Well, its been awhile, ..a long while. I cannot recall the last time I have had the whole Cadre out and on display at the one time. In fact several more figures are missing, being apart of my Urban Cadre (hmmm, new photoshoot needed there too) . With my new hobby space (temporary sadly) I could do just that. The following images are very large, so heads up. Also, the lighting over saturated the colours a little, I've toned it down as best I can; more photos soon, action photos...
Why this sudden effort? Well, I don't know - checking on what's broken and bent, fix them up because some new recruits will be mustering soon. For those not familiar with my tau, I've begun with the original text in the 2006 White Dwarf 313 showcase article; this should give and idea why I do what I do and what is likely to be coming soon. I take my name from Shas'O Tael, my main character. Even though I've gone Fio, I lead a double life as an occasional shas superstar. (cough)
Last time most of my opponents fought such be tentacled, toothed, horned and hairy foes was when they toured the Eye of Terror. With such a variety of aliens, this cadre has become a zoo, a melange of Eastern Fringe aliens united under the banner of the Tau and the cause of the Greater Good led by core of Sa’Cean fire warriors.
What started out as a small combat patrol collection ended up being my primary army and inspiration for conversion after conversion.
During the border ‘disputes’ and annexations of the Third Phase expansion, the resources of the Sha'Ar'Tol and Kor’Vattra was stretched thin. Eventually the Tau looked to their allies, their requests brought forth a legion of races borne from lesser worlds. Their peoples either newly introduced to space or seasoned star farers. Regardless, all pledged to fight under the banner of the Tau Empire. Perhaps it was the xenophobic policies and campaigns by the Imperium that provided the Tau with a long list of firnds, or the Tau were truly great diplomats; convincing various races that unity would ensure safety. Every kai'ro’taa brought new allies, some wishing for an opportunity at revenge, others a good reason to take up arms and halt any tragedy being inflicted upon their world.
New cadres were formed utilising larger auxiliary elements than ever before, each being trained on major Sept worlds such as Sa’Cea and Dal’yth. Their ranks swelled with a myriad of recruits from a dozen races, the mixed forces to be commanded by a new breed of cosmopolitan Shas leaders. One such Shas'O was Tael, a returned veteran of the first annexations the tau had undertaken during the initial stages of the expansion.
A student of Manta borne mechanised warfare and a gregarious xeno-philanthropist (basically a nice guy to all things alien), he was eager to assess the abilities of the auxiliary forces now placed under his command. Additionally noted for his encouragement of military sciences and actively supporting research of the Fio within his Kor’vattra, O’Tael’s cadre often utilises new weapons and armour upon the field. There is always a certain energetic level of modification and enhancement rampant throughout the cadre as groups of Fio scientists continually strive to develop enhancements upon present systems.
Whilst the variety of skills shown by the new auxiliaries has caused much consternation among their foes, it has caused similar coordination issues amongst the cadre in battle on occasion. From translators failing mid-battle or newly allied races fighting a private war regardless of orders, being some examples. For the young, dynamic and inventive Tau it certainly is not an insurmountable problem, a solution will be found eventually. For the time being, these unique cadres fight to protect a place amongst the stars for the Greater Good.
Shas'O Sa'Cea Eldi'Ka Tael
A Sa’Cean borne Shas warrior, O’Tael embarked on many forays along the disputed zones as a young Firewarrior. During this time he encountered a myriad of foes in the cause of the Tau’Va. Eventually the sole survivor of his Ta'lissera, he seemed destined to the inevitably short life of a Monat Battle suit pilot. Yet his skill and aura of luck stayed the cold touch of death even still.
During his third ranking Trial for Shas’El, his peers saw the potential of a cadre leader. His first command was a Kor’Vattra borne rescue and reaction force. The cadre protected Por caste envoy missions prior to the Third Phase Expansion without unfavourable incidents. Now in his prime and a rank higher after his latest Trial, O’Tael regularly takes command of several cadres led by a group of junior Shas’el leaders under his guidance.
While certainly marked achievements, it is the unification of several races within his personal cadre that O’Tael discusses earnestly with anyone willing to listen to his theories on racial traits and their applications. Warriors from the Naga, Shea’Shi, Gue’la, Kroot, and several other species follow his orders without question, their faith in his leadership earned in the fierce border disputes after the recent Tau expansion and the increasing Imperial response.
XV8's and shas'la
My Fio, a couple of Air Caste and Mine Drones with Heavies in the background
The heavy hitters and fast movers of the Cadre
Vre'Ryuu, the most aggressive, stubborn, egocentric, son of a krootox - if he didn't handle a Hammerhead like a Piranha, O'Tael have him cleaning drone capacitor sheaths all ro'taa, permanently
You can make out Shas'Ui Kuna'Ro (famous for the way she uses a pulse rifle) and her mentor Shas'Vre Elan'Jhin amongst the Pathfinder La'Rua (he's the gruff sour-kroot, right of the la'rua)
Quite the talking point when people fight my cadre. The auxiliaries are a diverse bunch, made from innumerable parts from various kits across the Games Workshop range. I’ll give you a quick insight into each new race beyond the Kroot and Gue’la;
The Shea’Shi (a member is in the Gue'Vesa unit)
Descendants of an advanced civilization the Shea’shi had once built their greatest structures near a belt of equatorial oceans that ringed the plains-world the Tau soon called T'sua'M’Por. What ended the previous dynasty was unknown at the time.
Bearing long noble faces, broad chests, elongated torsos and flowing manes, the Shea’shi displayed all the classic features of a humanoid leonine. Their athletic physique covered in varying lengths and shades of fine downy fur, which they covered in richly dyed cloth and leather, underneath body form bronze armour. Using broad scimitars and their rare ancient ‘sun-caster’ rifles against the gun and axe of the numerous Ork invaders, the Shea’shi ultimately stood little chance of winning a global war prior to the Tau arriving.
It was in the last few Cyr’s that the ork had arrived, probably by a single force landed ship, as was their rather direct approach attitude. The ‘survivors’ had proven dishevelled, unsupported and ill-equipped, completely lacking in technical supplies. However they had recovered quickly, and the blade armed shea’shi were now little match for the first crude handguns the orks had began to manufacture.
With the inter-species war in full swing, the orks outclassed the shea’shi not only in numbers but also proliferation of technology. The small native lodge-tribes were being hunted down, across the great southern plains, and exterminated. Almost two thirds had been wiped out when a Tau Kor’Vattra, El’Tael was apart of, arrived. After various battles and adventures meant for greater tales, the Shea’Shi joined the Empire and have provided skilled and honourable warriors when needed ever since.
The Tau encountered the Naga quite by accident, a Nicassar Flotilla coming across their system during a deep recon sweep along the outer rim of the Eastern Spiral Arm. Over the last few cyrs, the Por envoys visited the verdant jungle world, speaking at length with the Bronze Age tribal Naga, exchanging gifts and pleasantries once communication was established. They traded information on local and galactic events, the latter rather one sided, leaving the Tau to detail a state of the Empire and those beyond. However the Naga proved great stargazers, trading much astrological data, amused at the correlation and corrections to their studies when compared to the highly advanced Tau.
The Naga seemed to take all this in their stride, at ease about the larger goings on beyond their world. Mostly they would eagerly barter and trade herbivorous foodstuffs for metals and the occasional item of advanced Tau technology they could understand and use. The Tau soon left, hearing various goings on from them with every trade mission that passed through their system. In all, a folksy rustic race to know.
When a call for aide went out during the Third Phase expansion wars, the Naga appeared shortly after at Fal'Shia aboard Tau trade-ships, filled to the airlocks with young keen-eyed Naga. Each festooned in feathers and bearing metal armour, clubs and spears. They had commandeered a passing freighter flotilla, without any force save avidly requesting transport. Their arrival, whilst unexpected, was a greatly appreciated gesture of military support, however it showed the Naga clearly lacked the appropriate equipment for inter-stellar battlefields.
Yet, no better Sept could have accepted the first Naga'la, the Fio of Fal'Shia quickly adapting Tau armour and even developing low yield pulse blasters for the Naga'la to use, leaving the sighting open, as the Naga were disorientated by digital targeting aids.
Environmental chest armour was created, allowing the Naga'la to maintain an optimal body temperature for combat activity, off setting their cold blooded restraints which had made disputes on their home world quick, brutal affairs. With the torso shell, they could operate day or night. A novelty the Naga are now enjoying with unwavering enthusiasm.
The Crest-Boom was developed to protect the Naga's sensitive cranial crest. This crest, used for enhancing communication with hand-sign like dexterity amongst themselves, was both sensitive and a source of pride among the Naga. Despite the loss of it's use, protection was a greater factor.
The boom is a head armour piece that slides snugly about the crest from front to back, adhering with subtle suction to the cranial ridge. It accentuates head bobs, sways and wags that make up a majority of Naga battle signs whilst housing communication relays for the Naga'Ui (the more technically adept of the Naga'la) whom possesses a suitably modified translator. It proved simple, effective and the marking upon the boom soon became the new status symbol among the Naga'la warriors. When added to their own hoots and sub-sonic throat calls, the crest armour has allowed the Naga a level of communication arguably more capable than a data-linked fire-warrior squad in the heat of battle.
Tough, determined and dedicated, the Naga have quickly become adjusted to the frantic and shocking brutality of front line warfare. Their aide, alongside many other small realms that have now joined the Tau, ensures the continued progression of the Tau for many cyr to come.
Assembling the Auxiliary
Certainly goes without saying, the most heavily converted group in the cadre. Generally I use a core selection of bits from the firewarrior sprues, integrated with parts from various kits until I have what I’m thinking of. Based off the concept piece, I then find a way to streamline the process so I can produce at least eight of them with two pulse carbines.
I basically took the Cadian helmet and the Tau helmet, cut them in half and merged the Tau end onto the Cadian front. A bit of Greenstuff and sanding later, I had a open faced auxiliary helmet. The boots were swapped about, cutting the Tau at the knees then swapping out. With careful cutting you need only pin these in place. I shaved off the las-gun flash suppressor to suggest the Tau had modified the lasguns in some way, with a preference for low exposure muzzles eg. Pulse Rifles.
Using parts from the Beastman plastics, I added feline features to a few beastman heads. Then I built the body with the Cadian torso armour and firewarrior legs, with lower legs removed. To the legs I add the lower part of a beastman’s legs. Then once in the pose I liked, I used some greenstuff to sculpt on paws over the hooves. Being more humanoid I opted to use Cadian lasgun and arms treated the same way as I made the gue’la.
this one is very involved. I used 5th edition Saurus warrior heads, with added depth to their skulls and neck. The head piece is plastic quarter round rod, shaved to fit (story wise this protects a natural crest). The torso is Space Marine upper chest armour, with a central hole drilled which I added a Tau ‘cog’ into. The dorsal extension is the back end of a Target Lock for Battle suits with vents from a Space Marine backpack. This is all smoothly merged with greenstuff and a little bit of sanding. The pulse weapon is made with two pulse carbines stripped down, then merged side by side, with more Greenstuff. The muzzles are plastic round rod cuttings.
The arms are modified kroot arms (including the rifle handle grip, finishing off the new pulse weapon) the four fingered grips are made with Greenstuff.
thanks for checking out the Cadre, see you in the field!