5th Edition Tactics: Do You Really Need Troops?

January 23, 2009 · 1 comments

January 24, 2009

After reading this post about 5th edition tactics regarding troops and why you don't need them. Instead of attempting to cling to objectives his tactics focus on annihilating the enemy with powerful units.

When you consider that Tau troop choices are relatively costly and fragile, fielding large numbers of them is obviously a bad idea. Sure, you can claim objectives, but your points would be better spent on more effective units such as Stealth Suits or Battlesuits to gun down the enemy and boot them off the objectives.

However, as a Tau player who isn't very effective in close combat, this is a cause for concern. Thinking back to my game at the weekend, I wasted a whole turn of shooting by putting everything in reserve.

Perhaps it would have been better to take a a few long range hits in favour of a few extra railgun rounds into the enemy?

Skyray Tactics (5th Edition)

January 21, 2009 · 5 comments

January 22, 2009

The Tau Skyray never appealed to me until last week. I decided to field a Tau Skyray while playing a friendly game. I thought I'd go easy on the guy by swapping one of my Tau Hammerheads for a Tau Skyray and a remove a big railgun from the equation. After all, I only got one for completeness and it would be nice to field it.

So when I wiped him out by turn 6, I couldn't believe just how effective the Tau Skyray was.

Tau Skyray Support Tank
2 markerlights doesn't seem like a lot, but when they're on an armour 13 vehicle that hits on 3+, suddenly they're a valuable asset to your army.

Both markerlights kept hitting their itended targets and suddenly my 6-man Tau Stealth Team was hitting on 2+, easily scoring 16 out of 18 hits and mowing down infantry at a spectacular rate.

The Skyray helped my railguns to consistently hit their targets as well, helping me to eliminate any serious threats before they became a problem.

The great thing about the Tau Skyray is that it gives you this assurance that what you're shooting at is going to die, which has always been a big problem when playing Tau.

The other bonus is that it's an armour 13 vehicle. Few players are going to gamble their anti tank shots at it when they could be blowing up hammerheads, battlesuits and broadsides. I can see it becoming an essential choice for a lot of Tau players in 5th edition.

Firewarrior Painting Guide

January 20, 2009 · 14 comments

January 20, 2009

Welcome to the Warhammer 40K Tau Firewarrior painting guide, penned by yours truly (Adam Smith).

Tau Firewarriors are the backbone of any Tau army. Unfortuately, Firewarriors are some of the toughest models to paint well.

They're moulded badly in places, have lots of detail and some tough sections to get the paint brush into.So to make life easy for you and to make your Tau Firewarriors look awesome, I've put together this Tau Firewarrior painting guide which should help you build a big Tau army in no time. Best of all, it'll look good too!

When painting my Tau Firewarriors, I used the following Games Workshop paints: Liche Purple, Scab Red, Red Gore, Blood Red, Fortress Grey, Codex Grey, Skull White, Chaos Black, Dwarf Bronze, Chesnut Ink, Shining Gold, Scorched Brown and Bleached Bone.

I've also been using paints from Privateer Press called P3 paints, which include: Thornwood Green and Khador Red Highlight (aka: frickin' intense orange).

I use Thornwood Green as the military green basecoat, Scorched Brown for the brown bits and Khador Red Highlight for the orange stripes.

For a highlight I simply add some Games Workshop Bleached Bone to Thornwood Green or Scorched Brown for a naturally warm highlight colour. You'd be amazed how many colours you can simply add Bleached Bone to in order to get a great looking highlight, including Chaos Black! The red and golden paints I use for the sensors, symbol bits and then there's some clever use of a 'Skull White Wash' over a Tau symbol painted Chaos Black, but I'll come to that as I take you through the Tau Firewarrior painting guide.

Tau Firewarrior Painting Step 1: Flock

Before you start on your Tau Firewarriors, you need to do the messy bit first, which is the base. Obviously, your Firewarrior will be glued together and the base flocked, ready for painting.
I use the traditional PVA glue, applied with an old paintbrush, then I sprinkle on some sand and small stones, then dip the base in the sand for maximum coverage. Just be sure to leave the flocked base to dry for 24 hours before you start slapping on the paint. It's gonna get wet and the last thing you want is wet painted flock flaking off the base and sticking to your Firewarrior's face.

Tau Firewarrior Painting Step 2: Paint the Base

So, once the flock is dry, it's time for some Codex Grey. Using a drybrush, or an old manky brush, just paint it straight on to the flock.

Where the paint can't completely cover it and get into all the cracks, water down the Codex Grey on your pallet until it's reasonably thick and watery, then just slap it on and force it in there (preferably with a manky brush).

Don't worry about getting Codex Grey on your Tau Firewarrior, he's not painted yet anyway.

Once that's dry, give the flock a quick drybrush with Fortress Grey. Still not light enough? Give the bigger stones another quick drybrush with more Fortress Grey.

That should do the job. With the messy bit done, it's on to the Tau Firewarrior himself.
Note: If you get paint on the flock while painting the Tau Firewarriors, just touch it up with a quick bit of Codex Grey.

Tau Firewarrior Painting Step 3: Paint the Base Colours

I start my Tau Firewarriors by painting the whole thing in the basic colours. You'll notice that I haven't bothered to spray it black or white to start.

This is because Privateer Press Paints are designed so that they can be painted straight on to the plastic or pewter. They usually take one thick coat, followed by a watered down coat for consistency.

Having painted the entire Firewarrior in P3 Thornwood Green, providing the basic colour and the basecoat for the paints to follow, I want for it to dry, then begin applying Scorched Brown to the undersuit, which includes the trousers, sleeves, neck and gloves.

Mistakes are often made along the way, so I tidy these up with a little more Thornwood Green. I also make sure that all of the armour straps that go around the arms and legs are painted in Thornwood Green again. It's easy to miss these and paint over them in Scorched Brown.

Tau Firewarrior Painting Step 4: Highlighting

Privateer Press Paints are quite dark and you only get the basic colours. So, it's time to add some Games Workshop Bleached Bone to your mix of Privateer Press Thornwood Green and create your own highlights.

If you're painting just a few models, mixing some highlight colours on the spot isn't a problem. But if you're painting an entire Tau army, it's worth mixing up a whole pot or two of your highlight to keep the entire force looking consistent.

I added 1/3 of GW Bleached Bone to a pot of 2/3 P3 Thornwood Green to create my 'Thornwood Green Highlight'

I added 1/3 of GW Bleached Bone to a pot of 2/3 GW Scorched Brown to create my Scorched Brown Highlight.

When applying the highlights, I paint along the edges of the model where the light naturally falls. This keeps the model looking quite realistic. The only downside is that often the casual observer can't see my paintwork because the highlights often look too natural. But this is my preference.

To make sure my lines are consistent and the paint flows on nicely, I often water down the paint on the pallet. I find this helps me to increase my accuracy with the brush and stops paint clogged bristles from sticking to the model during the brush stroke which can lead to mistakes, loss of control and uneven lines.

Once your Tau Firewarrior has his green and brown highlights it's on to the orange stripes...

Tau Firewarrior Painting Step 5: Orange Stripes

Now for the tricky part. I use a Privateer Press Paint called Khador Red Highlight for my orange stripes. It's designed to be a highlight for Khador Red Base, but it's so damn bright, I'd never use it for that -it's perfect for a vibrant orange instead.

As you can see from the Tau Firewarrior pic the orange stripe go across the side of the head, either side of the gun and at the top and bottom of the shoulder pad.

The stripes are very simple to paint and keep consistent so long as you remember to start them near focal points of detail on the model. This will help guide your brush strokes while keeping the orange stripes in the right place and at equal distance.

Of course, I wobble or make mistakes sometimes, but these are easily fixed with a thin line of Thornwood Green to tidy up the orange lines. To make the stripes of orange more vibrant, I usually apply a couple of extra watered down coats.

Tau Firewarrior Painting Step 6: Sensors and shiny bits

These are pretty quick and easy, they just need a little more shading.

The red sensors need to first be painted in Games Workshop Liche Purple. I then make the area progressively lighter towards the edges with Games Workshop Scab Red, Games Workshop Red Gore and finally Privateer Press Khador Red Base for the final red highlight.

You can use Games Workshop Blood Red if you have no Privateer Press Khador Red Base.

Sometimes the layers don't blend together very well, in which case you can merge the colours with a little watered down Scab Red or Red Gore. But maybe you're not as fussy as I am.

As for the gold pod in the end of the Tau Firewarrior's gun, start by painting the whole area in Games Workshop Dwarf Bronze. Once that's dry, apply a Games Workshop Chesnut Ink/Wash. And once that's dry, paint the raised areas of the golden pod with Games Workshop Shining Gold.

You're almost done. Last of all is the Tau symbol and there's a clever way of painting it to make it easier.

Tau Firewarrior Painting Step 7: The Tau Symbol

This looks tough, but there's a quick way around it. Simply paint the Tau symbol in Games Workshop Chaos Black. Once that's dry you apply a Skull White Wash.

Skull White Wash is made by watering down some Games Workshop Skull White paint on your pallet until its reasonably watery. Then paint a little bit (I said a little bit, because it's VERY watery) in the gaps of the Tau symbol and into the gaps around it.

Once the Tau symbol is dry you can carefully paint the black parts covered by Skull White wash Chaos Black again. Don't worry if you make a mess in places. Simply apply a little more Skull White Wash in those areas until it looks good.

Finally, tidy up any mistakes, looks for bits you may have missed and then give the edges of the base a coat of Chaos Black to cover up all the spodged grey paint from the basecoating at the start of the Tau Firewarriors Painting tutorial.

To see how I paint the rest of my Tau army, check out

Close Combat is Key

January 17, 2009 · 0 comments

January 17, 2009

I took my Tau army for a spin last night at the Essex Warhounds club. Typically, because I hadn't arranged a game, I had to play whoever was available, which was a young lad with a Grey Knights army.

Well, obviously playing an overpriced 3rd edition army meant he didn't have much of a chance. But while I was butchering his blokes, I couldn't get him off the damn objectives, which gave me great concern with regards to actually winning games.

By the end of the game my Tau army had munched through his storm troopers and Grey Knights, but it had taken me the full 7 turns to wipe him out just from shooting. On turn 5, he had troops sitting on 2 of the 3 objectives.

Had the game ended then I would have lost. The only way I could wipe out his units quicker would be through combining shooting with close combat for the quickest kills. But when Tau suck in close combat, how do you grab objectives?

Or are you meant to just contest them and win on Victory Points, even though it typically counts as a Draw in most tournaments?

Have been chatting to a couple of hardcore tournament goers. Seems that I need more Tau battlesuits for high strength hits. Back to the modeling desk.

Battlesuit Conversions

January 14, 2009 · 13 comments

January 15, 2009

How to make Tau Battlesuit conversions, courtesy of Warhammer Tau. Many people ask about my my Tau Battlesuit conversions, so I have decided to put together a quick and easy guide to follow with full descriptions and photos. You'll have plenty of unique Tau Battlesuits in your Tau army with a little effort.

First, you need a Tau Battlesuit kit, plus a few extras. I mostly buy my spare parts from www.bitzbox.co.uk where Tau parts don't appear to be in high demand...not the parts I need anyway.

Tau Battlesuits Conversion Parts
1 Tau Battlesuit kit
1 spare Tau Battlesuit flamer
1 Armour plate for the interior back door of a Tau tank.
2 Tau Firewarrior shoulder pads

Converting Tau Battlesuits Part 1: Extra Armour Torso
Tau Battlesuits look rather puny considering how badass they are, so I decided to bulk mine up a bit. Take the Tau flamer that comes with the Tau Battlesuit kit and the spare Tau flamer, then neatly cut the fuel tanks from them.

Next, take the interior armour plate from the Tau tank kit (it's not like you're gonna use it) and trim off a section of 6 small squares, 2 wide by 3 long. Trim it from the edge as 1 interior tank plate can armour 2 Tau Battlesuits, so don't waste them.

You then take the two Tau flamer tanks and glue them to the Battlesuit torso like in the picture above. Then the interior tank plate covers the left side of the chest and half of the left fuel tank's top. Now the Tau battlesuit looks as though it has extra armour on the front and venting.

Converting Tau Battlesuits Part 2: Extra Armour Legs
To give the Tau Battlesuits legs some movement and create a more dynamic pose, I removed the lower part of the right leg below the knee. I left the other leg alone so that it may provide stability to the model when it is glued together.

Be very careful when removing the lower part of the leg.As you can see, I've cut in a straight in down from the knee and across from the back of the thigh. I have then cut around the knee joint, rounding it off so I can reattach the lower leg where I want. The further back you position the lower leg, the more of the calf you will have to trim off so that it will fit.
Once you're happy with the positioning, glue the lower leg back onto the knee joint, then wait for it to dry completely before doing anything else.
Next, stick on the Tau Firewarrior shoulder pads as if they were kneed pads. The bent leg should be easy, but the straight leg is often more difficult because only the edges of the Tau Firewarrior shoulder pad make contact with the leg armour and lower shin.

Once the knee pads are completely dry, you can have a go at positioning the legs with the main body. I often use Blu-Tac to hold them in place, then clip the feet on to the ankles and keep moving the legs and feet about until I'm happy with the post. One bent leg and one straight leg provides a surprising number of pose options while maintaining the models stability.
Once you're happy with the pose, glue the legs in place, but leave the feet loose on the ankle joints. Once the legs are dry you can glue the model by its feet to the base. The ankles have been left flexible so you can ensure that both feet are glued flat to the base. Finally, once the feet are dry, carefully glue around the angle joints. Now the model is secured to the base, the ankles are strong and you've got a great pose with the body and legs to build on with the arms andhead once they're complete.

Converting Tau Battlesuits Part 3: Extra Armour Head
Converting the heads for my Tau Battlesuits is the trickiest part.

The Tau battlesuit parts you need for the conversion is the Tau Battlesuit head, the small Tau Battlesuit aerial, target lock and two halves of the burst cannon.

Next you begin by cutting off the burst cannon parts you need, which are the large cylinder halves, the sqaureish magazine ejectors at the sides and the small cylinder and barrell halves at the end.

Then take the target lock and very carefully cut through the mold line that runs halfway. Try your best to cut this straight, because you will then need to glue the front half of the target lock over the gap in the front of the Battlesuit head.

It's best to put a small ammount of greenstuff inside the front of the Battlesuit face as this gives something for the target lock front half to sit on top of as it dries. Note that the target lock front half only touches around the edges of the Battlesuit face, hence why the greenstuff needs to be there for it to rest on.

Once that is dry, trim the left stump off the side of the Tau Battlesuit head and cut off the edges of the right one until the stump is about half the size. You need to do this so that the Tau Battlesuit aerial will easily fit on later.
Take the parts you acquired from the burst cannons and get ready for some gluing.

You take the two large burst cannon cylinder halves and after trimming the one with the lump in to resemble the other half which is crescent shaped, glue them to the underside of the Tau Battlesuit head as show in the picture above. Both of them should be equal distance apart, just touching the back of the target lock front half while revealing a gap at the back of the head equal in width to the head itself.
These components are extremely fragile right now (because I'm too lazy to use green stuff to fill in the gaps, etc). So leave the rest of the Tau Battlesuit head alone until it is 100% dry.

Take the two squarish parts of the burst cannon and glue them either side of the target lock front, bridging the gap between the front of the Tau Battlesuit head and the large burst cannon cylinders at the sides. This does two things: 1) it looks cool. 2) it hides the quick and dirty conversion work.

But what about the gap at the back? Take one of the small cylinder with the half barrells attached from the burst cannon bits and trim the sides until it slots into the back of the head. Glue it in place, stick the small Tau Battlesuit aerial on to the trimmed down stump on the right hand side and you've got one finished Tau Battlesuit head.
The perfectionists among you may wish to fill in the gaps with green stuff or perfect the back of the head with plasticard, but once it's all painted, this conversion looks awesome. As always, if you want to do some more conversion work in customising your Tau Battlesuits, that's up to you.

Congratulations, you should have all the parts for some awesome Tau Battlesuits in front of you now. Just rememember not to glue the arms and head on until you've undercoated your Tau Battlesuits. Reaching certain parts with a paintbrush or spray can is often virtually impossible.

To see how I paint my Tau Battlesuits, check out my

Alternatively,if you want to do some more conversion work, here's how to make some badass burst cannons for your Tau Battlesuits:
Converting Tau Battlesuits Part 4: Super Burst Cannon
As I ended up using my burst cannon parts to convert my Tau Battlesuits, I needed a suitably awesome substitute for the parts. So I combined a spare Space Marine assault cannon from the Dark Angels Ravenwing accessory sprue with a Tau plasma rifle and the rear ammo pod from a Tau burst cannon.

The Tau plasma rifle was reversed, the fuel canisters trimmed off and the back of the rear pipe cut off. The front of the assault cannon was them removed from its mounting and glued onto the rear of the Tau plasma rifle with the lower cannon support attaching to the remaning part of the Tau plasma rifle rear pipe.

Once this was dry, I cut the barrell off the Tau plasma rifle and cut the ammo drum from the back of the Tau burst cannon, then after trimming it, glued it in place where the Tau plasma rifle barrell had been. The finishing touch was trimming the round button from the top of the Tau plasma rifle, cutting the underslung grenade launcher from the bottom of a Tau Gun Drone pulse carbine and gluing it on top to act as a targeter.

Shadowsun Art

January 11, 2009 · 1 comments

January 11, 2009

When someone posted anime inspired Warhammer 40K Tau artwork of Commander Shadowsun on the web, it seems that anime and 40K have gone hand in hand in the wide world of geekdom ever since.

Due to the Tau's obsession with giant robots, it's hardly surprising that the Tau are regularly compared and styled in reference to popular anime with many Tau battlesuits being converted to resemble the Robotech fighters, Mech Warrior battle meks and even more outlandish battlesuit designs, including Gundam and Escaflowne. My own Tau battlesuits are loosely based around many anime mecha designs I have found online.

Commander Shadowsun in all her anime glory.

A poplar belief on the internet is that Games Workshop designed the Tau Empire as a means to break into the Japanese hobby market. To do this, Games Workshop did the opposite of early anime, which was to take a Western concept and feed it back to the West. Instead Games Workshop took the concept of anime inspired technology combined with the designs of feudal japan, then fed it back to the Japanese.

How true all of this is, I can only speculate. But it's clear to see the similarity to the samurai warriors of feudal japan in the Tau Firewarrior and battlesuit miniatures.
In many ways it was the subtle anime styling of the Tau miniatures that caught my attention, having been inspired by old video game favourites like R-Type and Turrican, which both drew their concepts and visual style from anime and manga influences -especially Turrican, which was developed by a bunch of German geeks. But geeks who could produce some awesome tunes.

A quick google search has brought up all kinds of anime inspired 40K artwork, including this dynamic eldar versus tau art by Warp-Zero.

Hopping on the cute anime approach to the Tau that reflects the abundance of Mecha pilot anime shows from Neon Genesis Evangelion to Gundam Seed and Gurren Lagan, this Tau crisis battlesuit art is by Vampiredo.

And last, but not least is a comic style of my own Tau battlesuit commander comissioned by Firebase Magazine and penned by professional illustrator Nachomon.

There's a growing gallery of Warhammer 40K artwork on the web. So if you're seeking inspiration for your army, or you'd like some brighter Warhammer 40K themed backgrounds for your desktop that isn't dark and dreary, do a google search and see what you find!

Broadside Envy

January 8, 2009 · 3 comments

January 8, 2009

My mate got bought some Forgeworld Tau Broadsides for Christmas. Of course I was keen to see how they compare to GW Tau Broadsides. So having painted up a couple, he came round with them.

In fact, they made my Broadside models look pretty pathetic.I thought the Forgeworld Tau Broadside would be bigger, but it's roughly the same size. It just looks a hundred times better with chunkier legs and heavier armour.

Ok, it doesn't help that I've been upgrading my battle suits to match my Tau commander conversion. I felt that the Tau battle suits looked a bit weedy considering how devastating they're meant to be, so I gave them new heads, front mounted radiator systems, extra tank armour, cooling vents, targeters and knee armour.

I now need to make a new Tau commander model now that my Tau battle suits are beefy and badass looking. So now when you look at my Tau broadsides, they're really puny -not to mention skinny.

I'm just not sure if I should do some conversion work to tech them up like my new Tau battle suits, or if I should just order some new broadsides from Forgeworld.

I've been playing around with the Dawn of War Tau army painter again to see what the Forgeworld Tau broadside would look like with my colour scheme.

It looks pretty awesome actually and definitely shows that these guys get a 2+ armour save.

I'm just not sure if I want to make my own Tau Broadside or get the Forgeworld Tau Broadside.

What do you think?

Skyray Painting Guide

January 6, 2009 · 2 comments

January 6, 2009

While painting my Tau army between Christmas and New Year, I made a start on the Tau Slyray missile defence tank. I don't know if I'll field the Skyray that much, so I also bought a spare turret for it with a railgun, so I can field it as a Tau Hammerhead should the need arise.
Before I got my brushes out, I logged into Dawn of War: Dark Crusade to make use of the army painter and take some screen shots of a game with the Tau. I know there's a lot of army painter programs out there (and the one over at Bolter and Chainsword springs to mind), but I find them incredibly slow and difficult to use.

The Dawn of War Tau colourscheme has worked very well so far, but the Tau Skyray looked too orange for my tastes, so I decided to tone it down and use the Dawn of War Tau colourscheme as more of a guideline for what I wanted.

While the screenshots from Dawn of War look a little bright, the green I'm using is more of a drab Russian military colour. It doesn't seem to photograph very well, so forgive me if my pictures tend to look a little muddy at times. Trust me, in real life this Tau army looks awesome.

My Tau army painting guide is pretty simple. I mostly use a base colour, followed by a highlight and that's it. I sometimes use more technical things like washes in my army painting, but I try my best to keep things quick. As a 25 year old guy with a full-time job, active interests and washing to do, I can't paint all my Warhammer Tau to near Golden Demon standard anymore.

As you can see in the Tau army painting guide above, I use Privateer Press Paints, with Thornwood Green as the military green basecoat, Battlfield Brown for any dark brown bits that no one will ever look at, Khador Red Highlight (aka: bright orange!) for the orange stripes and finally, Games Workshop Scorched Brown for the brown bits. For a highlight I simply add some Games Workshop Bleached Bone to the mix for a naturally light and warm highlight. In fact, you can add Bleached Bone to almost any colour for a nice highlight, even black!

There are some other fancy bits for the sensors, Tau Firewarrior shield symbols and golden bits, but I'll come to that as I go along.

Tau Skyray Painting Step 1:


After assembling all the essential bits, paint the whole thing in the basic colours. You'll notice that I haven't bothered to spray it black or white to start. This is because Privateer Press Paints are designed so that they can be painted straight on to the plastic or pewter. They usually take one thick coat, followed by a watered down coat for consistency. This keeps the Tau Skyray looking a little cleaner.

Once the Tau Skyray is completely dry, I then paint the brown bits over the top of the Thornwood Green using Games Workshop Scorched Brown while the vents and other engine bits are painted Games Workshop Chaos Black. I have also painted the landing gear in Privateer Press Battlefield Brown. It's a little darker than Scorched Brown and being a P3 Paint, it sits straight on the plastic, saving me precious quantities of paint.
You can see that the seeker missiles, landing gear and engine pods are left detached. This makes them easier to paint (remmeber we have to paint highlights later) while being quick to super glue on later.

Tau Skyray Painting Step 2: Sensors and shiny bits

The red sensors and gold shiny bits are relatively quick to paint, but require some more shading than the rest of the model.

The gold bits are disruption pods...I presume? You'll notice that the Dawn of War screenshot above shows the disruption pods as being orange. I felt that gold was a better choice and I have continued this through the rest of the army.

To paint the gold, simply paint on some Games Workshop Dwarf Bronze. Once that's dry wash the gold with Games Workshop Chesnut Ink and then once that's dried paint Games Workshop Shining Gold onto the raised areas. It's pretty simple, but you just have to wait for each coat to dry and don't go too heavy with the Cheshnut Ink.

The red sensors are quick, but require a little more attention. Basecoat the area in Games Workshop Liche Purple, then begin to make the area progressively lighter towards the edges with coats of Games Workshop Scab Red, Games Workshop Red Gore and finally Privateer Press Khador Red Base for the final red highlight.

Privateer Press Khador Red Base is an amazing colour which makes a mockery of Games Workshop Blood Red, which resembles a more orangey colour.  Khador Red Base is extremely red, perfectly red and if you ever want to paint something red, there's no better paint to do the job.

Sometimes the layers of red on the sensors don't always blend perfectly, so if you have the time (or if you're a pedantic as I am) you can merge the colours with a little watered down Scab Red or Red Gore.

Tau Skyray Painting Step 3: Highlighting

You need a steady hand for highlighting Tau vehicles. But first, you need to prepare your own highlights, because Privateer Press Paints are quite dark and you only get the basic colours...usually. So, it's time to add some Games Workshop Bleached Bone to your mix of Privateer Press Thornwood Green.

As I knew I'd be painting a 3,000pts+ Tau army, I bought some extra paint pots for the purpose of creating a plentiful supply of highlight colours.

I added 1/3 of GW Bleached Bone to a pot of 2/3 P3 Thornwood Green

I added 1/3 of GW Bleached Bone to a pot of 2/3 GW Scorched Brown

Creating my Thornwood Green Highlight and Scorched Brown highlight paints.

To increase the accuracy of my brush, I also watered down the paints to that the highlight would glide smoothly across the edges of the Tau Skyray.

In this pic of the Tau Skyray you can see where I've quickly painted on the Thornwood Green highlight. Ok, it's a bit wobbly in places, but I can go back and tidy up the lines with some Thornwood Green.

I make a point to paint my highlights along the edges of the model where the light naturally falls. The good thing about this is that it makes the finished model lok quite natural, but the down side is that often you miss where to paint the highlight because the Thornwood Green highlight closely resembles the colour of the body under a natural light.

Tau Skyray Painting Step 4: Orange Stripes

If you thought you needed a steady hand for the highlights, just wait until you need to paint orange stripes!

When using the Privateer Press Khador Red Highlight I tend to water it down quite a bit, as this lets me make a very neat and controlled mark with the paintbrush. I can then outline where I want the stripe to go.

My main technique for painting stripes on my Tau vehicles is to apply a controlled amount of pressure on the brush, causing it to spread out and create a line of consistent thickness. I then paint this line in a straight motion, often using prepainted guidelines or visual points of detail on the model to help keep it straight, consistent and accurate. Of course, I wobble or make mistakes, but there are easily remedied with a thin oline of Thornwood Green to tidy up the accident.

To make the stripes of orange more solid and vibrant, I usually apply a couple of extra coats. Once the shape of the line has been perfected, applying extra coats of colour is very simple.

You can see the back of the Tau Skyray, as well as a Tau Firewarrior I'm currently painting. You can see all the highlights mentioned earlier as well as the three orange stripes.

Here you can see the top of the Tau Slyray crew compartment, the orange stripes on the hull and the tidied up highlighted lines. You can also see bits of dust in the paintwork. My work room needs a serious clean. Of course it's only after a model has been completed that I end up spotting all the dust, scratches and paint brush strokes.

Tau Skyray Painting Step 5: Finish

Now that your Tau Skyray is complete, you need to finish assembling it. This means gluing on all the seeker missiles, the landing gear and the engine blocks.

I tend to build my models to be as robust as possible while being easy to pack in a foam padded carry case. As you can see, the Tau Skyray has a detachable turret and the engines have been glued in place to prevent the twisty bit inside from breaking off (a common ocurrence for Tau tanks).

I have also disposed of the flying base in favour of the sturdier landing gear. Not only does this help to block line of sight while giving my tanks an elevated look on the tabletop, the legs are less likely to break than the flimsey stem of a flying base.

Finished Tau Skyray with smart missile systems

Finished Skyray with Tau Firewarrior for scale
I hope you enjoyed reading my Tau Skyray painting guide. So be sure to visit Warhammer Tau regularly for the latest in painting, playing and everything about the Tau army in Warhammer 40K.

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Warhammer Tau is a group of wargamers who feel that they have a little something different to offer other Tau Empire, Kroot, and allied players... even if it's just a starting point for discussion! Our goal is to produce at least one article per week to inform and encourage the Tau and Warhammer gamer community. For the Greater Good, of course!

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  • Saim Hann Progress Update - Ok, update! The Saim Hann army has grown a bit. I have purchased three Warp Hunters and two Dark Eldar Jetfighters (I really do not like the Crimson Hunter...
    2 years ago
  • The 5th Crusade - This blog will document the Black Templars 5th Crusade. Here's my narrative. In 41399, Elements of the Black Templars were dispatched to the Kybiss sector ...
    4 years ago
  • The Gates Open... - So like most people, I have a couple of armies. This blog is for my chaos armies. I never really planned on being a Chaos player, in fact, 5th edition da...
    4 years ago