|From ancient Mars...
The Kastelan Robots are hulking bipedal behemoths, that looks surprisingly like Forge World Contemptor Dreadnoughts, with broad domed armor and long highly articulated legs. After reading such a description, it might be hard to believe that people would be off-put by the models’ design. The aspect of the kit that polarizes people is the model’s head, which is an armored-glass dome, akin to what you might see in a 50s pulp magazine or sci-fi film. And while this is not the classic Imperium aesthetic, I feel every other element on the model follows the Imperium design criteria, particularly when looking at their massive powerfist. I personally like their heads, thinking it is refreshing to see something a little bit different. It is easy to imagine that the pre-Imperial universe had a vast array of technologies and designs differing from what is commonly seen in the 41st millennium Imperial designs. Even if at the core of most of the Imperium’s technology are some universal STC machines, different variants and modified patterns seems reasonable. And even if the technology is ancient, I see no reason why the Imperium could not subtly modify old designs to fit with current aesthetics. The galaxy is a large place after all.
|One of Jes Goodwin's old sketches that was largely brought to life with the Kastelans.
One of my favorite aspects of the Robots are the brutal looking powerfists that they can be equipped with. They have strong visual cues to those found on Space Marine Contemptor dreadnoughts, differing mainly in their lack of a built-in firearm. I was a little disappointed when I determined that when equipping the Robots with twin-linked Phosphor blasters you had to replace the cool powerfists with bulky and awkward looking guns. In an odd design choice, they decided to give the guns ‘sickle’ magazines to supply them with ammunition. Such a loadout would likely last about 30 seconds on the battlefield (even with controlled bursts, ha ha). These reservations with gun design got me thinking of ways to convert something that was more to my liking and hopefully also maintain elements of their awesome powerfists. It did not take long for me to decide to try to emulate the Contemptor’s weapons systems, and try to recess the Phosphor weapons inside the powerfists. I crafted the barrels of the weapons from the muzzles of Kroot long rifles. Next I fitted the ammo hoppers from Space Marine storm bolters to the sides of the powerfists. Finally, I added an ejection port at the bottom of each fist. To do this, I was able to carefully shave off the ejection port from a Sicarian stub carbine (luckily each one has two ports). For the second Robot, I want make one of its arms outstretched shooting. To do this, I will have to reposition its fingers slightly, creating a “protocol” where they are locked outward to ensure it does not shoot its fingers, off, he he.
|Without too much conversion work you can seat the barrel of a gun in the Robot's powerfist. This along with an ammo hopper and an ejection port allows for a pretty convincing looking integrated weapon.
The Robots also have a shoulder-mounted/carapace weapon, as well. While it can be a neat looking torrent flame thrower (incendine combustor), rulewise, giving it another heavy phosphor blaster seemed more worthwhile to me. Like the gunfist Phosphor blasters, I was not too thrilled with the shoulder mounted blaster either. Although the weapon is overly large, that aspect did not bother me as much as the low-tech orkish look of the weapon. While the Phosphor blasters are touted as extremely high grade complex pieces of technology that only the Mechanicus could maintain, the model’s guns look like heavy stubbers. I ended up replacing the barrel with a trimmed down flamethrower from a Dreamforge Eisenkern Valkir Assault Trooper. While it is still rather large, it gives the gun a more nuanced technical look. One of the other elements of the gun that I did not like was how its ammunition was strung unprotected from the hopper into the gun. With a little trimming and greenstuff work, I made it look like the ammo feeds are all enclosed/armored, and think it looks better because of it. The weapon, while a little smaller, is still really large, so I am not completely sold on the look. Let me know what you all think about it!
|I made some modifications to the shoulder mounted Phosphor blaster to distance it from a standard Imperial Guard heavy stubber.
|With a little cutting you can get a large range of motion out of the legs of the Robots.
It should also be noted that the legs on the Kastelan Robots are remarkably posable and complicated. The sheer number of components and moving parts on the legs make them difficult to pose properly. GW were thoughtful to add little tabs on most of the components of the legs to help pose the models. One can easily remove these tabs to open up a much larger range of potential poses (but be warned, you could also end up with a really awkward looking pose if you are not careful). I removed the tabs to create a stepping down pose to fit with a Dragon Forge tech-deck base.
|The Datasmith that controls the Robots is the very image I imagine when thinking of a tech priest. As such, I largely assembled the model unmodified.
My collection of Adeptus Mechanicus models continues to grow. The Kastelan Robots are nice in that they add a bit of height and bulk to a force consisting of skeletally thin soldiers. I still would like to get my hands one some of the Kataphron Destroyers, so maybe they will show up here sometime in the near future!
- Adam Wier