How to differentiate Drone units among them

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JancoBCN
Shas'Saal
Posts: 109

How to differentiate Drone units among them

Post#1 » Feb 08 2018 09:57

Hello there!

I am a competitive T'au (and only T'au) player, who wants to get his army painted, but I have a really annoying issue regarding drone units:

INTRODUCTION
Drone units can be from 1 drone (although not strategically recommended from a competitive point of view) to 12 (or even more, if you take a 7+ Crisis suit unit and go all in on their drone). Also, they can be composed by either Gun (G), Shield (Sh) or Marker (Mk) ones.
Then, when I put them in my lists, sometimes I use them as 4-man units, 6-man, or even full 12-man ones. And with different configurations (2G-2Sh, 4G-5Sh, etc)

ISSUE
While playing, I have always troubles when I try to identify which drones go to which unit, as I have painted all my drones in the exact same scheme (basically white). The fact that they all go into one (or two) big bubble, surrounding bigger things to protect (Y'vahra, Crisis Suits), and/or little dudes to buff them (Cadre Fireblade, Ethereal), does not help either, as when you have to move them or remove them, the confusion beggins.

MY QUESTION
How do you make them easy to differentiate them, while keeping your tactical options open?
If you always want 5Sh-3G-2Mk Drone squads, it will be easy for you, but what if every list has to be able to include any drone's unit configuration?

SOME POSSIBILITIES
- Do you just own 200 drones, and you just painted them differently in grups of 12? that way you can pick the ones you like and have them be easily identifiable?
- Have you painted them in combinable groups? (lines/circles/sqares in blue/red/green, so you can combine them in two different ways: all blue ones, or all striped ones, etc)
- You just don't care about mixing them midd battle?
- You just have enough memory to know at each moment which drone goes to what unit?

MY MAIN IDEA
The best solution I have come so far, that doesn't involve buying 200 drones, is to add all of them a really tiny magnet in some place (I still don't know where to put it, maybe in the base), and paint like 200 of those magnets in different colours, that way I could "mark" them pre-battle following my list's distribution.


TL; DR
How can I do to "mark" my drones to be able to clearly differenciate them among different units, while keeping my options open while list-building (fixed units is not an option for me)?




Thanks for your help in advance!

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Aspiring Commander
Shas'Saal
Posts: 73

Re: How to differentiate Drone units among them

Post#2 » Feb 08 2018 10:23

This may be advice in hindsight, but as I built my drones I changed the position of antennas- the original idea was if it was on the left hand side it was a shield drone, right hand side a gun drone, and if it was a marker or pathfinder drones it would have two antennae.

I'm now using this system to denote between the squads of drone squads around my Y'vahra in deployment- right sided antenna form one squad, and left handed the other.

Makes picking them out from a blob of MSUs a tad easier :)
'We act as one, and united we cannot fall'

-Commander Shadowsun

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Shas'O Ora
Shas'Saal
Posts: 70

Re: How to differentiate Drone units among them

Post#3 » Feb 08 2018 10:44

If your flying bases are left transparent, you simply could put a tape on the base and use different colors of tapes or write numbers on the tape to differentiate the squads.

If the bases aren´t transparent anymore, perhaps just let a couple of millimeter of the tape visible on one side of the base.

Just few quick thoughts. :fear:

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T0nkaTruckDriver
Shas'O
Shas'O
Posts: 1701

Re: How to differentiate Drone units among them

Post#4 » Feb 08 2018 11:44

I love the idea of magnetizing the aerials. It also saves them from being snapped off by a stray elbow. I've done this with some of the larger vehicle aerials with good success; it might be a challenge on the small drones.

But if you could pull it off, you could mix and match aerial quantity to denote squad. So the drone body could differentiate type (the Gun, Shield and Marker bodies all look different), and their squad could be denoted by whether they have 0, 1, or 2 aerials mounted. Things get harder if you want to have more than 3 drone squads :biggrin:

Corbeau
Shas
Posts: 5

Re: How to differentiate Drone units among them

Post#5 » Feb 08 2018 11:52

I paint the rim of the drone different colors, it’s very ez to tell which one are in a squad for me and my opponent

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steelmanf
Shas'Saal
Posts: 48

Re: How to differentiate Drone units among them

Post#6 » Feb 08 2018 12:52

JancoBCN wrote:MY MAIN IDEA
The best solution I have come so far, that doesn't involve buying 200 drones, is to add all of them a really tiny magnet in some place (I still don't know where to put it, maybe in the base), and paint like 200 of those magnets in different colours, that way I could "mark" them pre-battle following my list's distribution.


This seems to me like the way to go, for the most part. You could put the magnet in the base, as you said, or even right on the top of the drone's...head? The only thing that would get irritating is using painted magnets to denote squad, as working with those tiny magnets would be time consuming and just asking for them to accidentally get lost. I would suggest that the squad signifying magnets themselves be attached to something. Anything from actual numbers that are magnetized (1, 2, 3, etc), to spare identical bits, to maybe a small disk of plastic with a Tau letter applique on top. Just something to make it easier to handle and still be able to easily distinguish between units. You may have to use some imagination on materials and designation, is all.

Ricordis
Shas'La
Shas'La
Posts: 383

Re: How to differentiate Drone units among them

Post#7 » Feb 08 2018 04:15

My drone-saucers are not glued to the actual drone system below. Also I have my saucers marked with the T'au numerals with 6 drones sharing the same number.

This way I can say "The Ones belong to this unit and the Twos to this" or if I have more than 6 drones in a unit "Ones and Twos are one unit".
If I remove casualties I look afterwards if I can replace any "Two" with a "One" drone.

I have to admit, I only have 36 saucers prepared this way.
6 groups of 6 drones with the T'au equivalents of 1-6 painted on them.

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K'Pokk
Shas'Saal
Posts: 109

Re: How to differentiate Drone units among them

Post#8 » Feb 08 2018 06:19

I've replaced the plastic stalks on their bases with hard wire and bent the wire so that it is a gentle curve. This makes the drones underparts visible from above so you can see what it is and has the effect of making the model look more dynamic.

To differentiate units of drones I just shove the models together and keep the units an inch or two clearly separate.

comm_nagrom
Shas
Posts: 33

Re: How to differentiate Drone units among them

Post#9 » Feb 08 2018 06:54

Ricordis wrote:My drone-saucers are not glued to the actual drone system below. Also I have my saucers marked with the T'au numerals with 6 drones sharing the same number.

This way I can say "The Ones belong to this unit and the Twos to this" or if I have more than 6 drones in a unit "Ones and Twos are one unit".
If I remove casualties I look afterwards if I can replace any "Two" with a "One" drone.

I have to admit, I only have 36 saucers prepared this way.
6 groups of 6 drones with the T'au equivalents of 1-6 painted on them.


This is exactly what I plan to do with mine as well, especially after painting the stalks on the drone systems fit right into the tops so it's super easy to just pop them off and on where needed (was going to magnetized originally but it turned out to not be needed)

User avatar
JancoBCN
Shas'Saal
Posts: 109

Re: How to differentiate Drone units among them

Post#10 » Feb 09 2018 05:07

Wow! thank you for all the comments and ideas!

There are some neat ideas if I only use 2-4 drone units that are really simple to do and great looking on the table top, but the issue now is that when I have this problem is on lists with 4-8 different drone units.

Of course my playstyle will have to adapt to the incoming codex, so I'll decide if I go for the 2-4 squads approach, or I still want to (at least be able to) play a lot of them.

steelmanf wrote: [...] working with those tiny magnets would be time consuming and just asking for them to accidentally get lost. I would suggest that the squad signifying magnets themselves be attached to something. [...]


That's actually a not bad idea. I guess I could try magnets alone on 5-10 drones and see how they perform, and if I lose them or not.

Ricordis wrote:My drone-saucers are not glued to the actual drone system below. Also I have my saucers marked with the T'au numerals with 6 drones sharing the same number. [...]


That I really like. I think it can be a little bit too much time consuming, from what I was thinking, but it can be a long term solution.

Nowadays, I want to have all my army look "deece" enough to be able to take good pictures and go to tournaments with painting restrictions, and once I get that I'll start with those "optional" steps, that will improve them a lot, but with a lot of time!



Again, thank you all very much for the advices! And I hope that threat can be useful for other Commanders too! :biggrin:

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