Friday, January 3, 2014

WIP: 2,000 pt Tau Army - December recap

December was INSANELY productive for my mega-painters project! (two weeks of vacation will do that!) Tons of pics and the longest post I've ever written, after the break.

November saw the completion of my Piranhas (fancy pics HERE) and my pathfinders were wrapped up over the thanksgiving holiday, due to the help of a fellow Advanced Tau Tactica forum reader, who sent me the 3 bare heads I needed to complete the squad. (pics HERE)

With all my infantry units complete, December noted a shift in production to heavy firepower! It was time to give the force some punch.

I began work on the Riptide in early December. As noted in my WIP, I was intimidated by the contents when I opened the box. Fortunately, the kit went together easily, and the sub-assemblies allowed for quick painting.

I primed the parts and then applied a black preshade using the airbrush. If you are unfamiliar with preshading, there's a great tutorial HERE. By painting a dark line around all the detail and panel lines on larger models like tanks and battle suits, and then covering it with your base color, you get a subtle detailing that greatly enhances the model.

As you can see below, once the base color is applied, the preshading becomes very subtle, and adds a layer of sophistication to the model.

Once the pieces were painted and coated in satin varnish, I combined them into upper and lower assemblies, and applied oil wash to the details.

In order to get the most out of the kit, I magnetized the arms so that I could switch weapon load outs. I drilled holes into the forearm, placed rare earth magnets, and matched them to the interior brackets on the main weapons.

I also magnetized the weapon mounts on the shield arm, so I could place the secondary weapons there, as opposed to the suggested shoulder or underslung mounts on the main weapon.

I prepared the base with an airbrush primer, base coated the color to match my army, and then mapped out where I would add cork rocks and midland tufts of grass.

As the model's feet need to make plastic to plastic contact for the glue to set, it is important to map out and keep the contact area clear.

Once the glue was dry, I masked the rim, airbrushed the earth with vallejo beasty brown, and the rocks with burnt umber. I then dry brushed the colors with mixtures of bone white to bring out the highlights. Seriously, dry brushing rocks has got to be one of my favorite things about the hobby. Weird, I know.

I combined sub-assemblies, weathered the model to show battle damage, and then connected the model and the base. Boom. A Riptide is born!


Thanks to a healthy dose of vacation time, and ruthless, back-to-back, pre-holiday beatings from Dieter's Hammerhead with submunition rounds, I decided to add shield and marker light drones to keep my infantry from being obliterated. You can read the WIP HERE.


It wasn't enough to endure Dieter's beatings, I needed to be able to hit back! With the wife visiting family out of town, and vacation laid out before me, I managed to start and finish my Hammerhead in four days. (amazing what you can accomplish when you paint 8 hours a day, like it's your job.)

I assembled the model, leaving some parts off to allow for easier painting, and then primed it with vallejo grey polyurethane airbrush primer.

I then applied a black preshade along the details and panel lines.

Once the preshade was complete, I applied the base colors to the model. I used masking tape to cover the model when painting the different colored zones. I magnetized the model, so that it could use both hammerhead weapons (the oft overlooked ion cannon denies Space Marines a save of any kind!) and the skyray gunship.

After the base color was completed, I coated the model in satin varnish, and then applied an oil wash to the panel lines and details.

SO! I think it's safe to say that December was a productive month for me. Did you use the holiday to kick some hobbying ass? Catch up on overdue model backlog? Share in the comments below.



  1. Looks good man. You permanently attach the missiles on the sky ray turret?

  2. yeah, I didn't really see the upside to burst cannons. Same stat line, but with a reduced range.

  3. I think he meant the Seeker Missiles on the turret wings.

  4. oh, you're right. reading comprehension fail.

    Yes, I did glue them in. I looked at several online tutorials, and even saw a great one where they slid tiny carpentry nails into the slots, and put a single magnet in the top side of each missile - but I just didn't want to hassle with it. I've parted out so many models that I have tons of baggies of alternate parts.

  5. Yeah. I'm about ready to do the same to mine. I liked being able to remove them as I spent them, but they don't stay in very well and I dont feel like dealing with magnetizing them now that it's painted.