Because flying a huge slab of aircraft into your enemy needs no explanation. The Ultramarines Caestus assault ram is a kit that I truly wish Forgeworld would bring back. It has been out of production for well over a year now, and possibly even longer. Unfortunately, it was recently dropped from 40K rules support. Despite this, I have a soft spot for this transport due to its brutally uncompromising aesthetic.

The Caestus is a slab-sided brick with rocket engines and a similar underside to that of a speeder. It makes me wonder if it also has repulsor technology. This transport has one clear purpose: to penetrate fortifications using missiles, melta cutters, and the sheer kinetic energy of its impact. Its goal is to disgorge its legion cargo straight into the heart of the enemy. And honestly, what’s not to love about that?

I managed to snaffle one of these kits for my Ultramarines when they briefly returned to stock in 2017. However, since then, I haven’t really seen them make a comeback. From what I understand, the molds have deteriorated and need to be replaced. Forgeworld has acknowledged this but has not provided a specific date for the retooling process. In my opinion, the kit would benefit from being redesigned in CAD, remastered, and then new molds created. It has always been a somewhat fussy kit to assemble, and a makeover would likely improve the overall experience. I hope that one day it will be reissued, as I would love to add one to ‘the Rout’ and have it accompany the Storm Eagle.

In its first encounter with the Word Bearers, I made the foolish decision to hold it in reserve, intending to strike at the weak flank of my hated enemy. However, it stubbornly failed every single reserve roll, circling the battlefield while the battle slipped from our grasp. The legion Cataphractii and Praetor, never given the opportunity to enter the fray, remained idle.

Thankfully, the war machine has since redeemed itself on multiple occasions, proving its worth time and time again.

There are a lot of large flat areas on the model which makes it ideal for custom markings and I’ve seen some amazing artists take full advantage of that. Mike French’s White Scar assault ram being one of my favourites in recent years. As this was for Guilliman’s sons I kept the palette a little more reserved opting to break up some of the surfaces with blocks of neutral grey and stripes of white.

Atmospheric weathering

When it comes to the Caestus, I embraced its industrial nature and didn’t hold back on the atmospheric effects and scorching along the leading edges of the wings and fuselage. Despite its lack of aerodynamic design with that slab front, the Caestus forcefully maneuvers through the atmosphere, which became the focal point for my scorch marks created using the airbrush.

To offset the cold colors, I added a touch of warm rusty red/brown to the trailing ailerons of the gull wings. These surfaces, located both above and below the wings, could be control surfaces or even speed brakes. The choice of color was not necessarily to simulate oxidation, but rather a nod to the Space Shuttle’s SRB tank and a complementary color to the blue.

In addition to the weathering effects, I incorporated extensive chipping of the paintwork and decals at each layer to add depth to the wear and tear. Fresh chips and exposed base metal were also present along the edges and potential impact points. This transport not only collides with objects but also flies through debris fields, clouds of shrapnel, and other particles that constantly impact the hull as it approaches its target.

In many ways, I believe the Caestus conveys the story of battle better than any other unit in my Ultramarines army, making it the proud centerpiece of the forces. I wish there were more kits like this, but perhaps one day.

Warhammer Caestus Assault Ram kit painted interior

Paint interior?

Of course I did. Even the ramps are magnetised. Not to be clever or anything, the blasted things just wouldn’t stay shut and having it fly around with the assault ramps flapping in the breeze somehow didn’t seem right to me. A couple of 2mm x 1mm magnets fixed that tiny problem.