2 are vital if you want to remove tanks from the table. One of the most obvious responses was to modify my Ironclad by removing the heavy flamer from the seismic hammer and replacing it with the meltagun that I had saved in my bits box.

It took me a while to finally go ahead with it. I was worried that the heavy flamer would be difficult to remove, that I would damage the model, that I would offend the Ironclad's machine spirit, etc. I tried to convince myself that I could easily field melta weapons on other units and leave the Ironclad alone. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the dual heavy flamers have always driven me to use the Walker as an anti-infantry vehicle. Usually it disembarks from a Drop Pod and immediately hits a high value squad with two S5, AP4 templates. An Ironclad Dreadnought tends to attract a lot of attention, so my opponent would spend the following turn hammering away at it before it had a chance to assault, often hitting the rear armor and very often putting the Dreadnought out of commission. Although I tried to focus on higher value infantry units, the instances in which the Ironclad earned its points were few and far between.

Ironclad Dreadnought with its original wargear in June 2013

This weekend, I finally sat down to figure out how I was going to remove the heavy flamer. I was worried about freeing the weapon's hose from the seismic hammer without breaking something and figured I could pry it out with a knife or a small screw driver. Then, on a whim I simply gave the heavy flamer a gentle twist and the whole thing came loose without any problems.

Now that the heavy flamer was free, I notice that one leg had come loose at some point. With only a small amount of force, I separated the Dreadnought entirely from its feet and base. Not only did this allow me to re-glue the legs, but it gave me better access for installing the meltagun.

Within a few hours I had the meltagun entirely painted and weathered to match the heavy flamer on the power fist. Soon the meltagun was in place and the Ironclad was reattached to its feet. I also took advantage of the time to clean up the paint job in a few spots, particularly in those joints where drying glue had left a white residue.

Ironclad Dreadnought with its new meltagun

I'm sure it seems silly, but to modify a completed model with anything more than a touch-up to the paint is unprecedented for me. Once it's done, I hate to go back. But I've found myself in too many situations where I really needed a ranged anti-tank weapon on a durable forward-based unit. And now that 7th Edition has made melta weapons even more valuable than they were in 6th, it would be ridiculous to pass up the opportunity.

The preferred weapon of any well-equipped Ironclad in 7th Edition


  1. Have you considered magnetizing? That would give you the best of both worlds.

    1. I've never actually magnetized anything and I've not been too impressed with many of the attempts I've seen. I'm always certain that I'll end up with models whose parts keep falling off.

      It doesn't help that the Ironclad heavy flamer and meltagun are fiddly little parts that don't easily lend themselves to being magnetized; at least not by a magnet amateur like me.

    2. There's pros and cons to everything, including magnetizing. Using the rare earth neodymium magnets will prevent random pieces from falling off, but accidental nudges can still leave weapons and arms spun in awkward positions or sticking out at strange angles where they become susceptible to being knocked off, and at the very least require readjustment which can be just as annoying as pieces falling off altogether.

      I've always been a supporter of the MG/HF Seismic Hammer setup. I've discussed the merits of HF/HF with a lot of people, but it seems to me that even the juiciest targets have ways to either mech up their vulnerable blobs, or prevent you from flaming them altogether. Even Orks! This, plus your observations, make me a firm supporter of the MG/HF setup.

      Although, for suicide podding, there is the cheaper and potentially much more devastating MM/HF basic Dreadnought. But that unit will likely never survive after the initial drop unlike an Ironclad. The Venerable may also be worth considering as it has gotten much sturdier this edition.

    3. I've often used my MM/SB Black Reach Dreadnought for suicide podding, occasionally with some success. A few games ago I took out a Helbrute and a Chaos Land Raider with it. Ironically, none of it worked out as planned. The Dreadnought marched out of the drop pod and promptly missed the shot against the Land Raider. In the very next turn a Helbrute charged him, the Dreadnought got off a lucky snap shot, and the Helbrute exploded. When the Dreadnought turned its attention back to the Chaos Land Raider, it once again missed the shot and promptly beat the Land Raider to death out of frustration.

      And speaking of the MM/HF Dreadnought, I've always hated the uselessness of the stock storm bolter on the Black Reach Dreadnought. Tonight I was inspired to fix that. With a knot in my stomach and my sprue clippers, I destructively removed the storm bolter and mounted the heavy flamer I had previously removed from the Ironclad. It actually looks pretty good.


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