FLY THE UNFRIENDLY SKIES

Each time I start a new loyalist or traitor force I pick a theme to anchor the rest of the force around. It doesn’t have to be cohesive as I tend to select what I like the look of more than necessarily what is competitive. If I like the legion then they will probably get enough additional units added over time to make an effective list. With the Ultramarines that was definitely the Caestus, I wanted to include a flyer/transport but at the time everyone was running Storm Eagles in that role and I really hadn’t seen much of the brutal slab-sided boarding craft. The Caestus has been notoriously hard to come by in recent years and I think at the time I was fortunate enough to get one from Forgeworld just before they went out of availability. It is my hope it will return as I would like to include a pair in my Vlka Fenryka as part of an execution force in the future.

WHEN IN DOUBT, RAM IT

The Caestus is made up of brutally simple geometric shapes and overlapping heavy armour panels. It appealed to me as both a painter and collector simply because it looks utterly unlike anything else in the legion arsenal. A transport designed for one simple purpose; to breach any vessel or location by sheer force. I began by working from the inside out, constructing and painting the interior bays first, then the rest of the hull leaving the wings, engines and primary melta array as sub-assemblies to make painting them easier.

Let’s get into talking about the painting. With so many flat surface areas the Caestus is prime for adding more shapes and large markings as well as plenty of battle damage and atmospheric weathering. To break up some of the surfaces I introduced grey as well as off-white into the palette so it wasn’t just a flat blue with white accents. To increase depth in the paintwork I began with a greyscale pre-shade followed by the blue as a base. After varnishing to protect the paintwork I masked out areas for the grey and used masking fluid applied with a piece of scrap sponge to create areas of wear. This allowed me to reveal patches of blue underneath the grey markings. The exact same process was repeated with the off-white stripes. More varnish, decals and a final coat of varnish pulled all the layers together. At that point I moved onto the weathering.

Weathering means two things to me; battle damage and environmental effects. The former includes chipping, pitting and where paint has been damaged revealing the surface underneath. It’s worth noting that depending on the impact or effect the surface underneath could also be other layers of paint. By combining varying degrees of damage you can create an easily interpreted appearance. Environmental effects can be physical like corrosion, mud, dust or debris or they can be atmospheric like scorching, heat discolouration or rain marks. There is no big secret to this, all these techniques are readily available online via YouTube and the fun is trying them out and seeing what effects can be created. I kept it simple with the Caestus and focused on just a couple of atmospheric effects over the battle damage. Firstly a light coat of thinned Tamiya flat earth applied with the airbrush to simulate dust and grit and finally some atmospheric and melta scorching using Tamiya flat black, again applied with an airbrush. The final task was to provide a suitable flying base for the XIII legions latest transport.