Kadesh Female Heads and Torsos
Back in the day, Games Workshop ran the original bitz service. For those looking to add a few female fire warriors to our cadres, you could simply order a Commander Shadowsun head and be done with it. Their bitz service went away, I had my little emoragequit for a few months, and 3rd parties moved in to fill the void. Now for official GW options, if you want to add female Tau to your ranks, you can buy Shadowsun, build her with the helmeted head and keep the bare head for your conversions or modify a daemonette head.
I'm in the process of putting together a Tau boarding team for games of Zone Mortalis and I knew I wanted a minimum sized squad of Fire Warriors with Pulse Carbines to wander the bowels of Imperial Ships wondering what they had to do to get a Crisis Suit like everyone else in the list. I'm a conversion junkie and I can't field anything to the tabletop stock, so I was wondering what I could do to make my boarding team a little more unique. I found my answer when I was directed to Zealot Miniatures offering their Kadesh Female heads and bodies in convenient 6-packs. I figured that my Sky Raiders Eldar Corsairs were all female, so I might as well keep the theme going. I traded for some Fire Warrior bits and placed an order with Zealot.
My shipment arrived promptly in a standard padded mailer emblazoned with the Zealot Miniatures logo. The two kits were in sealed zip log bags. It appears that the ponytail heads were clipped from the sprue to be laid flat in shipping, which is a nice touch to prevent any breaking or bending. The resin itself seems high quality, on par with Forgeworld's most recent offerings. The density of the resin and the distinct lack of major mould lines leads me to think they were pressure cast in a split mould, but that's just idle speculation on my part.
As you can see from the pics, the heads are slightly smaller than the bare plastic head that's standard in the Fire Warrior kit, although they certainly look like they could fit more comfortably inside the Fire Warrior helmet. The heads themselves come in three varieties, bald, a ponytail, and a bob haircut. One of each of the bald and ponytailed models come with a communicator band capable of mounting a Fire Warrior aerial. There were only slight mold lines on some of the heads that were easily cleaned up with a hobby knife.
The torso armour comes in two varieties one "uparmoured" which has an abdominal piece similar to that on the standard fire warrior armour and one regular-armour which has been described by others as "bare midriff." I had originally planned on greenstuffing in the abdominal armour, but after model assembly, the midriff is barely noticeable and could easily be painted a cloth uniform colour like Under-Armor brand shirts. As you can see the torso is slightly taller than the standard fire warrior torso and the shoulders are slightly narrower, no doubt to exaggerate female proportions. The back of the up-armoured models feature a small block that must be removed in order to fit the Fire warrior backpacks flush.
Assembly isn't as straightforward as a plastic Fire Warrior. The waist of the torso lines up very nicely with the stock plastic legs. However, fitting the pulse carbine/rifle arms was a bit of a challenge. The narrower and smaller shoulders meant I had to do some trimming of the upper arms.
In the case of fitting a pulse carbine in a firing pose, I also had to go Amazon on some of my torsos and remove some of the "extra armour" and cloth material from the arms to get them to fit right. Removal of the circular peg on the backpacks allowed them to mate up perfectly with the torso.
The heads match up perfectly with the torsos. Admittedly, mine probably could have been trimmed down a bit further, but I wanted to emphasize a taller, slender, athletic form with my builds than the traditional stocky Fire Warrior. For those put off by the busty armour but are still looking for alternative heads, it will require some trimming and greenstuff work to mate them up with the standard fire warrior armour.
I really like Zealot's offering and I'd recommend it to any tau player with some intermediate modeling skill looking to do something different with their fire warriors. You'll get a high quality product however it's not an out-of-the-box ready replacement for the plastic parts like you may expect from a Forgeworld kit. I think modelers looking for an advanced project could certainly use these bits as a basis for something that more closely resembles the GW imagery.
I just want to say that while there's fluff that Tau females don't look all that different from Tau males, that's just not a universe I want to game in. Would Kirk be out exploring strange new worlds if there weren't any green (blue) skinned space babes on those planets? Highly unlikely.
I'm also keenly aware that after 8 years in an integrated modern military fighting force, that men and women in body armour don't look too terribly different. However, in a universe where NCOs don't seem to think they need to wear helmets, I'm willing to let a little realism slide. The exaggerated proportions or features convey the message more readily than simply a lock of hair or Y-shaped facial organ.