Hobby Goals check-in: January 2019

Hey everybody!
While it’s not technically the end of the month just yet, I have an impromptu day off today, so thought it would be nice to check in and see where I’m up to as regards the hobby progress for this month. My original list of goals didn’t have any kind of time period against each one – so I didn’t want to finish painting the Deathwatch models I have in January, for instance, but I thought it’d nevertheless be neat to see how things are going!

So then, for those of you who may have forgotten, here’s a reminder of what I’d like to accomplish in 2019:

Work out what I want to do with the Tau army, if anything
This one hasn’t been quite as difficult as I’d first thought it might be, as it happens. I’d been thinking about what I wanted to do, and at one point I did feel like just getting rid of the whole lot. I initially bought into Tau because, if I’m being honest with myself, I was growing impatient waiting for the Dark Eldar codex to arrive, and wanted to play a xenos army with a book of their own. Being a completely different sort of project for me, I attacked it with relish and bought thousands of units (well, a lot) in a short space of time, built most of it, and started playing. Problem number one, therefore, was the fact I was playing games with an army that I hadn’t painted, which is never really advisable because it means you rarely get round to actually painting them up. Which has been my problem ever since, as it happens!

I’ve got a lot of stuff built, most of it primed, but I still have plenty of stuff just in boxes, so for my first efforts here, I’ve decided to get rid of the boxed stuff. I’m then going to look at what I have left, draw up a list or two, and see what I think from there. I think I still want to keep some of the big suits, so I’ll be keeping hold of things like that second Riptide, and probably all of the Crisis Suits as well, but I’m considering getting rid of the second Commander (not sure yet). I’m also going to see if it’s worth it selling off a lot of the bits that I’ve been keeping a hold of. This hobby isn’t cheap, after all, and so I’m thinking it might be worth it to sell off things like the fusion blasters and whatnot, in an attempt to then finance armies that I do want!

So far, then, good progress has been made with trying to sort out the Tau!

Continue painting the Deathwatch models I have
This one ties in to another blog that will be making its appearance tomorrow, but suffice it to say that I feel like most of the New Year/early January period was spent writing and re-writing lists for the Deathwatch army, before then building up more veterans ready for painting. So I suppose progress hasn’t so much been made with this one, as reversed, because I now have almost twice as many Deathwatch models as I had this time last year!

But I’m chipping away at them, and hopefully soon there will be finished units that I can unveil here on the blog!

Continue to build up and paint the 1500-point Grey Knight list
This one has somewhat suffered for the last point, but in recent days, I do feel like I’m getting myself back on track as regards this project. I am definitely feeling Grey Knights at the moment, so I’m excited to get this show on the road! While I feel like I’m swamped in Deathwatch and Tau miniatures that are just sat there, primed and taunting me, I’ve not been quite so prodigious with the Grey Knights, having a Strike Squad built up and primed, but nothing else, meaning I can concentrate on painting the Purifiers and the Grand Master.

So far, I’ve been making some pretty decent progress, I think, so I’m really quite pleased to be going down this route for my new army for 2019!

On a side note, I’ve recently managed to pick up the pieces for the Doomglaive Dreadnought that has been discontinued by Forge World, so I’m hoping that will turn out to be okay! The weapons are coming from the US, and the main body from Germany, so I’m always a bit nervy of such things turning out well…

Anyway!

Paint some Nighthaunt and see what AoS is all about
Of all of my goals, I think this is the one that I have succeeded with the greatest. While I’ve not fully painted the entire list just yet, I’ve nevertheless managed to get quite a lot done – so they’re not just bare plastic – and have played a total of two games so far. To put that into perspective, I played seven games of 40k during 2018 altogether! So far, then, I think I’m doing quite well with playing games. How are the models looking?

Well, there is still quite a bit to be done, of course, and I do think that miniatures that have been primed white look just dreadful until they are actually fully painted. But overall, it’s good to be actually seeing an improvement with them on the whole, I feel!

I’m really pleased with how my AoS exploration has been going, as well, as it has gotten me excited for playing, which is making me want to paint more, which is nothing but a good thing!

Of course, I have been a bit guilty of running before I can crawl, and have been planning out all manner of different army projects of late. So for AoS in particular, I’ve been taking steps to reduce that significantly, and have decided to get rid of the Idoneth Deepkin models. I know that I’ve only recently been building army lists for them and everything, but I do feel that, of all the armies I’ve looked into so far, they’re just not doing it for me. The models look fantastic, don’t get me wrong. It’s just the way the army seems to want to play, I just can’t seem to get into it. So I’ve taken back what I can, and will be selling the rest off shortly.

This isn’t meant to be some kind of slow abandonment of fantasy, however. Rather than going wide, I’ve instead decided to go deep into the Death faction, and will be broadening my Nighthaunt into the Legions of Nagash at some point, giving me the perfect excuse I need to buy the big guy again! Both of my AoS games have been at the local store against the same guy, who is Chaos through-and-through, so I think it’s perhaps a better approach to just stick to one faction and really go into that.

So there we have it! Hopefully there will be more exciting updates for you all next month, when I hope to actually have some finished units to show off!

2018 in review

Happy New Year, everyone!
It’s time to go all traditional, and all, and look back at my hobby year for 2018!

It’s been quite the year, I have to say! Despite some monumental events, including getting married in September, I’m glad to have been able to keep going with hobby stuff. I’ve definitely built more than I’ve painted, but of course that is always the case, really! Starting really quite early, I built this beautiful beast 12 months ago, though he sadly still languishes in the same state after all this time!

I really need to get a move on and make some decisions as regards my Tyranids.

I’ve done quite well with the Great Reanimation of my Necrons, getting a good number of units painted up, including the beautiful new Cryptek model. I’ve still got a way to go with the army, for sure, but having only had one unit of Immortals painted in the new Thokt dynasty scheme back in 2017, this year has seen a real surge! Splendid stuff.

2018 saw me start a couple of armies, most notably the Tau. I’m in a bit of a weird position with this army now, as I feel like it was a bit of a distraction for me while I was waiting for the Dark Eldar codex. I did enjoy building up the models, for sure, and I think there is still a place for them in my collection, but probably nowhere near as many models as I have ended up with! So I’m going to be looking through both the Tau and Tyranid collections in an effort to thin out some of the dead wood, so to speak, and make sure I only keep enough models for small forces of each that I want to actually play with. Famous last words, probably, but still!

I’ve made significant strides with yet another xenos force, the Genestealer Cults!

I was really quite surprised that I even managed to finish these guys, as I’ve been working at them for a long time now, but always seemed to be putting them off for one reason or another. Kill Team, in that respect, was a good thing for me, as it made me finish painting them up, and indeed to get moving with more models for the force:

Being a horde army, though, I’m still nowhere near to having the required number of models for the force, but I think I’m suitably inspired to keep going. Slow and steady, and all that!

I’ve been steadily progressing with my Dark Eldar, though having painted up pretty much the entire army in 2017, 2018 has definitely been a slower year for the dark kin. I’ve got plenty built up, for sure, mainly due to having formed the plans for the army during 7th edition, but we’ll see how many models get painted during 2019…

In terms of smaller scale games, I’ve painted up some Van Saar gangers for Necromunda, and have started work on the Elucidian Starstriders, but this is where things get interesting, as I started looking back into fantasy after all these years, with the new iteration of Warhammer Underworlds.

It was a lot of fun, and it has led to getting myself into a very ghostly mess!

The Nighthaunt models are beautiful, but I’m also vacillating between Idoneth Deepkin and Chaos Beastmen in creating my first army for the new Age of Sigmar. It’s definitely going to be one of them, though I’ll most likely also be picking up some of these new grots models in time. I do enjoy squigs!

Finally, I’ve been working on some of the Chaos Cultists that I’ve had hanging about for years, inspired by the weird and wonderful underbelly of 40k that we got to glimpse in Blackstone Fortress!

This game was quite the boon to me, as it inspired not only the Cultists but also work on the Electro-Priests that had similarly been hanging about for years – all in all, then, it was very much well-received!

I wonder what 2019 will see for my hobby! Hopefully some of those models that I’ve built up over the last year will see themselves finished!!


I’ve definitely enjoyed my hobby time this year, but in order to make sure I stay focused during the coming year, I’ve drawn up a list of hobby resolutions as a lot of folks have been doing over on instagram:

There is a nice mix, I feel, between some of the more wide-ranging stuff with the Grey Knights and the Nighthaunt, and more focused goals for things like the Neophytes and Doomsday Ark. There is bound to be more that distracts me as the year goes on, of course – I’m looking forward to the Genestealer Cults getting their bikers, for sure! Whether Inquisitors come out for Kill Team is anyone’s guess, though I’m fairly positive I’ll go heavily into this one!

I’m going to be writing up my Hobby Progress blogs on the last day of each month as 2019 goes on, so it should keep me motivated to stay on track. Exciting times ahead, at any rate!!

Summer Painting Updates!

Hey everybody!
Just thought I’d share with you all some Summer Painting Updates, after having a fairly productive weekend with the minis! Unfortunately, I’ve yet to lift a brush to my Militarum Tempestus force, and the Skitarii have only vaguely been looked at, so this update will be purely based on the T’au part of my painting goals.

Let’s take a look!

After exactly four months, I have finally managed to finish painting my first Fire Warrior squad! It feels like it shouldn’t have taken this long, but I guess it was a long slog trying to figure out the scheme, and then trying to work it so that I could paint things quicker than usual. I’d say that, once I got going with it, it wasn’t too long to get everybody done.

The drones are fairly quick to do also, I’m not trying to go in for a stunning standard with anything here, but very much trying to get them ready for the tabletop. So no glowing lens-effects, or anything! Though I have tried to get some vague glow-like effects on the ends of the plasma weapons.

Anyway, let’s talk about the scheme!

The armour is basecoated with Caliban Green, then drybrushed with Kabalite Green, Warpstone Glow, and a final highlight of Niblet Green. The fatigues are basecoated with Mechanicus Standard Grey, then shaded with Nuln Oil. I had been toying with drybrushing them with Dawnstone, but have decided against that.

The weapons are basecoated with Dark Reaper, then shaded with Drakenhof Nightshade, before a light drybrush of Thunderhawk Blue – not too much, just enough to help bring out the details.

The blue badges are all painted with Caledor Sky, shaded with Drakenhof Nightshade, and a light drybrush of Teclis Blue just to help brighten the details back up. I also then drybrush the ends of the plasma weapons with Teclis Blue, to give the effect of an active weapon.

Speaking of weapons, the Tactical Support Turret there is equipped with a smart missile system (at least, I think it is – I had thought at first it was the missile pod variant that had the bank of six, but given the missile pod for the Commander is just three warheads, I’m switching round!) When I was painting my Riptide over the May Bank Holiday, I’d decided to paint those with yellow noses, to both add some visual interest and differentiate from the missile pod, which I had painted red on the Commander. These are done with a base of Averland Sunset, a shade of Agrax Earthshade, then a light drybrush of Yriel Yellow. It’s almost maddening to try to paint these as neatly as possible, especially because the yellow will show up horrendously on the dark grey should I make a mistake, but they do look quite good, I feel! Such a shame that the smart missile system is the better weapon than the missile pod…

The skin of both the Shas’ui and the Ethereal is done using the classic T’au skin scheme:

The bases are then done with Armageddon Dust, with some Agrellan Earth dabbed on here and there. Once all that is dry, I shade the whole lot with Agrax Earthshade, then when that is dry, drybrush it with Terminatus Stone. I’ve still got some of the Burnt Grass basing flock from back in the day, so I then add a bit of that with PVA glue – Tau armour is meant to be camouflaged against the environment they’re in, so if I were painting a desertscape for the base, it should by rights be a more tan/ochre colour. Adding the grass helps to justify the green of the armour, but the red bits in the flock do help to add interest to the base overall.

So there’s my T’au army to date! I do need more drone support, and I do need to get moving with more troops as well, but I’ve actually started basecoating every battlesuit that is on my painting table with Caliban Green at the minute, so I should probably get a grip and stick to the plan! I’ve previously made a fairly decent start on some Pathfinders, so I think next on the list will be trying to get a squad of those finished, along with their accompanying drones.

Stay tuned for more!

Summer Painting Goals: T’au Empire

Hey everybody,
The other day, I published a blog detailing my summer painting goals for two 500-point Imperium armies, which you can take a look at here. I mentioned having a third plan, for my T’au Empire army, so today I wanted to talk a little bit about what my plans are for this curious beast!

Bork'an Sept Tau Empire

The list for my T’au is actually a 1000-point list, as I had written it with the miniatures I’ve already painted in mind. I’m still sticking with Bork’an, but I’m going for a 1000-point list that will provide a strong basis for future army builds. Anyway, enough rambling, let’s take a look at the list itself:

So this is a Battalion list with some added extra bits, mainly because I wanted to include the two models that I have fully painted, as well as some Pathfinders for the more accurate markerlights. Let’s talk about some of these units in turn.

Pathfinders are something that I talked about in my last blog devoted to the T’au, as I think the more accurate markerlights are a definite boon. I’ve since played a six-player game where I brought two squads of five Pathfinders, and they actually did some useful work. The biggest boon for bringing them, of course, comes from the Pulse Accelerator Drone, which I used in that game to fly back to support the main Fire Warrior gun line, rather than anything else, and between it and the Cadre Fireblade, it was a really beautiful thing! I have yet to try Pathfinders with any of their exotic weaponry, but I think when I look at building this list up to 1500-points, I’ll start adding in some of that.

Drones have so far been pretty hit and miss for me, so I’ve cut back significantly in this list. I like the fact that Gun Drones are buffed by the Fireblade, so have included a couple of them for good measure, but I’m sticking the shield drones along with the high-priority stuff like the Commanders.

The Enforcer Commander is something that I’ve only tried once, and the results were also mixed, so I think I should probably try him a bit more before talking about the joys of fusion blasters. The Coldstar Commander is still pretty great though, and as the first model I painted for the army, he does have a special place in my heart!

The Riptide is a glorious miniature, and one that I’ve been really happy with since getting him finished. It seems that a lot of advice I’m seeing for building T’au armies is recommending the heavy burst cannon, so I’m pleased to have included that in the build. I don’t really have a big plan for him beyond distraction at the minute, but I’m sure once I’ve played a game with the guy, I should have a better idea.

Which brings me to the bête-noir of my T’au painting right now, the Fire Warriors! I don’t quite know how to go about painting these guys quickly enough that I can get a unit finished, but still to a decent tabletop standard. As such, they’ve been languishing in the partly-basecoated stage for a number of weeks now! Hopefully, I can get moving with them soon enough and get the production line sorted.

As an aside, the eagle-eyed among you will notice there are eight points left over from this list. “Why not throw in an extra Pathfinder?” I hear you cry. Well, because I’m also painting up an Ethereal on Hover Drone, and I’m thinking that I’d like the flexibility to swap out the Fireblade for this guy. Doing so would bring the list to 1000-points exactly, which is what I want!


So there we have it, the three lists for my summer painting goals. While this one is a little large for such a thing – 51 miniatures still to paint, including drones and turrets – I’m hoping that I can get a lot of them done fairly quickly once I have the troops scheme hammered out. Then I can focus on getting some games in with my actually-painted force!

The glorious return of the goat-fish-people!

Hey everybody!
That’s right, I’m back to playing with my burgeoning Tau force, after what feels like an eternity where I couldn’t decide where to apply my hobby focus. Truth be told, I’d almost left the hobby on the shelf these last few weeks, and have turned instead to sorting out my garden. Well, that’s now almost finished, but I’ve been keeping myself ticking over through one thing and another, then managed to get a couple of games in last Friday, and so I thought I’d ramble for a bit here once again about my Tau thoughts!

Having had my first game with the army almost a month ago, I’ve waxed and waned a little over them, until having an invitation to a game against another guy at my local GW, Kev, whose Deathwatch I’ve come afoul of before with my Necrons! With their new Codex out, though, I really fancied a Codex vs Codex battle, to see how things pan out.

Spoiler alert: pan out, they did not!

Tau army

My list was mainly infantry this time around, with three units of 10 Fire Warriors, a Fireblade and the Coldstar Commander, along with the Broadside and a Crisis team. We were playing to 1000 points still, and I failed to get the first turn, which basically obliterated most of my army. Kev uses a Corvus Blackstar to stunning effect, and I think my Fire Warriors were just blown off the table before I could blink! He also likes to have a Dreadnought supporting his Watch Master, who affects the entire table for re-rolls in an almost perverse manner. Seriously, it was quite stunning to watch, but really stressful to play!

As the game was over so quickly, we had a smaller, 500-point game, which really played to my strengths as I have so many cheaper units as opposed to the Deathwatch, but while I had reduced his entire army to just the Watch Master, he still managed to kill off everything despite being inches from death. I definitely need to stay away from close combat as Tau!

So what did I learn from my second (and third) games with Tau? 

To begin with, I really need to have that first turn to survive! It’s nothing that can be guaranteed, clearly, but in my third game, I had first turn and obliterated a unit of Veterans between the Fire Warriors and Commander, as well as taking off a decent chunk of Dreadnought. The fire power is definitely there, so it’s something I’d like to really try to capitalize upon, and so I need to either have first turn, or survive to my own turn to retaliate.

Tau Empire Drones

I also need to hang much further back. I play Bork’an Sept, which makes my Fire Warriors with pulse rifles rapid fire from 18 inches, but I still deployed much closer to the centre than I should have! I had two units of Strike Team with a Fireblade between the two, and he never got to help them one bit! (I also learnt that Fireblades grant an extra shot to models within 6″, not units).

Hilariously, Fireblades can buff Gun Drones, which I used to some effect when taking on the Vanguard Veterans. If I’d read the data sheet properly, though, I would have seen that Gun Drones have two pulse carbines, and so I would be rolling six shots each, not three, so it is a little bit sour, that. I think I need more Fireblades in my force…

Gun Drones cost 12 points, whereas Marker Drones cost 10 points. However, Marker Drones only fire a single light, and if you miss with it, those 10 points were wasted. In the absence of a battlesuit equipped with Drone Controller, those Drones are hitting on a 5+, whereas for 8 points a piece, you can get a Pathfinder who will hit on a 4+. No brainer, especially since Pathfinders are the only ones who can take Pulse Accelerator Drones, granting those Fire Warriors a rapid fire range of 21″! Pathfinders are definitely something I should be including more often, especially when they come so cheaply and bring along helpful PAC drones!

I took three Gun Drones and 8 Marker Drones, and I think I need to alter that ration much heavily for the former. I also think Shield Drones are the better option if Pathfinders are in the team. Dashing round to intercept wounds is a much better deal, overall! I think it’s safe to say that I’ve learnt that Marker Drones are doing me no favours, and I need to concentrate on more Shield Drones, with a fair few Gun Drones where I can fit them.

I also need to remember my Stratagems! I can’t remember how many times my Commander has been charged, and for just 1CP I could be using Repulsor Impact Fields to potentially make them think twice about it, if they’re potentially suffering Mortal Wounds. Neuroweb System Jammer is also a good one – especially with the amount of silly buffs Deathwatch get. Putting them back to normal ballistic skill could be very useful! I’ve noticed that, in general, I tend to be quite conservative with my Command Points, and I think I evaluate the 2CP Stratagems much more seriously than the 1CP-cost ones.

Of course, this shouldn’t be an issue, considering I also bring the Puretide Engram Neurochip as my relic, but I continually fail to ever remember it! I think the relics and warlord traits are the two things I always seem to just forget, whereas I really ought to try and put more thought into this stuff…

Speaking of under-valuing things, I frequently get so confused by Grenades that I rarely use them. Certainly, I don’t think I’ve ever tossed a grenade with my Drukhari! Photon Grenades could work amazingly in Overwatch, again potentially dissuading someone from charging if they might have to subtract 1 from their own hits until the end of the phase.

What next?

Photon grenades bring me on to where I want to go next with the force, anyway. I talked a little about a gun-line in my last Tau blog, but I’ve now drawn up a different 1500-point list that I want to work towards. To allow for greater flexibility, I’ve decided to create a Core Army that can then be added to as I like. This core army consists of 1340 points, arranged across two Battalions and an Outrider detachment. In the first Battalion, I have the Coldstar Commander and a Cadre Fireblade, along with two units of 10 Fire Warrior Strike Team (each of which has a support turret with smart missile systems) and a 10-man Breacher Team. The second Battalion has the same three troops choices replicated entirely, along with an Enforcer Commander and another Cadre Fireblade.

The Breachers bring me on to a tangent here, as I was giving them both a turret and a Devilfish transport. It just makes no sense, as I want the Breachers to get a little closer than the Strike Team, given that their pulse blasters work better at closer ranges. However, they are Assault weapons, so there’s no need to give them a transport as I don’t particularly feel like I want them to move too far away from the main line. Instead, I see them as more of a harassment unit, taking objectives where required (more on this later) and also helping to protect the gun-line with For the Greater Good when required.

The Outrider is three full squads of Pathfinders, along with two Ethereals. If I have been undervaluing photon grenades, then I have done the Ethereals a massive disservice! Granting re-rolls of 1s in the shooting phase is massive, especially since I have no plans to move my Strike Teams anywhere!

Looking ahead, I want to get myself a Sun Shark Bomber. While I’m sad they’re currently out of stock everywhere, I would like to finally try some air support for the army, having never tried flyers in a game up to now. While I know it’s not like the Corvus, I would like to see how much damage I can wreak from the skies with this bad boy in the air. It’s also a different type of unit for me to use, and I like that. While I’ve never really gotten into using either a Dark Scythe or Voidraven for my Necrons or Drukhari, I think I’m actually excited to be using flyers here in the Tau!

The Gun Line

I’m currently envisaging a deployment where I have my four squads of ten Fire Warriors, possibly in two ranks of five, with an Ethereal between squads one and two, and another between squads three and four. Ethereals buff units within 6″, so that should work fine. Fireblades buff models within 6″ of him, though, according to the way I read it, though I’ve since been told it is the unit, so I think a similar situation will occur with those. I’m still a bit caught between using the Fireblades as Markerlight hits on 2+ or firing three pulse rifle shots of their own in rapid fire range, so I guess we’ll have to see how I’m feeling when the situation arises!

I’m adding in some Shield Drones to protect the Commanders and Ethereals as well, which I’m thinking to position roughly between the Fire Warriors and the HQs. I’m giving the Fireblades two Gun Drones a piece, so that they can do their thing there.

To bring it up to 1500 points, while the Sun Shark Bomber remains out of stock, I’m planning to include the Broadside and some more tactical drones for the time being, though I think I’ll eventually want a Hammerhead for the heavier support – when playing those games last week, the 6-wound Broadside was quite easily destroyed in a single turn of shooting – great as a distraction, for sure, but I would like a sturdier chassis for the big guns.

Painting Updates!

So that’s my rambling about the gameplay done, what about the painting?

While I do still need to get the Sept markings on him, by and large I’ve finished the Commander! I’m actually really pleased with how he’s turned out – the highlighting on the green hasn’t really come across that well in the photographs, but it looks nice and subtle. It’s taken me far too long to get this guy finished, mainly due to not having a clear idea for the paint scheme, but I think now that I’m more aware of where I’m going with it all, I should be able to get moving with some of the other units I have on the go right now. I did say that I was thinking about doing a sort of Tale of (One) Warlords thing here on the blog, and that I wanted to get the Start Collecting box finished by the end of April, but clearly that hasn’t happened! However, I want to next move on to finishing the first Fire Warrior team, alongside the Ethereal, before then moving on to Pathfinders and a Fireblade. I think if I can do that, having a squad and a character, it should help to keep me occupied by enough variety that I should be able to get through them all quickly enough!

And as regards the future of the army…

 

Building a Tau army: Support Systems

So, one of the things I wanted to achieve with this post was to share the fruits of my labours in researching what all of the various bits and bobs are that you find in the various Tau kits. Having spent many a long and drawn-out hour trying to discover what part represents a certain support system, for example, I thought I’d try to pull all of that together here, both for my own future reference, and also in the hope that it might help any budding Commander out there!

Speaking of which, let’s start with the Commander kit, which has all manner of bits that you can use to kit out not only the warlord for your army, but also any Crisis Suits that you want to field, and even some of the bigger stuff like Ghostkeels and Broadsides. It’s definitely worth getting hold of at least one Commander, not least because he’s actually a really awesome model, but because of this cross-pollenation that you can have.

Tau support systems 1

As far as the support systems go, however, we get three of them in this kit, along with an older piece that is still around, just no longer classed as a support system. From left to right, then, we’ve got the Shield Generator, the Target Lock, the Velocity Tracker, and Positional Relay. That last is now a 2CP stratagem. These bits are numbered 66, 48, 50 & 51, and 49.

The Crisis Suit set is another of these amazing bits box kits that has almost everything you could want to kit out all manner of battlesuits with cool stuff. The price is, of course, a bit silly, but fortunately Tau have one of the most useful Start Collecting boxes in so far as, for an extra fiver, you get a 10-man troop choice, and an HQ choice. Why Crisis Suits are on sale for £45 when they’re also in the Start Collecting box for £50 is beyond me, but there we go! As there are three of them in the box, you get almost everything in triplicate, though the support systems are more of a general mix. You do get three Shield Generators, and two Target Locks (part 74 on the sprue), along with this small array of other interesting stuff:

Tau support systems 2

From left to right again, we have a Counterfire Defence System, an Early Warning Override, and a Multi Tracker. The Multi Tracker is a single part (73), whereas the other two are made up of the stalk-piece, and the face-piece. There are two stalks (part 75), and the pieces to make one Early Warning Override (part 76), one Counterfire Defence System (part 77), or one Velocity Tracker (part 78, not pictured).

We’ve now seen six of the eight support systems, so where are the other two?

The Ghostkeel is up next, which has a couple more bits and bobs that are useful for keeping hold of! (Of course, you should never actually get rid of any bits once you’ve built a kit, but that’s a whole other story…)

In addition to having parts for an Early Warning Override (parts 72 & 73 on the sprue), the Ghostkeel is the only miniature in the plastic Tau range that has the Drone Controller bit, which is the little bulb-and-antenna you can see on its left arm in the picture above.

Which leaves us with the final piece of support system tech, the Advanced Targeting System. Well, that doesn’t actually have a bit for it in the range, and while I’ve seen some people use leftover XV8 heads with an antenna glued on, others will argue that it’s more software than hardware anyway, so would be hardwired into the suit itself. For those of us who like to go for a little more modelling fun, though, I suppose you could use anything with antennae stuck onto it to make it look the part!

So there you have it, the list of Tau Support Systems that are on offer from the plastic range. It’s worth pointing out that you can also get these bits in the Broadside and Riptide kits, and while I don’t have one personally, I think the Stormsurge also has a couple of things in there.

My first game with Tau

Hey everybody!
It’s time once more for a games day blog! Well, it has been some time. I wanted to talk about my experiences with playing Tau for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and my thoughts on both building the models and building my army. So I’m going to ramble for a bit about Tau – sit back, and enjoy!

My 1000-point list was, I think you’ll agree, slightly odd-looking. Well, that’s because I don’t know what I’m doing with Tau, and the list was built very much along the lines of, let’s throw some stuff together and see what happens. I was playing with Bork’an Sept rules, adding 6 extra inches to rapid fire and heavy weapons, with the Seeker of Perfection warlord trait, which adds 1 to the wound roll for each hit of 6+. Finally, I was using the Puretide Engram Neurochip relic to gain a command point on a d6 roll of 6 when an opponent uses a stratagem. Nice!

I have to be honest, though – I’m not sure how I did in that game! I think I managed to get the hang of certain things, and I could definitely see how the army wants to play after a couple of rounds, but I don’t really know if I won or lost. I was playing my usual opponent Robin, though this time he was playing Inquisition rather than Orks, which was a turn up for the books!

We played Burn & Pillage from the Open War cards, and the Twist we drew was Double or Nothing, drawing two extra cards: Acid Rain (yay) and Meeting Battle, which divides the armies into three (each), and one of these chunks is brought on each round. That was useful as it allowed me to bring on my army in small doses and get used to it that way.

The game went fairly okay, I think. I’d set up in the middle, and brought on the Pathfinders and Pirhana first. The Pirhana was quite useful as a melee tool, something I didn’t think I’d do with Tau. The Pathfinders probably could have been used better, but I suppose I was just getting used to them! I then brought on the Breachers, the Ethereal and the Devilfish (which had the Strike Team inside – not the Breachers! Whoops!) For the third deployment, I brought on my Commander and the Crisis Suits.

I think my main take-away from the game was that Marker Drones are very useful, but the Pathfinders are a much cheaper source of Markerlights, so I should use them to light up the field each turn, rather than worrying about saving their pulse carbine shots instead. I couldn’t quite get my head round to the idea that the bodies should be doing something useful, while the drones should be left to paint targets on everything. That clearly isn’t the way to go!

I like the idea of a gun-line, but I was a bit all over the place during this game due to the nature of the Open War cards. I think for my next game with them, I’d like to deploy as an actual gunline, and use some Fireblade support to get an extra shot off. Indeed, I want to look heavily into supporting the idea of a Tau gunline force, and have been tinkering a great deal with my list over the last few weeks.

The Coldstar Commander is something of an all-star, really, though I feel like I used him badly. The ability to advance 40″ across the field is actually really good, but I wasn’t making nearly as much of it as I should have been. He’s modelled with a Target Lock, as well, so there’s no excuse not to be dashing about and firing that high-output burst cannon all over the place. Definitely one to use again in the future, that!

The Crisis Suits are an iconic part of the army, for me, and I really want them there at the centre of all things. However, I once again did barely anything with them – I think the accompanying drones did more damage than these guys when it came to the battle! I think the fact they were the single most-expensive unit in the army made me a little over-cautious, and I ended up doing very little with them. So I think I need to re-evaluate my options for the future, there!

Overall, though, while people have been saying the codex isn’t as good as that of Necrons or Drukhari, I’m not that familiar yet with the army to feel that it is particularly bad. But I can say that my list was a bit too all over the place for comfort, and I’ve been weighing up a few options for alternative (and bigger) builds for the future. At the minute, then, this is what I’m looking down the barrel of:

I’m currently thinking a lot about playing larger-scale games, as I haven’t really explored anywhere above the 1000-point level in 8th Edition yet. So I’m going to be building towards 2000-points, but wanted to get there slowly. I’ve got most of this list actually built up anyway, and have recently picked up some more Crisis Suits in a second Start Collecting box so that I can really round things out. While I haven’t organised it as such in the above list, I have three detachments within this list, granting me a total 8 command points to use throughout the game – a very small Battalion, a fairly small Outrider, and the real meat of the force contained within the Vanguard, which itself covers more than half the total points.

I like this list because it feels like it puts the battlesuits at the centre of things, rather than the troops. The Pathfinders are there for Markerlights, mainly, though as there is the potential for redundancy here, especially since there are also six Marker Drones in the list, having the pulse carbines will be useful as well. The thought is that the Warriors will form a gunline, with the Fireblades peppered among them alongside the Pulse Accelerator Drones, which will fly off at the start of the battle to aid the pulse rifles of the Fire Warriors.

While I’m on the topic, I really like building Tau armies that use Fireblades as a cheap utility HQ, freeing up another HQ slot for a fancy Commander that can go off and do his own thing.

I freely admit that I may have been seduced into including the Broadside simply because he looks amazing. The heavy rail rifle reminds me of a longer-ranged dark lance, and I so often whiff on the damage rolls and end up getting just one point of damage that I’m invariably wary of such things now. However, the Bork’an Sept Stratagem does allow for a re-roll on random damage like this, so I suppose that will be useful!

The Ghostkeel, so far as I’m concerned, is a bit of a distraction carnifex, and I’m not particularly fussed as to what happens to it. 200 points is an expensive distraction, for sure, but it is a very pretty model, so I’m sure it’ll draw a lot of attention. Keeping the drones around will give any shooting attacks -2 to hit, so it could very possibly just walk (fly?) up the table and threaten virtually anything, firing six shots from the Cyclic Ion Raker from 30 inches away, and the Target Lock will allow for it to keep moving and firing that heavy weapon with no penalty. Add in another two shots from the fusion blasters, and it should take a lot of the heat off the other stuff I’m bringing!

I feel like I’ve been on a bit of a pendulum swing for 8th Edition so far, from building armies without a tremendous amount of thought for the CPs, to agonising over how I can get that third Battalion in there for the additional points. I think the Drukhari codex has seen the apex of the CP struggle, and I’m now getting a lot more conservative again – or, I should say, I’m back to building the kind of armies that I want to build, and not adding in an entire Spearhead detachment just because I want to add in a single Broadside. Anyway!

8 command points should be a fine number, especially if I’m sticking with the Puretide Engram Neurochip. There aren’t a tremendous amount of stratagems that I find myself wanting to use, after all. While in my first game, I didn’t use a lot of them because I was concentrating on getting the units to do what they’re supposed to do, I think on the whole there are some fairly underwhelming stratagems contained within the book, which I guess might be where a lot of folks are coming from with thinking it underpowered. There are a small handful of stratagems that I can see myself using, such as Repulsor Impact Field or Uplinked Markerlight, but on the whole I find them really quite situational, and also very specific as to the units they affect.

Maybe having underpowered stratagems is a way of balancing some of the tremendous firepower that the Tau can bring to bear in a battle.

At any rate, those are my rambling thoughts after my first game with the Tau!