Blackstone Fortress – UR-025

“Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind”

– Dune; Terminology of the Imperium, Frank Herbert

I’m aware that I’m juggling projects a bit at the moment but I’ve been inspired to try and get my Blackstone Fortress set painted up as soon as possible. Part of the blame (or, more accurately, credit) for this decision has to be laid at the feet of KrautScientist, who has been busy painting up a full set of HeroQuest models – if you’ve not seen this work of art I highly recommend you check it out at once.

As mentioned back when I showed the Spindle Drones I have quite a lot of models kicking around which could stand in for some of the adversaries (traitor guard for instance are not in short supply!) so I’m starting off by trying to fill in the gaps where useful proxies aren’t easily available. Today it’s the turn of one of the most interesting heroes in the set; the Man of Iron UR-025.

Of course this model isn’t just wearing a suit of armour, it is a suit of armour and thus, to my mind, definitely counts towards Azazel’s Armoured April hobby challenge.

UR-025 Blackstone Wudugast (1)UR-025 Blackstone Wudugast (2)UR-025 Blackstone Wudugast (4)UR-025 Blackstone Wudugast (5)UR-025 Blackstone Wudugast (6)

I’ve been curious about the Men of Iron ever since I first heard of them, tucked away in one of the little snippets of text that hint at pre-Imperial history in the 40k setting. We’ve only ever seen hints regarding them before although that in itself was enough to demonstrate how awe-inspiringly terrible they were in all their sun-quenching, planet-devouring might – and by extension how powerful the humans of the Dark Age of Technology must have been to have defeated them. Factor in that the Eldar of that era still regarded the humans as little more than animals scampering for scraps around their feet and we begin to see that, despite the Emperor’s best efforts, by the 40k era we truly are living in the twilight of the gods.

In the war with the Men of Iron we see that once again humanity ended up battling with the weapons that outgrew them, just as they would go on to do to the Thunder Warriors and Space Marine Legions. Those chapters still loyal to the Throne beware!

Then again, although one of the key narrative points of the 40k setting is the Imperium’s struggle to make do and mend, facing the horrors of the galaxy without access to the technologies they once possessed, what little we’ve seen of the Men of Iron at their height should be more than enough to confirm that some things really are best forgotten!

UR-025 Blackstone Wudugast (3)

“War to the death should be instantly proclaimed against them. Every machine of every sort should be destroyed by the well-wisher of his species. Let there be no exceptions made, no quarter shown; let us at once go back to the primeval condition of the race.”

– Darwin Among The Machines, Samuel Butler

UR-025 isn’t about to single-handedly bring the Imperium to it’s knees of course (or is it?). It’s just a friendly robot, a survivor from a lost age, trying to make its way through a hostile galaxy, isn’t it? Wouldn’t that be a surprise for Abaddon and Guilliman alike if it managed to turn the Blackstone Fortress into a factory for making new Men of Iron and the galaxy fell, not to the daemons of the Warp or to a horde of hostile xenos, but to the return of humanity’s first spurned angels?

All that aside I think it’s very unlikely we’ll be seeing the Men of Iron return to the setting in a big way (although of course I may find myself eating my words). Rather I prefer them lurking in the corners, hidden by thousands of years of corrupted history or vanished off the edges of the map, into the dark spaces of the galaxy where human feet do not tread, where the lone survivor of a long ended war can live in peace, free from the depredations and paranoia of the species that spawned it.

“I am not a machine as you would understand, I am not a slave. I am not a thing. I am beyond and above you. I am a Man of Iron. And I am free.”

– UR-025, in the short story Man of Iron by Guy Haley

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19 responses to “Blackstone Fortress – UR-025

  • Alex

    Nicely done mate – it’s a quality bit of kit that, and I’d love to see the whole ‘men of iron’ thing given more of a go… it’s a big galaxy after all!

    • Wudugast

      He’s a beast of a model isn’t he? It’s that big gun and the purposeful pose I reckon, it really looks the business.

      Yeah, there’s a lot of unexplored space out there it’s true. I’d rather see something new though (new xenos or divergent human cultures). I quite like the last few Men of Iron lurking in the shadows and I’m not sure what they’d bring to the setting that isn’t already covered by the Ad-Mech and/or the Necrons. You can of course feel free to quote me on all of this when I’m gushing over the new range of Men of Iron miniatures that GW is about to spring on us!

  • Pete S/ SP

    Looks great to me- I wish more of this sort of thing got expanded upon by GW….

    Cheers,

    Pete.

    • Wudugast

      Cheers! 🙂 Yeah, I reckon there’s a lot of underdeveloped ideas in 40k, either for things to appear as one-offs like this guy or for whole new factions. Hopefully as they flesh out the existing range they’ll start getting their teeth into some new stuff, rather than just house-keeping the existing ranges.

  • LeVermenarque

    Love your colour scheme for it and the Dune quote at the beginning was an instant like from me. I have been thinking about Dune while painting my version of UR-025, great opportunity to visit the lore once again!

  • mcmattila

    I do like that white color scheme, much nicer than the box art baby blue! And the orange gauntlet still brings a great spot color.

    My $.02 about the lore thing: I’m pretty much with you Wudugast, I think it’s cool that we have this one Man of Iron, but hopefully GW will leave it at that. No need for more models, and I think no need for detailed lore either. Some things are better left to imagination. Wouldn’t mind reading more about Thunder Warriors and the Unification Wars though 🙂

    And I should really get a hold of a copy of Dune, keep hearing good things..

    • Wudugast

      Aye, that blue is a bit too powder blue for my taste. I wanted something similar, but a little more industrial.

      Now that they’ve made a skirmish game for chaos warbands (Warcry) the one concept that I’ve always wanted them to explore that they haven’t touched yet is a game set during the Unification Wars. There is just so much cool content there and the little glimpses we’ve seen have been wonderfully tantalising. I’d get myself some Thunder Warriors in a heartbeat.

      You should definitely give Dune a read, I highly recommend it. Thinking man’s sci-fi but well paced, full of big concepts but never bogged down by them, perfect balance of chin stroking and action.

      • mcmattila

        Haha, as it happens, I went to the FLGS to pick up this month’s WD, and saw a copy of Dune. As the price wasn’t much, I had to pick it up!

        Didn’t even think about a game set during the UW, but you’re right, it would make for a really cool skirmish game, probably self-contained. Thunder warriors and techno barbarians duking it out on desert wastelands..

      • Wudugast

        Enjoy! I’m actually a bit jealous of you getting to read it for the first time 🙂 I got my first copy in a second hand bookshop for the same reason, it was really cheap and it looked interesting. Took me about 6 months to read the first chapter or so, then suddenly it clicked and read the rest of it in a couple of days, almost without pausing.

        If they don’t make a Unification Wars game then sooner or later I’ll get around to kitbashing some warbands of my own. I would love it if they made a real game of it though, and it’s a slice of the IP that really hasn’t been touched on yet. As a game I suppose it wouldn’t be a million miles from Necromunda but aesthetically they could do something fresh with it and as the Horus Heresy series comes to an end there’s always room for something new.

  • Alexis West

    Looks great! I’ve been trying to figure out what was wrong with mine, and looking at yours, I think it’s that too much of mine is white. I need to go back and add in more darker areas so there’s more contrast.

    It’s entirely possible that we have seen more of the Men of Iron, or at least remnants of them. While it’s also possible that UR-025 has changed its form to disguise itself better among Imperials, there are a lot of similarities between it and the Kastelan Robots. Perhaps those are Men of Iron that were captured and brought under control, or just their “corpses”, now controlled by Mechanicus-approved means.

    Also, I just finished re-reading The Murderbot Diaries, and something like a 40K version of that from UR-025’s PoV could be awesome.

    • Wudugast

      I went through the same thought-process with my version of UR-025, when I set out I planned to leave the metalwork showing only in the recesses and not to do the orange arm but the result was definitely too much white.

      You know, I hadn’t considered the Kastelans as “zombie Men of Iron” before, that’s actually really powerful and chilling (and very 40k!). I love it! 😀

      I’ve been hearing good things about the Murderbot diaries – take it if you went as far as re-reading it you must rate it then?

      • Alexis West

        Yeah, I love them. To me, MurderBot is one of the most relatable protagonists ever. I realize that may sound like an alarming statement to someone who doesn’t know anything about the stories, but the name is sarcastic, as is basically everything else about it. All it really wants is to watch TV and be left alone, but it keeps ending up in situations where stupid humans are getting themselves in trouble and it feels like it really should help them out, no matter how much it would prefer to just watch another episode of The Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon.

        Also, if you end up liking it, and you’re into the MCU, there’s also a fantastic Winter Soldier fanfic called This, You Protect that’s very similar in tone and style. Or you could check that out first, since it’s available for free on AO3.

      • Wudugast

        Honestly, given some of the protagonists I enjoy someone named MurderBot isn’t even close to alarming. Not sure if that says anything good about me at all!

        Don’t usually read fan fic (‘cos I’m a great big snob!) but if you recommend it I’ll add it to the old “to read” pile, cheers for the tip 🙂

      • Alexis West

        Enjoying a character is different from relating to/identifying with them 😉

        Sturgeon’s law applies to fanfic as well. 90% of it is crap. Over the years, I’ve found a few I really like, tho.

  • imperialrebelork

    The colours you’ve gone for are really good. Nice and clean too. I’ve never seen Dune. Is it good?

    • Wudugast

      Thanks mate, you know I usually got for a filthy paint style but using so much white pushed me towards something cleaner 🙂

      The film of Dune is a bit of a cheese fest, I wouldn’t really recommend it (or if you do watch it, go into it with your serious hat firmly off). The book is bloody amazing though, I really, really rate it. If you heard me raving about the book and then watched the film instead you’d come out of it thinking “what is that crack head on now?”
      If you like to read get stuck in, you’ll thank me. If you don’t like to read, make an exception. It can be quite high-brow in parts but never up itself, and the cast of characters is just awesome (goodies and baddies). It helps that the main character has the same name as me of course!

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