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29Feb/240

Horus Heresy – Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator

For this review, we do a double feature! I did something similar a long, long time ago when the Baneblade kits were released, and I build a Baneblade and a Shadowsword simultaneously. Today we once again have that chance, to such a twin-build with the Cerastus Knight Castigator and Cerastus Knights Acheron.

The Cerastus Knights can be used in Warhammer 40,000 and The Horus Heresy alike. For 30k they can be used by traitors and loyal forces, via the Lord of War slot and you can find their rules in the Liber Mechanicum (pg. 80 to 82). In 40k, they can be used again either as Imperial or Chaos forces, and the rules can be downloaded for free from Warhammer Community (Chaos Knights and Imperial Knights).

Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator

If you are not familiar with this kind of unit. Knights are smaller and less powerful versions of Imperial Titans, piloted by a single Knight commander, called Scion, and not by a crew of Princeps and Moderati. With the knights being much smaller than Warhound Scout Titans, they can only to a limited amount carry titan weapon systems into battle. The Knights were introduced to Epic / Space Marine in UK White Dwarf #126 in June 1990, and a few years later in December of 1994 updated as part of the new editions of this game, Epic Titan Legions. Some of the new classes even derivate from the old names and types. There were Paladins, Lancers and Wardens, and those came back in the current variant as well. In addition, knights had tiers, Squire, Knight and Lord, along with Senechal. Something that was picked up in the latest rules for Warhammer 40,000 to a degree.

Epic Titan Legions - Imperial Knights Epic Titan Legions - Imperial Knights Epic Titan Legions - Imperial Knights vvvvvEpic Titan Legions - Imperial Knights

The Cerastus Knights don't have a direct connection to the older games of Space Marine or Epic, but can be seen as a derivate of the Knight lancers, at least one of the classes. Today we are looking at the Knight Acheron and Knight Castigator in plastic adding further, now ranged weapon option to the Cerastus Class, in contrast to the pure close combat capabilities of the Lancers. There is an additional sub-class of the Cerastus, the Knight Atrapos, manufactured by and for the Mechanicum.

These new plastic kits are 155 EUR each, regardless of the variant and replace the former resin kits by Forge World. All the Cerastus Knights share the same four core sprues, and the variants for Lancer, Acheron and Castigator are covered by different weapon sprues (one for the Lancer, and one-and-a-half for the other two). They come with a 170x109mm Oval Base, a huge decal sheet and multi-page black-and-white assembly instruction.

The packaging, that is really filled to the brim has a small easter egg on the lashes, where it shows the loyalist and traitor symbols.  The first thing you will see when you open them up, is the decal sheet, that is slightly bend to even fit in there, as the measurements are larger than the box itself.

Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator

A quick spread of the content.

The decals come with generic decorations and further more specific iconography for the following houses: Makabius, Perdaxia, Malinax, Devine, Vyronii, Krast and Coldshroud. The transfer sheets of the Imperial and Chaos Knights (not included) will provide you with the fitting iconography for the use in 40k.

Both, the Acheron and Castigator, come with four large main sprues, a medium and a small weapon sprue for the variants.

Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator

The 170x109mm Oval Base is huge, to give you an idea, I put the Warmaster Titan on it, the largest model from the Adeptus Titanicus range, and a few of the smaller round bases.

Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator

There are three different main sprues that are shared along all the Cerastus kits are these. The one on the left, covering the legs is included twice, for each leg once. The second and third sprue design cover the upper body, including the scion.

Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight  Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight
Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight

For the Castigator, you will find this medium sized sprue for the arm-mounted bolt cannon and tempest warblade. The small sprue covers the ammo-feed for the bolt cannon.

Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Castigator
Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Castigator

The layout is similar for the Acheron, where the medium sized sprue covers the arm-mounted flamestorm cannon and reaper chainfist. The smaller sprue includes the parts for the flamethrower hose.

Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron
Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron

But let us start building. As usual with these biped warmachines, we start with the feet and legs and move our way up. And just like with the larger Titanicus kits, this one has a lot of flexibility and poseability. A lot of the joints can be moved and angled.

To make assembly easier, certain pins are there to guide you, but you can cut them away and bring them in more dynamic / free poses if you like. As we see here on the example of the knee and lower legs.

Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator

And as we modified the position of the legs, we have to see what we do about the hips, as there are pins for the regular stand for a quick assembly. These have to be modified or removed, but that's something we can tackle once we arranged the feet.

Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator

As for the feet, these are very modular / flexible, as the individual toes can be lifted and as such "cling" onto the ground and we did just that, one foot is flat on the ground and the other one put on a ruin.

Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator

Now that we have the legs standing it is time to fit in the hips / groin piece. For this we cut of the pins and glue in the ball joints.

Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator

One thing that is pretty amazing on this kit, is the sheer number of pistons and those can be pushed together or elongated to fit the various poses. In addition, they provide further stability on the ankles and legs. If you want to play it really safe, make sure to check the angles and elevation on these pistons before you glue the poses, you don't want to overstretch.

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With the exception of the armour panels, we know have completed the legs and can move on to the next building unit, which will be the upper torso.

The frame for that is quite sturdy, as we build a box with a ball-joint for the head in the front, and two twist-and-lock mounts for the arms. To this further exhaust pieces and railings are added, to which later the ammunition feeds and further armour panels are added.

Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator

The interior of this area could be described as optional, because it is not needed for the purpose of stability. And I only put in there, not glued it to the outer parts to be able to remove it for proper painting. Actually, you have two choices, either to magnetise the carapace or keep the hatch unglued, so you can take a look into it afterwards, as you can see below.

The knight scion comes with three different helmets, recreating the look of the different Cerastus classes. Depending on what you want to do, you can give him various face shields for his helmet (A, B or C as stated below). His pose is pretty identical with the old Forge World scion, that could be bought on its own.

Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator

The upper carapace comes with a hatch and four different icons, loyalist, traitor, mechanicum and generic. I went with the classic skull and banner to be the most flexible afterwards.

Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator

Now for the head. These are part of the specific weapon sprues and each Cerastus class has a different head design. In case of the Castigator, it is a stylized bucket helm. Quickly build, with no options but a moving ball-joint in the back. Along with thick cables on the side. It neatly fits between the shoulders and collar armour.

Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator

A wider design for the Acheron head, a bit like an Italian barbute helmet, but otherwise same system. Cables on the sides and you can move the head and angle it to make it fit your overall pose. The Lancer has a different design as well, and you can even buy further variants (for a more mechanicum look) through Forge World / at Warhammer World, but those might not be always on stock.

Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator

But let us move towards the weaponry. The Castigator has a tempest warblade and you can very freely pose the sword, due to various joints from the shoulder, the elbow down to the "hand". From relaxed, to piercing or pointing forward, you have quite a few options. And due to the socket on the shoulder, you can simply turn and lock it in place. This is great for transport, or in case you get access to the individual weapons and want to swap them.

Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Castigator

For ranged combat, the Castigator has an arm-mounted Bolt Cannon, and that is quite a heavy thing. The smaller variant of the Vulcan Mega Bolter, which is mounted on the Warhound Scout Titan or Stormlord Super Heavy Tank. Massive weapon but very quickly build and posable, just like the sword arm. But the real kicker is the ammo belt.

Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Castigator

I had to play around a bit, to find a fitting pose for the Bolter system, as I wanted it to point forward at a reasonable angle.

Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Castigator

And this step has to be the craziest thing I've build from Games Workshop in a long time. The ammo container is added to the back and you can easily magnetize it. It more or less stays in place by friction already. But the ammo belt itself consists out a chain of 20 (!) individual links that interlock and are not glued to each other. This means, you can pose them freely. I am honest, removing the mould lines from all 40 pieces was work intensive - but very satisfying in the end.

Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Castigator

But let us move over towards the Acheron weapon systems. Just like the Castigator, the Acheron comes with a sword a close combat option as well, but it is a huge reaper chainfist. And it can be arranged as well, with a sweeping motion, a thrust or simply slashing through something on the base. There are multiple ideas to put this weapon into dynamic action.

Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron

And for ranged attacks the Acheron has a Flamestorm cannon, which is slightly more work to assemble compared to the Bolt Cannon. Provides a lot of flexibility once again through the various joints from the shoulder down to the weapon itself. And just like the Bolt Cannon, this is connected to a fuel supply.

Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron

The drums are assembled and added to the back of the upper body and the hose is a flexible one, just like the ammo belt, built from 20 individual links and can be posed very freely. This is designed in an amazing way. Yet cleaning the mould lines again from 40 individual pieces and making sure to not involuntarily glue anything together that should be moving freely, is a bit of work.

Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron

And last but not least, the armour plates and decoration to be added. You have two different designs for the lower shin guard, with a generic plate and one with the eye of Horus (you have two of these), two different designs for the knee pads and beyond that, single designs for chest armour and groin, but some variations for the shoulders.

Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator

You can build three different shoulder armours from these kits. The base sprues provide you with the variants for the Acheron and Lancer, the alternative plate design for the Castigator is part of the weapon upgrade. Of course, you could stray away from the standard template and mix them. It is your model after all.

Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator

Unfortunately, due to its size and the aspect, that I want to keep in a way that I am able to paint it up properly, I can't glue the parts together for a full shot. Which also means I can't provide scale comparisons yet.

Warhammer Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight

But I have the ones from the Adeptus Titanicus reviews and the proportions are in line with each other. This shows for one that the Titanicus scale is 25% of the full-scale models, and how tall the Knights are compared to the Titans.

Adeptus Titanicus - Cerastus Knights Adeptus Titanicus - Cerastus Knights Adeptus Titanicus - Imperial and Cerastus Knights

Yet, Games Workshop provides amazing pictures from the studio. One with the official 'Eavy Metal paint job in the colours of House Vyronii, along with the Warhammer Studios own paint jobs. The most interesting part are the poses and how they make heavy use of the various terrain kits to build the bases.

Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator

Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator Horus Heresy - Cerastus Knight Acheron and Castigator

Conclusion
This was an incredibly fun build. I really liked the challenge of something this big, but am incredibly thank full that it is plastic and not resin. Not something that I had to heat up, take care of warpage, had to pin etc. It was a very rewarding experience from that point of view. And you can really see that they did their homework.

The kit is poseable, you have decent options. You could magnetise them and swap between the variants, if you wanted to (or Games Workshop decides at some point to combine the three kits for logistic reasons into a single one) and with the way it is designed, you could either provide a hybrid kit for the Atrapos or if we get lucky regarding the Mechanicum, get a full plastic kit, as you probably could do the additional pieces with the 2 sprues, just like they did with the Castigator or Acheron.

I built a Questoris Knight in the past, and with them being just about 20 EURs less than this one, just from a model design decision without any meta, I'd got for the Cerastus. It is newer, it has finer details and due to its slender design is more dynamic. The RRP of 155 EUR isn't a steal, but I think still in a reasonable range, and as it is not an exclusive model you will surely find a friendly local gaming store, who will give you a special deal for it.

With the upcoming release of the Solar Auxilia, I am very tempted to finish this in a way, that it could see action on the tabletop of the Horus Heresy. I even have a paint scheme in mind. Beyond that, if you're looking for a centre piece of your army or a project that you could spend a lot of time with, one of the Cerastus kits is a valid option. Not only because it became cheaper with its transition into plastic, as they were around 175 GBP when they were released as huge resin kits by Forge World and are now 120 GBP as a plastic kit, which is far more accessible with this material and surely less of a barrier for many.

Warhammer 40,000 and The Horus Heresy are brands by Games Workshop.

The reviewed product item was provided by the manufacturer.

Posted by Dennis B.

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