(BFG) Tau fleet- The Great White (and Tan) Fleet

General discussions about the hobby side to Tau & 40K.
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Kakapo42
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Re: (BFG) Tau fleet- Regrouping part 2 (pic heavy)

Post#81 » Jun 19 2013 02:10

Deep within the depths of space...

... on the edge of the galaxy....

... the counter attack begins....

.... NOW


I have just finished on my second Merchant and new flagship, Serenity, and accompanying Orcas. A picture says a thousand words, so I'll let these do the rest of the talking as best they can.

Image Image Image

There will very likely be a couple more images when I get around to writing up it's background, but in the meantime.. the next ships await...
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Kakapo42
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Re: (BFG) Tau fleet- The counter offensive begins...

Post#82 » Jul 02 2013 01:11

I was hoping not to have to quad-post (triple posts are bad enough), but I have just encountered a dilemma, and I thought I would seek some outside opinions on the matter.

I am currently working on my Defender squadrons. So far things have gone smoothly (aside from having to paint the flying stands, painting a transparent flying base completely black is my current candidate for 'most torturous, frustrating and tedious painting task of all time'), but I am currently facing a conundrum regarding my application of the red trim common on my combat ships. Simply put, I am quite unsure as to whether or not to paint the ships' railcannon barrels red or not.

Here is a side-by side comparison of two WIP Defenders. The left-hand one has it's railcannon barrels left white, while the ones of the right-hand one have been decorated red.

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Which do you think looks better? I originally decided in favour of the red barrels, as at the time I thought the shading alone did not distinguish them enough and it might be too hard to make them out, however I'm starting to think the extra red details make the ship look too busy or cluttered.

So, as my optometrist always used to say, "Which is better, one like this?"

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"Or two?"

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My apologies if the pictures are not very clear, my camera still refuses to focus on close-by or zoomed-in objects, regardless of whether or not I have the macro on or not.
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ARC'Thunder
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Re: (BFG) Tau fleet- To red or not to red, that is the question

Post#83 » Jul 02 2013 08:30

As much as I love the color red, I am finding myself not in favor of the red barrels. However, I also agree that they have trouble standing out from the ship without them. Have you given thought to using a third, more neutral, color? A dark grey or black for the barrels may help distinguish them without clashing with the existing paint scheme.

That being said, I am no master painter and find it difficult enough to find colors my own models... So you may want to disregard my opinion.

Also, the models are looking fantastic. I eagerly wait for more.

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Kakapo42
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Re: (BFG) Tau fleet- To red or not to red, that is the question

Post#84 » Jul 08 2013 05:52

ARC'Thunder wrote:As much as I love the color red, I am finding myself not in favor of the red barrels. However, I also agree that they have trouble standing out from the ship without them. Have you given thought to using a third, more neutral, color? A dark grey or black for the barrels may help distinguish them without clashing with the existing paint scheme.


I did consider a third colour (it would have likely been black), but the problem there is that none of my other ships have such a colour on their gun barrels, so it could make them look out of place. The other thing is that not-black barrels will serve to distinguish this fleet from my next fleet (yes, I have a second one planned).

In the end I went with a compromise- one squadron of Defenders with red barrels (in no small part due to me having already painted them with red barrels) and another with white ones. I think this will give me the best of both worlds for the time being, and if I ever make up my mind then I can always recall one squadron in for a weapons refit.
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Kakapo42
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Re: (BFG) Tau fleet- To red or not to red, that is the question

Post#85 » Jul 08 2013 05:53

My original post was too long, so I had to cut it in half. Now then, how about some more background.

Vessels of the Kor'vattra

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Part 4: Lar'shi


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In terms of raw power and strength, the Lar'shi or Hero class starship remains unmatched by any other Tau ship of similar displacement. Indeed, even the mighty Or'es El'leath class battleships are less heavily armed (although the Or'es El'leath class has a far larger attack craft compliment and provisions for three escort gunships, giving it greater damage output overall).

The core of the Lar'shi's firepower comes from it's three main weapon systems. The first of these is a prow mounted medium railcannon battery, which deals reasonable firepower at most ranges. The main teeth of the Lar'shi, however, is it's heavy ion cannon arrays. Each one contains a set of four ion cannons arranged in two turrets, one behind the other. A trick of engineering, the second turret is designed in such a way as to elevate over the first, allowing all four ion cannons to be brought to bear on a target regardless of it's position. Furthermore, the advanced nature of Tau targeting systems and weapon turret placement schemes mean that both heavy ion cannon arrays have overlapping firezones in the ship's forward arc, allowing them both to fire on a single target in front of the Lar'shi, an attack capable of crippling an enemy cruiser or even a battlecruiser or heavy cruiser in a single devastating strike. A common tactic among Lar'shi Kor'els is to fire the prow railcannons at the target ship first to knock down it's shields, leaving it defenceless against the follow up attack from the ion cannons.

Alternatively, the Lar'shi's heavy ion cannon arrays can be replaced with additional medium railcannon batteries, which when synchronised with the main prow battery allow the Lar'shi to shred targets in a hail of hypervelocity slugs. Even the famously agile vessels of the Eldar can struggle to evade such an onslaught. Known as the Tol'ku configuration in the Kor'vattra, this has given root to some humour amongst Imperial personnel stationed near the Tau empire, and it has been given the nicknames 'the peacemaker' and 'the diplomat' among Imperial Navy crews in reference to the renowned diplomatic prowess of the Tau of Tol'ku.

In addition to it's gunnery armament, the Lar'shi is fitted with a prow mounted gravitic launcher. Second in size only to the massive gravitic launcher mounted on Gal'leaths of the Bor'kan configuration, the Lar'shi's prow gravitic launcher gives it considerable striking power at long ranges. Indeed, many warships opposing the Tau Empire have met their demise without even realising they were under threat, being bombarded with missile salvoes launched from a Lar'shi hidden out of sensor range or behind celestial phenomena.

Rounding out the Lar'shi's offensive compliment is a pair of small launch bays. These afford the Lar'shi additional long range striking power as well as flexible defence and versatile utility options, with it's onboard Mantas able to conduct long range reconnaissance, search and rescue operations or aid in convoy escort operations, allowing a Lar'shi to theoretically defend a convoy or patrol a region of space all by itself, though occurrences of this are rare. While normally only containing naval attack craft and a few Orcas to aid in transferring cargo, it is not unknown for a Lar'shi to be outfitted with a compliment of atmospheric support craft, such as Tiger Shark strike jets, Sunshark bombers or Razorshark strike fighters, when assigned to support a ground offensive.

Defensively, the Lar'shi is unique amongst the Kor'vattra ships in that it is the only one to sport a prow deflector. A relatively recent innovation occurring during the later stages of the Damocles Gulf Crusade, a deflector consists of amplifiers and energy modulators that condense a Tau ship's external gravitic field into a tight dense wedge that can repel even the fiercest of attacks. The deflector itself only consumes small amounts of power and boosts the existing shield forms, so it does not tax a ship's regular shielding. In addition, because the deflector works to repel rather than absorb incoming fire, it is not disrupted like conventional shields, acting more as an extra layer of armour. However, the deflector mechanism itself can be taken offline if it sustains damage.

One of the last Tau ship classes laid down before the Kor'O'vesh initiative, the Lar'shi was designed in the midst of the Damocles Gulf Crusade and was intended to be a counter to the Imperium's Lunar class cruiser, and this can be seen in some of it's design features, with the Lar'shi's prow deflector and gravitic launcher mimicking the armoured prow and forward torpedo tubes of the Lunar. The first pure-bred warship to be constructed by the Tau, the Lar'shi quickly proved to be a formidable ship of the line, it's armament being superior to the Lunar and even rivalling that of Imperial battlecruisers.

Despite this however, the Tau ultimately failed in their goal. The Lunar class's greatest strengths have always been it's rugged simplicity, reliability and ease of logistics. The Lar'shi class, in comparison, proved to be immensely resource-intensive to field and maintain, requiring extensive logistics support that often prevented it from taking part in engagements on it's own. Ultimately many major septs began to see the Lar'shi as a white elephant, and the more logistically independent and easier to maintain Lar'shi'vre class was developed as part of the Kor'O'vesh program in response.

Despite this however the Tau navy continues to maintain examples of the Lar'shi, and they are a common feature in major Kor'vattra fleets, where they often form the spearhead of a Kor'vattra battlegroup in a fleet engagement. The formidable firepower and defences of the Lar'shi ensure that even today it remains a potent symbol of Tau military might.
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Re: (BFG) Tau fleet- Breaking out the big guns

Post#86 » Jul 10 2013 05:36

Your fleet is both well painted and well supported with interesting background fluff work.

Awesome so far!

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Kakapo42
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Re: (BFG) Tau fleet- Breaking out the big guns

Post#87 » Jul 18 2013 07:38

Why thank you Nevar!

Well, it may have taken me two weeks, it may have driven me even more mad than I already was, I may now be completely out of black paint, but I did it. I based all of the Orcas I have.

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And some background to go with them.

Vessels of the Kor'vattra

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Part 5: Kass'l


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Fast and agile, the Kass'l or Orca gunship (not to be confused with the small transport dropship of the same name) is a common sight amongst Kor'vattra fleets and battlegroups, and over the Tau'cyr many a Kor'el and their ship has been saved from certain destruction by a valliant Kass'l squadron. An aging vessel, the Kass'l forms the third piece of the 'classic warship trio' of the Kor'vattra, alongside the Gal'leath and Il'fannor, and for a long time was the only escort-sized warship used by the Tau.

The Kass'l's long history of service with the Kor'vattra began in the First Sphere of expansion, at around the same time as the Il'fannor class was introduced, and is based on the large cargo shuttles that had long been used to ferry freight, goods and personnel from Gal'leath class starships to terrestrial locations. While the Il'fannor was being first laid down in response to a demand for a more economical alternative to the massive Gal'leath, another demand was made by the Kor'ar'tol for a small high-performance strike ship to counter the highly numerous Ork escorts being encountered in the Tau's first wars with the Greenskins, which were proving deadly against the Gal'leath battlegroups of the early Kor'vattra. In response, the Earth Caste almost completely re-worked the cargo shuttle design, keeping some of the basic hull structure but completely replacing the original engines with powerful new drives and the cargo space with heavy naval weaponry, as well as adding extra armoured plating, re-enforcing the internal structure, boosting shields and upgrading the sensors and communication suites to military levels. Somewhat infamously however, the Earth Caste were unable to create a gravitic drive capable of etheric translations that could fit on such a small vessel, and instead developed the large docking ports on Tau capital ships to extend the gravitic sheath in such a way that it could transport smaller ships. These 'grav-hooks', as they were soon named, would be used to carry the Kass'l into combat.

The result was a fairly effective escort in it's own right, but the Kass'l truly came into it's own after first contact was made with the Demiurg. Upon formalising an alliance and trading agreements with the Demiurg, the nomadic aliens worked with the Tau to develop a new form of weapon- the ion cannon. After perfecting the new technology, the Tau began to apply it to as many areas of combat as possible, equipping both vehicles and starships with ion weaponry, though the naval-grade ion cannons mounted on starships were far larger than the vehicle-based one many are more familiar with.

When the high-powered armour piercing capability of an ion cannon was mounted on the fast-moving Kass'l, it created a ship with a potent anti-ship punch and the mobility to bring it to bear wherever it was needed. This made the Kass'l a formidable ship, and they began to be readily deployed to guard the sides and rear of the much slower capital ships, or make long range strikes at enemy fleets in support of strike craft. One of the key uses of the Kass'l in the conflicts of the First Sphere however, were 'hunter-killer' missions. Used during wars with the Orks, a pair of Il'fannor class starships would travel near an Ork fleet, carefully staying just outside of their range. They would then disengage their attendant Kass'l, which would form a 4-ship squadron and proceed to launch a series of vicious hit-and-run attacks on key targets in the enemy fleet before falling back to their parent ships and disengaging at maximum speed. Such missions crippled several Ork fleets, and delayed numerous others until more substantial forces could defeat them, ultimately saving many new colonies from invasion and swinging the conflict decisively in the Tau's favour, though a considerable number of Kass'l were unfortunately lost during such raids.

Unlike other major powers, who use escorts independently to patrol regions of space or flank enemy fleets in engagements, the escorts of the Kor'vattra are primarily intended to directly support the capital ships, in much the same way as Fire Caste infantry are often used to support armour in ground battles. The Kass'l in particular is primarily used in Kor'vattra fleets as a rapid-response force, using their speed and agility to intercept threats to the main formation and neutralise them with their considerable firepower (directly equivalent to the Imperial Firestorm class frigate), or quickly moving to protect a threatened capital ship from enemy attack. Other uses within the Kor'vattra include search and rescue, scouting and convoy escort, and a few squadrons are permanently assigned to station defence forces, operating from an Orbital station to protect worlds from attack or guard trade routes. The Kass'l is even used to transport cargo on some occasions, and there exists a specialised transport variant for this very purpose, though the Kass'l gunship itself is a dedicated warship, and easily the match for any Imperial escort class. In fact, some naval analysts, observers and academics argue that it was the Kass'l, not the Lar'shi, that was the first purpose-built warship developed by the Tau.

Amongst the Kor'vattra, escort ships and their crews are greatly respected by the Fire Caste, who often liken them to their own support units. The Kass'l, with it's speed, heavy armament and use as a rapid-response force is often referred to as 'the Crisis Suit of the Kor'vattra' by battlesuit pilots, although Vehicle crews tend to consider them analogous to Hammerheads instead. There is much joking and friendly debate as to which comparison is 'correct'.

Though lacking the independence of other escort vessels, the nimble Kass'l nonetheless remains much loved by both it's crews and the crews of those ships it protects, and wherever a Kor'vattra ship is seen it is likely a squadron of Kass'l is not far behind.
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Kakapo42
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Re: (BFG) Tau fleet- Orcas deployed

Post#88 » Dec 24 2013 06:00

So I thought this year I would give some Christmas gifts to everyone on here. Here is one of them, my first ever completed Kor'O'vesh ship. The Warden pack came with four Wardens, while the Castellan pack only came with three Castellans. I find this somewhat weird, since it makes more sense to me to do it the other way around, since Castellans can be in squadrons of up to 6 like Defenders, which were packaged in groups of four, while the maximum squadron size for Wardens in the Imperial Armour rules is three. Ok maybe the Castellan number makes sense, though it clearly showed four in the demonstration image, but the Warden number still seems odd to me. At any rate I decided to use the extra Warden as a test model to make sure my colour scheme for the Kor'O'vesh ships worked (and that I could pull it off well).

Image Image Image

And in case you were ever wondering how it can fire it's ion cannon in different directions, here's your answer- it's in a chin turret.

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I haven't actually thought of a name for it yet. I'm considering Project 42, since it's more of a technology demonstrator than an actual combat unit, but I'm also thinking about a couple of others. Maybe Andromeda..

And some background as well. 'Tis the season!

Tau Defence Systems


Tau point-defence systems are extremely advanced, combining a wide variety of weaponry with advanced target-acquisition systems, sensors and inter-locking fire-zones to offer excellent protection to even the largest capital ship. Most Kor'vattra ships have their point-defences arranged in a system of tiers.

The first tier of point defence weapons consists of a number of large mass-drivers positioned along the flanks of the hull (though escort class vessels do not normally feature these), as well as quad-linked heavy rail-rifles and Hammerhead-class railguns. These are the first line of defence against large objects that make it through the ship's gravitic shielding, and are easily able to smash apart all but the largest projectiles, with the added advantage that the kinetic energy produced will push anything that remains intact away from the vessel. These magnetic accelerator weapons are supported by fast-firing pulse cannons, normally arranged in batteries of 6 to a turret mounting, able to deliver blasts of plasma 'flack' to long-range targets without using limited ammunition. Such is the massive rate of accurate fire these weapons can achieve that even the extremely agile attack craft of the Eldar can often be hard pressed to evade destruction.

The second tier has smaller weapon systems, and is meant to engage anything that makes it through the fire from the first tier of defence systems. This tier features turreted high-yield missile pods and ion accelerators. Indeed, this was the first use of the ion accelerator, in an attempt to remove strain from the more ammunition intensive linear accelerators in the first tier of defences, before it was adapted for use as a primary weapon on the mighty XV-104 Riptide battlesuit employed by the Fire Caste.

The final tier, the third tier, consists of smaller infantry-support scale weapons, mostly burst cannons and missile pods, and is an emergency defence system used against smaller objects or to finish off targets that make their way through the first two tiers.

All Tau point-defence emplacements feature drone AIs, but can also be manually targeted and fired by a living operator. Normally all point-defence systems will be left on drone control, where they will automatically target and engage dangerous objects that come to close such as asteroids or debris, but in combat the larger first and second tier systems will often be switched to manual control and operated by Air Caste crews. Tau ships also feature a network of seeker and hunter missile silos that can be used to support the main defence systems, and Shipboard Security Cardes (Cadres assigned to a ship to act as marines) often maintain a contingent of XV-86 battlesuits to aid in ship defence.

****


Also, in other news, I have started a new hobby blog, which you can find here. It's still in it's infancy at the moment, but be sure to check by every so often for updates.

Merry Christmas ATT!!
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Tael
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Re: (BFG) Tau fleet- Merry Christmas ATT!!

Post#89 » Dec 26 2013 05:31

Merry Christmas to you too :)

Nice PD write up, I'm only half sold on the boarding strength issues for tau - automated defences can be nasty.

Nice work on the Warden - the chin turret is a great design feature of the model, kudos to the FW team!

- Tael.

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Kakapo42
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Re: (BFG) Tau fleet- Merry Christmas ATT!!

Post#90 » Dec 26 2013 05:57

Heh heh, somewhat hilariously RAW Tau ships are quite solid when defending against boarding actions - a boarded ship adds it's turret value to it's boarding value, and since Tau ships tend to have plenty of turrets it generally only amounts to a -1 boarding penalty (for example, an Explorer's boarding value would be 6 for half it's hull points, +5 from it's turrets for 11, only 1 off from what it normally would be), so you might be onto something there.

The chin turret actually caught me completely off guard! I'd only ever seen pictures of the topside of the Warden before ordering them, so I had no idea what was underneath them. It saddens me to think that I might never discover what secrets might lurk on the underside of the Protector..
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