Caestus Assault Ram – A Review

No, sadly the resin Gods have not been that generous. Instead I am handing over the reigns of this post and the review of this beast ofa model to Neil Challis (@NeilChallis), writer of the Tykens Rift blog, staunch member of the Shell Case Alliance and tip top #warmonger.

So whilst wandering around Games Day UK this year I reached the decision that I wanted one of the pre-release Fellblade super heavy tanks from Forge World, but by the time I’d queued, they were already sold out. And not wishing to leave empty-handed, I decided to buy a Space Marine Caestus Assault Ram instead.

I’ve built some Forge World models before, such as Mk5 Space Marines and more recently a Storm Eagle but this is the first kit made entirely of resin that I have attempted. I have had some frustrating experiences with the Finecast range from Games Workshop and with Forge World hybrid kits but I hoped for the best with this and happily I wasn’t too disappointed.

I’d done some reading online about other people’s experiences building larger Forge World models and the Caestus in particular, so I felt well prepared for the task at hand.

With that in mind, I opened the bag and inspected the contents. Thankfully everything was there but I felt that the instruction sheet was perhaps a little sparse in terms of pictures and actual instructions! This does seem to be the case with most Forge World kits but I like to think I’m an experienced hobbyist now and can comfortably cope with this.

I very carefully clipped the smaller parts of the kit off of the sprues (there is a ‘technical’ term for these Forge World resin sprues but it escapes me just now) and gently filed or scraped the excess resin lines away. I should point out here that you really ought to have a facemask on if you’re going to file resin, and preferably a small dust-buster or vacuum cleaner to quickly clear all the resin dust away.

It became apparent very quickly that I was either going to spend about 3 days filing large chunks of resin or I was going to have to get a little sanding block and a razor saw – I chose the latter option.

The razor saw is now a must for me when undertaking any large Forge World build. Using it, I was able to easily remove large pieces of unwanted resin and use the newly acquired sanding block to smooth the surfaces. I highly recommend these items for working on Forge World kits, it may seem obvious but they have saved me hours of messing about with clippers, craft knives and files!

Once my clean-up was finished and all extraneous resin removed, I grabbed some elastic bands and decided to ‘dry-fit’ the model and see if any pieces needed reshaping. I’m happy to report that most of the model fitted together very well, there were just a couple of bits that needed fixing  – a front ramp, 2 parts of the main nacelles, inner doors – so I set about reshaping all of those.

Reshaping is a bit of a feel-your-way process even when you know exactly how to do it. I normally use a large plastic tub, fill it about 2 inches deep with almost boiling water and place the item I want to reshape in their for about 30-45 seconds, but this can vary wildly depending on the thickness.

This will also help clean the release agent off of the affected pieces (unaffected pieces can be carefully washed in lukewarm water) so that the primer/undercoat sticks to the model once I’m at that stage. After cleaning and reshaping I gently dried the parts with some kitchen roll and then left them for about half an hour to make sure they were set.

Now all the parts were reshaped and clean I could finally begin putting model together! The nacelles went together without much trouble at all and I used standard Games Workshop thin superglue. I didn’t feel that any pinning was necessary and I also elected to not paint the inside or have opening ramps at the front. This is a gaming decision based on the fact that I move models around a lot and I want a solid gaming piece rather than a display model – I tend to take some stick for this from fellow hobbyists and gamers who identify it as ‘lazy’. I’ll let you make your own mind up!

Once the nacelles were put together I glued them to the central body and added the engine bay sides as well.  As before, these all went together without too much fuss, however I did position and re-position a few times before actually gluing it down.

With the engine bays set, I then glued to underside engine and magna-melta into place, and added the actual engines into the engine bays. The instructions say to do this in that order but I think if I was building another one I would probably put the engines in first as this required a bit of careful manoeuvring.  After this I glued the flaps onto the wings and glued the wings onto the fuselage. I resisted the urge to magnetize the wings although this could easily be done and would make the Caestus easier to transport.

Overall this was quite a stress free build. I was almost tearing my hair out building the Storm Eagle a few months ago but the Caestus is a relatively simple kit – it only has about 20 pieces or so –  and the meticulous clean up and preparation made the actual assembly much less difficult than I was expecting. I’m happy with it and I just need to decide whether it goes in my own Space Marine chapter – ‘The Thunder Ravens’ or into my pre-heresy Death Guard.

Decisions, decisions….

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