"We come. Look to heaven for your salvation."
– Captain Kayvaan Shrike
Drop Pods are atmospheric assault transports used primarily by the Adeptus Astartes and their Chaos Space Marine counterparts for orbital engagements and planetary assaults, where achieving tactical surprise is often an important factor.
Drop Pods, along with Thunderhawks, Thunderhawk Transporters, Storm Eagles, Stormravens, Caestus Assault Rams, and teleportation, constitute the bulk of a Space Marine Chapter's means of rapidly deploying its forces to a planet's surface.
Drop Pods are similar to the standard Imperial escape pod used to evacuate the crews of heavily damaged starships. These vehicles are used as disposable, environmentally sealed, armored landing craft to deliver forces directly into the heart of a battle or deep behind enemy lines.
The ultimate weapon of terror and surprise, when a Drop Pod lands squarely in the middle of an enemy line or formation and its occupants disembark and wreak havoc, there is little escape for the enemy. Drop Pods are fired at colossal acceleration from an orbiting Strike Cruiser or Battle Barge, after which they scream through a planet's atmosphere with oversized rocket engines propelling them even further beyond terminal velocity. Even the most advanced air defense systems have trouble adjusting to a landing pod flying at up to 12,000 kilometers per hour.
Drop pod attacks are fraught with danger as the vehicle has little defense against enemy anti-aircraft fire or other aircraft or airborne debris while plummeting downward at full speed. In addition, passengers must trust the vehicle's machine spirit (artificial intelligence) guidance systems to get them safely to their destination.
While many Astartes Chapters use drop pods for quick deployments or deep hits, others like the Invaders or Black Consuls use drop pod attacks to send the bulk of their entire Chapter into battle. In these situations, mass attacks from landing pods light up the skies of the target world, while hundreds of these screaming harbingers of doom scurry across the firmament.
The standard Adeptus Astartes Drop Pod pattern can carry up to 12 Space Marines into battle. They are launched from a low orbit ship towards the drop zone, usually in the middle of or near a battlefield. After launch, the Drop Pod plummets through the atmosphere until its retro rockets fire to slow its descent.
A machine spirit (onboard computer) guides the drop pod to its destination and can receive further orders from the pod's mother ship. Although a Drop Pod becomes immobile after landing on a planetary surface, it can later be salvaged by the Chapter's Techmarines and reused.
These starships can be armed with a single Storm Bolter or Deathwind Missile Launcher capable of providing cover fire for the landing Astartes. During the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy, Drop Pods were fitted with a set of double-linked boltguns.
While not standard, Drop Pods can be modified to carry Space Marines in Terminator armor; although this practice is rarely used due to Terminator Armor's ability to teleport directly into combat. If a Drop Pod is modified to carry Space Marines in Terminator armor, the sheer bulk of the Terminator armor requires the replacement of two standard sized restraints with a single large restraint.
This box set contains a multi-part plastic Space Marine landing pod. This large 89-piece kit contains components to arm the landing pod with either a storm bolter or a Deathwind launcher and includes an Ultramarines Vehicle Transfer Sheet.