Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tau Riptide - Finished!


It has been a very slow process (work, motivation etc!) but I finally got my Riptide to a point where I am happy to use it on the table. This was my first attempt at weathering a vehicle, or in fact, to use weathering at all, and overall I am quite happy with how it turned out.

I have decided to call it "Found it!" (or "Drone Recovery")
I imagine a Tau cadre caught up in a long, long campaign. Knowing that re-supply may not be coming, they have to recover as much damaged equipment as they can, even down to Gun Drones.
The Cadre commanders therefore orders recovery teams sent into the field. Knowing that his resources are low, these recovery teams are ordered to proceed with caution. They are backed up by heavy units (like the Riptide) but only to provide covering fire for retreat in cases where they are discovered.

Here are some photos, with more comment below:

Looking back, what was interesting to me about this model?

  1. Having a "scene"/ "story".
    • The Riptide base is large and this gives lots of options for doing interesting things. In this case, the "Drone Recovery" scene. I liked that I could use the Firewarrior with scanner model almost as though he is using it to find the drone.
  2. Trying weathering for the first time. 
    • Thanks to this great tutorial on YouTube I discovered the process is actually not difficult! (It was still a bit nerve-wracking though)
  3. Really heavy use of washes to indicate age, not just shadows.
    • The downed drone was really heavily washed so that it looks as though it might have been out there a long time. I think it works out well.
  4. Mixing textures (?).
    • Although difficult to see in the picture, I added Dwarf Bronze highlights on the stones so they look as though there are seams of some precious metal. I have never done that before, usually just going with "stone".
  5. Greenstuff.
    • I haven't used Greenstuff much before, but here I used it to blend in the gap between the base of the stones with the model base, because there was a big gap. Hopefully that gap isn't noticeable now.
  6. Used missile pods.
    • I chopped these off and drilled them out a bit so they look used.

As I often find, in the cold light of day (I took these photos last night) there are lots of things still to do though:
a.) The missile pod tubes aren't bored out to the same size. I don't have a proper drill. They should all be the same diameter.
b.) The Snakebite Leather on the base edge could use another layer (it feels very thin now).
c.)...and other things I am sure I will notice!

I'll add the Riptide to my Tau Army page.

All C&C welcome!


Sunday, June 16, 2013

How to Paint Tau Fire Warriors


Before the Skaven came into my life, my re-entry point into the hobby was the world of WH40K, and in particular, taking up the good fight "For the Greater Good". I put together quite a large Tau army (which you can see here
However, the Chattering Horde blog was started to accompany me on my painting journey with Skaven, and as the Tau were before that there have been no Tau guides here.

With work progressing on my Tau Riptide, I had the chance to work on two Fire Warriors that I will be using on the base. As these guys used my original army colours, but with the addition of some of the simple painting processes I learned later while working on the Skaven, I thought this would be a good chance to put up a painting guide.

A couple of things to note:
1.) I sometimes still use the original (older) paints from GW. If you need it, there is a conversion chart here and I have tried to put the names of the new paints below as well (but note, the colours don't match exactly!)
2.) This is a rough guide, suitable for getting stuff on the gaming table. No claims to greatness or expertise here. Also, it is always a good idea to paint a test model to see how it looks before ploughing ahead with a whole army.

So here we go!

Paints used (Old/ New):

  • Skull White (White Scar or Ceramite White)
  • Chaos Black (Abaddon Black)
  • Bleached Bone (Ushabti Bone)
  • Dark Angels Green (Caliban Green)
  • Snot Green (Warpstone Glow)
  • Dwarf Bronze (Hashut Copper)
  • Shining Gold (Gehenna's Gold)
  • Codex Grey (Dawnstone)
  • Fortress Grey (Administratum Grey)
  • Red Gore (Wazdakka Red)
  • Blood Red (Evil Sunz Red)
  • Regal Blue (Kantor Blue)
  • Mordian Blue (Macragge Blue)


  • Badab Black (Nuln Oil)
  • Devlan Mud (Agrax Earthshade)

Step 1: Preparation.

Assemble models.
Use a craft knife or file away flash/ mould lines (carefully!)  Please make sure you pay attention to this on flat surfaces, such as helmets and shoulder pads, as mould lines really show up later when painted if you don't get rid of them, especially when using white paint.


Step 2: First basing. (note: the photo above shows unbased models, but I usually base everything as described below)

Sand down any flash or raised areas around the edge of the base. 
Apply PVA glue to the top of the base, being careful not to get this on the boots of the model. (For variety, consider sprinkling a couple of pieces of crushed coral onto the PVA before the sand.)
Immediately dip the base into modelling sand.

TIP: Rub away any sand or glue that has dripped over onto the sides of the base now if you prefer a nice (clean-looking) base later.

Optional: Finish off the bases now (see Step 7, final basing).


Step 3: Undercoat.

Spray paint the model(s) using the undercoat of your choice. 

I use Citadel Skull White for my Tau. One of my army colours is white, so this reduces the number of white layers I need to add later. Many people prefer a Chaos Black undercoat. The overall effect will be darker but any bits in recesses you forget to paint or are difficult to get at just look like shadows (which is great). Unless white is an important colour in your army, you may prefer Black because it is more forgiving.


Step 4: Basecoats.

This is where you add the basic colours to your model. After you finish this, you will be a big step closer to a finished model, but the colours will be very "flat" (which is why you will then add washes in step 5, below)
  • Skull White (White Scar or Ceramite White): Armour plates, helmet, rifle panels (see image above)
  • Chaos Black (Abaddon Black): Boots
  • Dark Angels Green (Caliban Green): Lenses on helmet (and lenses on Rifle if you prefer green lenses to red lenses)
  • Dwarf Bronze (Hashut Copper): Pulse rifle lens detail (the round bit at the end!)
  • Codex Grey (Dawnstone): Trousers, sleeves, neck on the helmet, rifle panels (see image above)
  • Red Gore (Wazdakka Red): Pulse Rifle targetting lens
  • Regal Blue (Kantor Blue): Half of helmet, lower and upper part of should pad. Center panel on armour.


Step 5: Washes.

 In this step, you are going to add shadows by adding a wash. You can either paint this into specific areas, or (as in this case) add a wash all over by applying liberally across the model.
  • Badab Black (Nuln Oil)
  • Devlan Mud (Agrax Earthshade)
To give a dirty, grubby effect, use Devlan Mud. On weapons, or metallics, Badab Black is very effective. In this case, I think I mixed 50/50 and applied to the whole model.
 Tip: To save time later, consider not applying washed to the helmet. If you do and you are using white, you will have to reapply several layers of white later (as I did for the model above)


Step 6: Highlights

Highlights provide further differentiation to the raised parts of the model from the shadowed areas you created by adding shadows. (Drybrushing is another way to do this.)
  • Skull White (White Scar or Ceramite White): reapply to edges of armour.
  • Bleached Bone (Ushabti Bone): reapply to edges of pulse rifle white panels.
  • Dark Angels Green (Caliban Green)/Snot Green (Warpstone Glow): apply 50/50 mix to the edge of the lenses on helmet and/ or rifle as appropriate.
  • Dwarf Bronze (Hashut Copper)/ Shining Gold (Gehenna's Gold): apply 50/50 mix to the upper edges of the pulse rifle part (the round bit at the end)
  • Codex Grey (Dawnstone): reapply to raised folds of the trousers and sleeves, as well as to the upper edges of the boots.
  • Codex Grey (Dawnstone)/ Fortress Grey (Administratum Grey): apply 50/50 mix to the very top of the raised folds of trousers and sleeves.
  • Red Gore (Wazdakka Red)/Blood Red (Evil Sunz Red): add 50/50 mix to lower corners of targetting lens on the Pulse Rifle. 
  • Blood Red (Evil Sunz Red): add to lower corner of targetting lens.
  • Mordian Blue (Macragge Blue): Edges of shoulder pads.
TIP: The Firewarrior model has a couple of lenses (the Pulse Rifle targetting reticle and the lenses on the helmet). I found this tutorial about lenses on the absolutely excellent Advanced Tau Tactica site to be very useful (not to mention all their articles and tactica!)


Step 7: Final Basing

Note: Although the models in the picture above are not based, the process described is what I usually do.

Calthan Brown: Overbrush across the base, being careful to avoid the boots/ legs of the model.
Snakebite Leather: Drybrush across the base. Paint the base edges. I usually find 2 coats gives a nice smooth finish.
Codex Grey: Drybrush lightly across the base, paint any crushed coral.
Fortress Grey: Drybrush any crushed coral rocks to add a natural highlight. Paint on PVA glue, and then sprinkle static grass onto the base.
...and that is it! 

I hope one day to have time to go back to my Tau army and use washes and stuff, but when I do, this is how I will do it.





Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dirty Tau... (or "Tau Riptide WIP Update #4)

*Squeek* which I think I meant to say "my first Tau painted with washes and a bit of weathering!"

"We found it!"

"Which way now?"
"Scanning, scanning..."

I thought I would put these up as they are part of my (slow) work on my Tau Riptide model. One of the things that is different about these increasingly large models is the massive bases that the Riptide (and other new releases) come with. This is both a challenge, and a pleasure;

A challenge: because I think you need to do something with them. The usual "dipped in sand and drybrushed" approach leaves them looking very sparse. Not that there is anything wrong with that method - I have used it for literally hundreds of Skaven and Tau! - but there is a real danger the base feels...empty.

A pleasure: all that space! :-) A good opportunity to try something different. Important to say that "Different" doesn't have to mean "Difficult"! A good rummage around the bits box will probably do the trick.

Anyway, I wanted to make a little scene where something was "going on", rather than just focus on the Riptide. The idea that I settled on was a small recon party cautiously advancing back over ground lost previously, as indicated by a downed drone. Titles that came to mind were "We found it!", or "Drone recovery" etc. These 3 models are going to be part of that scene.

When I painted my Tau, I didn't use washes of any kind (hey, I was a beginner!) so they all have a "Fresh from the factory" vibe. Since then, I have daubed Skaven in all kinds of washes, and I wanted to try that out with these guys before having a go at weathering the Riptide (haven't done that yet.)

How do you think the Tau (and the drone) turned out?



Sunday, June 9, 2013

Tau Riptide WIP Update #3


Slooooowly, slowly coming along! 

Yesterday evening I decided to move on to the weapons and other attachments for the riptide, including the main Ion weapon, missile drones, and missile pods.

Most of the work was getting basecoats on the Ion accelerator, but I also managed to get a few colours on the drones, and some layers of Ceramite White on everything (as well as on Longshot).

I used some Blu-Tac to hold the arms and weapons in place for the photos. I still can't decide exactly what position I want them in! I guess once I have the base finished and done then gluing the arms will be the last thing I do so that I can see how it all works with the Firewarriors that I am planning to add to the base.



Saturday, June 8, 2013

Tau Riptide WIP Update #2


The Riptide is slowly coming along! 

With work and various other things this week I haven't really had time to work on it in the evenings, and this weekend is looking pretty unlikely too... 
...however I did manage to get the main basecoats down on the body.

Here are some shots, with one of my Firewarriors to give you a sense of scale:

One thing I am fairly relieved about is that I decided to take a colour and application scheme similar to my Fire Warriors/ Hammerhead tanks, rather than my Crisis Suits (you can see both on my Tau page here). Having said that, white being the majority colour could be a bit of a problem!

Right now it is really "fresh", and it will need some weathering to avoid the "from the factory" look. My Tau army was the first that I painted, and I didn't use washes etc. at the time, nor was I bold enough to try weathering, so this will be my first attempt! Thanks to a good lead from a G+ wargamer though, I think this excellent video will help!

Before I get to that stage though, I still have to work on all the weapons and wargear and the base etc. Still lots to do!



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