Saturday, June 7, 2008

Tau: Vespid Stingwings

Here's some pics of the latest item to come out of the project queue.

I have a Tau army, some might even go as far to say a rather large Tau army on top of that. Although we don't play 40k, well, hardly ever, the models still rock. I've had my eyes on the Vespid auxiliaries for some time, but never got around to buying/painting them until now. A ten dollar coupon in the email from the local hobby shop, and I was good to go. I'd still like to add four more figs to make the unit full-strength, but these critters will do for now.

The Vespids are one of the newer additions to the Tau Empire, and as their wings suggest, are able to fly. In the overall army composition on the tabletop they occupy a fast attack choice on the force organization chart and count as jump infantry. Their neutron blasters comprise a densely focused crystal from their home world housed within a high-tech delivery system engineered by the Tau themselves. The Vespids have taken to their role wholeheartedly of being subjugated into the Greater Good, and they receive a bit more prestige and honor than the other well known alien auxiliaries the Tau employ; the Kroot.

Here is the entire squad; five Vespid Stingwings and the Strain leader in the center.

Rear view of their chitinous wing pods.

At home, sharing shelf real estate with the rest of the army.

I meant to take in-progress shots along the way, but got so engrossed in painting them I kinda forgot. Here they are before final touch-ups and hitting them with clear sealer.

A word about basing: My Tau army is all based with red model railroad ballast. Well, that was so long ago, I don't have it any more, so I had to just do black ballast and paint it red. I hated doing this, and it was incredibly tedious. Some people paint their basing all the time, but if you can avoid it, save yourself the headache and just use the ready-made stuff. I'd like to go back and add some yellow lichen to the bases of the overall army, but that'll wait...

Moments after priming. As with basing, my Tau army was also primed black then drybrushed (mostly). These Vespids would've painted up three times as fast with a white undercoat instead, but the style wouldn't quite fit with the overall feel of the army, so I had to kick it old school with the black undercoat. None of my other Tau are dipped either, so it was killing me to know that I wouldn't be dipping these guys either. Just ignore the Stealth suit guy up there...

Ha! A rare "action shot" of me doing the priming. My 'assistant' was 'helping' and she wanted to take this as I sprayed the group down.

Here they are in their silver-back glory. I must say, the models were kind of a pain to assemble, just because the flash was incredible. Plus, their clawed feet had to be carved out and trimmed down, unless you want your guys to look like they're wearing scuba fins. I love these models though, lots of detail and character, capturing a wildly alien look, yet they still tie in to the overall visual context of the Greater Good.

As mentioned, I will be adding four more figs to the unit, that's why you should always take notes along the way, so the newer additions down the road will match. I'm a bit inspired to do some more 40k now, especially with the new rulebook looming on the horizon. My next unit I've got planned is for some Human Auxiliaries. Not the best unit statwise, but visually and fluff-wise they're a must-have. Basically, as the Tau Empire expands, it takes other races in under their guidance and protection. It does have human allies as well, mostly those colonies abandoned by the Imperium as they lost contested galactic grounds.

There aren't any 'official' models for these allies, which is the appeal. The most popular (and expensive) route I've seen is to take half Firewarrior parts and half Catachan Imperial Guard parts and go from there. I've also considered using Necromunda or Tallarn Desert Raider figs. I think I've finally settled on a design that's unique and kinda embodies all of the above, yet will look suitably rag-tag. Basically it will mix plastics from a lot of sources: Tau, Fantasy Empire, Fantasy Chaos, Catachan IG, and Cadian IG. Next time I can scrounge up forty bucks, I'll put a call in to the War Store, and get to gluing!

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