Because flying a huge slab of aircraft into your enemy needs no explanation. The ‘Caestus’ assault ram is a kit I wish Forgeworld would bring back. It has been out of production for well over a year now I believe, possibly far longer and recently got dropped from 40K rules support.I have a soft spot for this transport purely because it is so brutally uncompromising in it’s aesthetic. It’s a slab-sided brick with rocket engines and a similar underside to that of a speeder, which makes me wonder if it also has repulsor technology. The Caestus has just one job; to penetrate fortifications using missile, melta cutter and the sheer kinetic energy of its own impact in order to disgorge its legion cargo straight into the midst of the enemy. What’s not to love about that?

I managed to snaffle one of these kits for my Ultramarines when they very briefly came back in stock in 2017 and in all honestly I’ve not really seen them make a comeback since. My understanding is the molds have long since perished and need replacing, something Forgeworld have said is going to happen but have not committed to a date. My personal belief is the kit probably needs to be re-tooled in CAD, re-mastered and molds produced from that as it has always been a pernickety kit to build and would probably benefit from a bit of a makeover. I’m hoping that will be the case one day as I’d love to add one to ‘the Rout’ as well to run alongside the Storm Eagle.

In its first outing against Word Bearers, I foolishly held it in reserve thinking to strike at my hated enemy’s weak flank. It stubbornly failed every single reserve roll circling the battlefield until the battle was lost. The cargo of legion Cataphractii and Praetor never even getting the chance to enter the fray. Thankfully it has redeemed itself several times over since.  

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

Being somewhat industrial even in the context of a legion transport I did not hold back with the atmospheric effects and scorching along the leading edges of wings and fuselage. By no means aerodynamic with that slab front, the Caestus bullies it way through the atmosphere so I made that the focus of my scorch marks using the airbrush. I also offset all the cold colours by adding a hint of warm rusty red/brown into the ailerons trailing the gull wings. They are possibly control surfaces, but being both above and below the wings I also read them as potentially being speed brakes. The choice for that colour wasn’t so much to simulate oxidisation per se but more a colour I associated with the Space Shuttle’s SRB tank and a good complimentary colour to the blue.

In addition to the weathering effects I added a lot of chipping back of paintwork and decals in each layer to create a variety of depth to the wear and tear. Fresh chips and wear down to base metal was also present along edges and likely impact points. This thing not only rams stuff but I also visualise it flying through debris fields, clouds of shrapnel and other particulates, all which would be constantly impacting the hull as it approaches the target.

In many ways I think the Caestus sells the story of battle better than any other unit in my Ultramarines and as such it is proudly the forces centrepiece miniature. Wish there were more kits like this. Oh well, maybe 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.