Sunday, 29 June 2014

And Tau For Something Completely Different

Did somebody say there was a Crisis?

Another commission from General Kas, this time some 40 000 years into the future. I'd always fancied trying my hand at Tau, because although I don't really like the fluff, I think the miniatures can look pretty cool. They also present a pretty specific set of challenges that I wanted to have a go at.

Kas asked that I do the models like the GW standard ones. I don't know very much about Tau, so a bit of research revealed that

  • this paint scheme represents the classic T'au Sept, warriors from the Tau homeworld
  • I didn't have any of the right colours for it

I quite like blending paints up. Mixing your own colours, though, uses a lot of other paints. And the mixes dry out fast, usually because they're spread out in the dish. I'd need quite a lot for these suits, all of which have a lot of wide, flat armour surfaces, and I didn't fancy constantly having to remix exactly the right blend.

A quick trip to the shops got me a pot of XV88, the second stupidest name for a paint next to The Fang, which is the base brown GW use for the models. That went over an undercoat of Abaddon Black, covering everything except the bits that would stay black, then a shading of the creases with Agrax Earthshade.

Over that went roughly three coats of layer paint Tau Light Ochre. Interesting stuff, layer paints. I haven't been using them any differently to the older paints, so watching Paint Guru Duncan Rhodes (also the name of my new Fox detective series) explain how to use it on GW's site recently was kind of interesting. Literally like paint drying.

Normally I'd find plain flat surfaces a challenge, because it's hard to get a smooth finish without streaks. This is what I was looking to have a go at with the Tau models, a good practice at it. Turns out multiple coats of layer paint work really very well (curse you, GW, for selling decent quality tools rather than overpriced tat that I can whine legitimately about), giving the kind of smooth rich finish that makes you feel like you're talking about expensive coffee instead of paint.

It's a major bore to paint, though. Covering the same ground three times in a row is incredibly dull, even if I reckon the results are definitely worth it. It got a drybrush of Tyrant Skull on top. I started off by carefully painting it in thin lines on the edges, then completely lost patience. So they are a tiny bit more washed out and drybrushy than they might of been. Hey ho.

From the back, showing their dockoff jet packs.
Other paint notes: -

  • White areas are Wych Flesh with a layer of Skull White over the top
  • I rebelled from orthodoxy (Chaos!) by giving them green panelling instead of deep red. This is Catachan Green with Camo Green highlights
  • Gold was Tin Bitz blended up to Shining Gold
  • The black areas got a couple of layers of Eshin Grey over the top
  • Red lenses and a few simple Skull White line jobs for personality and flair
  • Bases done with plain sand and a wash of Agrax Earthshade, so Kas can put whatever flock he wants over it

So a week later, here's a bunch (squad? team? I have no idea of the correct nomenclature. For all I know, they might wander about by themselves) of finished T'au! I'm pleased, although reluctantly. Pleased because they look enough like the GW ones that I feel I can say the job's a good 'un. Reluctantly, because it means buying all the right product does get better results, and I don't ever want to admit that.

Expect more in the coming month, Kas dropped off a couple of Broadsides and their drones as part of his recent eBay purchase.

Wife's Verdict: 'Awww, sandy people.' How true. How true.


  1. I have no real clue what these are (the Tau version of Terminators?), but the paintjob is excellent. I hope Kas will continue to provide you with sufficient fodder to labour in the drybrushing saltmines.

    The W40KBoot creeps closer to actuality...

  2. And I've just seen the number of posts against your name: congratulations on making the Century!

  3. Ta! Time for a rest, that means. Besides, I've still got Citadel Wrist after that last batch of painting.