I’ve literally never played a game against a Tau army. They came into the game kind of as I was getting out of it (they came out in 2001, right about the time I joined the Marines), and none of my friends has ever gotten a Tau army. I wasn’t even really a big fan of the aesthetic when I was younger either.
Why am I making Tau now? Good question. Maybe just to see if I can? To have some more skeevy xenos filth to murderize with my Spess Mahreens and IGuard?
I was pretty excited about the Tau at first. The original kit is a little disappointing, but at this point it’s about 15 years old. It’s fairly well detailed, but the options are pretty limited. Even moreso than the Orks. The arms are attached to the weapons in a way that makes separating them pretty hard, but also repositioning the joints difficult. If you have read my Converting Space Marines article, you know that a lot of what goes into making a good converted model is being able to approximate and imply a realistic range of motion and action. With the Tau Fire Warrior models, the arms typically have both the wrist and elbow attached to the weapon, which pretty much puts the kibosh on re-posing the arm without significant alteration. To achieve a firing pose like this on a Space Marine, you have to make two cuts minimum, below the shoulder and at the wrist, so you can both rotate the arm, but then correct the rotation of the wrist so the weapon remains upright.
This isn’t possible with the Tau figures without serious modification. Pretty much on the level of sculpting a new arm from scratch. The support (left) hands don’t fit very either, which means I ended up cutting the left hand free and rotating it to better grip the weapon. I’m not sure if this is a common problem with the original Tau Fire Warriors kit, but I’ve seen a fair number of Tau models on the net with awkward hand posing so I’m guessing it is.
Anyway, gripes aside, one thing I did with the Tau was shorten their Pulse Rifles. I always thought they looked a little silly carrying rifles as tall as they were. So I clipped them down and I think it provides a more lethal, serious look to them.
Simply cut along the red lines, then flip the end over, and re-attach. Takes patience, but overall is pretty easy. And I think the end result is a much better look for the model as a whole.
Unfortunately, aside from that, I’ve felt pretty limited in how the original kit can be posed. Gonna search for some useful Tau bits. Most hands, arms and accessories. I’ve also got one of the new kits that I got from the Kill Team boxed set, so I’ll be playing with those fairly soon and I’ll probably update this page.
How do they measure up with a True Scale Space Marine?
I’ll be doing Kroot, Pathfinders and some more Crisis Suits soon. Maybe a Hammerhead. I have a couple of them lying around in my collection. Again, since I won’t be playing any competitive 40K with them, I’m not worried too much about what’s best points-wise. More on what will make fun games with my friends, and none of us will be using death stars or special characters and the like.
Let me know what you think. Or, if you’re an experienced Earth Caste conversion pro, let me know what tips you have.
Related Posts: Tau Pathfinder Rail Rifle Sniper Team