Wednesday, September 18, 2013

WIP: 2,000pt Tau Army

(Not pictured is a second battleforce & a Skyray gunship)

Thanks to a friend, when the new Tau product launched in May, I was able to get a substantial discount, and I bought DAMN NEAR EVERYTHING. It was the first time I purchased an entire army at once, and even with the discount, I still cringed at the total on the receipt.

The idea that I could return them if they were still wrapped, and the intimidation factor of having an entire army that needed to be painted, kept them untouched in a box in my hobby room for most of the summer. But, inspired by the "mega painters" series on the Tale of Painters blog, I cracked the plastic wrap and started on the largest project I'd tackled since painting my forgeworld terrain tiles.

I resisted the temptation to start with the Riptide or new Broadsides, and opened one of the battleforces and Cadre Fireblade instead. I knew that if I worked via the Force Organization chart, I could field the units I painted as allies to my Space Marines, and it would keep me motivated.

Generally, I work in sub-assemblies. Painting the details on a completely assembled miniature can be difficult or impossible. You can see the squad of fire warriors below (as well as Fireblade in the lower left) being prepared for priming in parts.

Using a pin vice, I drill holes into the feet of most miniatures and mount them on cork bases. This allows me to turn the model in any direction while priming or painting without touching it. Small items, like grenades or shoulder pads, are stuck to a piece of tape, so the airbrush doesn't blow them away while I prime them.

When a part is connected to the sprue in a place where the model will later be assembled, I leave it in a sub assembly, and save myself the trouble of drilling and cork basing. These heads will be primed, painted, varnished and washed before they are assembled onto the finished bodies. Revell Contacta Professional plastic glue works right through the layers of paint and sealer.

Before painting the army, I trolled google image search for ideas, looking at dozens of Tau armies and single miniatures. I knew I wanted something different than the colors shown on the box, and it had to stand out from my other two armies. (a grey and blue Ultramarine's successor chapter, and a purple trimmed Hive Fleet Leviathan splinter) I eventually saw the image below, and used it as a jumping off point for my paint scheme.

It's important to do a test figure, including the base, to see if the colors work. A good base will offset your colors, and help your figure stand out. If either of these isn't working, this is a chance to change them before you apply the look to the entire army.

Happy with the results, I painted the rest of the fire team, and Cadre Fireblade.

In August, I completed a 12 man fire team, and Cadre Fireblade. My goal for September is to complete the other fire team, and all six stealth warriors from the battleforce boxes. Be sure to check back the first week of October to see how I did.

Do you have a massive project underway? Working on your first battleforce? Be sure to share in the comments below!

- trip


  1. Can you post more images? I really like your colour scheme and would like to see the rest of your army!

    1. You can find an army showcase series here: