Saturday, 10 August 2013

Command Squad: Support Suit


The third Model in my Tau Farsight Bomb Command Squad, this support suit can either be a commander or a bodyguard. Either way he has, at minimum: A MSSS, C&CN, PEC, XV8-02 Armour, DC, CDS and VRT. He costs about 139 points although this still varies while I look to find my final (favourite) way to build my farsight bomb. Representing the various systems on the model proved a challenge, as he has 5 systems that need to be represented WYSIWYG. The model started out a little iffy, but by the time I was finished, I loved the look of the support suit. He's laiden with ridiculously complex-looking equipment, just right for the ridiculous tool that is the support suit. 

The Support Suit:

The first thing that should be imediately obvious is the weird pose of this suit. Since he has no guns, his arms are left kinda hanging around his chest. It's also notable that I reposed his leg in the air, simply because I hated the senic bit on the bottom.Unfortunately, this act left the model -very - unbalanced, so much so that I've put small pieces of brass in its base as well as gap filler.

I had to rummage through my bits to find suitable pieces. The most simple were the Drone Controller and CDS, on his jetpack stacks. One's a riptide bit and the other's a commander kit piece. More subtley beneath the jetpac stacks, I've added two pieces from the Riptide SMS bits - these are my "Vectored Retro Thrusters" I imagined being 'retro' thrusters, they have to face the opposite way to actual thrusters, making placement a non-issue. 

Representing the MSSS came easily in the form of the Hammer Head Sensor Spines (above, on the suit's arm) - It seemed an obvious idea that a tool designed to plot courses to traverse terrain would be able to identify threats. Also Noticeable on this suit is the inclusion of the Smart Missile System's frame on the hands - simply used to represent the enhanced protection of XV8-02 armour. I figured that the Enforcer Armour was already indicative of XV8-02 enhancements - my story for it is that the frames provide a kind of latent shielding that's weaker than a shield generator, but enough to greatly enhance the suit's protective capabilities, while also rendering the user more resilient to damage.
Finally, the NSJ, PEC and C&CN are represented by one nifty and understated gadget on the suit's helm. This piece is from the Pathfinder's kit, and is meant to go on as a backpack for the tau Pathfinder Shas'ui, shown left. 

The Final Part of this series is scheduled  to be posted soon, which will feature my GOI/NZ Librarian. After this is complete I will do a sort of "Armies on Parade" post. Until then!


Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Commander Farsight


The Grand Master himself, Farsight. As BAMF as space marine captain, only he can actually kill things at range. Aside from granting the Farsight bomb's existence, Farsight gives it the ability to come into combat flawlessly as well as adding decent close combat capabilities. 

The Model 

Farsight is an Exquisite model from the base up. He has some brilliant aesthetic choices from the designers with only one really niggling issue, which is the way the Dawn Blade has a tau apparatus attached to it. There are also parts that look like mould vents but are actually part of the model itself.  Two prominent examples are the kind of hind toes the feet have and then that little blade catch on his right arm (right, perspectively above the handle of the blade.)

Of course, models can't have such a brilliant pose and - not have a flaw, this model's being that it didn't balance too well - not as bad as my Support suit, but enough that it needed some greenstuff in the base to weigh it down on inclines.

Farsight's also designed to have these two trailing tassles, pieces of cloth like long purity seals. I couldn't stand the idea of having them break, so I just removed them. Oh well.

Next in my little Exhibition will be my Tau Support Suit.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Commander Shadowsun


Hey Guys! This will be part of a series on my Tau Farsight Bomb's "Command Squad". All of the Tau Models are finecast models of HQ characters. In this series is Commander Shadowsun, Commander Farsight, Sub-commander Torchstar (Not like the one from the Farsight Enclaves book - this one is a kitted out support suit.) As well as a Librarian. After this is complete, I'll do an Armies on Display type feature for my entire Farsight bomb. Without Further Ado, my Commander Shadowsun:

The Model

Shadowsun is one of those irritating models where sometimes the sculpt is really good. The face for example, is a really detailed one with a lot of opportunity to highlight. On the other hand, the cetral chestplate is fairly inacessible, making edge highlighting somewhat torturous. Overall though, a really cool sculpt. 

Even though Shadowsun is the cheapest of my 4 "Command Squad" members (being four points cheaper than the support suit if it has all the signature systems I take in the bomb), she adds one huge bonus. She also makes the squad very mobile, in the even that I don't take farsight's Through Boldness, Victory.

One thing that struck me as odd is the shape of her fusion blasters - they don't look like the natural fusion blasters found on suits or even on stealth suits. This prompted me to have a look at how old Shadowsun is, but I couldn't find any material. If anyone knows how old this sculpt is, I'd like to know at least what generation she came out.

As with all my battlesuits, I freehanded her rank onto the model. Unfortunately, there was nowhere suitable for me to do something similar to her armour so she only has one on her base.

In my next piece I'll be doing an exhibition of the new farsight model. Like this one Farsight's painted in my own colour scheme.

Until then!

Why is pinning so undervalued?


Pinning is this really valuable tool that everyone ignores. People think it's a joke. In actual fact, pinning can do a lot of damage - not physically, but to the output of squads? yes. Let's explore, using the wondrous magic of mathhammer.

How pinning works 

Pinning is a very simple rule mechanic. If a weapon with the pinning rule causes an unsaved wound then the unit who took a wound must take a leadership test. If the unit succeeds, nothing happens. if they fail, the squad is forced to go to ground and thus can't perform any meaningful action in the next turn. (they can fire snap shots, which could do something.) Multiple pinning tests can be caused per turn, but simultaneous shooting can only cause one. 

How to make pinning work 

Pinning is often overlooked because it doesn't come up often, and when it does come up, there's usually a minimal chance it'll have an affect. Against the right targets - units that can survive a large amount of firepower and overwatc but want to be in combat, a successful (well, failed) pinning test can be a game winner, especially for shooting armies like Tau. 

Before I begin to explain the more complicated parts of this mathammer, let's make basics clear. 

Leadership 1 and 2 fails 97% of the time 
Leadership 3 92% of the time
Leadership 4 83% of the time
Leadership 5 72% of the time
Leadership 6 58% of the time
Leadership 7 42% of the time
Leadership 8 28% of the time
Leadership 9 17% of the time
Leadership 10 8% of the time

This means you need a pessimistic 13 pinning tests to ensure LD10 is pinned, Ld 9 still needs 6 - but this number is drastically reduced for even LD8 - where you only need four tests to ensure a fail. after that, 2-3 tests will ensure a fail in any given situation. 

Unfortunately, causing six tests on LD9 is usually enough to kill the potentially assaulting squad (terminators)*
or reduce it enough that it isn't a threat anymore (MEQ.) This means pinning finds its effectiveness against units who don't have the resolve of space marines. This is the ever popular Guardsmen, Fire Warriors, Out-of-synapse homargants and small squads of orks. 

I think the most important part of this tactic is that you have to realise that it won't always work, but sometimes it will debilitate your opponent. Most importantly, always force your opponent to take a pinning check if he has one to take. Pinning can never work if you pretend it simply doesn't exist.

* Before someone misinterprets this, I'm aware you can't pin on overwatch.

How to get Pinning in your army.

The very easiest way to produce an army that puts out a reliable amount of pinning is Tau. There are two ways to go about this. The first is Sniper Drone Teams, as snipers are BS5 and have long range. 9 sniper drones averages 15 hits at 24" range and 6 wounds - as well as 1.5 rends. 6 wounds means your target is bound to take one wound on average (except, if he has FNP.) Throw in an Ethereal and put three sniper drone teams behind an ADL and you're looking at .62 rends and at least .52 wounds, you should cause 3 pinning tests even at 48" range. This means you can pin even the most hardy non-fearless target by turn four, and most by turn 2. 

Another option is 14 gun drones and a commander with a Drone controller (I think a pair of burst cannons is best here - adds to the anti-infantry build.) Two of these units wounds T4 15.55 times, meaning it causes at least 2.5 wounds (not including commander's 8 shots.) Thus, two squads of these units coupled with the sniper teams (even without an ethereal, they put out enough firepower to cause a wound a turn.) costs about 1094 points, provides all the anti-infantry firepower an 1850 list would need as well as ensuring you can slow an opponent on their way to your lines. (It's also very mobile, save for the markerlights on the firesight marksmen, meaning it can keep its distance.)