I've always liked the concept of a Tau Crisis suit army but never quite liked the aesthetic of the Tau Crisis Suit. I have, however, always loved the aesthetics of the Gundam Zaku II suit and decided to try and either convert the current Tau suit to look like a Zaku or find appropriately scaled Gundam figures to use as Crisis Suits...This post will cover my recent labor of love, a Tau Crisis Suit army made from Gundam Zaku figures and kits!
I am still active and dominating the tournament scene with my Eldar but in the meantime, I have been working on an idea I've had on my heart and mind for as long as the Tau have been around. The release of the Farsight Enclaves supplement made having such an army more of a reality so I decided to commit to putting together a Farsight Enclaves army made entirely (as much as possible) out of Gundam figures.
Creating the Gundam Tau-an introduction to what it took to make the army:
After much research and trial and error with buying different scales/types of Zaku figures, I finally realized what scale/sets of Gundam figures would work and what wouldn't. Some were just too cheap looking, didn't look right and/or didn't have appropriate amount of details. I ended up with a surplus of junky gundam figures I ended up selling on E-bay!
However, I did find some figures and sets that worked perfectly and began scouring the internet for the appropriate figures. After a long search, I finally accumulated enough figures of the appropriate scale to make a decently sized army. Specifically, I found that Minifigures work well for Infantry based models (1/400 scale), the Strategy of Gundam set (now discontinued) works for Crisis Suits (1/300 scale), Fusion Works figures work for Broadsides (1/200-250 scale) and usually a 1/144 scale model works for a Riptide.
Next, I had to figure out what bits and pieces from the existing GW Tau kits would work well with my Gundam figures and how to put them together in a meaningful way that both makes sense and helps facilitate WYSIWYG as much as possible. I purchased a bunch of random bits from E-bay and put them together with my Gundam stuff to see what worked and what didn't and arrived at what I feel is a happy medium of GW product mixed with Gundam goodness to be an appropriate amalgamation on the table-top.
Finally, I had to readjust/repose some of the Gunam stuff to be more dynamic so I did a lot of cutting, soaking models in boiling water to bend to an appropriate pose and Greenstuff work to fill in gaps where needed.
Below are some preliminary pictures, some trial and error pictures and the army primed white. I will continue to upload some more pictures as I get closer to the finished product. I will be working on painting them more as time goes on so stay tuned for more later!
Gundam Zaku II model kit as a Riptide:
This is a 1/144 Zaku II kit you can pick up almost anywhere. I put the Riptide Engine/Backpack bits on it along with the Tau Riptide weapon on the right arm and I think it fits well in terms of size and appearance. I ended up having to hot glue some parts and joints into place to keep it from being so poseable/moveable.
Gundam Zaku II figures as Crisis Suits:
Figuring out what Gundam figures would work as Crisis suits was more tricky as some Gundam figures were just plain lame/flimsy looking while others looked cool but were too big or small. I think the Strategy of Gundam series had the right size, amount of detail and the right hardness/firmness to be used as Crisis Suits. They also, once soaked in warm soapy water, were easiest to prime with a Krylon spray as they are made of PVC with some random chemicals on them so painting them successfully posed its own problems. Ultimately, after being soaked, scrubbed, primed, painted and sealed in a protective coating they should be fine!
|Gundam Suits next to a Crisis Suit for comparison|
|Unit with one figure partially painted as a test|
|Unit with Burst Cannons attached (Magnetized)|
|Suit with Missile Pods (either 2 pods or 1 twin-linked)|
Zaku Fusion Works figure as a Broadside suit:
One suit I had lying around from my many experiments in terms of finding the right scale/size for Crisis Suits was a Fusion Works Zaku II figure that looked pretty cool but was too big to use as a Crisis Suit. I had originally planed to use it as a Tau Crisis Suit Commander but I had some Broadside bits lying around so I decided to put them together to see if I could turn the Zaku into an appropriately sized Broadside and I think the result worked out alright.
|Broadside with HYMP and SMS|
Army primed white:
So once all of the experimenting in terms of putting the figures together and figuring out how to properly paint them was done, I opted to go ahead and prime them white and this is what the army ended up looking like while drying:
|Front of army: Crisis Suits in front with Riptide on back left and Fire Warriors back right|
|Back of army: Riptide on bottom right, Fire Warriors on bottom left with the rest being Crisis Suits|
Looking to the future:
So yeah, the bulk of the work on the army is done! Now all I need to do is finish painting the army up and get some games in with them. I plan on taking this army to the Broadside Bash in San Diego (southern CA) around the end of April so we'll see how I do with them. I also plan on throwing together some Sniper Drones, regular Drones and Skyrays to round the army out. Stay tuned for more pictures and army lists!