First up. Bigger guns.
I’d had my eye on the Tau for a while due to the cool look of the Firewarriors and Crisis suits, and in particular the Broadside Heavy Support version of the Crisis suit always stood out as one of those great pieces that’s just ridiculously well-armed. With its shoulder-mounted twin-linked rail guns and smart-missle system replacing its hands, this unit just screams “firepower”.
From a model-making perspective its been an interesting unit as well for me. Up until now, all my models have been modern, all-plastic models. Fairly easily put together with polystyrene cement. However this piece marks my first plastic/metal hybrid model, meaning I needed to break out the super glue.
While I realise that the metal models have a long history in Warhammer, I must admit I found building this up a lot less fun than the all-plastic models. Supergluing myself to the pieces aside (thankfully only happened the once), the casting of the metal components didn’t seem as reliable as the plastic variety. There was an awful lot of trimming and tidying up with a model knife and the snips needed to get the pieces ready to be assembled, and even then, one of the pieces was slightly skewed meaning it didn’t sit on correctly. I had to start cutting away some of the plastic parts I’d assembled in order to get it to sit on in a way that looked ok. Contrast this with the plastic models, where once off of their sprue they may need a little tidying up, however I’ve always found they’ll then fit where they’re supposed to. I know the plastic moulding is still a growing thing with the Warhammer miniatures, and the level of detail we’re now seeing in the plastic pieces is a recent affair, but from the perspective of someone new to the hobby I have to admit the all-plastic kits are going to remain a lot more appealing than all-metal or hybrid ones (although realistically that’s going to limit my army building).
However now its assembled its looking ok, and should look even better once painted. And I must admit, the extra weight the metal lends to the unit is satisfying in a way you don’t get with the plastic units.
The second thing I’ve started working on is a proper army list. Playing at the weekend I found myself scrabbling around with the reference sheets and the Tau Codex. So instead I’m trying to sit down and list what units I’ve got, any extra equipment or special rules they have, and what their points value is, with the idea being to give myself a one-stop handy reference, but also so I’ve got it better defined in my head what each unit has.
Its turned into an interesting exercise, making me sit down and focus on each unit in turn and get a better understanding for what they can or can’t do. While a lot of my focus on the hobby so far has been model-making and painting, this brings the focus very much back onto the gaming side of things and is giving me a much better appreciation of the units that up until now I was just concerned about looking good when I was assembling. Whereas before certain weapons or equipment might be chosen because they looked cool, now I’m getting an understanding as to their benefits in the game as well. Not that I’m playing down making the models look good, its just nice to know what each piece actually is as well. At the end of the day, I’m not playing with anyone who’s going to complain if the equipment in my army list is different to what’s actually on the model.
So its been quite an interesting week, from both a model-making and gaming perspective. There’s still a lot of work to be done on my Tau army list, and then I’ll need to go through my Space Marines as well. Thankfully the Black Reach guides will make the basic marine stuff a lot easier to go through as its already listed, but it should still give me a better appreciation for my miniatures.