Obsessed with Tau!

Hey everybody,
I think I am definitely obsessed with the Tau Empire right now – I finished painting up the first unit of Pathfinders last week and have already bought and started work on the second box, thinking I should be able to get them done by the end of January given that it didn’t take all that long at all to get the first batch painted! I mean, I was trying to figure out my colour scheme for some of this time, so I’m hopeful that the second lot will be a bit quicker to get through!

It might seem a little odd to start with Pathfinders, a fast attack choice, as opposed to the basic troops choice, but I suppose it doesn’t really matter, as they’re quite similar in terms of the areas that need coverage. I really love the Pathfinders kit, I have to say. The addition of the upgrade sprue is really just gravy, but when I was building these guys, it really struck me how much stuff they come with. I mean, they have all three types of tactical drone, plus the three specialist drones (you can only build two plus the big lad). They have so many weapons options, it really is quite wonderful.

I think for February’s challenge I’ll move on to Fire Warriors, anyway, and see whether I am able to get them painted just as quickly! I have the Start Collecting box, so I think the first HQ I’ll do will be the Ethereal from there, though I do plan to get myself a Commander as soon as I can, as that should be a great project to paint up.

In rather exciting news, I’ve recently been promoted in work, so I would like to get myself something to celebrate, and have my eyes on the Riptide. I know I’m getting ahead of myself, but this is for a couple of months down the line, when I’ve had my first wages post-promotion and all, so hopefully I won’t be adding too much to the pile of shame! The Riptide is a lovely model, though – I am still kicking myself over selling off my Tau, but in particular I miss the Riptide, as it was a really beautiful model. I think it also has the bonus of being a really nice centrepiece type of model but it isn’t as obnoxious as, say, a Stormsurge. Though I do want one of those as well!

But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, here!

Painting Tau

Hey everybody,
A while ago, when talking about my Tau army plans, I mentioned researching the “proper” painting guides and whatnot for Tau miniatures, so today I thought I’d share the fruits of these labours! In some ways, this is a bit of a companion piece to a post I wrote last time I was collecting Tau, where I looked at all the different support systems that are represented by bits in the plastic kits. Of course, the correct way to paint your miniatures is “however you want them to look”, but being a huge lore nerd, I do often like to paint my stuff correctly in terms of the established lore. If you’re like me, then you might find this useful!

First of all, Tau are divided into Septs, in the same way Space Marines are divided into Chapters. Unlike Space Marines, however, Tau Sept colours are limited to the markings, not the overall armour colour. The armour, instead, is meant to be painted as camouflage, to help the warriors blend in to their battlefield surroundings. The classic Tau scheme of ochre is a generic desert camo, and the Tau Sept colour is white. Vior’la markings are red, but the armour is mostly shown as white in the promotional stuff from GW, I presume as a kind of snow camo. In theory, you could paint Vior’la in the ochre scheme, with red Sept markings, and that’s fine – the Vior’la are fighting in the desert! I’ve only really come across it with my Sa’cea Sept, but the lore suggests that different Septs are more proficient on certain battlefields – Sa’cea specialising in urban warfare, so their armour is largely shown as that blue-grey colour. Sa’cea Sept markings are orange, though, which always makes me smile because surely they’d be a dead giveaway in an actual war setting?

This brings me on to the next point, though. Whereas mostly we’re taught that basing should complement the miniature, and allow it to stand out to some degree, with Tau you almost want the miniatures to blend into the basing – something I’ve only seen rarely, but it does look fantastic when you see it done well. As if the miniature is somehow rising up from the base, or something.

Moving away from painting for a second, we need to talk about Castes. The Tau civilisation is a caste-based system, with the Tau people split into five. The Earth Caste is the engineers, the Air Caste is the air force, the Water Caste is the diplomats, and the Fire Caste is the infantry. The Ethereal Caste is a breed apart, and these mysterious beings form the ruling elite of Tau society.

For the tabletop game, Fire Caste is really the only one that matters, although Ethereal miniatures do exist (and of course, Air Caste is represented by fliers and in Aeronautica Imperialis). Let’s look at the ranking system:

Cadet: Shas’saal
Line trooper: Shas’la
Sergeant/veteran: Shas’ui
Elite bodyguard: Shas’vre
Field Commander: Shas’el
General: Shas’o

This structure is somewhat mirrored across the other castes, with different prefixes for each (Por’ for Water Caste, Kor’ for Air Caste, Fio’ for Earth Caste, and Aun’ for Ethereal Caste).


Why is all of this important? Well each rank has a slightly different paint scheme to consider! A single team of, say, Fire Warriors, will have Sept markings that denote they all belong to the same squad. The squad Shas’ui / Sergeant has the Sept colour on both shoulder pad and sensor vane, to mark him out among the rest. Speaking of shoulder pads, the symbol on the pads of Fire Warriors is that of their Caste, and not some kind of chapter badge-analogue.

Shas’ui are the lowest rank permitted to pilot a battlesuit. For a Shas’ui pilot, the Sept colour is used for the sensor vane only; for a Shas’vre pilot, the entire helmet is in the Sept colour. A Shas’el Commander has the helmet in the Sept colour with the sensor vane in the armour colour, and a Shas’O pilot has the Sept colour on the whole helmet, with Sept markings matching the armour colour. So for Vior’la, for example, a Shas’ui has a white helmet with a red vane; a Shas’vre has a red helmet; a Shas’el has a red helmet with white sensor vanes, and a Shas’o has a red helmet with white Sept markings.

For battlesuits, the breadth of markings seems to be quite random. There will be the usual markings that show the suit belongs to a specific Hunter Cadre (the term used for a Tau battle group), and then different suits can have honour markings, or heraldry, etc. It all seems to end up pretty haphazard as to which panels get the Sept colour, though, and some suits get additional colours to help break up the large panels – for instance, Vior’la have white and pale grey on the armour, presumably to help with the camouflage.

I’ve talked a lot about Sept markings so far, but what are these markings? Well, it’s basically a set of lines and pips, the arrangement of which is specific to the squad/cadre that a unit belongs to.  Hunter Cadres are the force organisation of Tau armies, organised into one grand Hunter Contingent under the Shas’o. The force will include Fire Teams, Broadside Support, Pathfinders and others. Stuff like this is always an interesting way to think about how to go about collecting a force, though obviously there’s more than one way to build your army! In the following illustration, you can see the Sept markings that are used for each of these squads, as well:


Ultimately, of course, you can build and paint your army however you like. Your choice of units and colour scheme is only really dictated by you. However, GW have gone to great pains to establish a lore behind these things, and this is something that does in particular interest me, so I do like to keep to that wherever possible. There’s definitely more to be said on this topic, but that’s something for another blog! Hopefully, if you too are a lore nerd, then this post will have been of some help in getting the Tau painted “properly”.

Painting Updates!

Hey everybody,
I feel like 2022 has started out in a really positive way for me and the hobby! I’ve been painting every evening, which always makes me feel better about things as I can see my progress with stuff.

To start with, I’ve been having a lot of fun painting up the unit of Tau Pathfinders. Initially, there were some hurdles to overcome as I was trying to devise my paint scheme for them, working from the old Citadel pdf guide, and even once that was sorted, I was somehow finding it easier to paint models one at a time. Urgh! However, since the weekend I’ve gone for more of a traditional batch paint style, and have gotten them to a decent point so far.

The cloth is drybrushed with Mechanicus Standard Grey and then Dawnstone, only lightly. I’m toying with the idea of then shading with Nuln Oil, but for now have left it as it is. The armour is then painted with Russ Grey – the original mini I painted up then had an all-over layer of Fenrisian Grey, but I’m thinking I may go for an edge highlight of that instead. I’m also going to try and line shade them with Drakenhof Nightshade. The skin is a light drybrush of Mournfang Brown and Squig Orange – a departure from the normal Tau skin tone, which would otherwise have been too close to the armour colour.

For the weapons, I’ve gone for a layer of Dawnstone and then Administratum Grey, then a shade of Drakenhof Nightshade, aiming for a slightly patchy look to simulate camo. This is largely the scheme – there are some metallic areas that I will paint accordingly, and some of the special kit is painted with Sotek Green and highlighted with Temple Guard Blue, but in the main the basic scheme is quite straightforward. The scheme is also replicated across the drones, and I was initially a bit concerned that they might look a little flat, having no highlights, but really that’s kinda the point – I want a sort of plasticky look to them, if you know what I mean?

I’ve bought a Start Collecting set for the army as well, as I thought it would be good to get the Crisis Suits and Fire Warriors for such a good price, as well as a bonus Ethereal. They have recently announced the Combat Patrol box, which switches up Crisis Suits for a Ghostkeel and Stealth Suit team, and includes a Cadre Fireblade as well as Ethereal and Fire Warriors. So that’s very impressive, though the price will be adjusted as well, no doubt! However, I paid £54 for the SC box, and CP boxes are £65.50 at my local shop, so it’s not much of a hike – and I have been thinking about a Ghostkeel recently, more for the model than any kind of desire for a stealth aspect to the force! I really think the Stealth team looks goofy, so I don’t know if I’d want those guys as well. But anyway!

I’ve also been painting some more terrain, which is just wonderful! Back in 2020 I painted up a Ferratonic Incinerator but didn’t make any notes on the scheme, more fool me. Interestingly, though, it is fairly close to my Tau – the actual vats are drybrushed with Russ Grey and Fenrisian Grey, and then Administratum Grey, in a crosswise pattern to try to simulate paint. The walkways are Macragge Blue, which has been heavily drybrushed on, then further drybrushes of Fenrisian Grey and Screaming Skull have been added to lighten it up a little. The support struts are just drybrushed with Administratum Grey. I’m then picking out pipes and associated bits and pieces with metallics, trying not to go too overboard.

I’m painting up a Galvanic Magnavent this time around – it’s one of two that I have built, though neither of them is built according to the instructions! I think I’ve always been a bit like that – as a child with Lego, I would always enjoy more the alternative builds from the back of the box, you know? So I have the current build, and I have this one, which was the first one I had built.

I love this scenery, and I really want to do something fancy with it all. I mean, certainly do something fancy to link up some of the kits that I have! In addition to the big pieces, I’ve got the Haemotrope Reactors and Alchomite Stack stuff that would possibly look fantastic with something to link it all together. I’m not sure what, though, and I’m not sure how, but I think it would be marvellous! I guess we’ll just have to see.

Tau!

Back in 2018, I started a Tau army. It was glorious – but it was really short-lived, now I look back. I don’t know how much I spent on it, but it must have been a lot – I had a bunch of stuff for it, pretty much all built. I had two Riptides, after all! I had fliers, I had troops, I had loads and loads of stuff. But it outgrew me, and I definitely did not keep pace with the painting-to-building ratio, so was playing with a predominantly grey plastic force. I think I painted five units, tops. Looking back, though, I think it was perhaps the colour scheme that hampered me, as I never really sat down and thought it through, only thinking about the very broad strokes (green armour! blue markings!)

I think the Tau project was the first time I really had that sense of being overwhelmed with my hobby. I had thousands of points of 8th edition miniatures, and I found myself forever buying stuff to add to it. I did this with Dark Eldar, but it never felt overwhelming somehow. I’ve felt a bit overwhelmed with Genestealer Cults, but have done something about them. But I decided to sell the Tau army and cut my losses with just those five painted units.

The other factor that was at play last time, and one that I haven’t really thought about before, is that I just wasn’t into them last time. I bought the army because some of the previews on the Community page for their codex sounded exciting, and I was impatiently waiting for the books for Dark Eldar and Necrons (at least, I think I was still waiting for Necrons). The Tau book came out in the early spring, so I jumped with both feet, simply because they had a book and were an army with a vaguely similar playstyle to my other forces at the time: gunline.

So I bought an army, then sold it pretty much 6 months later, if not sooner, and hadn’t really given much thought to it until recently, when I started to read the Dark Coil stuff by Peter Fehevari. A few of those stories involve the Tau, and the way he really delves into the characters and provides much more nuanced looks at personalities, far more beyond the usual “space communist” meme that most people probably know.

It was reading The Greater Evil that really got me, though, and I’ve pretty much been hooked on the idea of the Tau since I finished that story. Not gonna lie, I think I might well re-read it soon, as I was so impressed with the way it unfolds, but that’s for another day. I have decided to start the army over, but I’m going to take it slow this time. I had the Kill Team Chalnath box for my birthday last month, which comes with Pathfinders with the new upgrade sprue, so have been busily working on them since New Year.

I’m painting these up as Sa’cea Sept, following the guide from the old How to Paint Tau Empire pdf from back in the day – the sort of icy blue-grey with orange sept markings. The whole sept markings/colour scheme for Tau is a fairly complicated business, I seem to recall, so I’m sure I’ll have a blog on that soon, with the fruits of my labours on researching that!

I also have asked the local games store if they can still get the Start Collecting box, as that has got a really nice core force (in my opinion!) It used to be one of the best value SC boxes around, as the Crisis Suits were priced so expensive the Fire Warriors and Ethereal were basically a fiver, or something. I’m sure there’ll be a Combat Patrol box coming out as well, but I thought I’d try and grab a Start Collecting if possible, as it would be a cheaper start for me! However, I’m determined that I won’t be going too crazy with this army. As I said in my Hobby Goals 2022 blog the other day, I’m planning to paint up just one unit per month, but taking this idea further, I’m only going to buy stuff as and when I need/want it. Start Collecting box aside, then, I’ve got the Pathfinders and that’s all for this army. If I can get the SC box, then it’ll keep me going until Easter or thereabouts, when I will then look at adding something else (possibly more Fire Warriors!) I think, if I can get to the middle of the month and have finished the current project, I might then start another – I sincerely hope that I could find myself in the sort of position where I can make some fast progress once the colour scheme is nailed down etc!

But for now, I’m keeping it slow and steady!

Of course, I do have something to aim for in mind – I definitely want a Commander, and a Riptide, and a good amount of Fire Warriors. I’m thinking I’ll get another Pathfinders box as well, and make more use of the upgrade sprue etc. Fireblades are always useful too, and some Crisis Suits would probably round things out nicely! Taking it bare-bones, it seems that would come in somewhere around the 1100 points mark, which is quite interesting as I’ve been playing a lot of 1000-point games lately. Definitely something to aim for there!

Basically, I’m not going to buy all of this and end up with it just looming over me before bailing out and selling the army again:

But I would like a Stormsurge at some point!

I think I’m going to keep the monthly retrospective blogs going for 2022 as well, so come back soon and see how I’ve gotten on with these guys!

December Retrospective

Hey everybody,
It has soon come round, hasn’t it? December has come and gone, and it’s once more time to take a look back at the month and see how much stuff I was able to get through!

It’s been a pretty good month, all told – I suppose the fact that there is usually a fair bit of time off work does help to get things done! I have been quite productive in several respects, though there will be a full-blown hobby retrospective coming later on today, so stay tuned for that!

After getting all of the Genestealer Cultists painted up that I had planned for my first foray, I kept going and got another squad of 10 Neophytes, a Kelermorph and a Locus done, as well as the two familiars! Considering I had first planned this as a 500-point list to get me started back in September, my current fully-painted Cult stands at a little over 1200 points now, so that is very impressive work, I think! Sure, they aren’t going to win any awards for best-painted army, but at least they’re all done, and I have most definitely broken the back of this job now! It seems weird to be talking about a hobby like a job, but having so many Genestealer Cults models built but not painted was turning into something of a nightmare for me, and I suppose a small part of me was wondering if I might end up selling them all off, as I did with the Tau army back in the day.

I’ve not been painting much of my Grey Knights, but I have been playing a lot of games with them! I think I’ve had four games with the Knights of Titan now this month, and it has been really nice to dig into the army and see how it all ticks. True, the first game did end up as almost a complete waste when I basically deployed wrong and felt like I was getting nowhere for the first round and a half! I’ve played a few smaller-scale games though, and it has helped me to somewhat get a better grip with what’s going on. Having an army that acts in every phase does mean there’s a lot going on, and of course my turns are that much longer because of it. At least the psychic phase has been simplified a little in that units now have a set power that they know, and you don’t have to fully kit out the whole army with different powers, and then trying to sequence everything right.

The last game was actually played last night, and in a shocking twist, I won! I think the bulk of the game, for me, was played in the Psychic Phase, with a combination of Smite and some of the offensive witchfire powers such as Vortex of Doom and Purifying Flame really doing work for me. It has been consistently disappointing for me to see how few shots I manage to get through with storm bolters – each squad is making 20 shots when within rapid fire range, but only actually getting 1 wound, maybe 3 wounds if I’m lucky. In fairness, we both rolled really badly last night, and it is always the luck of the draw how these things go. Having been underwhelmed by the Purgation squad in my last game, I went for three Strike squads, a Purifier squad, and was hoping for great things from my Paladin squad – but in the event, the Paladins being dropped in at the end of turn two did very little, so while Teleport Strike might seem like a good idea, I’m really going off the idea of using it as a strategy for now.

I won on points, anyway, managing to Slay the Warlord and score Engage on All Fronts twice (the second time thanks to a very lucky consolidation move from the Chaplain). I really should try and make more of an effort to paint these miniatures, seeing as how I’m playing more games with them, but I’ve found myself more into painting the xenos for the moment, rather than anything else!

This week, I have built up the Tau Pathfinders from the latest Kill Team box, and I’ve been thinking a lot about the army that I used to have. I’m not planning to go all-out with them again, as I found that I burnt out too quickly when I basically bought the whole army in one go, but I have been tempted to get more than just the Pathfinders… time will tell, I guess! But don’t be surprised if I’m suddenly talking about these guys once again on the blog!

My renewed interest in the Tau has in part been down to the miniatures, but also from reading the Dark Coil short stories of Peter Fehevari. A lot of these stories are set around the Damocles Gulf, and feature the Tau in some form or another. I’ve talked about the first three stories that I’ve read here, and I have another blog due out early next month about a few more, which is very exciting as it features one of my favourite stories that I’ve read to date! Stay tuned for that one!

I’ve recently started to read the latest Thrawn trilogy from Tim Zahn though, his Ascendancy trilogy. I’m about 100 pages into book one, Chaos Rising, and I have to say that I’m enjoying it rather a great deal! I can’t say that I was expecting it to be worse or anything, but there is a large part of me that thinks I’d rather he leave Thrawn alone and write about someone or something else, because the character had so much allure when there was mystery surrounding him! Now, we’ve got almost his entire life chronicled, and I’m not entirely sure we needed it! But the novel has been really good, and I’m looking forward to seeing where the story takes me! I had the third book for Christmas, too, which was handy!

I’ve also been watching more Marvel movies with my wife, as we make our way through Phase Three for the umpteenth time. We did watch Black Widow earlier in the month, out of sequence a bit, and that was pretty good – though I suppose it’s all very much of a muchness with these films at this point! I’d not seen any of the standalone Spider-Man films since he joined the MCU, but we watched Homecoming earlier this week, and I was surprised by how much I did enjoy it! Not being a Spider-Man fan in general, I can’t say that it’s convinced me or anything, but it was definitely a lot more fun than I had been expecting.

The most recent Spidey film seems to be doing alright for itself, too, which is surprising to see in these strange times, but hopefully it means that we are on the way back to normality, or something approaching it!

I think that’s pretty much it for this month, though!

It has been a pretty good year, all told. I mean, I have had a pretty good run with my hobby, and I’ve had some good games, not just Warhammer-related, but also the card games. True, I still haven’t gotten very far with the Innsmouth Conspiracy campaign for Arkham Horror, but there’s time! I feel like January can be a long and drawn out month, so hopefully I’ll be able to get more done there to make the month more palatable! I’m hoping to play a bit more of that game, having spent some time recently sleeving up the Edge of the Earth campaign ready to tackle it soon!

So let’s hope for an exciting January! Have a very happy new year, and I’ll see you all on the other side!

Psychic Awakening: The Greater Good

Hey everybody,
So it’s been a while since the fourth book in the Psychic Awakening series was released, but I’m only now trying to catch up with these things, so hopefully there will be something of a flurry of blog posts in the next few weeks as I make every effort to see what’s been going on over the last few months! As it happens, the global lockdown has meant this catch-up is a lot easier, as the releases coming out of Nottingham have stopped – otherwise, I’m sure it would be months before I could have properly caught up with things!

Psychic Awakening The Greater Good

The Greater Good focuses on three factions – the T’au, the Astra Militarum, and the Genestealer Cults. Let’s first of all take a look at the crunch in this book, which is a little bit disappointing if I’m being perfectly honest…

The T’au get the lion’s share here. While previous books in the series came with a single model release, The Greater Good technically had quite a few. We saw a Start Collecting box for the Genestealers, as well as the new Kelermorph model that was previously only available via a Kill Team set, and we had Shadowsun released in a new plastic sculpt. I’ve moved away from the T’au Empire, having sold all of my models off last year, but I still think this new model looks amazing, and would have for sure picked her up if I had been collecting those models still.

The new T’au rules therefore have an entire page devoted to the new Shadowsun’s datasheet – she is clearly a busy girl these days! They also have the standard name generator, and new Sept Tenets that you can use in place of those provided in the Codex. There are also new relics and stratagems rounding out the mix, which follow the now-established routine for these books by providing more model-specific stratagems – for instance, there are quite a few Kroot-specific stratagems, as well as one for the Firesight Marksman, etc. Interestingly, we then get the supplement for The Eight, Commander Farsight and his buddies that was originally printed back in Chapter Approved 2018. I guess they wanted this supplement to remain viable, much like that for the Ynnari that had appeared previously in a White Dwarf. I don’t recall if the CA2018 supplement had full rules for the Enclaves, including warlord traits and stratagems, but we get the full mini-dex treatment here, which is nice!

Astra Militarum are next up, and while they don’t have as many pages devoted to them, they still get the usual name generator, new stratagems, new Regimental Doctrines, and a couple of pages of Tank Aces which are a little like warlord traits but for tanks – you can choose one of them instead of a warlord trait, and there is a stratagem that can give you access to them if you choose to keep the warlord trait (or want a second Ace in the army!)

There is then something that I didn’t see coming – a mini-dex for the Militarum Tempestus! Back in 6th edition, these guys had their own book, but obviously they have since been enveloped into the wider Astra Militarum, with the result that the rules can sometimes be a bit clunky. Well, they’re still a bit clunky now, but at least we get more rules for this small sub-set of the army, which I think it really pretty cool! There are six different Militarum Tempestus Regimental Doctrines that you can choose, instead of the Storm Troopers doctrine from the main book, as well as relics and warlord traits, and two pages of Tempestus-specific stratagems! It’s a really nice addition, and I’m really pleased to see them doing this!

Finally, though, we come to the Genestealer Cults, who have the least new stuff. Sure, we get the expanded rules for Cult Creeds, allowing for us to pick our own rather than stick with those from the Codex, and we get more Stratagems and Creed-specific psychic powers (not forgetting, of course, the name generator!) But there are almost two pages devoted to errata for the Cult Ambush and Brood Brothers rules, and that’s that. I suppose it’s kinda nice to have this in a book, and not have to also carry around a printed FAQ, but even so. It definitely feels like Genestealer Cults get the short end of the stick on this one. But I suppose the Codex is fairly new in comparison to the other factions in the book, so they have the least to be added… maybe…

The lore is an interesting update to that presented in the T’au Codex, as we learn more about the ill-fated Fourth Sphere expansion. There are some interesting details about battles with the Death Guard, and we get some info on a Cult uprising led by the Pauper Princes. The atmosphere of some of these stories is quite claustrophobic, which is echoed in the mission included in the book, which includes Theatres of War rules, aptly named “Cavern Warfare”.

All in all, it’s a nice book, and I do enjoy seeing the various updates that they’re providing for the various factions throughout this series. I guess, being a Cult collector, I’d have liked to have seen more for them!

However, I thought I’d take the opportunity in today’s blog to talk more about the project I mentioned briefly in my last blog – the resurrection of my Tempestus Scions army! This is a project that goes back years, and I had started to make some progress with it at the start of 8th edition, where I planned an army split roughly 50/50 with Scions and Skitarii. Well, things have moved on a little now, and I’m thinking of something a little different.

This list has a core of Tempestus Scions, but adds on a bit of the more weird and wonderful aspects of the Imperium, without (I think) breaking the battle-forged rules. I’ve decided to use the plastic Commissar as just the regular elite choice, and have the finecast Lord Commissar for the HQ choice. Doing so, along with the Bullgryns and Command Squad, I’ve got a separate Vanguard detachment for the additional command points. I do plan to build out the Scion squads to 10-man squads each, which may involve reducing them from 4 to 3 squads in total. Not decided yet. I also need to buy the parts for the second Tempestor Prime, though that might be dropped anyway.

My plans for the list had always been to see wave after wave of orders being transmitted across the table, though I’m not 100% sure it will work as I see it in my mind! I guess time will tell on that one!

As well as using the psyker model from Blackstone Fortress, the list will allow me to resurrect another long-dormant project in the shape of these girls – looking forward to getting them painted up at last!

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!