Now with 100% more Xeno-Heresy!
So I've been in the process of developing an alternate 40K ruleset designed to focus around troops at the platoon-level (with some vehicle support). One of the things that did was inspire me to build up some small (500 points-ish) antagonist armies. This led me to scouring EBay for good deals on Tau and Orks (among other things).
These two armies are something of polar opposites for me. Orks I always wanted to play, because I played Orcs in Fantasy and loved them, despite their penchant for self-destructing (Big 'Uns failing their antagonism roll right in charge range of High Elf cavalry in a tournament comes to mind). The old 2nd Edition Orks were amazingly fun to play against. But when I was younger I only had a limited budget to work with, and I already had basically three armies (and a Necromunda gang). So Orks never made it to the table.
The Tau, on the other hand, I've literally never played a game with or against. They didn't show up in the game until I was on my way out of it, and none of my friends ever picked them up. Originally I didn't like them because of the anime aesthetic (the first gen suit models weren't great either) and the goodie-goodie image. It wasn't until later that I realized the Tau were 40K's adaptation of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World
, right down to the separation of castes biologically designed to be ideal for their tasks and the social engineering around The Greater Good that leads every caste to be happy in their role. Seriously, any Tau fan should read that novel if they haven't. Even if you're not
a Tau fan, it's a great book. Either way, that realization, and their depiction in IA3 made me decide that they were a great Grimdark addition to the 40K Universe. An oppressive, insidious regime that would be a villain in any science fiction storyline except 40K, where it ends up a "good guy".
Anyway, enough rambling. We're here for little plastic toy soldiers.
So, as with the Spess Mahreens, I had a list of things I wanted from my filthy xenos scum. Obviously they needed to by hardened and lethal looking. They also need to be loaded for bear as well (that's going to be an alternate challenge, identifying the bits I want to acquire for that purpose. Anyone have leftover Ork and Tau accessories they aren't using?). They obviously also need to be converted. That's the whole reason people follow this project, right?
So here's the first Tau Fire Warrior. I put this guy together basically to get a feel for the model.
First tasks with the Fire Warrior was cutting down the Pulse Rifle. The length of that weapon is ridiculous
. I wanted make the Pulse Rifle still look exotic and deadly, but tone it down from the Napoleonic Musket length it had. The rifle is almost the same length as the model is tall. Fortunately, this wasn't a complicated process.
This leaves the Pulse Rifle a little longer than the Carbine (though I may modify those too), but also it looks manageable. The Tau have all this technology and they can't miniaturize their longarms? Anyway, I'm pleased with the result. I think it makes the Fire Warrior look more fierce and deadly. I'll need to perfect the process, but the cuts I showed actually work out pretty well, and will only need a small amount of additional filing and gap filling to perfect.
I left off the left shoulder plate. I wasn't a fan of the way it looked. It seems like it would just get in the way. Maybe I'll convert it.
A couple of gripes about the kit. A couple of the arm poses are terrible. There is one that literally only allows you to construct a model at basically port arms
. I guess those arms will be donor parts. And I had to clip the left hand off and file/rotate it just to get it to fit correctly with the model. I had seen a ton of pre-assembled Tau on EBay with these really weird left arm poses, and I thought the original owners were just lazy. But it turns out the kit just isn't very good. It's a good thing I planned to chop them up anyway. In the end though, I like the scale of the kit. The Fire Warriors will look good next to my old Metal IGuard unlike the plastic IGuard next to my old metal IGuard (or the plastic IGuard next to pretty much anything. They're so ugly).
I was very excited about the Space Ork. Like I said, I'd wanted to do Sporks for a long time. In fact, opening this Pandora's box has me worried because it could get expensive, lol. Especially because eventually they're all going to have these heads:
So what did I want to do with the Orks now that I finally had them? Well, I want them to still retain their Orkiness, but I also want them to be a bit darker and more threatening. Orks are the comic relief of 40K, but if they were real, they'd be downright scary. Inspired by the novel Fifteen Hours, and those sweet Kromlech heads, the Sporks in my universe are going to be menacing.
Of course, that's going to mean a lot
of work. Not quite as much as a 40-part Space Marine model hopefully, but this is going to need some putty. I almost don't want to share my first mock-up because it isn't even close to what I want the final product to look like, but I thought I'd give you an idea what I was starting with.
First is fixing the pose. I want my Orks to stand a little taller, so I'm going to file down and re-angle the neck so they don't just have a head jutting out of their chests. This is mostly to give me more room to work with when posing. A giant head jutting out gets in the way of the arms and weapons, since most of my boyz will be armed with Shootas. Secondly, it will help with eliminating the hunchback look that I think is too exaggerated.
The legs are way to squatty, and not in the awesome space dwarf kind of way. I clipped the left leg and rotated it downward. The final based model will need to be sculpted with an uneven ground so he has something under his toes, but that's a small matter. This looks decent from the front, butthe model's butt will need some gaps filled. The head will need some putty as well to fill in the neck. I may use this as an opportunity to model a hood from the gas mask head. I used the jaw piece as a shoulder plate instead, mostly because I liked the way it looked.
Either way, there's the humble but ambitious beginning of this new chapter of Leave No Model Unconverted. In my "To Do" box are some Killa Kans, a pile of boyz, Nobz and Stormboyz. I've got ideas for some traitorous human scum auxiliary Pathfinders, converted sniper drone teams, and some Kroot.
And of course, here's a comparison shot. I wouldn't leave you hanging like that.
Also, if you've made it this far but perhaps missed the previous post, I'll plug my other new project. I've decided to create a blog that will present the project in a more coherent way, rather than a chronological series of posts like this ends up being.
I'm still playing with the format (so by all means share any feedback with the layout), but you can find it here:
Also, I've put it on Facebook.