White Ghosts

“A fire warrior must learn the two key principles of warfare. The patient hunter and the deathstrike. Kauyon and Mont’ka. There is no Tau who has greater mastery of the Mont’ka than Commander Shadowsun.”

“There are some among our enemies who have achieved great skill in ambush. For example, the mutants known as Gene Stealer Cults, who have spread to some of the Guer’la worlds under our control. But no matter how skillfully the ambush is laid the key is surprise. If your ambush is not a surprise then it will fail.”

“Let me tell you of the time I fought alongside Commander Shadowsun at the Dongjiaotou uprising.”

Last weekend I had a 1250 point game against a Genestealer cult army. My opponent was playing a decurion formation with a lot of cheap infantry units. My own force was a themed CAD. A stealth army, based around commander Shadowsun. Two squads of stealth suits, a squad of sniper drones, with two spotters, a breacher team in a devilfish and a small firewarrior squad with a defence turret and two of forgeworld’s Remora stealth drone fighters. At the core of the army, taking up over half my points, was a super deathball with 5 crisis suits (two with fusion blasters, two with airbursting fragmentation launchers and one buffbunny), along with 10 gun drones, commander shadowsun and a second commander with fusion blasters a drone controller and counterfire defence and two spotter drones.

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We were playing The Scouring game, with 6 objectives of varying value.

My opponent got the initiative and set up first, placing two armoured sentinels, with lascannons, near an objective marker and deploying 1 squad of cultists in the corner, to prevent me infiltration on his flank. I deployed my devilfish and placed the small firewarrior team in a crater, by an objective.

I then started deploying infiltrators, placing my deathball in an area of craters on the middle of the battlefield. My opponent then brought in the first of his infiltrators. My stealth suits and sniper drones were all set up in cover and a vast horde of gene stealers and cultists were mostly set up withing a few inches of my units. Fortunately only two units of them were able to assault this turn. Some of my crisis suits could use interceptor, but our judge decreed that interceptor would not work against cult ambush. Some of the interceptors were able to shoot and due to some lucky rolls they killed two stealth suits in one of my stealth suit teams.

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Turn 1:

The most important single dice roll of the game. I rolled a six and stole initiative. This allowed me to pile a lot of shots into the GSC. My sniper drones and spotters shot past my deathball, at the large gene stealer formations opposite, giving an extra marker light. Then my crisis suits fired their airburst fragmentation launchers, scattering onto the larger gene stealer horde, killing 15 of them, while my drones gunned down the front line, who were the ones able to charge. My fusion blaster suits with target lock and Shadowsun shot at a squad of 5 tougher looking mutants, with 2 wounds each, killing them all. My stealth suits shot 7 out of 10 cultists in a squad, routing them. My devilfish deployed the breachers who gunned down another squad. The drones and the devilfish shot at a separate squad, killing several cultists and routing them. There were over 30 cultists or gene stealers killed, but a lot still on the board.

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The psyker rolled 1 for warp charge and snake eyes to try to use a power. The cultists then returned fire. At the bottom of the board, some unlucky cover saves allowed the cultists and sentinels to take out my stealth suits. The shots at my deathball proved ineffective and the squad shooting at my other stealth suit on my end of the board inflicted no damage. A small squad charged my deathball, but the sniper spotters scored 1 marker hit, allowing my drones and commander to fire overwatch at BS3, killing them all.

Turn 2:

One of my Remora came on, zooming fast across the board. It shot at the same unit as the sniper team, allowing the marker lights to boost its accuracy. Between them they killed all but the sorceror. I decided to detatch my commander, so that his marker drones could light up the gene stealers and my deathball fired at the remains of the large gene stealer formation, wiping it out completely, leaving only the few cultists that had retreated behind it. I was stunned at how quickly I had killed them all.

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I was stunned at how quickly I was eradicating my opponent’s army. On my end of the board the breacher team advanced and wiped out another small squad of cultists.

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The sentinels shot my commander and I allowed him to take the two hits. A squad of 5 gene stealer cultists moved to attack my commander, but I got the deathball to aid him in overwatch, gunning them down. I wanted the guys with target lock to overwatch against a different target, but was told they couldn’t. My snipers fired overwatch at the lone psyker, killing him. The three cultists rallied and charged my deathball. 4 drones died from dangerous terrain tests, moving to counterattack the cultists, but my crisis suits easily crushed the cultists.

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Turn 3:

Let’s be honest. There was no doubt how the game would end. My second Remora came on and raced forward. There were only 2 sentinels, 3 survivors of a previously routed unit that had rallied and 1 squad of 10 cultists in the corner. My deathball advanced on the cultists and 1 of the crisis suits got within range, killing half the squad with his fragmentation launchers. One remora shot a further two cultists.

 

My commander and the other remora advanced on the sentinels.

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The commander fired first, causing one sentinel to explode and scoring two marker light hits. as they were a squad, this allowed the Remora to easily gun down the remaining sentinels, using both its seeker missiles for good measure and blowing it sky high.

My opponent only had 3 cultists left and decided that they would return to shadows, leaving the battlefield free of enemies and giving me the game.

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Result: Overwhelming Tau victory.

In the whole game I only lost 5 stealth suits from shooting and 4 drones from terrain. My list had a lot of firepower with a lot of ways to augment that firepower. Although they were not crucial to the game, i loved the Remora drones. Combined with the marker lights, they worked very well. Obviously the high points deathball was a huge gamble. Getting shrouded and stealth made them extremely hard to kill with shooting attacks, but they would be vulnerable in close combat. Had I not stolen initiative, I think the game would have been a lot closer.

My deathball has a huge weakness; melee. If an armoured sentinel or a deadnought etc got into melee against us, I had nothing at all that could harm it. Just moving to counter a charge caused nearly half of my casualties for the game. However, the effect that it produced when shooting was, to be quite honest, obscene. That sort of unit may be great for tournaments, but it makes the game less fun.

I hear that 8th edition will not have the same sort of deathballs. I think this is great news. I would much prefer a well balanced game, with everything playing a part and a need for tactical gameplay, rather than relying on overpowered units.

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Roadblock: Tau vs Orks

“Where the hell was the targeting beacon? Where the hell were those damned scouts?”

The battlefield was getting close enough for the Shas’vre to make out the conflict below. It looked like a wrecked Devilfish was blocking the pass. A cluster of ramshackled vehicles and smoking hulks were strewn across the valley. A cloud of smoke was spewing out of the Ork bikes racing towards the wreck and there, in the middle was the commander’s signal, surrounded by the greenskin warriors, with more bearing down on them. That had to be their target.

He adjusted his thrusters, trying to come down just to the east of the conflict. His squad were equipped for anti-tank combat, but the greenskins only had light transports, most of which were already wrecked. There was no way that they could cut down enough of the approaching horde to stem their advance, but they could at least buy time. Maybe it would be long enough for reinforcements to arrive. 

“For the greater good!” he cried out as he triggered the thrusters to slow his fall, bringing him down dangerously close to a vast horde of huge, heavily armoured hulking brutes.

The match up for the tournament was based on the results of the first game. I had assumed that this meant winners against winners and losers against losers, but with 5 games it also meant that someone who lost their first game would be playing someone who had won (a draw was possible but I didn’t hear of anybody having one). I was surprised to discover that my second opponent, Chris, came second overall in the tournament, so that person was clearly me. Not that I mind, as it was a great game.

My army was the same as before. My opponent’s army was completely different from my other games. He had five trukks filled with Boyz, as well as two trukks full of Meganobz (the loota wagon and battlewagon were proxying for trukks) and a large bike squad led by his warboss. It was a fast, mobile army, very capable of getting in close and overwhelming any enemy. Fortunately the board we were on had a lot of terrain.

The game we were playing was Relic, although there were also two objectives for the Maelstrom part of the game. One was in a bunker on my side, the other was in the open on my opponents end.

Turn 1:

I was able to choose sides and set up first, choosing the more open side, which made it harder for my opponent to bring in the reserves that he wanted. I deployed my transport and hammerhead as far forward as I could. My fire warriors were sitting in cover on one objective.

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My opponent deployed five trukks, holding the rest back, to avoid having his strongest units gunned down by heavy weapon fire. I then made the worst mistake of the game. I forgot to set up my infiltrators on the board.

I raced my transport forward towards the relic. I didn’t deploy troops, as I was sure that my opponent could reach me. My hammerhead destroyed one of the trukks, causing it to explode.

The Orks tried to advance. One trukk, on the far left, became immobilized on the rough terrain. Another trukk advanced and deployed his orcs, staying close to his objective. One raced towards the objective on my left flank. With little room to move the other trukk held back. The two squads of boyz ran forward and assaulted my devilfish, wrecking it and forcing the breacher team to disembark.

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Turn 2: I rolled badly on my reserve roll and only the bomber came on. No drones, no crisis suits and no stealth suits.

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My bomber targeted he trukk on my left, firing with the drones, missile pod and both seeker missiles in a determined effort to avoid allowing it to get close to my fire warriors. My breacher team advanced towards the Ork boyz and completely gunned down one squad. I was torn between trying to blast the other squad with a large template and risk scattering into the breachers or blast another trukk. I decided on the safer option but didn’t quite destroy it, only shaking and stunning the crew.

My opponent was a lot more lucky on his reserve rolls.

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The boyz from the wrecked trukk ran towards my fire warriors. The boyz from the immobilized trukk also disembarked and ran forward. Two trukks of meganobz appeared, as did the large bike squadron. I had expected the boys to slaughter my breacher team, but instead they ran forward to attack the hammerhead.

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The boyz reached my hammerhead and smashed it. Nearly everything else fired at the breacher team, killing all but one of them.

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Turn 3:

Again I was very unlucky with my reserve rolls. Only my commander with the drones appeared. The crisis suits and stealth suits were still nowhere to be seen.

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My bomber’s drones and the bomber blasted a transport, wrecking it. the commander’s drones shot at the warboss and his squad of bikes, scoring a lot of hits, but only killing a few of them. I then jumped back, to form a line in front of the relic. Across the battlefield my fire warriors shot at the approaching Orks, killing a few more.

Chris called a Waaargh! One of the surviving transports deployed a squad of meganobz near my drone squad. The boyz near the bomber blasted my two bomber drones, destroying them. The remaining 3 trukks all shot at my bomber, with no effect. The bikes raced forward and the boyz who had wrecked the hammerhead returned to attack my drones.  Three units of Orks were approaching my commander and even with augmented overwatch, I could not attack them all.

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The boyz attacked first and half the squad was wiped our, but then they and the Meganobz got into melee. My drones took out a couple of boys, but the Orks between them killed everyone except the commander. However, having lost combat by so much, he was routed and overrun by the Orks.

Across the battlefield the boys were racing towards my fire warriors, but even with rerolling one dice, the charge was 1″ short.

Turn 4:

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My crisis suits finally arrived, as did my stealth suits. Unfortunately my stealth suits scattered onto an enemy unit and the mishap scattered them to be placed by my opponent, far from any action. The crisis suits were more lucky. They were close enough to shoot the Orks, but to get to the relic I needed to target the boyz, rather than the Meganobz, who I really wanted to shoot. Had we not had a time limit, I would have shot the meganobs, but as the time limit was near and this was to be the last turn, I had to deny the boyz control of the objective and hope that I could survive 1 round when the meganob assault hit. My last breacher team member also came forward to secure the relic. I easily gunned down the boyz and had hoped to jump far enough to screen the breacher, but didn’t quite get far enough.

Across the board thing were better. My fire warriors moved to the edge of the bunker  gunned down the last of the boyz below, leaving 4 of them safely securing an objective. As my other Maelstrom objective was to wipe out a squad this served very well.

The Orks attacked. The trukks shot ineffectively at my bomber. Both the meganobz and the bikes got into the assault, easily wiping out my Tau with minimal casualties.  The time limit for the game had arrived and there was nothing else he could do that turn.

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The game ended. I was ahead on points for the Maelstrom objectives, but I thought that the Orks had won the main objective. They certainly had all 3 of the minor objectives, however the marshal pointed out that the wording of the Relic mission was that a unit ending it’s movement phase next to the relic could claim it. They couldn’t claim it at the end of the assault phase. Therefore in a surprising turn around, neither of us was able to claim the main objective and the game was awarded to me.

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Final score: Tau 4, Orks 3

This was a strange and crazy, but very fun game. My mistake of not setting up my infiltrators could have easily cost me the game. As it was, the battle was extremely close. Had my opponent started with more of his Orks on the board, I doubt it would have been so close. Having that squad in relative safety at the back and rolling 1s so often for the Maelstrom objectives was probably the only thing that won me the game. Had we gone to turn 5, Chris would have definitely won.

The Orks were a fun list to play against. They were fast and mobile and had a lot of relatively cheap and expendable units, but had enough heavy hitters to take down just about anything, if they could get close. It was just the restrictive terrain preventing them all from swarming over the relic that limited their power here. It didn’t stop them rampaging their way to victory in their other matches.

The key thing I needed to learn from this game was not to forget about any units. In this game I forgot to set up a unit. In the one before I had forgotten to bring one back from reserve. In most games I forget to shoot, move or jet pack move somebody.

The lesson seemed to have been learnt in my third and final battle of the tournament.

Wraith lord rampage

From all directions a barrage of weapon fire converged on the elegant humanoid form of the Ar’Cea war machine. Pulse weapon fire lit up its surface in a cascade of lights, the burst of fire from the air-burst fragmentation weapons and smart missiles rippled around it, like fireworks during a victory parade, but the silhouette of the alien machine kept coming. Even the cascade of ion cannon fire glanced ineffectively from its armoured surface, doing little more than scarring the paintwork.

A gout of flame burst out of it’s weapons. It only took a fraction of a second for the settings in the shas’vre’s helmet to adjust to the flare of light, but before it had, the wraith lord was upon them. The giant blade in its mighty hand sliced through the crisis suit in front of him, severing it in two, pilot and all. Then it plunged the blade through his crisis suit. The weapon was so sharp and the blow so fast, that at first he thought the knight had missed, but then it twisted the blade and withdrew it, spilling the shas’vre’s innards into the crisis suit’s interior. 

Shas’la Ra’kas looked on in stunned disbelief. The wrath lord has passed his squad by, dismissing them as a nuisance, not even worth the effort needed to swat them aside, on its way to the Shas’vre’s more heavily armed squad, but now…

“Pull back, firing on the snipers as you go.” The ethereal’s voice came over the comms, conveying such a sense of assurance and authority that the fear Ra’kas felt was driven away. “The knight is not a priority target. Just keep your distance. There are other foes for you to hunt.”

I have not fought against Eldar since the old days of 5th edition, and even then only rarely, so when a new player joined are club and quickly started assembling an Eldar army, I was keen for a match. It was a learning experience for us both.

We were playing a 750 point game. My force had an Ethereal as warlord, with a breacher team in a devilfish, a small squad of fire warriors with pulse rifles and a support turret, a broadside, a small squad of pathfinders with rail guns and two squads of crisis suits. Two suits were geared for crowd clearance, with airburst fragmentation launchers and burst cannons. The other unit had two with cyclic ion blasters and a shas’vre buffmander, with a command and control node, multi-spectrum sensor suite and Puretide engram neurochip.

warhammer-010I had been thinking of giving plasma rifles to my crisis suits, but I thought that the eldar would not have very many people with 3+ armour saves. I thought that 3 str 7 shots from the cyclic ion blasters would therefore be better than 2 at str 6. This proved to be a foolish mistake.

warhammer-016My opponent, Max, had a squad of rangers, 6 windriders with scatter lasers, a wraith lord, a Fire prism and a Vyper, led by a Farseer on a jet bike. Max hadn’t yet got around to painting the models, as he had only started building them two weeks earlier, but they were all magnetized and were a very nice, elite force. Given how quickly and diligently he has been building these, they will probably be beautifully painted pretty soon.

The game was Purge the alien, with night fighting on turn 1. Max got the initiative, choosing sides and deciding to go first.

warhammer-017Max placed everything on the board, holding nothing back. This surprised me, and I had given early warning overrides to a lot of units, in order to get interceptor. I put my warlord and the breachers into their transport, gave the broadside a vantage point and hid my fire warriors in a ruin. He then infiltrated his rangers into a ruin near the board center, giving them a great place to shoot from.

Turn 1:

The eldar warlord used his psi powers and gave the jetbikes the ability to reroll hits. The wind riders opened fire on my broadside. 24 twin linked shots at strength 6 resulted in 14 wounds. His 2+ armour save wasn’t enough and he was obliterated in a hail of laser fire. The rangers shot at my fire warriors, but the night fighting cover meant they only scored 1 kill. Everything else shot at the devilfish, but between night fighting and countermeasures I avoided everything with a 2+ cover save.

My fire warriors fired back and the turret killed 1 ranger. The transport raced forward as fast as it could go. There was nothing else for me to do.

Victory points: Eldar 2, Tau 0.

Turn 2:warhammer-021At this stage things were looking bad and I was at risk of my whole force being wiped out before any reserves could arrive. The eldar psycher buffed his unit to get twin linked attacks and reroll saves. The windriders, vyper and wraith lord all shot at my transport. The front armour deflected most of the 24 shots and my 3+ jink avoided all 4 glancing hits. I also avoided a 1 shot missile and a las cannon shot. The fire prism fired a large template at my fire warriors and the rangers also shot at them. They went to ground, but still took 3 casualties. The last survivor somehow made his leadership save.

Now my reinforcements arrivedwarhammer-022The crisis suits dropped down into the open space beside my opponent’s forces. The first squad scattered a little towards the wraith lord. The second scattered very close to the rangers. My ethereal invoked the storm of fire and the transport moved forward an deployed the breacher team close to the windriders. They fired a huge volley of 30 str 6, AP 3 shots. Even being able to reroll their jink saves, the squad took 6 wounds.

At this stage we messed up a few rules. I started by forgetting my command ability would allow me to reroll any 1s to hit for 1 round, which would have helped here. Max then forgot to declare look out sir, before saves were made. This didn’t matter too much, and as he is new I let him take the saves anyway. His warlord only took 1 wound, but the squad lost 5 men. Despite his psy protection the breachers still served their purpose.warhammer-024My crisis suits opened fire on the wraith lord and again I stupidly forgot my special rules. I remembered the twin link, but forgot about the monster hunter and did not reroll failed wounds. due to the 3+ armour save The unit only scored a single wound. The other crisis suits tried to hit the rangers, but being so close their template weapons hit the edge of the squad and after scattering only caused 2 wounds. The 2+ cover save protected them from the burst cannons.

I then jumped my small crisis team back, as a screen for the stronger team and my fire warriors got back up. My turn 2 was ok, but if I had remembered the rules correctly, I would have done a lot more damage.

Victory points: Eldar 2, Tau 0.

Turn 3: 

It was now time for the eldar to hit back, but it was fortunately also time for my opponent to make a silly mistake.warhammer-025The jet bikes jetted away and the psyker buffed the wraith lord’s saves. The fire prism fired a small template at my breachers, trying a strong enough force to punch through their armour, but it scattered away harmlessly. The wraith lord fired a flamer, hitting both crisis squads, but doing no damage and then fired its las cannon at the rear squad, missing. The rangers also opened fire, wounding one of the crisis suits. Max then realised that he couldn’t assault the squad in front of him and had to try to run around and assault the further squad. He failed his assault roll. The vyper shot at my last fire warrior, but he made his cover save.

It was my turn to hit back. My breacher team boarded the transport, which went after the vyper. The fire warrior and turret also shot the vyper, damaging it. My pathfinders finally came on, shooting at the rear of fire prism, but it jinked and avoided the shots.warhammer-028My anti-infantry crisis team decided to try to take out the psyker. Their template weapons killed the last wind rider along with two rangers and they injured the warlord more, but didn’t kill him. Given how resilient the wraith lord had been, I decided that a rerolled 3+ would be almost unbeatable and gunned down the fire prism instead, wrecking it easily.

Victory points: Eldar 2, Tau 2.

Turn 4: warhammer-031Max decided to focus on the further crisis suits. His wraith lord gunned 1 down and slaughtered the other 2 in melee, with a successful 7″ assault. The psyker buffed his saves, but failed his attack power. He then assaulted my drones and was gunned down in overwatch. The rangers shot at my fire warrior, who went to ground again, avoiding the shots. The vyper shot across the board flat out, to hide in the corner.

My remaining crisis suits were almost useless against the wraith lord, so they moved back, dropped two air-burst fragmentation blasts perfectly on the rangers, taking them all out, and jumped further away from the wraith lord. My devilfish went after the vyper and the drones moved towards the transport. My pathfinders were trapped in the corner, with nowhere to run, so they came out to shoot the wraith lord, but none of the rail guns scored any wounds.

Victory points: Eldar 3: Tau 5

Turn 5:warhammer-034The vyper tried to shoot my fire warrior, but he made a cover save. The wraith lord hit my pathfinders with two flamers, killing the squad.

My fire warrior and his support turret gunned down the vyper, destroying it. (he needs a cool name). My crisis suits and drones fired a few ineffective shots at the wraith lord, before jumping back out of assault range.

Victory points: Eldar 4, Tau 6.

Turn 6:

The wraith knight shot at my transport, but I jinked out of the way.

I decided to play safe. My crisis team stayed back in the opponents deployment zone and I fired off a few more ineffective shots from range.

Game over:

Victory points: Eldar 4, Tau 7.

Analysis:

The game was a pretty close match until turn 4. With much more on the table, the early rounds went to my opponent, but when my reserves came in things balanced out quickly. We both made silly mistakes and it could have gone either way.

My main weakness is that I keep forgetting about some of the abilities of my units. I am too intent on things that I want to do, to recall everything that I can do.

The psyker was great as a force multiplier and with a large, fast, armoured unit, was very hard to kill. It was foolish of my opponent to let me get so close to them. The greatest threat to me in that fight was probably the wraith lord. Melee is obviously the bane of Tau and that thing was so tough, up close. Snipers and poison shots work well against monstrous creatures, but I had nothing in my list that was designed with creatures in mind and my strongest attacks were lacking in armour penetration.

The decision to use the cyclic ion blasters rather than plasma rifles was may have been a mistake. I would score fewer wounds, on the wraith lord with plasma but would not need to worry about armour saves. It would have also made them an effective weapon for attacking the jet bikes, who also had 3+ armour.

I quite like using the smaller crisis teams, as it allows me to avoid making such a big target, and risk losing the squad in one bad scatter roll, but a large squad with the ability to split fire might have been just as effective and I would not have needed to rely on low strength template weapons for dealing with cover saves.

After the battle was over, I realised that my best weapon against the wraith knight was my completely uninjured breacher team. If I had unleashed their full firepower, augmented by my ethereal and remembered to use his command ability, they should have scored an average of 3 wounds. At 50 points the ethereal makes a nice cheap force multiplier and I think he is a better HQ for small games than a commander. Breacher teams are definitely becoming the core of my army, but they definitely need transports. I think my next model purchase will probably be another transport.

24 hours of Tau

It has been a very long time since I posted anything new here, mostly since it has been years since I last played 40K. That may soon be changing.

I am still in China, but Shenzhen has a single gaming shop, about two hours on public transport from where I am working. When I came back to China this time I brought a bunch of fantasy miniatures with me to paint, as something to do. I had not been able to find my marines and my guard army was too big to pack, so I hadn’t brought any 40K models with me.

However, the recent “start collecting” boxed sets changed all that. I think that these boxes are the best thing to happen to 40K in a very long time. Finally, something to encourage people to start the hobby. A boxed set that costs less than the sum of its parts. In fact, some of these boxes cost half as much as their respective parts.

For quite a while I have liked the look of Tau for a long time. I know some players don’t like the anime look, but I like Japanese anime and so the anime look appeals to me. I also like the technology and that the models are not overly adorned with pointless decoration. In recent years the focus of a lot of GW staff was on modelling first and gaming second, producing impressive looking, but expensive and impractical models. The new AoS lines all seem to be along those lines. They are interesting models, but to me they just look silly. new Wulfen are just such models. They look great, but £35 for a 5 man squad in broken armour is a lot for a fairly vulnerable looking squad. They also left me wondering how a bunch of beserker werewolves stuck in the warp found someone to redesign their armour and weapon systems to be so different from the rest of the Space Wolves. The model designers don’t care about why or how. They only care about the “rule of cool”.

The Tau are an army that make sense. Space communists with advanced technology. Drones, guns, battlesuits and alien allies. I was also tempted to convert some of my fantasy lizard men (or should that be Seraphon now) to be alien allies.

The local gaming store, Fat Mantis Games, in the Shekou region of Shenzhen had posted a challenge on a discussion group for the Chinese New Year holiday. The idea was initially to paint one of the new “start collecting…” boxed sets in 24 hours, but due to postal disruptions it instead became, paint a 10 man squad, a HQ and a vehicle in 24 hours.

I had just bought the Tau box a few days earlier and decided that this was the ideal motivation to get started.

The box had a Fire Warrior squad and an Ethereal, but I had three crisis suits, which didn’t really count as a vehicle. I decided to buy a Broadside battlesuit, as it was the only other Tau thing left in the store.

Rather than 24 hours non stop, the challenge was spread over two days, 12 hours a day, from 10.00 until 10.00. Being quite far from the store, I arrived a bit late and the others had already arrived.

There were two Australian friends who had come over from Hong Kong, a Frenchman, a Welshman and the store owner.

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The Australians were painting Eldar. One had Eldar and the other had Dark Eldar. Phil, the store owner, was painting some chaos marines. The other two had marines. Salamanders and Blood Angels.

We had to start with everything on sprue, so most of the first day was spent assembling the models. I didn’t bother with the drones, as it was not needed for the challenge, and just put together my infantry and my commander.

The Eldar player has really challenging himself, as his troops and commander were all on jet bikes, which gave him a lot more work to do.

 

The Salamander player had also given himself a lot to do, by assembling thirty marines and two dreadnoughts. However, he was racing through them, without worrying about mould lines, or adding grenades or any other detail to the figures.They were just very basic marines.

I wanted a Vior’la colour scheme, as the red sun on the white looks very Japanese and fits the anime style of the models. I added sand to the bases before spraying. I sprayed my miniatures black and then sprayed white over the top, leaving a bit of shadow on the bottom, but a nice crisp white on top. I then painted the cloth parts of the uniform black. Already the models were taking shape.

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It was then that I realised I had forgotten to add the shoulder pads. I sprayed those while on the sprue and added them. I should have taken more care to smooth the cut mark, where they were separated from the sprue. Once I highlighted the black with grey and added the red markings, they already looked good enough to play.

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The models still needed to be pin washed in all the armour cracks and also needed the lenses and painted and more detail on the guns, but I was really happy with the way they were taking shape. To have a break from painting I then started to assemble the Broadside. As Phil had promised to show me how to magnetize the weapons, I didn’t glue the limbs and tried to assemble all the separate pieces before doing any spraying.

During the day a young Chinese boy of 12 was left in the store with us. He had bought another Tau started box and began to assemble them. He stayed there from 12.00 until 9.00, but was the only customer for the whole day other than us.

Phil had been doing some very fancy bases with rivers of blood, that he had prepared beforehand, and so the guys had decided that bases did not need to be done as part of the challenge. I was the only person basing the models with any texture within the 24 hours.

Phil had also offered to use his air brush to base coat spray the models for other players, in return for which he did not have to build a HQ. He was doing a lot of red and green spraying, but I was spraying my models myself.

By the end of the first day most of the miniatures were assembled, although the riders were not on the jet bikes and the Blood Angels player had only put together his infantry.

On the second day I was one of the first to arrive. The Dark Eldar player had decided not to join us, as his asthma was playing up.

With Phils help I was able to drill some holes for magnets and stick the broadside together. The rail gun arm wouldn’t fit well on magnets, although the rocket pod arms did. This is a shame, as I much prefer the look of the rail gun. I had also painted my commander and was also making a start on the pin washing.

 

Phil sprayed this model for me, starting with grey then spraying white from the top down, to create shadows underneath. I think the effect was quite good. It didn’t really need that much painting after being sprayed.

I decided not to add as much black as the ‘eavy metal images of the Broadside, but added a few metallic bits and some washes. Then added a few grey or black panels and the Broadside was pretty much done. The rest of the day was spent trying to finish things off with as much detail as I could.

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It is not very clear in the picture, but the writing on the Ethereal’s robes is meant to say “Colin” in the Tau alphabet.

By the end of 24 hours we had mostly managed to complete the challenge to one extent or other. The Salamanders 10 painted infantry, an officer and two dreadnoughts. They weren’t well painted, but it was still an impressive force.

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They were more impressive when the rest of them got sprayed, the following morning.

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The Eldar bikes were beautifully painted and had their decals added. The riders still needed more detail to finish them off, but they were certainly at a playable standard and the bikes had given the player a lot more to do.

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I didn’t get photos of the finished Chaos force, or of the Blood Angels. The Blood Angels didn’t get a HQ done in time, but the rest were completed to a good standard. My own Tau force were probably the most complete, although not the best painted.

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Thus, in 24 hours, I began my new 40K army. The army is already growing, as I have since assembled and painted the drones. I have no doubt that there will be some 40K battles coming in the near future and I will make sure to tell you all about my first experiences of the new rules and the Tau codex when they happen.