Full Army Photo
Here's a couple of shots of the whole army. Clicking them takes you to the full-sized images in the gallery, which don't fit in in this format too well.
This is about 9500 points, without upgrades.
A couple of Ethereals. I really like them in the 6th ed codex, as they're a great force multiplier, at a low cost.
And Aun'Va, just for good measure. He's not badly priced, but as a non-independent character, I find him less useful than the standard Ethereals, as he's much harder to protect.
Then there's the whole suite of named Shas'Os:
Shas'O Tau Commander Guy
XV8 Bodyguards - Three XV-89s, one XV-84 and one XV-81 are available for bodyguard duty. Note they're all Shas'vre ranked.
Firewarriors - The backbone of the Tau army. Led by a Cadre Fireblade. I've got three units with pulse rifles, and one with carbines, as I think the slight extra distance can be useful when dismounting for a mechanized attack.
Kroot - another unit that works great in the new codex, especially with sniper rifles. The big unit has a few Krootox and a Shaper to lead them, and all units have at least one dog for outflanking re-rolls.
XV-89 Teams - For a long time, these were why I didn't want to play a Tau army. I really don't like how the stock GW suits look. But at a GT in 2009 (I think), I saw Will Merydith's army and he'd used all XV-89's in place of standard XV-8s, and it looked amazing. That pretty much changed my opinion, and got me started thinking about doing a Tau force. These guys are all fully magnetized for various weapon configurations. In 6th ed, I like doubling weapons on suits, as it gives me a better sense of what the unit should be used for.
XV-15 / XV-25 teams - I prefer the look of the XV-15 suits, but they don't convert to use fusion guns easily. I painted these as if the stealth generator was projecting a clear day in the desert, blurring their outline with the horizon. At least, that was the goal...
XV-104 suits - One kneeling, one standing, and one actually using his jump pack. All magnetized out. It is actually possible to play games without them...
Pathfinders, led by Darkstrider. I use these more often than any other fast attack choice, especially now that they're not required to take a devilfish.
A couple of drone squadrons, one with pulse carbines, and one with markerlights. Throughout the army, drones with guns have the sept colour on their center, while drones with utility equipment (including markerlights) get the sept color on the rim.
XV-9 Team - The Bork'an sept is known for getting all the weird prototype equipment, and that's going on all over the army.
TV-42 Piranha - another experimental unit
And a unit each of standard Piranha
and Tetra Scout Speeders
Fast Attack is also where the Air Caste is represented
Barracuda Fighter - This model was what prompted the rest of the army, more below...
Remora DX-6 Drones
XV-88 and XV-88-2 Broadside Teams -
High Yield Missile Systems are my preferred way to run these, now that their rail guns have been downgraded.
I had these older Forgeworld suits before the new models were released, changing the base size (of course) and preferred weapon loadout. They still look cool though.
Sniper Drone team. I'd like to get a few more of the drones to fill out the unit size. I think these are underrated currently, but there's solid competition for the Heavy slot.
XV-107 R'Varna suit. I love Forgeworld models, but they can't write rules well. This went from significantly underpriced to overpriced overnight.
Shas'la T'au Sha'ng commands this Hammerhead. He can be removed and replaced with a standard tank commander if necessary.
And Skyrays. I actually prefer the Skyray, as it's a good answer to most monstrous creatures (especially flying ones).
I tend to get at least one Apocalypse model for each army I do, and for the Tau, the only real option is the Tigershark AX-1-0.
Fortifications, Objectives and Display Board
With Fortifications part of the game now, it seems appropriate to have them for non-Imperial armies. I've got a selection of Tau Turrets, one converted with a Broadside Railgun, which can be used for Aegis Systems, and themed Aegis line to go with it. I also made a Taushield Landing Pad, featuring the Sept Symbol. Instead of opening and closing, it has dual lighting options, with landing lights on for 'unfurled' and shield generator lights on for 'unfurled'. It also uses Tau hover technology to float above the battlefield. It locks onto the display board for the army with magnets.
And of course, if you're going to a Grand Tournament, you need to bring themed objective markers. Here we have a wrecked drone with vital information, a couple of sensor arrays, and a scanner drone of some sort.
Why I Started This Army
As I mentioned above, I generally didn't like the Tau aesthetic for a number of years. The GW battlesuits and old broadsides had clunky fixed poses and their weapons seemed to be just bolted on as an afterthought. But I'd seen a few Tau armies done well, and they shared a couple of characteristics. First, they avoided the GW suits. And second, they approached the army from a more military approach. I don't think Tau look good in bright colors or pageantry. This is a race that's about practicality, not pageantry. I'd been thinking about these things for a while, and then another Dakkanaut put his army up for sale, including the Barracuda and one unit of Pathfinders already painted. I liked the colour scheme he'd started and thought it would work well for what I wanted to represent, so that was the starting point. I wanted to do an army that evoked both a desert theme, at least the Southwest desert of the United States, and that used a very limited palette, using mostly a military approach, and avoiding the extreme highlights common to 40k. The turquoise sept colour of Bork'an was ideal for the southwest feel, and the deep red tones I used for the weaponry feels like that area too (Vermilion Cliffs in Az, and around Santa Fe).