4 Comments

Blue Fever

I’m not quite sure how to classify this post, as I’m not actively working on or buying up Tau, but I certainly am thinking about it. I know I’m not alone in this. As the Tau are once again the new kids on the block, with their shiny new codex, uber-suits and more missiles than you can missile a missile at, they will be getting an awful lot of attention in the coming months.

So, if Tau weren’t able to capture my interest long enough for an army to come together in 4th/5th edition, what might make things different today?

For starters, it’s the beginning of their codex cycle, so I’d be getting more mileage out of the book and miniatures. In addition, I actually have some ideas for theming up and converting the army so it doesn’t look like every other Tau list out there. A lot of folks out there are disappointed in the lack of depth for the “Empire” part of the Tau Empire. They haven’t added any new races, nor have they really fleshed out the existing ones in terms of new units. Luckily, my plan directly addresses this. How? By hijacking all of the cool alien goodness from something most of us are already familiar with — the Mass Effect universe.

Run a Google image search for "asari" and this is one of the least disturbing images you'll find.

Run a Google image search for “asari” and this is one of the least disturbing images you’ll find.

It’s a crazy amount of work, but there’s a lot of material there to work with. Plenty of different races, characters and technologies that can be ported over to Tau fairly easily. Let’s run through some of the main units to see how this could work…

Bigass robot? Check.

Bigass robot.

Bigass robot (painted by The bearded one on Warseer).

Also a bigass robot (painted by The bearded one on Warseer).

One of the hardest things to figure out initially was the big centerpiece unit, the Riptide. Took forever to figure out what to do with it until all of a sudden I realized it would make a pretty good Geth Prime. Some muscle fibre/ribbed cable type texture, plus a new neck/head, and job’s a good un.

Surprisingly hard to find a good photo of painted Elysians!

Surprisingly hard to find a good photo of painted Elysians!

The Cerberus Harrier rifle, which according to memes is better than I gave it credit for. Might need to redo some multi-player one of these days...

The Cerberus Harrier rifle, which according to memes is better than I gave it credit for. Might need to redo some multi-player one of these days…

Next up, a core unit. Fire Warriors obviously don’t quite look the part in a Mass Effect themed list, so what else could work? Everybody loves a good Gue’vesa conversion! My plan would be to use Elysian Drop Troopers with those sweet-ass bullpup lasrifles modified to look halfway between a Harrier rifle from ME3 and a Tau pulse rifle. Essentially it’s just a fancy way of saying “barrel swap”. The dual tip look of the pulse rifle is pretty darn close.

Bottom line, you can't touch the vorcha. They've got diplomatic immunity.

Bottom line, you can’t touch the Vorcha. They’ve got “diplomatic immunity”.

For a little variety in Troops, Vorcha make a great Kroot proxy. Swap some spare Dryad heads on there, and good enough! The Varren/Kroot Hounds parallel is also just about perfect. If only it were feasible to sculpt an Elcor for a Krootox… sadly my skills aren’t up to that level.

“You all know the mission, and what is at stake. I have come to trust each of you with my life -- but I have also heard murmurs of discontent. I share your concerns. We are trained for espionage; we would be legends, but the records are sealed. Glory in battle is not our way. Think of our heroes; the Silent Step, who defeated a nation with a single shot. Or the Ever Alert, who kept armies at bay with hidden facts. These giants do not seem to give us solace here, but they are not all that we are. Before the network, there was the fleet. Before diplomacy, there were soldiers! Our influence stopped the rachni, but before that we held the line! Our influence stopped the krogan, but before that, we held the line! Our influence will stop Saren; in the battle today, we will hold the line!”

“You all know the mission, and what is at stake.
I have come to trust each of you with my life — but I have also heard murmurs of discontent. I share your concerns.
We are trained for espionage; we would be legends, but the records are sealed. Glory in battle is not our way.
Think of our heroes; the Silent Step, who defeated a nation with a single shot. Or the Ever Alert, who kept armies at bay with hidden facts.
These giants do not seem to give us solace here, but they are not all that we are.
Before the network, there was the fleet. Before diplomacy, there were soldiers!
Our influence stopped the rachni, but before that we held the line!
Our influence stopped the krogan, but before that, we held the line!
Our influence will stop Saren; in the battle today, we will hold the line!”

Lanky fishmen with not enough fingers? Perfect!

Lanky fishmen with not enough fingers? Perfect!

OK so the ball is rolling with these aliens, let’s keep it going! Pathfinders are pretty clutch for any Tau army, and who better than Salarians to represent these spec ops badasses? The Forge World Air Caste Pilots will make a great starting point for this conversion. A bit of greenstuff and Dremel work to their noggins and that’s 95% of the job done.

I can't think of anything clever to say about Turians :-)

I can’t think of anything clever to say about Turians 🙂

This one goes out to all the ladies on the Eastern Fringe...

This one goes out to all the ladies on the Eastern Fringe… OK, that’s clever enough.

And if you want to add some more firepower to the squad, some Turians will be happy to bring some beefy rifles to bear. If you feel the need to do some calibrations, consider making one Garrus/Darkstrider. For a conversion, Mixmaster Longstrike is actually a pretty bang-on approximation of Turian armor. Just repose the left leg and give him Pathfinder plastic arms and you’re home free.

Ask Zaeed about this Turian Frigate model.

Ask Zaeed about this Turian Frigate model.

For some cool vehicles, you can actually get a decent variety of ME3 ships from the Bioware online store for about $35. They measure around 6″ or so, which is in the right ballpark for 40k skimmers. Maybe a tad small for planes, but for the price you can’t complain.

Anyway, to wrap this thing up, the HQ are one of the things I haven’t quite figured out yet. Shadowsun as Liara is one of the only things I can come up with, and it’s a bit of a stretch. For Shepard, it’s hard not to go with a Commander with Onager Gauntlet (omni-blade). Just paint the suit with the stripe and an N7 badge somewhere, and don’t fuss about it too much.

Sorry pal, one man left behind is still a pretty good track record.

Sorry pal, one man left behind is still a pretty good track record.

Oh, and you simply must have a Battlesuit with Failsafe Detonator named Kaidan. That’s not even an option.

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4 comments on “Blue Fever

  1. Yeah, the harrier was boss…. Lancer that dropped in the last dlc was better though, cross between harrier and the prothean rifle!

    Cool idea on the mass effect army, if you are wanting to multiplayer I’d get on soon, most of the people I played it with have moved on to other games.

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