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 one of only two miniatures 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. The other kit is the Stealth Suits, which you can just about make out on top of this chap:

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.

Time for Chaos!

Hey everybody!
I thought I’d do something new one my blog today, and share a bit of a review of a Warhammer kit I’ve been working with recently, largely because it was so damn impressive. Whether it becomes more of a feature will remain to be seen, but anyway! Let’s take a look at the Chaos Space Marines kit!

I picked up the Horus Heresy boxset back when it was released, and after some vacillation, I’ve decided to paint them up as Alpha Legion, so after some thought, I picked up a box of these chaps to try out the colour scheme that I’d settled on.

I’d been searching for a scheme that would be noticeably different to the Ultramarines that I have been planning for a few weeks now. After a series of blues, there was one that had the right kind of turquoise-y look that I wanted, so set to work assembling them.

And my goodness, this kit is amazing! The equivalent of the Space Marine Tactical Squad, there are enough parts to make ten Chaos Marines, armed with a whole panoply of weapons that I actually find more exciting than the regular tacticals. The forces have Chaos have long interested me, but all the spiky bits have kinda put me off any of the models before now. Of course, there is a proliferation of such bits in this kit, but it really helps you get into the theme of the army you’re building.

Speaking of army themes, the overriding theme here is Chaos Undivided, but there are some specialty bits to make unit champions that show their allegiance to each of the four Chaos gods, both heads, shoulder pads and banners. I’m doing Alpha Legion, who turned traitor to prevent the onset of Chaos (well, kinda…) so didn’t have need of these extra bits, but they look really great. The Tzeentch banner was a bit confusing to work out, which I suppose makes perfect sense, and the Nurgle bits are suitably disgusting. All in all, nice work.

With chainswords and chaos bolters a plenty, there’s still time for some more specialty weapons, including a power sword, power fist, and heavy bolter. All in all, the package is tremendous, and as with a lot of multi-option kits from Games Workshop, the multiple poses you can achieve here really excite me. While perhaps not as amazing as the Lychguard kit, I still love the multitude of looks you can achieve with a unit.

In terms of practicalities, there aren’t that many mouldlines to remove, even though this kit is getting on a bit now. The worst ones, for me, are on the bolters, but that’s kind-of to be expected. The most surprising thing, for me, was the instruction booklet. Unlike most modern multi-part kits, the sprues aren’t numbered, and the instructions almost assume you know exactly what you’re doing, and provide just general pointers. Granted, if you’ve built any multi-part plastic kit before, you’ll likely be fine. If you’ve built any space marine kits, or any of the new Stormcast Eternal kits, you’ll also be fine. Unlike those kits, the parts are ordered on the sprues so that paired arms appear together, for the most part. But there are some odd moments, particularly the right arm of the heavy bolter guy, that are very weird to sort out, and the poor quality of the instruction picture was no help whatsoever.

I’ve only built five of these so far – they are, after all, only test models, as I don’t want to make a hash of the board game and feel like I need to buy a second one. But the fact that I’ve actually built five of these bad boys really goes to show how much fun I had with these guys. The other five won’t be too far behind no doubt, as they are really amazing-looking models. The flair that comes from all the extra bits and pieces, topknots and horns, just make it so much more interesting than the regular marines…